Jan
16

The Parody Created When Some Punk Bands Go Country

January 16, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  112 Comments

It’s always been my assertion that Hank Williams III‘s 2006 album Straight to Hell was one of the most important albums in country music history because among other landmark achievements, it officially unionized a country music underground that had been building a foundation for years. Similar to the undergrounds that existed in punk music and other genres, now there was a network of support for artists who did not want to mess with the mainstream country oligarchy and their heavy-handed managing practices.

Straight to Hell also was significant because despite his famous country name, it was a punk musician taking country to the edge of the line, though not crossing it. As edgy as the album was, it was still undeniably country. Later Hank3 would leap right over that line, but in the mid-oughts and still in some respects today, Hank3 showed reverence for the traditions of country music by delineating his punk and country in different sets live, by tying his hair back during his country set, etc., and showing that he can do it “the right way” when representing the Hank Williams name in more traditional settings like the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Marty Stuart’s RFD TV show.

Of course, Hank3 was not the first to mix punk music and country. Jason & The Scoarchers were doing it in the early 80′s as one of the first Cowpunk bands. John Doe and Exene Cervenka of the punk band “X“, and Mike Ness of Social Distortion had forays into country in the mid 80′s. But in this current era that most music brains are branding “post-punk”, the influx of punk artists and fans into country and roots music has become huge, similar to how pop and R&B artists in the mainstream are flocking to country, looking for support as the music world coalesces into the two super-genres of country and hip-hop.

For some punk bands, the transition was obvious, for example Larry & His Flask, or The Goddamn Gallows, which both started as punk bands and then went in a roots direction. Others formed out of the ashes of punk scenes, like the .357 String Band. Generally speaking, the burgeoning country music underground welcomed these bands and their fans with open arms because they still showed respect to country music traditions, but soon parody began to creep into the equation as some bands and artists, armed with a knowledge of country only skin deep and Hank3′s Straight to Hell as their primary reference point, began to ape Hank3′s style instead of trying to be inspired by it.

I first broached this subject when reviewing Hank3′s album Rebel Within in May of 2010:

Hank III reinvigorated the “hellraising” attitude in country. One of the reasons it seems overused is because Hank inspired an army of copycats who can’t craft an original idea, throwing out “whiskey, devil, cocaine” references with no direction or purpose.

This theme also came up in a review for the band The Honky Tonk Hustlas. Whether it is punk bands that simply interchange their electric instruments for acoustic ones, or bands that have a more traditional country sound, but overload it with “whiskey, devil, and drug” references, parody in the “punk gone country” movement has become a problem, primarily by the way these artists can typecast other country punk bands, fans, and entities who actually do approach the country genre with respect, knowledge, and creativity.

And the dilemma is especially hurtful to bands like Hellbound Glory & Whitey Morgan & The 78′s for example, who never did time in the punk ranks, but have used the underground country network for support. Typecasting anybody and everybody coming out of the underground country ranks as foul-mouthed Hank3 clones is not fair to anyone, including Hank3.

JB Beverley is a musician who has spent time in both the country and punk worlds. His Waywards Drifters are about as country as it gets and have been around for a dozen years, while his Little White Pills have been playing hardcore punk music since 2002. Beverley did time as the frontman of the infamous Murder Junkies, who for a while backed up GG Allin, the notorious frontman who was another one of the first punk musicians to dabble in country. According to Beverley, parody in the “punk gone country” world is becoming a problem:

For as much as I like metal, punk, and hardcore music, I grew up on country music, and I don’t want to hear thrash metal with fiddles and banjos. I also don’t like to see and hear people who only know about the three Hanks, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson talking about how “country” they are. You might know Hank3′s catalog inside and out, but if you can’t name a few Hank Thompson, Lefty Frizzell, Patsy Cline, and Hank Snow songs, you might want to rethink telling everyone how country you are.

Beverley says that the influx of misguided punk gone country bands have made it harder for bands like The Wayward Drifters.

As much as Hank3 has done to open doors for a lot of folks, the copycat image-jockeys not only take away from what he has done, thereby minimizing his efforts and hard work, they also make it hard on the rest of us who actually write original songs and don’t subscribe to that “whiskey, Satan, shotguns, moonshine, cheap thrills” formula.

All these copycat bands are actually driving the price down for the rest of us who are trying to make an honest living playing non-Nashville country. I recently had a promoter ask me: “If I book you, do I have to worry about heavy metal rednecks showing up and trashing my bar, or do you have at least some real country fans?” Statements like that are sad, and while they may not have much effect on Wayne Hancock or Dale Watson…. they kill guys like me who are covered in tattoos and have a history with aggressive forms of rock and roll.

Saving Country Music has been typecast from this trend as well, branded by many for only covering and supporting artists that fit a stereotypical “punk gone country” mold.

One way I commonly describe country music to people who are unfamiliar with the genre is to relate country and other genres to the difference between Christianity and Judaism. Anyone can be Christian, but being Jewish is not only a religion, it is a culture. That doesn’t mean you need to be born in to country music to play or listen to it. What it does mean is that the roots of tradition must stay in tact for the music to be respectful, and respected. Punks merging into country with little knowledge or respect for it is no different than the pop stars that many country punks complain about that do the same thing.

There is nothing wrong with having a fun, “punk gone country” side-project band even if it doesn’t respect the traditions of country music. It becomes a problem when that band begins vying for the fans, money, media attention, and performance slots with bands and artists that are touring nationally, and making sacrifices in their personal lives to attempt to make music full time.

