Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lessons I Hardly Learned at the Hamtramck Blowout...

I can't say I can ever remember being excited about any of the Blowouts. 1998 had an amazing line-up with the White Stripes and Dirtbombs and Wildbunch on the same bill at Lili's. I was too young to even try that one. The next year I saw an early as hell Soledad Brothers gig, 2*Tabernacle's last show, the Go at Motor (all on the same night) and the White Stripes "rumored" last show followed by the Hentchmen's last show before their first extended hiatus. But I don't remember much leading up to that…certainly nothing that got me excited.

After quick sets by the Kicks (unreleased Eddie Baranek and Richard Panic side-project) at Cloud Nine(?) and the Sights (all donning heavy metal band t-shirts) at Lily's, the Go played to a packed crowd at Paycheck's in 2000. Just back from an extensive US tour, consensus was they bombed. The only band I've seen come back from tour worse than when they'd left. A long, drawn-out jam by the name of "Let's Get High" was particularly arduous, but Bobby was sporting a belt-buckle the size of a dinner plate. That was impressive. Am I imagining the pre-Whatcha Doin jam "Black-Eyed Susan" with Bobby's harmonica wailings or did they actually play that one too?

I believe the Hentchmen were supposed to play the next night. But I got a kidney stone and spent the evening in the hospital, still keeping my pink wristband on until long past 2am, thinking by some miracle I'd be cured and still be able to catch the last act.

And after that I don't remember much. A show here or there every year, but nothing wholly exciting. This year has been a first with bands I wanna see all four nights. It's amazing. Wonderful even.

Wednesday night: As soon as I wrapped and clicked the silver band on my right wrist I immediately knew it was painfully too tight. I am an idiot. And I still got three more days I have to keep this sucker on. Does the Metro Times hate its fans?

Great Lakes Myth Society has a great name and nothing more going for them. Ignorable at best, the two songs of theirs I caught were a complete waste of my time. It was better spent absorbing the plethora of corporate advertising…a Scion parked inside the Majestic (I knew spots were hard to find on the street, but this seemed ridiculous), only Molson beer available at the bar, Guitar Center guitar picks littering the place, all being covered by a handful of cameramen from various local news organizations…the Detroit scene has finally got people paying attention and corporations paying to sponsor. Just wish we something more worth sponsoring to offer them.


The Hard Lessons are such difficult band to decipher. Their "We're the Hard Lessons and this is rock and roll" intro was just the beginning of a set replete with repeated, choreographed stage moves and hackneyed rock and roll cliché. The phrase "GGBB" gets bandied about a lot by anyone who's done their share of time touring and the Hard Lessons are the epitome of GGBB. It means 'good guys, bad band'.

Or as someone mentioned to me at the Majestic that night "They're the greatest mediocre band you'll ever see."

The songs are a consistent rehash of familiar chord changes and tired lyrical retread. Where it seems their inspiration is the explosive rock of the Who or MC5, what they provide in bravado (in comparison to those legends) ultimately comes up lacking. The MC5 and the Who both injected an artistic dose of zing (the Who's mod toggery and the Five's 'dope, guns, fucking in the streets') that gave those recycled blues riffs a new life whereas the Hard Lessons wear vacuous black and white on stage and have dumbed down their songs to the simplest, basest form. They offer nothing new to the mixture. And this has (probably) led to their success,

The Hard Lessons draw huge fervent crowds and can get them singing and clapping along with the greatest of ease. But the band's performance feels uninspired and insincere…an act of going through the motions and posturing. Their crowds eat it up, but I can't believe the Hard Lessons when they're onstage.

From the opening lyrics of their album Gasoline along the lines of "I saw you with that other girl" it feels like its not words coming from personal experience, but words coming from years of listening to artists who have written about their personal experiences. Or their set-closing cover of Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My"…while I can assume that they (the Hard Lessons) believe what they're saying, I am still left unconvinced and rolling my eyes.

Anyone in town whose musical opinion I honestly and truly trust echoes my sentiments. Lots of people in bands. Lots of people who've been around for a while. Lots of people who wouldn't dare let me mention their names here.

And I don't think the lack of Hard Lessons appreciation among this group is sour grapes or jealousy or anything with nefarious origins. The increased success of bands like the White Stripes, Detroit Cobras, Electric Six and any other local band that was around eight years ago who can now headline tours all over the world has left us with a live local music vacuum.

Where these great bands used to hit a local stage as much as once a month in their heyday, they're now (smartly) limiting themselves to as few as one or two performances in town per album. That leaves local music fans with a thirst to be quenched. And more and more, bands with less and less to offer are taking that on.

So seven years ago, in the pre-White Blood Cells salad days, you could see the White Stripes at the Magic Bag, the Magic Stick and the Gold Dollar all within a few months of each other. The bands performing with that amount of frequency at clubs of that intimacy now are nowhere near the caliber they used to be. When the Hard Lessons said from the stage that their performance would be their last in Michigan in six or seven weeks, I was left to wonder where the significance in the statement lies. THERE IS NO BAND IN DETROIT THAT SHOULD PLAY MORE THAN ONCE A MONTH. AND 90% OF THE BANDS DO NOT HAVE THE CHARISMA OR REASON TO PLAY MORE THAN ONCE EVERY THREE MONTHS.

That being said, Detroit has a history of great hometown bands that have played way too frequently. Many a story has been relayed to me by old-timers about how they would show up late to the Grande Ballroom on purpose to MISS the MC5. Take a look at the old handbills…the MC5 opened every other motherfucking show at that place. And from the (lack of breadth) of their song catalog you can sure as hell figure they were playing the same batch of songs over and over and over again. People were sick of 'em. I've heard similar rumblings about the Stooges, they being avoided because onstage they were SOOO hit-or-miss. And as near-and-dear the Gories are to my heart, my collection of flyers shows they were pretty omnipresent in this town circa 1987-91. And the Gories themselves will be the first to tell you how hated they were in town. And also how bad they were. The fact that Mick's original suggestion for naming the band the Horribles wasn't just clever, it was presciently spot-on.

But the Hard Lessons have worked. Hard. They refuse to be apologetic. They've toured endlessly, given up jobs and sunk tons of their own money into this endeavor. They clearly want to be rock stars and I do not begrudge them that one bit. Detroit is full of bands who lack confidence and are unwilling to take a chance. The Hard Lessons are the one shining example of how to break from that paralyzing curse.

