So, now our record, Metropole is streaming in its entirety. So far, people seem to be pretty happy with it, which is great, because uh…I don’t think it’s too crazy to say that a great part about what makes being in a band fun is seeing people react positively to your songs. I know I like that—when people get the look on their face that I get when I see bands I love playing songs I love, that’s what it’s all about for us—that transference of fun and enjoyment. I truly enjoy that stuff.
Some bands do not, however. Some bands like to challenge listeners, and they do things like write songs that are purposely defiant to the notion of what they think their fans want. Or they’re intentionally abrasive in an aggressively offensive way. Some bands will create a catalog of songs that their fans enjoy and then refuse to play those songs in order to, fuck…I dunno? Test the loyalty of the fans, their ability to keep up? I’ve never thought of being in a band as equivalent to being a music appreciation personal trainer, but lots of band folks seem to think that’s a pretty good way to do shit.
We have friends who were in a great band back in the day. They put out a fabulous album that I still love a lot. As soon as people started coming to their shows, they stopped playing all the songs on their only record, and started playing only new stuff, which was much heavier and darker. We kind of laughed about this ‘daring the audience to like you’ move, and suggested that their next release would probably just be sheet music, but alas, they never went full Mozart and instead just broke up.
I like playing the songs people like, and I’m pretty excited to be able to play some of these new ones along with the songs that everyone who comes to our shows wants to hear. I’ll be doing that on Tuesday the 28th—playing acoustically at Reckless Records in Wicker Park in Chicago around 6pm. And then all of the Lawrence Arms will be doing it up the west and east coasts in Feb and March and then we’ll hit the Midwest and Europe sometime after that. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone. Should be a goddamn gas.
Two things though, real quick before I go, and these are only tangentially related to the above musings: 1) a few people have expressed disappointment in the fact that there are references to Twitter on this album. The arguments seem to be either A) that’s gonna date this record, bro… besides, technology is kind of a faux pas in general when it comes to creating stuff of a certain caliber or B) Twitter is too stupid to sing about. But I disagree with both of these assessments and here’s why:
A) I am on twitter. You can even follow me if you want. I’m @badsandwich. It’s a part of my existence. Is Twitter gonna timestamp the record? Who fucking cares? The DATE is printed on the record. And sure, Twitter probably won’t last forever, but if you think that referencing outmoded technology is a surefire way to turn something from high quality into laughable garbage, tell it to Dostoyevsky and his novels full of old potbelly stoves and samovars. Tell it to Revenge of the Nerds and their shitty desktop computers. Tell it to Biggie and his pager. Kurt Vonnegut once said something roughly to the effect of (and I’m WILDLY paraphrasing here, so forgive me) “leaving technology out of your books is disingenuous and lame.” (well, he probably said it with a tad more eloquence). And I totally agree with that. If I can write about television or cars, I can write about twitter. Which leads me to point B)
B) Uh, Yeah, twitter can be kind of stupid, but it’s also a pretty neat aggregating tool for cool minds, clever ideas, up to the second breaking news, and general tomfoolery. It’s CAN be really stupid, but its potential as a medium of stupidity is no worse than that of television. I mean, certainly Twitter has low points, but are they really any lower than a segment where Mario Lopez gets an E! exclusive tour of Nicole Ritchie’s house? Doubtful. And Television, my friends, is a fucking STAPLE in rock and roll. So there. Twitter songs are fine. And besides, everything is context. And in the context of this record, the disconnectedness of Twitter, the lone voice in a sea of lonely voices, is pretty in line with the whole thing.
Finally, I just did a feature in the AV Club, where they asked me to pick a song that I absolutely hate and discuss why I hate it. I picked Shiny Happy People by REM. Some of the commenters (don’t read the comments) jumped on me for ‘cherry picking a bad song.’ Uh, THAT’S THE FUCKING POINT OF THE GODDAMN ARTICLE, DUMMIES! I am supposed to pick a song I hate. Sorry you like REM so much and, I’m extremely sorry that they have this song in their catalog, but uh….yeah. Anyway, Sheesh.
Y’all are great. See you soon. xoxoxo