The Indie Police
by Ed Sofield
If you’re sitting there in your living room or bedroom reading this (or possibly in your local record store, wondering “What exactly is this Ink 19 business?”), chances are you fit into one of the three following categories (all mumblings about pigeonholing will now cease, thank you very much): Innocent Bystander, Music Lover, or Indie-Rock policeperson.
The “Innocent Bystander” is the simplest to describe to you, Constant Reader, simply because they are the ones I have no beef with. If you are an Innocent Bystander, you might be new patrons to the record-shop where you picked this wonderful piece of literature up, or maybe you’ve tired of the same old bird-cage liner nonsense that you are used to reading. Quite good — I, for one, applaud you. I also know my bosses applaud you, because, well, the more (readers) the merrier ($$$$). You will find in these pages wonderful insights into bands seen on television; you will also find references to things you might never have even realized existed and might never get the chance to learn of. That is all right. Read this and absorb what knowledge you can.
For the “Music Lover,” it is a bit of another story. You have been trapped in the small, hot, sweaty, fire-hazard clubs waiting to see a band that the rest of the audience swears is a 80’s metal cover-act. You have gotten harassed by the police (the real ones — with guns and badges and fast cars — and the ones described below) for hanging posters on telephone poles, posters telling of the forthcoming show in that hot and sweaty club. You have been through the ringer for your cause, and it has made you a stronger person. You, also, enjoy what knowledge there might be in these pages. Use Michael’s New World Calendar (or whatever-the-hell they call it these days) to find out when you can go to another hot, sweaty club to see another small band no one has heard of — and probably never will. Go get that new Promise Ring CD. Show everyone at school (or work, if you choose to participate in such archaic rituals) that your taste in music is dignified, and that people should listen to you when you talk. After all, important things might spew forth (c’mon, you read Ink 19).
But — you! You, in the cardigan sweater! You, with that collection of seven-inch records that have been out-of-print for years! You, INDIE-POLICE!!!! Stop right where you are and put your hands above your head!
And stay that way. (It’s uncomfortable, I know — that’s why I’m making you do it, genius.)
You have taken all the fun out of knowing who a band is before anyone — before the radio-jocks, before the record-execs, before even Ink 19. You have taken the search for coolness to an entirely unnecessary level. You presume to be a self-appointed judge of what is “wicked” and what is tomorrow’s Ugly Kid Joe. To be painfully honest, we here at Ink 19 are mad at you idiots because that is our job — the acceptance and rejection of new artists whose entire careers might rely on one single review in these hallowed pages. If you think we take this job lightly, well…….you would be so completely correct. Our “jobs” consist of sitting around and flipping heads-or-tails quarters all day, one for each CD to be reviewed. That is the way (the only way) it is decided which gets a negative review and which receives our praises. It is a difficult and entirely scientific process that you underground critics have not one idea how to perform. We would appreciate it if your furthered efforts at trying to discover new music was taken to a new level: go discover the music of, say, Africa or possibly the United Kingdom (those cockneys would love you guys…you’d be put on pedestals and fed by overweight underwear models with bad teeth). Basically, anywhere but the continental United States — if you guys want Hawaii or Alaska, go ahead. You could never wear those sweaters on the islands and there isn’t one trace of good music above the Canadian border.
Next Issue: Canadian Music — Why do Alanis, Celine Dion and the BearNaked Ladies suck sooo bad?