They do seem not to have a band superego. I get the impression they do not say "no" to anything. And maybe that's the secret to their success…the 'there's no gig too small' kind of attitude. But rock and roll, as I've gleaned from the Hard Lessons, seems to be about simultaneously blurring and widening the gap between the band and the audience. Never before have I seen a band connect to their crowd on such an intrinsic level and yet personally felt so detached from what was happening onstage. The Hard Lessons are like a second-hand historical document, removed enough from their initial inspirations that the soul and ingenuity contained therein has been sanitized and condensed into Rock and Roll Refresher Course 101.

I think the Hard Lessons will continue to do well for themselves. Their work ethic alone should be an example to us all. They may even sell millions of records. For those who'd argue that'd be a sign of their artistic merit, of a rocking Detroit band who can play the game and get their own little slice of pie outside of the spokes of this town I will point you to thousands of dollar bins across the country brimming with copies of Rotting Pinata.

And this is not an attack. Augie, Korin and Christoph are the sweetest, most kind people you will ever meet. That's why I believe it's been so long for a proper dissection of their band to come about. In the post Stollsteimer/White altercation world, the whole town seems to be on eggshells trying not to disrupt the status quo. It seems typical to smile in someone's face and then turnaround and espouse about how bad their band is. Fact is, turning a blind eye to a band or paying them lip-service does no one any good. I think it'd do everyone a whole lot of good if honesty and straightforwardness became the new hip thing in Detroit

I believe a lot of people are scared to be frank for fear of how others will be honest in return. Too few a people in town are comfortable enough with how their own band is/was/will be to genuinely give others their honest opinion. I know a lot of the old guard of Gold Dollar alumni have been less and less into the Dirtbombs in the past few years. It's clear just by seeing who comes up to our shows. And I do not take it personally. But if I asked them face-to-face what they thought of the Dirtbombs, nine times out of ten I'd get bullshit. And that itself is bullshit.

What I'm saying is this: for a music scene in a city this size, with such a vacant, population in the throws of poverty, everyone needs to wholeheartedly and actively support the bands that they cherish. It's too easy to be a passive fan and we are all guilty of that. There almost seems to be a level of pride associated with how detached one can be while still being "inside." Shit like "I haven't seen the Electric Six since Joe and Steve and Anthony quit" or "The last Dirtbombs record I bought was 'Ultraglide.'"

I understand that a lot of this crowd has gotten older. A lot of the players have had to grow-up, get jobs and live like adults. And this has resulted in a lot of cop-outs. So what if you can't pound the Stroh's like you used to? It doesn't mean you can't check out a gig on a weeknight. Try watching bands without drinking…maybe then you'll realize what's actually been going on all this time.

Adult. followed the Hard Lessons. I think I started to see them live at precisely the wrong time in their career, right before Anxiety Always came out and right when they started shying away from the demonstrable classics of Resuscitation. As they've returned to performing as a duo, they've got the experimentation of D.U.M.E. behind them and promise to be more focused on Why Bother?

"Dispassionate Furniture" stood out as a slightly intelligible shell of it's recorded self. The best comment I heard all night was that there should be subtitles for Adult. The mix in the room was questionable the entire night. The Majestic is a weird room to begin with. But Nikola's vocals were practically indecipherable the entire time.

A brief respite in the Garden Bowl during a Dorkwave DJ set left me non-plussed. Throw on a bunch of Eighties hits…"Little Red Corvette", "Holiday" by Madonna, "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee-Lite and getting hipster indie kids to dance is like shooting water in a barrel. How does Dorkwave get so much press and praise? It's not like they've reinvented the wheel. Or even done something that any halfway-decent iPod on shuffle couldn't take care of itself. Is anyone else in town doing anything remotely similar to this? Or are there just too many lazy people with better record collections sitting back and criticizing how they could do so much better? Myself included.

Then again, this is all just my opinion. I could be wrong.

100 comments:

Anonymous said...

sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the couch this afternoon.

gratuitous Sponge cheap shot just for the hell of it?

kidney stones suck big time

Anonymous said...

More like the right side of the couch. Hard Lessons bum me the fuck out, they got no angle=BLAND! Dirtbombs still rule, but I think i've seen them about 34 times...yeah,like a fox! Oh yeah, Spoonge is bum-drippings.

Anonymous said...

Shit, I straight skipped GLMS and the Hard Lessons to drink $2 Ghetto Blaster at the Cass Cafe.

When the Lessons finished, I watched as all the familiar faces left the Majestic to see the Muggs for the 18th time...ugh. Then again, Adult's set was way too short and the video clips projected behind them could have been made by a middle schooler.

Anonymous said...

This must be where the unhappy come to die. Misery loves company. Unless you're with this crowd. Given you dispositions, you will all turn on each other and die alone. Which is fine with me. Blogging doesn't make you relevant. Neither does tearing down people with the courage and dedication to do something you never could. Using 65 cent words to snipe doesn't give you any more credibility either. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Charles Hustle said...

Rad Ben, you're pretty brave man. Sounds like a hack version of something lester bangs would say. Do you write out of your parents basement? Anytime we have expectations of something, we're bound to be disappointed. That's why the best experiences are when we have no preconceived notions and we're blown away. MOst of those bands have no shot at pleasing you. I read your human eye review awhile back, and while I think the drummer is worth the price of admission, I always felt Tim Vulgars stage show was really posed and postured. The improvisation of the moment is lost, and to me he appears just as self conscious as the hard lessons when not amongst his core audience. I also dont think its that difficult to get massively inebriated and then be raucous and out of control. Yes I believe the MC5 and Stooges were innovators, and no one can possibly compare to what they did 30 yrs ago. I also dont really believe its fair to compare the Hard Lessons with rock icons. I guess they're asking for it in a way, but shit man... you really let them have it. And maybe all of your people do agree with you, but damn man, they dont deserve that. You tried to cover your ass by saying they're the sweetest people, who need to be told the truth... not bullshitted to... and maybe you're right. But sometimes it just doesnt need to be said publicly. You should write them personally and tell them what you think. First off, they'll respect you more, they may even appreciate it. But you just air it out for everyone from the convenience of where ever you reside. If or when all of your faults come to be known... you can be sure you'll have people waiting to blog about it. way to go, fuckhead.

Anonymous said...

wow. it's not so much that you're opinions are bad, it's that you're an absolutely horrible writer.

Derek Phillips said...

Hmmm, lots of "anonymous" comments here, thus, proving Ben's point.

Having had my own run-ins playing Detroit, I am glad to see some honest debate of what I think is a co-depednent and insular scene. Even if you don't agree with ben's criticism, I think it's commendable he's willing to voice it.

Anonymous said...

