Ginger Neutral: No One Actually Likes Noise
This inaugural piece by columnist, eccentric and all-around scene legend Logan Dean Worrell examines the noise scene and his experiences therein, and asks the seriously important questions, like “Are you fucking serious?”
What’s wrong with kids today? Why are all of their T-shirts tucked in? Subculture ebbs and flows with trends in general, but goddamn. It’s gotta be hard to be taken seriously when you dress like a fucking geek with a crystal tied around your neck. But if you know about obscure Midwestern hardcore bands from '82 and still drop the ol’ “Hey, who’s this?” when “Alternative Ulster” comes on in the van, there’s something wrong there. I’m trying not to be the jaded, irrelevant 30-something, but if that’s how it comes across, then fine with me. My house is clean as fuck, and my wife is fine as hell and cooks like a motherfucker.
I have actual questions. I’ve taken some time off from the HCPM (hardcorepunkmetal) community, tucked away in my giant palatial estate full of gravity bongs and 70-inch TVs. I'm regrouping, so to speak — desperately trying to figure out what’s cool again. Heard a band called Turnstile the other day that sounded like 311 (not a dis), and it’d be a lie to say I wasn’t surprised to see the '90s again. They sucked the first time around, just as a reminder — except for Born Against and Crudos, of course.
Why are there so many noise projects? Not everyone needs a noise project. In fact, no one needs a noise project. “Noise” leads one to believe that its unlistenable, which noise music is. So, here’s my question: Let's say I’m at the noise gig and actually honest to god like the noise music, which I won't — is it polite to say, “Aw man, it was sick. I liked it,” or do I say, “Actually, I hated it. It was terrible, gave me an anxiety attack"? Since it's NOISE, and very very loud, and makes you feel very very physically uncomfortable, I’m inclined to assume that they want to know that. Clearly, that’s what they were going for?
I saw my friend Berdan play some noise show once in Brooklyn. It was crowded, people were buying shit, and I guess you might call what they were doing "dancing." Afterwards, he asked me what I thought. I panicked. I told him that I hated it and, luckily, he laughed. To this day, I have no idea if I offended him or not. I don’t really care, because noise music is the actual worst shit I can ever imagine listening to, but I’d like to know in case a situation presents itself where I might need to kiss the right person’s ass. I’d hate to miss that opportunity.
The underground noise scene is something I'd really like to crack into because it seems like the easiest band in the world to be in. Just record my dog taking shits in a cemetery and recite poetry over it, maybe splash some sounds of a loud baby being stabbed in there and voila! Get paid, young ginger, get paid.
Several other questions I have about noise music:
- Are you supposed to clap or hiss when the “band” is done?
- When do you know when the “band” is done? Technically, they could be incorporating street traffic sounds and using the room's general ambiance as part of their art. I’m no artist, thus have no fucking idea.
- Is noise music something that people listen to in the car? I can’t imagine how that must make traffic feel. Muslims with guns don’t scare me. A bunch of dorks with iPods full of noise music flipping out in Austin rush hour traffic — that scares me.
- Do people listen to noise music at the gym?
- What wine pairs best with Merzbow? A hearty red? Or is it OxyContin?
- Do people get laid from this shit?
I understand celebrating the dark side of things. I really do. Noise music scares me, to be honest, but at the end of the day, I don't get the tunes. Just not my bag. But wouldn't it be worse to fake it? If y'all see me at a noise gig, best BELIEVE it's because either my homie Timmy made me go, I'm trying to buy weed, Berdan’s in town, or I'm trying to impress a girl, which, seeing as my wife only listens to Future and Gucci Mane, seems the least likely.
For me, when it's time to celebrate the ugly shit, it’s always “sad songs and waltzes.” Always songs about love, loss and pain, BABY, OH THE PAIN. Gimme Blaze Foley singing songs about the Greyhound buses. Lemme put on a Townes record paired with a bottle of cheap red wine and let his problems drown out mine for the night. Nothing motivates and heartbreaks like thinking how Buddy Holly was only 22 when he died.
What the fuck have you done?