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History is Bullshit

Ian Svenonius is the only DC punk rock luminary who, in conversation, sounds like a lost Theodor Adorno book that rips apart contemporary culture and makes you laugh at the same time. They both say things like "approximating historical antecedents...
JP
Κείμενο Jan Peoples

Ian Svenonius is the only DC punk rock luminary who, in conversation, sounds like a lost Theodor Adorno book that rips apart contemporary culture and makes you laugh at the same time. They both say things like “approximating historical antecedents” instead of “ripping off Lou Reed” and “trope of rock history” instead of “the Beach Boys.” He’s such a for-real revolutionary that those crazy “Marxists” in Rage Against the Machine even asked him to sing for them after Zach de le Rocha left to join the Zapatistas. Of course, Ian had to say no because a) he’s better than that; and b) he had to do his new band, Scene Creamers. Scene Creamers is best described in “likes but withouts,” ie: like Royal Trux without the drug posturing, like Love without the strings, like MC5 without the White Panther bullshit. What you get with their debut, I Suck On That Emotion, is loose-limbed and super-dirty rock, stuff that’s suitable for both chin stroking and hip shaking. And if you see them live once, you’ll be an immediate convert. Onstage, Svenonius is like a genius primate OD’d on Viagra and Gingko Biloba.

Sean’s opinion:

I like the Rock and Roll music. Scene Creamers is good to dance to. The music sounds like, like an organ. Yeah, I like the way he sings. He has a high voice. Yeah he does. Like a beat music.

When you call him for an interview, you can’t really just say, "So what inspired the new record?" or whatever. You just kind of have to sit back and let him spin his wheels. When we spoke last week, Ian was in a tizzy about the current trend of heartlessly reviving any kind of underground music from pre-1990. "Everybody seems to be presenting groups as formal exercises. There’s the whole synth-band thing, with bands that sound like Jesus Jones, and then there’s the Gang of Four postpunk thing. The underground has become a preservation society where each era of music is fastidiously represented." The question, then, is how does one stand out in history? How does a band mercenarily get some staying power? Ian seems to have found an easy answer: "People have to understand that history is bullshit. If you want to enter the canon, don’t ape things formalistically. Make some important friends—that’s what Lou Reed and Iggy Pop did, and it served them pretty well. If you get to that level, you can just pay Victor Bockris to write anything you want about yourself." I SuckOn That Emotion is out now on Drag City.