Just like in the late 60′s, early 70′s, when the “Nashville Sound” pervaded Music Row and it was left to West Coast rock n’ rollers like Gram Parsons and The Grateful Dead to preserve and carry on the country music traditions, today it has fallen to punk rockers and metalheads. This can be exciting, but it is also an honor that comes with great responsibility. To preserve and pass forward these country roots to future generations, these artists must show reverence to the music, be better than Music Row, while still allowing the music to innovate, evolve, and when it is appropriate, infuse with the punk, metal, and rock music that makes up their own individual roots.

112 Comments to “The Parody Created When Some Punk Bands Go Country”

  • Hmmmm. I’m confused here. I’ll read this again but my initial response to a topic you KNOW (other than grass-roots activism) is super close to my heart (punk/country) is that this is simply a result of people engaging with musical expression on a superficial or surface level rather than digging in deeper. I’m currently involved with an anarchist group in my town (I cannot believe I found these people in my little Ohio town!). When we discuss our paths to anarchism, we always come back to the fact that many of us started down this path through more superficial roots…we were punks “back in the day” when we were young and embraced that music for its rebellious aspects. Now, as MUCH OLDER ADULTS we all understand anarchism much more deeply and intellectually. Some of the old school punks I came up with are now Republicans. How can you go from screaming about anarchy to voting for a Bush? Easy. You never engaged deeply with the music on an intellectual or spiritual level. You were a surface punk. That’s ok. But it hurts the overall movement by trivializing the spirit and the ethos.

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    • You comment makes my head hurt KAK, but trying to mine some simple logic out of it, I would say yes, some “punks and metalheads”” have come to country, expressing country elements on a very superficial, or surface level, which as a form of expression, is not necessarily wrong. Where it goes wrong is when the call out pop country folks for doing in essence the same thing they are, and when the perpetuate a negative stereotype for folks who are digging deeper than the surface.

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      • Oh come on…it’s not that complicated!

        My point is that in every music genre there are people who really get it…who really dig in and engage with the music and who either put their heart out there or support the artists who do if they aren’t an artist themselves…and those for whom it is simply a cathartic or fashionable experience.

        There is an analogy to the punk era that I was trying to articulate…a similar situation. Yelling “anarchy” at the top of your lungs and behaving violently became the popular image of punk kids in the 70s and 80s. Some of those kids took it seriously and have remained anarchists all of their lives. Many simply tossed it aside and became good worker bees in the capitalist machine never looking back at the political and social situations that drew them to the music to begin with.

        The first group gave the others a bad image. But in reality the consumer group…the surface group…were really doing exactly what the powers that be wanted them to do. They became good workers and good consumers. If pop country absorbs the punk/country image and style and markets it to the masses, those who are attracted to the rowdy factor will dutifully consume what they are handed. They will facilitate the taming of the shrew so to speak.

        It always comes back to authenticity when I comment here it seems. JB is authentic. He’s troubled that he gets lumped in with those who are not so authentic. The popular music machine wants to absorb and tame all authenticity so that it can be commoditized and sold for profit. It’s pretty simple really. NO?

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    • yep, traded in the anarchist A for a briefcase, mortgage and lexus. it was all fashion for some.

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      • We didn’t trade anything. We grew up and realized that being an anarchist is stupid. Also punk and anarchy are not synonymous. Only a few of the origional punk bands were anarchists.

        Preaching about anarchy on a public forum from a computer you paid taxes on using electricity from the power grid is a little stupid too.

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        • …on the Internet no less. A product of the US military.

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          • amen hellbillylarry!

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  • I agree with JB 100%!!! Good Read!!

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  • How can we account for this trivialization? How can we attempt to dissuade folks from punching the air with a fist of contempt with no real understanding of the roots or origins of the songs they are rocking out to? Please tell me if you know. As a college teacher, I’m ready to throw some battery acid in the faces of some of my apathetic students if I can get their faces off of their iphones long enough to see the whites of their eyes. But alas, commercialism and the capitalist project make consuming their primary purpose in life and entertainment and distraction their life goals. Isn’t this what happened with the Hank III followers? They just turned the safety pins and torn clothes into high fashion, right? Celebrated the surface?

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    • If music speaks to you on a very visceral level, there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion, even if you miss the message trying to be conveyed by the artist. Of course, if you can listen to the message, the experience will be much more fulfilling beyond the initial visceral release. You will walk away with something even when the song is over.

      As for Hank3 fans, I don’t feel comfortable being that dismissive. Many have roots with the artist himself that stretch for years, and strong roots make wide branches that can extend past a bad album or two (if that is what someone’s opinion is). Hank3 created his own cultural identity, that is why he’s iconic. Of course some are holding on to a past or only see his music as skin deep, but I think most Hank3 fans “get it”, because they had to, to be drawn to him in the first place, because you’re not going to turn on your TV or radio and find Hank3.

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      • Oh I agree. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise here…I was addressing the process by which something sincere gets appropriated and turned into a commodity thus lessening and reducing the effectiveness of it’s message…

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    • Lmao I just read far enough to see that you are a college teacher. Just a cog in the machine you are no matter how many lies you and your friends tell yourselves.

