THE MUSIC WA: Black Flag Column (Issue 7)

Published in The Music (WA) | 25.09.13 | Issue # 7

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Parkway Drive

BLACK FLAG

PUNK & HARDCORE WITH DANIEL CRIBB

If you’re watching the final episodes of Breaking Bad, I’m sure you’ll be able to sympathise with me. Having only experienced the awesomeness of two new episodes, I have been making every effort to ensure I don’t accidently stumble across any spoilers, which, if you watch as much TV as I do, can be a tricky thing. And then it happened; some jerk posted a massive spoiler on Facebook.

Although the series is winding down (after the spoiler I read, maybe winding down isn’t the correct way to put it), you can take solace in the fact that Walter White (Bryan Cranston), and Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), will still be prevalent on our screens; Cranston signing on to be a villain in the new Batman film and Norris currently starring in Under The Dome. You might be wondering what the hell any of this has to do with punk rock? Well, there seems to be an increasing trend of writers sneakily including punk rock bands in scenes – usually via a poster in the background or tune playing quietly in the background.

On a recent episode of Under The Dome, a poster of The Menzingers was visible, and in the latest season of Parks & Recreation, there was a Bad Religion A News Maps of Hell poster distinctly plastered in one of the character’s living rooms. You can’t escape from punk rock; Even The Simpsons have included some sneaky Descendents references into the show before. Creator Matt Groening was a huge fan, and there’s even reviews he wrote on the band floating around the internet. But, unlike Breaking Bad, reading a review of a Descendents show isn’t going to ruin the ending for you.

Luckily, minutes after reading the spoiler, I stumbled across a full album stream of the new Saves The Day record. I mentioned the band was working on a crowd-funded album a few months ago, and it sounds great. Their long-term relationship with fans has yielded awesome results.

Parkway Drive and Anberlin, another two bands whose fans are super dedicated (Anberlin fans paying $250 for meet and greet tickets), recently smashed through town celebrating their ten years anniversaries. It’s interesting to look over the past ten years to see how these type of bands have survived in such a rapidly changing industry.

With all this talk over the past decade about the decline of CD sales and how it’s making things hard for bands, it’s funny that bands such as Anberlin, All Time Low, Parkway Drive are all hitting their ten year anniversaries this year and touring to sold out crowds around the world. The bands seem to be doing just fine; it’s the big businesses that are screwed.

This probably isn’t the right attitude to have, but fans stealing music from the bands they love via illegal downloading has given birth to a stronger live scene, and given fans more shows to attend. All Time Low, who toured Australia twice this year, are now independent, so the majority of their income comes from shows.

But most bands understand revenue from recordings is a thing of the past, hence why most records stream days before their release and a lot of bands are doing crowd-funded projects. And although All Time Low skipped Perth on their latest tour, it’s getting harder to say that Perth gets a raw deal, because a lot of bands do make the trip to WA. US bands Joyce Manor and Cheap Girls supported The Smith Street Band on their latest Australian tour, and a few years ago those two supports would have never ventured West. Hell, The Ataris are driving all the way to Perth from Adelaide for just one show. I’ll actually have the pleasure of being behind the wheel for that 30-hour drive.

So, the next time you think punk may be dead or dying, have a quick think about the increased amount of gigs from international artists and keep your eyes peeled for punk rock posters plastered in the background of your favourite TV show – while avoiding Breaking Bad spoilers.

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