Why Music Scenes Are for Idiots

By Ben Shapiro

"People put too much emphasis on scenes. Just because there happens to be a town with a few really good bands in it, I mean… big deal! It's happened all over the place: in Minneapolis, LA, New York. It's really no big deal. I don't understand this community patriotism that everyone's boasting about in Seattle. They all say 'we finally put Seattle on the map,' but it's like… what map? We had Jimi Hendrix! Heck!" -Kurt Cobain, 1991.

I've been a musician in New York for about ten years. One of the best things about living here is that there are a shit-ton of bands around. Because of this, I don't have to humiliate myself with some phony "scene" affiliation to play a fun show here and there. 

I'm so sick of hearing people droning on and on about music scenes. Can't humans just play music without affiliating themselves with a regional or aesthetic "movement?" And critics talk about scenes so much it seems like a pre-condition to playing music. Scene-praising articles are written every week, like this one, where Rolling Stone dubs Nashville the country's "Best Music Scene," justifying the distinction by stating that Jack White, the Kings of Leon, Ke$ha, and Taylor Swift have all moved there for the daytime boozing, fried avocados, and vintage stores that sell skinny jeans. Cool scene, bro.

I obviously see all the positive elements. People come together, bands let other bands open for them, the kids have a place to go. But here are all the things about music scenes that make me want to burn down my local punk house.

EVERYONE'S HAD SEX WITH EACH OTHER

Not counting the celibate fringes of the straight edge community, scenes exist for one reason: for nerds to have sex with each other. Outcasted dinguses who couldn't get laid in high school figure they can boost their bone chances by affiliating themselves with a bunch of other desperate choads, and practice their jiminy-stick-it to a hip soundtrack.

This works at first. But once you're in a scene for more than six months, you've usually exhausted all potential prospects, and it becomes impossible to start a band without remembering the time you and the keyboardist did the horizontal mambo and superglue. Look to Austin and Minneapolis for examples of this phenomena.

Read the rest over at NOISEY

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