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  • Nicely written sir. I was in one of these earlier bands (Porter Hall Tennessee) starting out as doing acoustic versions of harder songs. It was more of an necessity at the time since I had just moved to Tennessee with my old acoustic and all of my electric instruments had either been smashed or pawned. So it wasn’t trying to be fashionable in anyway. Just a few cats getting together to play some music. We later brought back electric instruments as we either saved money or took our college grant book money to get us started. There are alot of good bands out there today kicking ass, but I must agree there are a bunch just in it not knowing shit about country, or much about Satan for that matter. Anyway, just wanted to drop you a line to say I’m out here and read your articles. Don’t always agree, but do like to follow what you are thinkin. Keep it up fella.

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    • I still get shit for recording Golden Chain of Hate (Gene Wilcox) on my first CD Welcome To Porter Hall Tennessee (2002). I don’t think those people realize that I was actually a member of the band Blue Balls Deluxe for a short period of time and spent time with Gene in DC when I was 18. People don’t seem to realize that the man was a HUGE fan of old country music. This really doesnt have a damn thing to do with whether I have creds to cover the song or not. Some think I may have watered it down too much, but I had always heard the damn thing as a country song so this is my interpretation. But it is not fair for some old cat who did electronic “new wave” crap to give me grieve for doing a song. Nothing was processed and fake. I was blessed to have excellent musicians and recorded all analog to a 16 inch 2 inch machine. So I’m a rip off? Do your history man…

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      • I commend you for tracking “Golden Chain Of Hate”, Gary… and yes.. You were around when a lot of these people were dying their hair green, listening to Green Day, and talking shit about hillbillies.

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  • Oh yea, I do still love whiskey.

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  • JB is the man.

    I am the person you talk about Trig, I’m that asshole who heard nothing but margaritaville and you never call me by my name. I was listening to superjoint ritual, reading about them – when i dabbled into hank iii’s world, and I solely have him to thank for introducing me to country music. But FOR ME, it went so much deeper than that. I got ahold of two time life collections, one on early country and one on “the golden age” (too much 80′s for me, though). I went backwards in time on an amazing journey into country music, that i’m still on. Its awesome to go back and listen to and understand what was going on, how somebody felt, and why. I feel like now I’m on a lifetime journey to understand country music fully.

    I think this is why even though there might be a thousand people in this for the fashion show, theres ONE person that gets it, and loves it as much as I do. What other kind of music could you possibly play to any age demographic and race? The blacks and mexicans for the most part respect country music, and I have success connecting to an audience in any club (where there isnt jersey shore rejects or college kids, but that defies race and age i’ve noticed).

    Country music will always be held dear to some of us, and we can tell the difference between Hank III and The Mountain Moonshine Redneck Whiskey Drinking Devil Bandits.

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    • I really like The Mountain Moonshine Redneck Whiskey Drinking Devil Bandits’ song “Snortin’ Coke with Satan”.

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      • I think this should a real band.

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  • Nice, Colby Jack: “I think this is why even though there might be a thousand people in this for the fashion show, theres ONE person that gets it, and loves it as much as I do. “

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  • i also can confirm what JB said. i met a few bands playing country/bluegrass style music, which totally did not care about the history of that music and couldn’t name anyone except 3 or 4 of the old superstars. i know, playing music is not a country music quiz show, but if you take it serious and love the music your playing, you will definately be interested in it. if you’re not, then it’s just a phase and you will quit it anyway…

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  • I personally am not a big fan of this style of music at all. The one sole reason I will never see Hank III live is because he mixes it into his country shows. Plus the type of crowd it draws is not my thing.

    I don’t have any disrespect for the artists doing it or the fans that enjoy it, and some of the artists do it quite well like Larry and his Flask and .357′s, etc but like you said some are just a gimmick and to me theirs really no difference between them and the Colt Fords of the world.

    And I completely agree with J.B. Must be why I like his music so damn much!

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  • I totally agree with you on this and am probably one of those people who might have accused you of only covering those “punk country” bands who only sing about snorting coke and the devil at one time. I’m glad you wrote about this topic. It really seems that over the years there have been many punk country bands who have came out of the woodwork and I always wondered how much they really know about “real” country music or if they were just coming into this genre because their own genre has faded away and become nonexistent. I will admit I still like some songs and such that these bands create and feel that alot of these bands have led me to really like more bluegrass music which I feel their music is more related to. In regards to the “underground country” artists that I enjoy is sorta like a heaven and hell correlation. I myself have never done much drugs or have tattoos and I work a white collar job at a desk, so it is strange that even though I may not always relate to the topics that my favorite “underground” country artists sing about I do enjoy listening to those topics because we may know of someone in our family or friends who do relate to this. It’s strange that mainstream country only sings about the rainbows and flowers…good things of country music whereas “underground” artists sing about real struggles such as drugs, divorce, breakups, depression, religion, etc. things that were actually sung about in the past by mainstream country artists. It’s refreshing to hear about this topics because I feel it’s niave to think real “country” life is perfect.

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  • I was with you right up til the end… “Just like in the 70′s, when the “Nashville Sound” pervaded Music Row and it was left to West Coast rock n’ rollers like Gram Parsons and The Grateful Dead to preserve and carry on the country music traditions, today it has fallen to punk rockers and metalheads.” Are you KIDDING ME???!!!! There were many others outside the Nashville machine besides Gram Parsons and the Dead who carried on the tradition in the 70s. And there are many out there now doing the same. It’s not just on the heads of the punk rockers. There has ALWAYS been underground, “alt”, non-Nashville country and there’s even more of it now. And only a tiny bit is being done by the punks.