Ben, I tend to agree with you in that I think the bar has been set very low for the past 5 years or so in hopes of launching more Stripes and whatnot. Detroit got a national rep after those bands left, so with everyone watching, we try to put up what we have left and pretend it's on par with what we had.
It's fun to get excited and feel like you're a part of something big and I think that's what we have going on here.
There is still good music being made here, don't get me wrong, but I hardly feel the city is bursting with renaissance talent like people would like to believe. I think the bands MT are touting as rocksaviours may have the right ingredients to draw comparisons to great innovators, but they're missing they're own innovation. Any band with a tight 60s or 70s rehash will get shows and get fans if it sounds right, but people will get tired of the novelty.
Long story short, right on.

-chris heine

JOE DIRTY said...

"Unless you're with this crowd. Given you dispositions, you will all turn on each other and die alone."- Anonymous Suburbanite with Bad Taste who's into Big Crowds Telling them whats cool and that sleeps alone everynight with his or her Green Day records.





GLMS have matchin' suit coats and mathin' songs, really generic and forgetable.

Hard Lessons seem like any other band with limited influences, I don't hear an original person on stage, I hear re-tread.

People need to realise that Ben is being critical. You know, as in being a ROCK CRITIC. And last I looked, Ben gets paid for his opinion. How many bloggers can say that?

It always seems to be the band members themselves who read the press about the show or record they just did, I wouldn't be suprised if some Hard Lessons have some Hard Feelins'.

emm said...

i've never really liked detroit garage rock. for the most part, it always sounded boring and trite.

that being said, the hard lessons do come off as a PG, animtronic version of bands like the dirtbombs and detroit cobras. once i saw them back-to-back with the sights and it was like seeing the same band twice.

still, they've earned everything they have-- fans, tours, ect. they're great people and i don't see anything wrong with their success-- lame or not.

Aaron said...

I appreciate the honesty of the post, even if I don't agree with all of it.

THL have always been cool with us, from before they were even a band to now. Great guys.

Musically I'm in no position to discuss what's rehashed or not, but they like what they're playing and the crowd does too - isn't that enough? And they have range - Milk and Honey, some of the country stuff, etc.

I don't think they play all that many little shows. The thing they do that's so smart is to play so many all ages shows - remember how new and exciting rock and roll was at 16? Playing in front of the kids seems like a really smart move.

Another nice thing THL does is give exposure to other bands - they don't always play with the same old groups. To me, if you're packing your shows and playing with lots of different folks, why not play every month or two? I'm sure the club owners don't mind.

I don't want to dismiss the post though - certainly a good topic of discussion.

Brandon said...

Well, if nothing else it's interesting to see such a different take on some of the most critically-lauded bands in the area.

It's funny, I've always found GLMS to be one of the most absolutely unique and interesting bands in the area. There's not enough intelligent songwriting or pop harmonies or, hell, accordion around for my tastes; it's refreshing. Who really wants to see yet another "garage" Detroit-rawk band? Zzz.

Hard Lessons-- I guess I get what you are saying. I still just think they are a hell of a lot more fun to watch than most of the tired rock-n-roll bands around. It's a great performance, even though it may be rather choreographed at this point with the number of shows they play. I always have a good time at their shows, and find them genuinely fun to watch.

Do you like Johnny Headband?

Jasper said...

Who cares what he likes? Who cares what any of you like? Find your own thing and support it.

"Everyone needs to wholeheartedly and actively support the bands that they cherish."

Agreed. Now everyone get off the interweb and go do that. It's almost nice outside. Go play.

Anonymous said...

Ben
you are RIGHT ON with your take on the Hard Lessons. Finally someone has said it publicly. They are like a Vegas act.. very choreographed, not spontaneous at all. I have seen them play too many times and feel like each time I see them their act gets more over the top and stupid.. They will never be "BIG" because their songs are pretty terrible. They are nice people, but they seem to have grown kind of "sleazy" over the past year or so.. I would like to get your perspective on Johnny Headband. Yes, the D is known for its novelty acts, but the Headband takes it to a new level of shittiness. How do they always manage getting such big local shows? Who's cocks are they sucking?

Anonymous said...

i guess i just don't understand what is supposed to be constructive about all the shit-slingin. if it doesn't interest you, why not let it be. surely there must be music you are interested in that you could be blogging about, hopefully turning others on to music they were not previously aware of. how does it affect any of you if a band gigs "too often". don't go. go bowlin'. i take my 16 year old neice to see the hard lessons and she loves 'em. like it or not, there is going to be a generation of kids growing up in southeastern lower michigan with the hard lessons as their favorite band. these kids are "wholeheartedly and actively supporting the band they cherish," while many of you are shit talkin. "turning a blind eye does no one any good"? does it do any harm? there are many bands in this city i don't care about, but i don't see what good it would do anyone for me to bash them in a public forum. if you dig it, good for you, enjoy yourself.

perhaps the most endearing thing about the hard lessons is they have never gone out of their way to bad mouth others. now that, my friends, is refreshing.

neil

goose said...

what good is a music critic who only writes about stuff he likes? neil mistakenly interprets earnestness as shit talking. looks like ben just has an opinion. i personally can go either way with the lessons, but i'm not going to hate-on the guy for speaking his mind.

Anonymous said...

Eh, some valid opinions in here I suppose. I wish you'd at least have the decency to give GLMS the sort of analysis of the reasons you don't like them like you did with the Hard Lessons, though.

I dunno, this whole entry seems kinda unnecessary in a way, though. As you are someone who, arguably, still has some active influence in the Detroit scene (as much as the public's appetite for the the old-style "Detroit Rock" seems to be waning) why write this in such a public forum?-- it only seems like a way to breed bad blood and hurt feelings among various bands and fans in the area. It's just kinda reminiscent of the petty bickering that helped fell the Old Detroit Scene into irrelevance over the past few years... doesn't seem like it will help anything.

It seems there's been a lot of mutual support and community-building among a lot of bands in the past few years (The Hard Lessons and GLMS high among these, not to mention the Muggs); I guess this blast from the past of highly public badmouthing of other acts is just sort of surprising. I thought we were all over that... in the post Stollsteimer/White altercation world (seriously, who ever cares about either of those dudes anymore though?).

Z

truth seeker said...

why so many thin skinned people out there?

a critic is supposed to give his honest opinion and that is what ben has done. why does his critique offend you?

a true critic is not supposed to a pr flack or some a&r flunky.

I say to ben: keep on keepin it real and let the chips fall where they may

Anonymous said...

