Friday, February 25, 2011


So my band reveres Blink-182 and Weezer. Being a trio, this leaves me, the note-less Dominican drummer, out of their pop-punk universe. They insist on playing Blink-182 songs, and when I tell them I don't know it, their faces melt into an unvocalized question:


During these moments I yell "I DON'T LIKE YOUR TRITE POP SHIT" I sit there and give a mute response to their disembodied question. Why DON'T I like them? What specifically compels them to respond to Blink and Weezer in a way I don't understand?

Playing detective, there's only one dramatic difference between them and I.


Our teenage environment.

Our bassist moved during the last few months of high school, to find himself knee-deep in reggaeton knockoffs who thought he was a faggot; something that startled him. That's because who he was and what he enjoyed was once in symmetry with his environment.

As for our guitarist, well, Bloomfield, NJ is where the white trash congregate to mutter green about their upper class Montclair neighbors and say the word "coffee" like an "a" "w" gangraped the "o".

Let's tawk abouwt Lindah over some Vehginiah Slims 120s and a lahtay, sweeahrt.

So he was in his comfort zone too.

My sub-culture experience wasn't quite so arms open. Newark, NJ is the epitome of every African-American/Hispanic stereotype. It's laden with rap/hip-hop influence, hood rats, and rampant fucking.

Rampant fucking is a decent super.

It was taboo to go against that.

As a result, the few of us in my high school who did embrace rock music found ourselves in bed with obscurity. Why? Because the further we moved in towards our persecuted love for rock, the further away we moved from the cunts that hated us. We wanted nothing to do with a mainstream that didn't want us around. Some of us loved death metal, some of us adored indie rock, but all of us were underground as shit.

So we formed our rock niches and crept inside. To my recollection, I cannot remember any pop-punk band like that being revered by any circle in my high school.

This is in stark contrast to my fellow bandmates. There were no angry minorities yelling at them about their music preference.

In fact, that's what was cool to like.

They didn't have to dig deep like we did, 'cause their world was content with one another. And so, their planets revolved around the unified joy that was Blink-182.

So therein lies the difference; us Newark kids enjoy our source of music with a strong sense of "Fuck you". It's not merely love with us; it's also a need to protest the world that hated us for it. It's too close to the surface of the fucks we fought against, and their lyrics express a cultural harmony that we've never fathomed, let alone experienced.

And that's why every time our bassist spins that "Carousel" bassline, my body reacts like a cancer's infiltrated it's vessels. It just doesn't speak to me as it does to them. It's too popular. And popular has never treated me well.

Not that this is actually popular.

I think I'd prefer it this way, however. Even if it means Newark has left me with a permanent and sometimes unnecessary struggle against the mainstream, it's instilled some punk in me. I've learn to respect people's preferences and not to piss on their happy parade. But what's wrong with being a little rebellious?

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