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    • Renee,

      In no way was I saying or implying that ONLY Gram Parson and Jerry Garcia were keeping country roots alive during the Nashville Sound era, or that Hank3 and punks are the ONLY ones keeping country roots alive today. I simply was making an example with easily-recognizable names that in times when country roots are not respected on Music Row, the responsibility tends to fall to artists traditionally from other genres IN PART. The reason I didn’t elaborate further is because I think it goes without saying that regardless of where Music Row’s compass is at any moment, there are always true country artists and fans doing their thing regardless of the trends, and keeping country music alive. I agree, former punks are a very small part of what is keeping country alive, and I think one of the problems is that from their perspective, they are the only ones, and that sense of righteousness is unfounded, and dangerous.

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      • Cool. I’m in total agreement. In the late 80s/early 90s many rock critics first took positive note of country music and started writing articles that intimated they understood country better than the people who had been playing it and/or listening to it for years. I was writing about country, folk and bluegrass for the Dallas Morning News in the early 90s, and that attitude irritated me.

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  • I’d like to hear more conversation about this: “. I will admit I still like some songs and such that these bands create and feel that alot of these bands have led me to really like more bluegrass music which I feel their music is more related to.” from Chris Louis Louie. I haven’t done much research into this topic but it is true….bluegrass and punk are very closely related in many ways it seems to me…much more so than country and punk, no?

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    • I think the speed and aggressiveness of bluegrass is what attracts some punks to it. That is certainly is what attracts me to both. The way I’ve always framed it in the transition is punk = bluegrass, metal = country. Punk and bluegrass are both fast and more perfectitude based, while country and metal are more sludgy and dirty.

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      • Perfect analogy. And maybe politically, they are a bit similar too? Meaning, bluegrass is the music of the working class…the marginalized…so is punk. Both are less often appropriated by the mainstream whereas metal and country have been much more easily. No?

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        • I would disagree bluegrass is the music of the working clas, though I disagree with the term “working class” as well. Bluegrass was the first neo-traditionalist movement in American music. You had folks in the 50′s, reaching back to the mid-late 1800′s for style and themes. People played Old time music and bluegrass music for life. Many of them had never seen a “rich” person, so they had no context of class. I talked about this at length in my last album review:

          http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/album-review-anderson-family-live-from-grass-valley

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          • Being someone who plays bluegrass goes to bluegrass shows on a weekly basis and someone who listens almost exclusively to bluegrass I don’t see any punks flocking to bluegrass. Those kids are getting into old-timey stuff. I think it’s an easy transition because old-timey and punk you don’t have to be a great musician or a great singer to play it. Bluegrass has a history of virtuosos and harmonies that can be a mother fucker to figure out when you’re just starting. Old-timey compared to bluegrass is much much looser. If you don’t play on top of the beat and have the drive it isn’t bluegrass and it’s not going to sound right. Timing and the most important thing about grass. Old-timey on the other hand is much more free and a lot of hippies play it so they’re more welcoming. Bluegrass people aren’t until they know your cool. They’re very weary of outsiders. Being younger I’ve showed up at jams and been interrogated before I’ve been accepted. I don’t think bluegrass or it’s audience could ever embrace the punks like old-timey has in recent years. Now I don’t know if the old-timey folks have embraced the young punks kids out of necessity or not as it’s sort of a niche in a niche and the music is real close to dying out. But hey maybe it’s different where you’re at I don’t know. That just the way it is out here on the left coast.

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  • i grew up with gene autry, ernie ford, molly bee, and spade cooley. all of whom were big time so calif fixtures. i still like them. i also like hank 3 very much. although his latest CD missed me by a mile. guess i don’t get it. wish he’d just stay country and let the other stuff slide. but it isn’t my call. it’s still a semi free country and folks are entitled to do what they want musically though i’m afraid the politically correct types would rather have it their way or the highway. or so it seems. it’s tough to find anything new that’s worthwhile to listen to anymore. thankfully, there’s still the ‘oldies’ and triggerman around to soothe the psyche or something. at least he generates some pretty decent discussions and has turned me on to some new stuff.

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  • To me it seem a little disingenuous to complain about the “punk gone country” bands “vying for the fans, money, media attention, and performance slots” while at the same time acknowledging how many apparently authentic country bands have their roots in the punk rock scene. Don’t you think that the punk bands that are finding their way into country music are bringing fans with them? Fans which end up not only following them, but getting into other country music as well and thereby widening the fan base for everybody?

    Personally I think the influx of punks into the country music scene is a big part of what’s saving it. Although there are punks who are superficial (and let’s be honest, probably just about everybody who got into punk got into it for superficial reasons), a LOT of those who have matured past that and are more dedicated to the “ethics” of punk are getting into a country music. I see this as a huge boon for country music because here’s a group of people who have a similar ethos getting involved in country music. It sure seems like a lot better option than drawing in fans through pop country and then trying to educate them about country values which most of them couldn’t give a rats arse about because they’re not interested in investing in a culture (except narcissistic pop culture.)

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    • “To me it seem a little disingenuous to complain about the “punk gone country” bands “vying for the fans, money, media attention, and performance slots” while at the same time acknowledging how many apparently authentic country bands have their roots in the punk rock scene. Don’t you think that the punk bands that are finding their way into country music are bringing fans with them?”