If people would stop waiting for these bands from yesteryear to get credit they never deserved in the first place, they would awaken to the underbelly of what this city has to offer; which is pretty damn intriguing. Some young acts like: The Pizazz ,Freer, The Bird Dogs, Questions, Genders, Terrible Two's, Heroes & Villains, Friends Of Dennis Wilson, Bad Medicine at the Campfire, Big Brother, The Jrugs, Dutch Pink, etc. etc. etc.
These bands are actually writing songs and crafting intelligent arrangements. They also bring a certain primordial fight to the stage-an element of danger that is missing in most of the media darlings like the Hard Lessons and Muggs and other "safe to like" acts. The music scene is better now than it was 8 years ago. It is more original than it has been in many many many years. A lot of these new bands are more about innovating than imitating and if you feel good music is missing your only fooling yourself.
I suppose the "Rockers" are intimidated by the "Poets". Maybe thats why they ignore so many really great bands.
The reason that it feels like a vacuum is due to the fact that tons of people used to come out to these "Garage" shows several years ago. Now people dont because they have gotton wise to that scene, one in which even their fat King denounces.

Z said...

Dude above me wrote:

====
I suppose the "Rockers" are intimidated by the "Poets". Maybe thats why they ignore so many really great bands.
====

Fer sure. I also worry they are really, like, full of testosterone and aren't so into "melody," "harmony" "fun" or multisyllabic words sometimes.

Anonymous said...

wow, i saw the Sights a while (years) back and really thought they sucked. i was incredulous that anybody would like that shit. i felt sorry for Detroit thinking an act like that was good. i didn't want to bullshit anybody about the Sights.

i saw the Dbombs on their way thru this town last tour and was completely impressed, despite seeing them times before and being unimpressed. had a great time! all i could think, man, move back to Dtown and see the DB's every chance possible. and the Cobras and the Paybacks and who knows ... the Hard Lessons.

there's always been shitty wildly popular acts in Detroit and incredible unknown acts in Detroit (Sonic's Rendezvous Band never drew well, at all, despite being vets from some of the greats).

but that's true all over the world so don't be sad Mr. Label Guy


and it's "THROES" not "throws"

care said...

I've known Augie and Korin for many years--I saw them everywhere and was shocked when I learned they lived on campus 2 hours away, and would commute 3 or 4 nights a week to see and soak up live local music. They couldn't stay away--they love music so much.
They've grown so much over the years, and although I'm no songwriter, I'm always impressed with how Augies guitar playing has grown. Christophe's been solid since day one, and Korins singing voice is arguably one of the strongest that have come out of this town.
They play alot because there is a demand. Their shows attendance has never waivered, it always climbs, because they work incredibly hard and deliver to the standards they've set for themselves! They've chosen The Hard Lessons to be their careers. They're doing all the right things--the way they want to. The group will read this and naturally have hurt feelings because this personnal attack wasnt provoked. They've simply put themselves out there, which we all do to different degrees. Some local bands play out of spite. Some need it for a social life. Some HAVE to write songs and be on stage because they can't, or dont want to anything else. Some have true talent, and play to 30 people because they don't know how to network. Everyone that performs locally has a different agenda. Its a reflection of your personalities and convictions, really.
Bens blog is clearly a reflection of his personality. There's things you talk about in private because you can or want to. But bashing a local band about their songs in blog form (because they're successful) is for attention and blog hits.

Eric Koz said...

"Wednesday night: As soon as I wrapped and clicked the silver band on my right wrist I immediately knew it was painfully too tight. I am an idiot. And I still got three more days I have to keep this sucker on. Does the Metro Times hate its fans?"

Some of us would like to move on from such episodes. Sheesh. What's it gonna take?

Anonymous said...

The Kids don't know shit! HAHA!!!
Detroit don't know shit! Double HAHA!!!
How come none of these 'NEW' awesome bands have any worthwhile releases on credible record labels?
Why? Because it's not just the jaded hipsters that don't care about them, it's most of the people around the world that have a sense of musical history and taste that are not interested with all these awesome 'NEW' Detroit bands. You can't spit-shine a turd into a diamond.

ted miller said...

i like how all of the important words are bolded like on page six of the new york post.

it's easier to skip ahead to the scand that way.

thanks!

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest, we should not have to fake liking a band just because they work hard at being just average. What good is an opinion if it's said behind the bands back. Let's be honest.

Eric Koz said...

Oh yeah. The Hard Lessons. Nice kids. They really flattered my ego a couple years ago when Augie came up to me because of the "It Came From Detroit" shirt I was wearing. Yeah that's right, I wore that damn shirt. Sue me. It paid off. Instead of me hanging out like the loser of a leech that I am, people were coming up to me. A nice little highlight in a low life.
Anyway, they were very nice to me and we talked a lot but I couldn't stay past the Avatars. Instead I saw them the next night and had a very good time. I kept in touch with them for awhile and even had a spot in that increasing-realm-of-social-importance, the MySpace Top 8. But even with their constant touring, I couldn't make it out to many shows. In fact, none since the first one. And so I was dropped from the Top 8. But that's how it is. I still like 'em. Things just didn't work out. Like in any relationship.
Their music is fine. Gets the job done. All that stuff. No harm, no foul I guess. I don't have an opinion either way.

But speaking of opinions, haven't you learned from me that sharing opinions leads to trouble? Tisk.

alicia said...

Hmm. I enjoyed the sets from GLMS and the Hard Lessons. Perhaps if this had been Blowout '98, I might not have admitted that so freely in fear of being judged by critics such as yourself...

My grandmother always told me that if you didn't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. I think in this case, perhaps you shouldn't blog anything at all.

...Or perhaps stop going to the Blowout.

Brandon said...

This is all SO 2003.

rowche rumble said...

if you don't have anything nice to say...come sit next to me.
tell it like it is brother!

Anonymous said...

"It seems typical to smile in someone's face and then turn around and espouse about how bad their band is."

Not sure what we should tell all the hard lessons fans that show up at their gigs.

Maybe we should tell them that they we now know they're just pretending to enjoy them, and that they turn their backs on them, walk out the door and commiserate on how rotten of a show that was.

Maybe we should tell them that the Detroit music scene has really fall into the dumper in the past years and that the only reason these people like them is because there's no better band for them to follow or chart their course by, the bar being lowered so far around here.

Perhaps in order to enlighten them we should explain the "internet" and sites they could go to, such as "yahoo music", "you tube" and see what other "real/credible" bands there are out there. Maybe we could give them gift certificates to "itunes" so they can hear the difference between the local scene and everything else. Surely then, as their ears begin to open to more than just the Detroit scene, will they realize they were so ignorant to enjoy The Hard Lesson the way they have been.

I respect your right to your opinion, I just feel that it's as mean-spirited as it is self-serving to do so in a forum.

Blogshit, in my opinion. Let me be the first to coin that phrase.

Furthermore, I don't feel that being anonymous is a copout.

Anonymous said...

Who likes nachos? They sound so good right now.

Brandon said...

Isn't this what this is really all about, if I may quote an earlier blog post of yours?

"I find myself missing being the young guy at the shows. For years I
could always find myself as the youngest one at shows at the Magic
Stick or the Gold Dollar. It seems like I spent three years of my life
being 18 years old. And it was all so brilliant and bright, a time
unrivaled in my life where everything was fresh and exciting.
Consequently, I wouldn't want to be 18 years old in the current local
musical climate. I am so thankful for being around the White Stripes
and Detroit Cobras and Rocket 455 and the Hentchmen, when all of these
bands were playing the small bars almost once a month and there were
no more than 100 people there to check it out."

All these kids' Hard Lessons are what your Cobras and Hentchmen were. What my Great Lakes Myth Society was and is. And there'll always be someone new, every few years.

Now i think i'm going down to the well tonight
And i'm going to drink till i get my fill
And i hope when i get old i don't sit around thinking about it
But i probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
A little of the glory of, well time slips away
And leaves you with nothing mister but
Boring stories of glory days

Anonymous said...

You know Nickleback has alot of fans...they must be good!

Forest Juziuk said...

Wow. It's frightening how easy it is to ruffle feathers. So what if Blackwell doesn't like the Hard Lessons? It's not as if attendance at their shows will plummet due to what's written on Tremble Under Boom Lights. And, obvously, he's not going to change your mind. Please, grow some thicker skin.

If you're bumming that he dissed your favorite local band, you've missed the point. Try taking any of what he said and change the context; you may realize how utterly fucking lame it is to tell someone not to say anything if they've nothing nice to say. I'm sorry, but do you remember where you live?

Think about how you responded to this blog post next time you're complaining about Kwame (or anything else for that matter). How razzed would you be if someone told you to shut up about it?

Elizabeth said...

Maybe people go to Hard Lessons shows because they're fun. The band isn't jaded, I think they're incredibly genuine, and they care about their audience.

Way to be Cynic McCynical, Ben Blackwell.

And I like to think Great Lakes Myth Society is an amazing breath of fresh air. I am so fucking tired of blues rock. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Maybe people go to ICP shows because they're fun. The band isn't jaded, I think they're incredibly genuine, and they care about their audience.

Way to be Cynic McCynical, M & M

And I like to think a Reddi-Whip can is an amazing breath of fresh air. I am so fucking tired of Hard Lessons. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree with your take on The Hard Lessons.

Anonymous said...

Great Lakes Myth Society are one of the most original musical projects to come out of Detroit, or anymore for that matter in a very long time. Their songs are haunting, healing, beautiful, nostalgic, and just really well written. The lyrics are masterpieces within themselves, and they have their very own vibe and stage presence that cannot be copied from anywhere else. Yes, it might be something to do with musical preference if you don't understand their appeal, but I think they're absolutely wonderful, and they're one of my favorite bands of all.

Cynic McCynical said...

I whole heartedly agree with everyone in this comments thread.

Anonymous said...

haw! you guys (& gals) rule! love that Deeeeetroit humor. keep it up!

Great Lakes Myth Society said...

WE are more LAME than the Hard Lessons.

the hard lessons said...

NO, WE can out-lame you in just four notes!

the muggs said...

Can we get on that bill?

Anonymous said...

first!

Anonymous said...

Personally, I loved the Great Myth Society and the Hard Lessons. They both have great songs, fabulous harmonies, and their music is different from the usual screaming, whining I hear from so many local bands. Why you would write such garbage is beyond me, other than out of sheer jealousy of their talent. Besides, what do you know, I have seen you play, and you really have no right criticizing anyone. Judging by the size of the crowd that the Hard Lessons draw at every gig, you are very much in the minority. These bands have worked very hard to get where they are today, and do not need people like you spouting off as if your single opinion is important.

Yoko Ono said...

Hey, what gives you the right to say that GLMS & Hard Lessons are good? Nobody has seen you play. How can you say Ben has no right to write what he feels, what gives you the right to say what should or should not be said? Are you a Commie? Name me some good Russian or Chinese bands, what? You can't?!
No good art has come from keeping opinions private. Expression is life. Bravo Ben!

Anonymous said...

since when did these blog comments turn into a fascist regime?

1. an opinion is just that, an opinion. ben is as entitled to his as you are to disagreeing with it.
2. you think the hard lessons have never had anything bad said about them?? you think rolling stone album reviewers live by the motto "if you can't say anything nice..." fuck no! and what would be the point if they did?? its criticism and its not personal. (refer back to #1)
3. and calling ben a horrible writer? what are we back in the third grade? your mom's a horrible writer

Anonymous said...

A. 98% of the peeps that pay to attend Hard Lessons shows don't know what the Gold Dollar is.
B. The Lessons are but one of many Detroit bands that have this sort of "name recognition" thing going for them. They get a lot of hype and you see the same old fuckers at each and every show.
C. The Hard Lessons will never be a national act. Same goes for every other band in Detroit right now. Also, there are a bunch of scene holdovers such as the Sights that have missed their window of opportunity. If they try to bust out new material, people bitch and scream for another tired classic.
D. Ben, shave your mountain beard and give me your 2+2=? 45.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I really enjoyed reading this take on the Hard Lessons and the Detroit scene. Refreshing to see someone not willing to drink the Kool-Aid and publicly state his opinion in an open forum. I too don't think the Hard Lessons are all that great, but then again I though Kid Rock was horrible and the White Stripes were the worst band I ever saw at the Gold Dollar. So, what the hell do I know? I did think the Wildbunch was destined for greatness, which doesn't seem too likely at this point. "I'm The Bomb" should have been thee summer anthem of 2003 for these United States. Alas...

Brandon said...

"The Hard Lessons will never be a national act. Same goes for every other band in Detroit right now."

"I did think the Wildbunch was destined for greatness, which doesn't seem too likely at this point."

Ya'll are living in some different plane of reference if the Electric Six aren't in a stage of "greatness" or a "national"/international band. The White Stripes are ridiculously successful in some uber-mainstream radio-MTV way that obviously virtually nobody else will acheive. Is that what success is measured against though? E6 is huge. They fill big rooms like the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on a regular basis. They tour internationally and surely make some decent pay from it.

I'd say other area acts like Nomo, Saturday Looks Good to Me and yes, The Hard Lessons, are alreayd "national" touring acts. Bands like Mason Proper and Canada are rising to that level steadily as well.