      Of course they are. Look, I have been preaching about the virtues of bringing a punk attitude to the country world for 4 years. I understand that it is easy to look at the title of this article and think that I’m trying to pit country and punk acts against each other, but that is not what is going on here at all. What is going on if anything, is I am trying to protect these punk gone country bands that bring heart to their music from these awful screamo “whiskey, satan, cocaine!” hacks who are typcasting them and this website that promotes them on a regular basis by proxy. I am glad punks have moved into country, and bridged with the Outlaw traditions in country into a strong, vibrant, and creative underground that offers real alternatives to the Music Row oligarchy. But all that could fall apart or be diminished if the roots of the music are not respected.

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      • I didn’t really see that point in the article

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        • clearly

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  • Yesssss! Thanks for writing this one! This has been bugging me for a while. I make a living from playing music. My wife and 2 kids are my primary responsibility. I ain’t greedy but I do have to generate some revenue. It’s always been tough but it seems in the last 2 years particularly, there have been too damn many bands in the “underground”. I’m a musician, not a hype-man. When it comes to marketing and booking, it seems I’m being artificially outdone at every turn. Understand I’m not BLAMING anyone for anything. I’m just saying, it’s a bitch to see 4 bands on every bill and only 1 is even worth the time spent listening. It’s even more of a downer considering so many bands expect to be ‘supported’ by crowds that are outnumbered by band members on any given night.

    It comes back to the same problem. There’s tooo much music too readily available. If someone loves playing, recording, traveling, whatever, that’s freakin’ fantastic. Do it! If you’re going to inject your act into the marketplace, show some respect! Don’t hide your warmed over Hillbilly Marylin Manson schtick behind the banner of “art”.

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  • I think a working analogy to this that many of us are old enough understand is/was the Grunge movement in the early 90s. I was watching the Metal Evolution documentary last week and thought it was humorous how some of these bands talked about Drop D as if they invented it. Blind Willie Johnson was playing in drop D in the 1930s.
    Regardless, after the initial wave of Grunge bands, you had a generation or 2 of followers who built their sound around a singular aspect, such as Drop D tuning. While a band such as The Melvins may have poured the foundation, the bands that followed capitalized on the musical pallet that already existed, and discarded what they needed to to make it more palatable.

    If you apply this historical context to the Punk/Country movement, which, in my opinion, likely peaked out between 2004 and 2006, we are seeing a similar extension of (parody) bands building their sound around singular aspects (instrumentation) and lyrical themes (Satan, etc). In my opinion, we have yet to see the equivalent of the band Creed emerge from the punk/country genre, but it is likely coming as this has just started to penetrate the mainstream. All of the necessary ingredients for massive commercial success are out there: Complete saturation of the underground with bands built around singular sounds and themes plus the continuous influx of fans into this genre who identify with it from their background with punk, metal, satan, drugs, etc.

    At the underground level, it is almost beyond discussion: Either push similar artists aside and compete for the spot as the breakthrough band, or artistically move on. We can talk about/criticize/complain about it all we want, but at the end of the day, a handful of artists will go to the top, some will move on and others will fade away into oblivion, revert back to what they were doing before.

    However it pans out, it probably will not be perceived as “fair” by the original set of participants and die hard fans.

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    • Excellent stuff.

      One thing I would add though is on the Creed point, I truly think the Justin Moore’s, Josh Thompson’s, Eric Church’s & Gretchen Wilson’s and such ARE trying to cash in on the anti-Nashville attitude the country music underground has cultivated, the way they name drop the Outlaws and sing about how country they are. They can’t take it to the “Satan and drugs” level because I doubt that will ever fly in mainstream country, but to hear them sing, it sounds like they’ve taken plays right out of the early 2000′s Hank III / Dale Watson playbook.

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      • Satan will probably be limited to a behind-the-scenes role when honkypunk goes pop ;-)

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    • Yep, “fair” probably won’t even be a consideration. That’s just the way sh!t works. Like you’re saying, we haven’t had that punkcountry Creed yet. I’ll be looking for that in the 2012 festival season. The subliminal testing for the genre has been underway for a while. With Brantley Gilbert’s green, mohawked drummer, and marijuana references seeping into mainstream country, I think we’ll see a cocaine cowboy very soon. (Jamey Johnson isn’t punk)

      I don’t know how likely it is but I think it’s possible to break through tactfully, at least before we get to the Nickelback phase. The Black Keys have done this in or near a punkblues genre. Sure, they’ve changed from the Fat Possum days but I’ll take them over Kings of Leon for the past couple years.

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      • I suppose that it is also important to keep this in larger historical context. Roots music as defined faction of Rock N Roll and/or Country, has been around for quite awhile. You could at least tack it back to the 1960s with CCR performing roots versions of traditional songs and blending musical and lyrical elements of Americana. Even The Animals version of “House of the Rising Sun” or The Beach Boys refitting of “John B Sloop” could be considered “roots music” as we understand and use the word in contemporary lexicon.

        Looking back, with artists like Neil Young and The Rolling Stones more “rootscentric” songs in the 1970s and the prevalence of artists like Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, Son Volt and Wilco in the 90′s, (who, btw, enjoyed none of the roots infrastructure that exists today), the 1980s really stand as the only decade mostly devoid of some type of roots music displaying a strong presence. Even then, in the 1980s, you arguably had artists like John Fogerty, Dwight Yokam, The Stray Cats, and/or John Spencer with some kind of commercial presence.

        Roots type music has come to the point where it has produced a fair amount of sub generes: Punk/Blues, Punk/Country, Punk/Bluegrass etc. The punk/country thing seems to be coming to a head within its on sub genre, but all of a sudden there is this huge infrastructure to carry it. Because of this infrastructure, over saturation of bands, and, as Chad mentioned, the market testing done by Nashville “outlaw” artists, I think that one of these bands will eventually “break through” to the mainstream and mainstream artists, as a result, will make certain changes to pander to this “new” fanbase. Heck, even Slayer stooped to making a Nu-Metal record in the 90s.