And who cares about the Gold Dollar anymore? I wonder if the White Stripes never got enormous if any of you folks would really even think about this scene from 7 years ago you still seem to be so reverent about. Move forward. There's a ton of great (and even successful!) bands and solo acts in Detroit and it's surrounding region right now. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, easy there... I guess what I mean there about the Electric Six was that they'll never get to that same stage as The White Stripes at this point. They're not going to be on the MTV Movie Awards or make a guest appearance on the The Simpsons. Not that their success is anything to sneeze at -- Heck No! They've done fantastic and they're a great group of supremely talented musicians that everyone in this city should look up to and admire.

I went to a lot of shows at the Gold Dollar, but I never bought into any of that scene as being anything that great. The Von Bondies were always horrible. They got better, but really... C'mon.

Really, in the state the the music industry is in -- maybe the level of success that the Hard Lessons are at right now is the best that pretty much anyone from any band in any scene in in any city can hope for at this point.

Music is the best. Enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

The Electric Six? Sure they had some success...key term there being "had." Is it any coincidence that their only (moderate) hit had a guest vocalist by the name of Jack White? It IS starting to feel like 2003 in here...Electric Six? Really?

Tom Thumb Up Your Ass said...

E6 still tours the world and packs venues EVERYWHERE. I consider that success. What's your version of success, Anonymous at 2:17pm, being in your MySpace Top 8?

Anonymous said...

Ben B. may be a bit of an ass but BRAVO to him for finally saying what so many of us have been thinking.
God knows that we can't rely on the lame Metrotimes joke of a paper to write anything unbiased about a band because they are either too lazy, fat, drunk or full of themselves to get out of their cubicles and actually go see a band before writing shitty one liners on how so and so's band sucks. Let alone how "super" your band is because you're drinking buddies, roommates or whatever the case may be.
And i think i may actually puke if i see one more band form an off shoot band of another and i may actually get a "drinking problem" myself from having to see this over and over and over.
Supporting a band is one thing, becoming the Stepford version of a music scene is another.
If you have the substance to back up a energetic live show, tits. I've seen enough of the Nickelodeon sing along version of what Detroit garage rock used to be.
So thank you for giving a candid review of self indulgent bravado at it's finest.

Anony Mouse said...

Why aren't we talking about The Amino Acids?

Man or Astroman! said...

Why aren't we talking about The Amino Acids? Because you guys are soooo original with the future space surf-trash and t.v.'s everywhere. Wish we had thought of that!

Young Coleman said...

People need to party and crack jokes. A GORIES reunion would solve everything!

Brandon said...

I live in Ann Arbor, yet I have strong opinion about Detroit music.
Maybe I'M the one who's jealous.
If Ann Arbor had a music scene maybe I could give you a first hand account of what the real deal was. But instead I choose to stick up for crappy Detroit bands(?) getting bagged on by locals. I wish I had a clue.

Ghost of 1998-2002 said...

The people that made the Gold Dollar what it was don't even talk about it that much. It was more about the people in the scene at that time. Everyone knew each other and hung out together. The Garden Bowl was just as fun around that time, everyone drank for free and took turns DJing. I wish everyone could be a part of a scene like that at least once in life. It dosen't grow on trees, trust me.

Brandon said...

Fine, I'll bite. I live in Queens now anyway, wank-job. We've got dudes mugging 101-year olds, how's that for cred?

And it's all one extended scene with sub-nodes: Detroit, the burbs, Ypsi, Arbor, Lansing. All these bands play together and fans come out from each city to each other for shows.

And don't even get me started about how vital, interesting and, hell, fun, the "scene" in Ypsi-Arbor is the past couple years... partially because everyone isn't constantly fratricidal and competitive. Seems like folks actually want one another to succeed over there. Even your beloved Real Detroit Weekly seems to think there's more going on in Washtenaw County than the City lately. If you want to start geographical sub-feuds.

Why the fuck am I even checking back on this conversation anymore? I live in New York. At least I'm not anonymous-- I've probably got more in common with Blackwell on that count than most of ya'll.

Ben Blackwell said...

Boy, someone woke up on the wrong side of the couch this afternoon.

Gregory Siemasz said...

Benji- I think the Hard Lessons blow ass and what's worse is their dumb fans. Who the fuck listens to the Hard Lessons? Who fucking actually went ahead and bought the record? What's the matter with you? Are you touched? Seriously. Seriously doubting it. I want to know the names of those dumbs and I'm gonna look up numbers in the fucking phonebook, call their fucking parents, ask them for their personal fucking email addresses, and start a letter-writing campaign against them...and also yell at their dumb faces (through regular postal services) and tell them that they are responsible for why America is ruined. Remember that influx of Estrus records about 15 years ago? yeah, that's about right, the fucking Quadrajets (bleeyuck) would win that battle of the fucking bands. And I can't believe I'm fucking posting a comment on this dumb fucking subject. Who are these people? What is wrong with me? Dumb must rub off. And it is I who will grab the torch that you lit, Benjamin, and carry forth without hiding behind an 'anonymous' tag!! tally-ho!

Josh said...

This was a fun read, aside from the Stan Lee bolding, but feelings like this is part of why I had to bag on writing a monthly music column. I just wasn't enjoying much new music, I was feeling petulant all the time, and I ended up spending too much time near the bar, shootin' off bullshit about why this or that opening band sucked.
So, I agree with a fair amount of what you're saying, on the whole (though I'll say that a) I've got more of a soft spot for multiple harmony pop, which is why I like the GLMS, and that the Hard Lessons have given me the goosebumps before— but I'll cop to being one of those folks who loves most live music, frankly, and somebody who's never invested much in getting into the scene outside of going to the shows).
I'll go through and look to see what you DO like, since pissing and moanin' doesn't give a lot of room for the conversation to go on.
And to what Brandon said, about national bands— he's largely right, and a big part of the shift in what it means to be "successful" has shifted downward. Nomo is a successful national band, as is Saturday Looks Good To Me, as much as Adult. is.
Though I do agree that bands should probably break up more often, and that the Sights are as big as they're gonna get (along with Easy Action, The Paybacks, Detroit Cobras and the Dirtbombs).

Jeff Schroeder said...

BRAVO BRAVO! Well said! I whole heartedly agree.

Jeff Schroeder said...

...that is the blog post, not the last comment.

Kudos to Brandon he had some worthwhile things to say. I agree that more exciting things are happening outside of the city. Wash-County has amazing things going on.

I think everyone involved in this conversation should attend either a NOMO, Mason Proper, or Canada show (which ever appeals to you the most) then see if it changes anyone's opinion.