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        • That makes me think back to a conversation I had with JD Wilkes of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers a few years back, and what you said before about the movement peaking around ’05-’06. According to JD, he thinks this whole thing was ready to erupt in the aftermath of Hank3 releasing Straight to Hell, and bands like The Shack Shakers and a few others were poised to spring board to the next level on Hank3′s lead. But at that moment, when 9 rungs up a 10 rung ladder had been reached, for whatever reason, maybe because Hank3 pulled back, took over a year off of touring and released what some consider a lackluster album, or maybe because the market couldn’t bare it, everything got pulled back, or at least stymied, and that is where we sit today, waiting for that one band to break through and create a greater exposure for the rest. Or the opportunity may have been missed forever. Time will tell.

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          • One thing is for sure: It is either experiencing growth or it is experiencing death.
            I think that, artistically, the game is up, yet the fan base continues to grow. The game plan for any artists wishing to successfully come out on to at this point in punk/country is to add new fans at a faster rate than the critics and disenfranchised cry foul and jump ship. As we can see, there is no shortage of those crying foul and jumping ship.

            At the same time, out of the artistic ashes, something new will form and emerge -probably is at this moment.

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        • Yes! Context is HUGE. What is “traditional”? I’m 33 years old. Some people my age have kids in 7th grade. That means that their grandparents are more likely to have been in to Billy Joel than the Carter Family. At SCM, we know what we mean by “roots” as it is defined in the posts and conversations. If we’re talking about a “break through”, some kind of pop sensibility comes in to play.

          Little suburban Johnny 7th grader may not have roots. He’s pissed at his windshield cowboy and bored soccer mom. After seeing a Dimmu Borgir video he’s searching youtube for “black metal”. There are a bunch of these little metal f’ers running around the school. Johnny comes across Hank Williams’ “Angel of Death w/lyrics” in a search and finds a new way to get attention…. To me, this is where The Mountain Moonshine Redneck Whiskey Drinking Devil Bandits will intersect with corporate country.

          Watch CMT for punk and metal t-shirts. When we see enough of the signs we can pick an artist and launch them into music row’s consciousness.

          Plan = never mind the traditional press and publicity methods. Send letters to all the youth and parent oriented churches in the bible belt and warn them about satanic country singer Hank Williams III. Demand that they spread the word and STOP him from performing in our humble little towns. Let Fox News blow him up. Triggerman, be sure to tag your posts with “satanic country singer” lol

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  • Hitting the nail on the head here, my man, and I’m really glad you’re saying this. There’s so much out there that’s simply a cartoonish caricature of the “Hank III hellraiser” image. Many people will automatically dismiss music that is labeled as “underground country”. That’s a big part of the reason I try not to have my own music too strongly associated with the hardcore country underground. Of course, the other side of the coin is people who claim to be hardcore country fans, yet won’t give credit to artists who don’t have that image. If someone doesn’t drop the “whiskey, cocaine, satan” references and look like a dirtball, or if they happen to be succesful on a larger scale, then they obviously aren’t “real country”.

    My personal opinion is that Dwight Yoakam is the gold standard of contemporary country music artists. Now of course I absolutely love the man’s music- it speaks to me as much or more than any great country artist from any era. But that aside, I think he’s the perfect example of how country music can evolve while still remaining true to its roots. There’s no denying his influences, and his music shows great respect for the past while still remaining relevant, as well as moving the genre forward.

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  • The web comic “Nothing Nice To Say” did a snarky 4 part series on punks playing country a few months ago.

    http://www.mitchclem.com/nothingnice/446/

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    • Ha!

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      • What that does is literally illustrate the point that the punk gone country thing has reached the wider consciousness, and that some of the ridiculousness it embodies has reached a stereotypical level.

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  • i can ask most in a bar if they want true country, but if played the club says no more cry in your beer stuff. WTF if you dont have 30 people beatin down the door for ya they dont care how good you are! True country or great rock an roll if its worthy its not worthy.Hank 3 wild yes country yes,punk all the way most havn’t even heard this stuff.but it catches the eyer of young & raises talk to the old.We try to give a little of each so everybody happy.We dont claim were country we are who we wont to be & if you dont like go home or get up & request somthing not fake.

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  • let’s name some names here…if this “not respecting your roots” thing is as previlent as you people are making it out to be,who exactly am i suppose to be hating?

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    • This is not meant to be an inquisition. If people want to name name’s, I’m not going to stand in their way, but if I was going to make a list, the first name I would put on it is Saving Country Music. The roots of this site are in the punk and country merge and I am sure many times in the past I have talked about and promoted underground country punk bands who were probably crossing a line, and when there was another band out there more deserved of the recognition and not getting any.

      Though I have been saying the exact things included in this article for years in comments and such, I put this up there not to black ball or black list certain bands, but maybe to raise an awareness about how the actions of artists and entities like SCM effect the overall health of the country music underground, and how we can be better. My hope is that for some folks, reading this will make them aware of the situation, and do what SCM is trying to do: resolve it.

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  • I find it odd that you use Hank III as an example of people who “get it” and know why music should be made when he freely admits the only reason he got into music was for the money to pay child support and to exploit the name of his. The dude sold out his ideals the second he put his pen on Curbs contract. Dont get me wrong, I like his music, but his “getting it” and “ideals” are morals are piss poor in my eyes.