How many of you have seen NOMO here? They're quite literally one of the best live performances I've ever seen in my life. I had a feeling of dwarfism after opening for them. When I met them, they were courteous and humble to everyone.

DB said...

Whay aren't we talking about Downtown Brown?

T.J. said...

the hard lessons are an extremely fun and entertaining band. their charisma is infectious and their passion for rock and roll is immense and inspiring. they work extremely hard at what they do, and love doing it. whether you enjoy the music or not, their work ethic and passion for music is undeniable, and that alone warrants them respect. i think great success is on the horizon for them, and in my opinion, its entirely justified.

Anonymous said...

Nooooo, conditioner is better. I go on last and make the hair silky and smooth.

Anonymous said...

ha ha downtown brown.

Anonymous said...

Hey, TJ is right. The Hard Lessons, though slow and dangerous behind the mic, can still serve a purpose.

Anonymous for President!

Seriously...what's in a name on the internet? Is posting anonymously a sign of cowardice? Or is it a sign that posting your name as Brandon or John means nothing in a world with millions of Brandons and Johns? Hmmm

Anonymous said...

Detroit is an open sewer. The only thing that these bands have in common with bands like the MC5 and the Stooges is that they lived in the same geogrpahical area. Ask any individual who saw those two bands in their heyday and they will relate it to you like it was a relgious experience. Bands like the White Stripes and the rest of these "rock" bands are watered down versions that are geared for the idiot music industry. Seriously when will bands get back to playing good music that doens't involve fashion, vintage gear or pretentious posteuring? These bands are pathetic and I guarantee that no one wil be looking back in 20 years and be inspireed by it. Seriously, stay in the suburbs and stop pretending that you came from a rich family.

Anonymous said...

And Downtown Brown is a fucking shitty band who should be dropped at the bottom of the Detroit River.

Jackson F. Smith said...

Ben,

I'm sorry, but if you think GLMS was a waste of your time, then you are sadly lacking an ear for briliance. GLMS with the exception of Grayling, are the only band that pushes the envelope beyond the garage virus that has infected the Detroit music scene. I'd suggest giving another listen, my man.

Hugs and Kisses,

Jackson Smith

Sammy Hagar said...

viewing such a public support for an average band makes me like them even less. Good music gives you goosebumps, dosen't matter what kind of music it is. I've seen GLMS 3 times and I always come away unimpressed. I get what they are going for, I just don't see any talent for it. I only see a bunch of boring college guys that have boring college type fans. Key word BORING.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I think you all should check out my band, June Ruin. We are very hardworking, and have developed a sound that is uniquely our own.

www.juneruin.com

Eve Doster said...

I'm just glad people are talking about music. Good for Ben. Honest debate never hurt anyone.

Have the Hard Lessons ever moved me emotionally? HELL yes. Koko’s voice is heartbreaking. Augie’s songs are supremely reverent and honest. The song "It Bleeds" made mush out of me for a week. The fact that Korin, Augie and Tophe are most genuine, grateful and unaffected human beings anyone could ever know is not a reason to like their music. If it were, that match would have burned out a long time ago. It’s very possible to think someone is a decent enough person and find their singing and guitar playing to be literally unlistenable and derivative (sorry Greg…but this means you, man).

The Rock ’n’ Roll Preservation Society should be manned by people with chops. That’s my opinion.

GLMS performs some of the most stunning music to come out in years.

Peace and good convo!,

Eve Doster, Hard Lessons superfan, vocal novice, lousy guitarist and even lousier uke player.

Rock Action said...

You should check out my band, The Stooges. We're really dedicated to doing it right. Our lead singer is also very exciting to watch, because his pants almost fall down. And that's a lot more than Ben Blackwell can say, his lead singer's pants never fall down ... on stage

I'm in a rock band and I'm fuckin' GOOD LOOKING! said...

The Rock ’n’ Roll Preservation Society should be manned by people with great record collections. That’s MY opinion. I've seen alot of great record collections, from Long Gone John to Ben Edmonds, from the Shaw brothers to Tim Warren. The thing that most all of them have in common: NO Hard Lessons records and NO GLMS cd's. Just like the Hard Lessons fans say - the majority can't be wrong.

Christopher said...

Well,
I can agree with tons of points Ben made. And he's right ( like it or not) in respect to too much ass kissing ( I myself - guilty as charged on too many occasions). I applaud his honesty, and his bravado in coming out with such a post. Its what Blogs are about ( and what CREEM ( nat Lester Bangs) was about in its day - god I miss Creem) . And the majority CAN be wrong ( American Idol anyone ?) What I would like to point out is that like several people pointed out, there ARE bands making a rightous effort . Even if you don't like their music, they are getting OUT of Michigan and touring. These bands have dedicated themselves to their craft - and I applaud them. And while I love Joey and Vince - goddamn I'm laffing at that Rotting Pinata comment. Then again, at least they have a cd in the bin. Which is more than I can say about soe bands. Detroit Music Awards anyone ? LOL Thanks Ben.
~Fotog

Alex said...

So this is 2o years late, BUT...

A critic can say whatever he wants about a band, because, really, music is a matter of taste. And, y'know, it's okay to not like a band. Please. BUT, the one thing I will say is that the paragraph:

"Anyone in town whose musical opinion I honestly and truly trust echoes my sentiments. Lots of people in bands. Lots of people who've been around for a while. Lots of people who wouldn't dare let me mention their names here."

is probably the most uncalled for thing I've read in a long time. That just sounds like you're 12 and insecure and are hanging out with the cool older kids during recess and are picking a fight with someone for no good reason. And, I'm not going to lie, I know what that's like because that I was 12 years old 7 years ago. ...around the time when you were all at the gold dollar.

Basically, if you're going to feign a professional tone with this blog I suggest you keep trivial, secretive name dropping out of the content. Yes, I realize this is a blog based on name dropping, but there is a time when tact should be utilized.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't we talking about Grinder?

Anonymous said...

hahaha--you people aren't all automatons! What a pleasant surprise. The Hard Lessons might not be the most interesting band ever, actually very cliche, but atleast they're not Cops or Politicians! Cant we support artists for the sake of preserving our creative nature? There are so many "destroyers" of culture atleast we can say that musicians, painters, writers, performers, etc are attempting to find the balance.
It only flatters ones own ego to turn on artists because they are well liked by many (even if their collective audience is left over Dave Matthews Band frat boys searching for a new love affair)
All I'm saying is they could be hurting society much worse than they are by playing mediocre rock shows.