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    • That’s assuming that Hank3′s ‘ideals’ are centered around music. To me, paying child support is the moral here. Everybody has bills to pay and if you’re name is Hank Williams (one way or another), you may pay the bills with a record deal. Shelton hasn’t exactly taken the path of least resistance or anything.

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      • Ehh, Im not sure how to respond to this as I dont want to start shit but on the other hand 99% of the population that has to pay child support does so without being a famous musician. He could have gotten a day job like everyone else, take on a second job maybe,he could quit the booze and the drugs as when you become a father it becomes abot the child and not about you. He turned to his famous name to make a quick buck. Not really someone I would go around heralding as keeping it real or whatever.

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    • I would respectfully disagree with your take on how Hank3 perceives himself. From what I understand, he did not get into music just to pay child support, because when he was served papers, he was already playing music. In fact, he was literally served papers before playing a punk concert. Hank3 says the child support is the reason he signed with Curb because the judge told him he had to get a “real job”, instead of doing it DIY like he wanted to. And Hank3 has never said he “exploited his name”, he’s gone out of his way to make sure there no doubt that he is carving his own way, possibly to a fault, and to the detriment of his career.

      What I will say is that Hank3 is not without blame in this situation. I think as he crossed the line between country and punk more and more, so did the Hank3 doppelgangers, and that is why this article exists.

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      • So he was a punk rocker that turned country for money? Kinda like what this article is about? He signed with Curb for money, not for artistic integrity. He exploited his name by doing the Three Hanks album, and putting out his first two solo albums under Hank Williams III. He didnt carve his fanbase out of nothing, he used his famous name to get one, and slowly crossed over into what he does now. Again I like his music and own it all, but the man got into the country music business for all the same reasons that this article complains about.

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        • Look, I agree to an extent with what you’re saying. Hank3, being the biggest member of the underground country community, is going to have lots of influence on its ebbs and flows. I am not saying he’s without fault in the dilemma of parody through “punk gone country” music, in fact, I would assert some of the music on his last release is the definition of country punk parody. What I don’t agree with is the characterization that he sold out to Curb. He was forced to sign to Curb if he wanted to continue to play music for a living. He has said dozens of times he never wanted to do the Three Hanks album, and he has publicly distanced from it many times. If he signed to Curb to sell out, why was he constantly in court with them for 14 years? And yes, without question his career was helped by his name. Nobody can ever argue against that. But he did not choose that name, or to be born into that family. I find it hard to fault him for that.

          Hank3 has made many mistakes over the years in my opinion, with his career, and with not taking a bigger leadership role, or even acknowledging the country music underground he helped create. But let’s not call a man who lives in a rental in east Nashville, who could have been a huge country superstar if he’d just have let Mike Curb pull his strings a “sellout” just because he had some success or signed to a label. In my opinion, that’s one of the adverse symptoms of the punk world that has been interjected into underground country, and quite frankly, needs to die. Let’s celebrate success, not make it something to be embarrassed of, or something that needs to be made excuses for.

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          • Mike Curb doesn’t get any love from me, but the truth is Hank3 can’t get out of his own way sometimes. The 4 albums he just put out, on his own, are pretty clear that he himself may not even know what he likes and is good at.

            Curb fucks with any artist. But Hank3 got to become Hank3 because of Curb.

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        • I understand what you’re saying and there was a time when I would have agreed. not so much now. I saw Hank3 in 2002. After the show I talked to him and told him “I came here tonight because of the name ‘Hank Williams’ but after that show, daddy and granddaddy don’t mean shit, YOU did this yourself”. I can’t speak for his fanbase but I can tell you he EARNED my respect, directly.

          As for selling out, after over 20 years of playing and not making more than a 4 figure income, I decided I had been selling out the whole time. Hour by hour, year after year of doing bullshit jobs that I couldn’t stand I had sold my life to people who would never give me a minute of their time if they even knew I existed.

          If anyone has the talent, ability, and godblessem, even a name, they should use it. At the end of the day, (not to mention the first of the month) selling music is a professional musician’s job. To not use every tool in your belt doesn’t make sense to me. it’s like putting down a perfectly good chainsaw and cutting down a tree with a pocketknife. Does that mean you’re a true indie punk underground tree trimmer? ’cause that’d be stupid.

          There is such a thing as integrity and in music it’s very important because it get amplified then scrutinized with success. Maybe signing with Curb was a bad move for Hank3. But under the circumstances that Triggerman laid out, I don’t see a world of options there.

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  • Hey when is the Triggerman’s country record coming out?

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    • How do you know I don’t already have a country record out, or have one coming out soon? Are you just assuming that I don’t, that I’m not a musician myself, that I haven’t written music before, performed and toured?

      And if I did or do have my own music, would it be ethical or fair to use a media podium like this or the network I’ve created for self-promotion? But then again, maybe I have released my music on here right under your nose, but with a staunch philosophy against self-promotion, I either never talk about it, or veil it under pseudonyms.

      Furthermore, I would defend the rights of people to have opinions on music or anything else, regardless if they are musicians or not. This comes up all the time with writers for sports, food, movies whatever. I have a right to an opinion, and am blessed with an outlet to express it. There’s nothing wrong or unusual about that, and I stand behind that right, just like I stand behind your right to disagree with it.