I will say this however, the HL should lighten up on all the "Rock 'n' Roll" will never die shit! Wow, that shit is so overkill that you begin to think that might be the very death of Rock'n'Roll itself! Thos stage antics are a bit silly, and yes Augie wasn't exactly blessed with a literary mind, but let him do his thing--let him have his 15 minutes of living "the Dream" hahaha--whatever that is.

Garland Jeffreys said...

Qoute from above: "The Hard Lessons might not be the most interesting band ever, actually very cliche, but at least they're not Cops or Politicians!"
Response:I hear that all three are on the City Council and have also spent time as Guardian Angels. They currently work as informants for the Catholic Church when they are not out playing with other so-called bands. Just a reminder- If you like this type of shitty music, you may have bad as in BAD taste.

Anonymous said...

They could always cut their snare open with a pocketknife and wear it like a hat...

Anonymous said...

The higher you climb, the more criticism you must take. Let this be a testiment to The Hard Lesson's success - like them or not, people are talking about them!

Mitch Ryder said...

"And the higher you climb you can fall
But never look down
And the faster you run, its a crawl
To the end of the line."

Why aren't we talking about the band Asia?

Spock said...

Rewording of comment from above:
-The higher you climb, the more criticism you must take. Let this be a testiment to George Bush's success - like him or not, people are talking about him!

Anonymous said...

George Bush has a band? Oh, that's fucking sweet! What is it called? I can't find anything on Google.

Readers digest said...

Actually he's a comedian.
Bush: Knock, knock.
Victims: Who's there?
Bush: 9-11
Victims: 9-11 who?
Bush: (in a sarcastic tone) I thought you were never going to forget.

Anonymous said...

George Bush is in a band, it's called ASSHOLE. google it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.realdetroitweekly.com/article_2539.shtml

the lion said...

in regards to the link posted above...

the great band canada organizing a local musicians picture on the steps of the DIA to pay homage to "a great day in harlem"? please. this is EXACTLY what's wrong with bands in this town.

i guarantee you the people who show up for this photo wouldn't be worthy enough to wipe the smack-induced vomit off of Thelonius Monk's shoes.

then again, we can always use a photo to identify all the bozos in this town.

Jasper Borgman said...

Ok, It's late and I've finally read this blog that people have been telling me about for the last week.
I'm not gonna bash the author or the band. I'm good friends with them, since before their first show.
It's seems the bands' popularity has made them a target for other local musicians to direct their frustration, not necessarily at the band, but at the band's success.
The author's statements would be more valid to me if he did not make so many references from the early 2000s.
Let's talk about 2007.. I just got back from sxsw. The bands that impressed me were The Horrors, I Walk The Line, The Briefs, The Pink Spiders, The Heart Attacks, The Spunks, The Dollyrots, The Riverboat Gamblers, The Briefs and The Paybacks -- All good rock bands that played intense shows.
Modern Rock is broken. Give some credit to the young bands that are able to build a strong fan base and keep classic punk and rock and roll alive. If a kid picks up a guitar and organizes a band after seeing a band like The Hard Lessons play, I'm fine with what they are doing. Like I said, Modern Rock is broken. In order to appreciate what is going on right now, we mustnt be overly critical and we must give respect to those who are working hard at keeping the art form interesting.
Jasper from Plan Nine
http://plannineprint.com

SXSW is a jerkoff said...

Hey Jasper, the band Canada is organizing a picture, would you like to be in it?

Rich said...

It's funny how so many people are mad because ONE guy doesn't like ONE boring band. Big fucking deal pussies, get over it! The Hard-on Lessons are horrible, but if you love 'em , go by their record and quit whining, or write them a love letter. And if you want to post about someone’s writing being "horrible" then DON'T READ HIS BLOG (and then pretend like you don't) Hipsters blow. Yes, that's you "Anonymous" poster, I know you, you're the guy looking sissy, clapping and singin' away to a load of uninspired songs, thinkin' its "REAL ROCK-N-ROLL!!!!

Anonymous said...

See and be scene.

Eric Koz said...

Saw them tonight in the city. What a damn good show. Seriously. Whatever anyone else may think, I wish I had a fraction of the ability to play like they do. Not to mention the vigor. Oh my god, the vigor. Or as Kennedy would say "Vigah!"

Jeff Schroeder said...

I don't think the point of the photograph was to pay homage to the 50s Harlem Jazz scene, it was to bring some sense of unity of the state. The fact that all those bands , photographers, supporters, and the like could meet up on one freezing day snowing day in the middle of April (the day before Easter, mind you) says something in itself. It says that people are supporting each other. Of all the bands that were on the roster, very few (if any) had similar sounds.

Not that the HLs are doing anything bad (again GGBB), there are enough HL and The Muggs knockoffs in this city. There is nothing wrong with the rock & roll lives on culture, it's just we have to diversify ourselves a little bit. Honestly, how many of you ONLY listen to MC5, White Stripes, Electric Six, The Muggs, and Hard Lessons? No one. My point exactly.

Anonymous said...

I've read Mr. Blackwell's comments and some of the responses that follow. I like The Hard Lessons, but I don't feel like people should get all upset because Ben Blackwell had a few negative things to say about them. While I don't agree with everything he's said, I do agree that honesty would be nice. Sure I'm leaving this Anonymus, but I wouldn't want to listen to 50 Detroiters coming up to me to talk about it.

Ben, I know you said 9 times out of 10, people would feed you bullshit about what they thought about the Dirtbombs. Here's is a bit of honesty. The Dirtbombs are a great band and I've seen them many times. My favorite was the Motor City Brewery. But lately, the energy has fizzed a little. It seems like the same set again & again. I think some new songs would help. I know there are new songs, but none that really stand out the way "Get It While You Can" or "Cedar Point '76" do. And no I'm not implying that they only have two good songs.

I wonder though, how many people have you asked what they thought of the Dirtbombs? Are these just your friends? Because 10 occasions out of 10, I get the impression you don't like me. Which is fine too, you're totally entitled to your opinion on that as well. I know a handful of others who also wouldn't dare let me put their names up here who feel like you personally don't like them. So maybe, some people are concerned about getting black-balled from the Blackwell list. That might sway their honesty a bit.

Moving on to another persons comments about Tim Vulgar. While not every Tim Vulgar show (Human Eye, Clone Defects, etc, etc, etc.) is great, most of them are. If you can't appreciate what a great artist Tim is,then you just didn't get it. If your sitting at home listening to Green Day then no wonder you have this mental block. Hmm, perhaps now I seem a little bitter.

For example, I know several people for say they had to see The White Stripes five times before they finally got it. It's OK if you didn't enjoy something the first time. Maybe they had a bad show or maybe you had a bad day.

To sum it up, maybe people should be a little more open minded as well as honest.