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  • I mean if you are not actually saving country music by making better, whats the point in criticizing it to death. seems all this does is stir up shit to prove no real valid point that will make no real difference at all. even it it sucks, you cant blame bands for trying. it takes alot to put your out in front of people and play music. all you do is sit behind a computer and blame people for shit that you dont agree with. how is it that you saved country music? or how is this saving country music by creating lines? seems like you are dividng country music to me. and kissing ass.
    that is all.thank you for letting me speak my mind on your forum. i hope you dont ban me and then trash me so i cant defend myself. happy new year, see ya soon
    Zach

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    • I was hoping you’d get on here sooner or later! That’ll likely get deleted as did a few of my comments on the Outlaw Radio story

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      • None of your dumb comments have ever been deleted on this site Hector. Mainly because they usually go towards proving the point I’m trying to make from their ridiculousness.

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    • “all you do is sit behind a computer and blame people for shit that you dont agree with.”

      There is that “ALL” word yet again. I see it ALL the time. ALL I do is this, or ALL I do is that. But it’s funny, they ONLY time I see the ALL word used against me is ONLY on the “negative” articles that draw a crowd. The last time I heard from you was on the Outlaw Radio article. Since then I have posted 10 articles. 5 of them were positive reviews. Did I see any comments complaining that ALL I do is write positive reviews? I promoted Farmageddon Fest with not one negative word. Did I get chastised that promoting festivals is ALL I do? The fact is 90% of what I do on this site IS positive, but the 1 in 10 articles that could be construed as negative are the ones that seem to attract the biggest crowd, and the most criticism of me.

      On top of that, I think this article has had a 90% positive response, and created a lively and interesting discussion. Aside from a few minor points, the comments were mostly positive, except for 50+ comments in when you and Hector arrived.

      You’re right, it is hard to get up on stage and perform, but you’re wrong that it’s easy to sit behind a computer and criticize. I’ve got a target on my back as big as anyone’s, and you know what, I love it, because I enjoy the criticism, I embrace it, I thrive off of it, and the understand and wisdom that comes from lively discussion, as any artist should if they strive to get better.

      I bristle at the characterization that I am a source of negativity. Somebody calls me a “faggot” and I react. Someone point a tank at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and I react. These are reactions, not instigations of negativity. I am not saying I’m Mr. positive happy face ALL the time, because I am not. But I am a good 90% of the time.

      You know I respect you Zach, and I respect your opinion. But please, a little perspective.

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      • These articles get attention because you directly insult people we respect. It is nonsense. Plus, this article just so happened to go up shortly after Moonrunners posted a review on a punk/country band. Also, isn’t zacnh and your friend josh both in punk influenced bands? Strange.

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        • Who was “directly insulted” here? As for your confusing conspiracy theory about why I posted this article, take note there is nothing new in this, no points I and many others haven’t made a dozen times in comments, I just wanted to give it a solid URL to link to the next time I catch hell for ONLY covering country punk bands. More specifically, this article has been moth balled for days and I just posted it. I don’t go to Moonrunners. And this article is NOT in any way trashing punk-influenced bands. If anything it is supporting them, regardless of what the popular take is on whatever Shooter-based internet property you came from.

          And just appreciate, the response to this article has been overwhelmingly positive, on this website and other places….until the last 30 minutes. Folks can either take a step back, appreciate that it touched a nerve, recognize that there’s some wisdom to be gleaned here and learn from it, or they can come here and attack me personally for being an asshole and let the wisdom pass them by.

          You and others have an opportunity here. You can either learn from the info, challenge it in a constructive manner, or create negativity by demonizing me. If this article is such bullshit, then fight it. Please. Because I want to learn from this discourse.

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      • Trig has a point. I may have disagreed with what he said about Hank3 but we just agreed to disagree. He does a lot of positive stuff on this site. Also, I tihnk this is more of an article that touches a nerve for fans more than it being a negative article. He doesnt name anyone as bein a parody. He doesnt imply anyone in that way. He is just talking about something that is happening and talking about it. A fair thing to do in my mind.

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  • This is nothing new, it’s only music history repeating itself. You will always have the one’s who pave the way, and you will always have those who follow the path. There are so many people who can identify with this music, which is becoming more and more popular everyday, largely because Pop Music has become so plastic and soulless that people are looking elsewhere for things to listen too. In reference to all of the comments regarding parody bands, they are a dime a dozen anymore, and there’s probably a new one practicing in the garage right now. This scene has been over saturated with to much of the same for a long time, this is nothing new. Are these bands a threat to bands that are established, bands that have been around for a long time? It’s doubtful, if your band is kicking ass and doing it right, by the code, the johnny come lately’s are a zero threat, and will blow away like tumbleweeds. The cream will always float and the bullshit will always sink. It’s a compliment to the underground if that many bands are starting up through influence, but it’s no different than what has happened a 1000 times in the past with every single genre of music. And, lastly.. you’ll never see Hank III comment on any of this stuff, because he doesn’t give a fuck, he’s to busy looking forward, instead of around him.

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    • very little cream has risen to the top of the music world since around 1985. most folks my age(63) seem to agree on that year. what no one can agree upon is just why the hell it happened. greed and shady music folk have been around for a long ass time. or it’s all been played before so let’s all play speed/punk/bluegrass/metal and hope we can fire somebody up so we can make a living? today’s pop music and culture suck. when’s somebody gonna take me back to buying my first 45rpm? that feeling of i have to HAVE that music so i can play it over and over whenever i want.

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      • “very little cream has risen to the top of the music world since around 1985″

        You are so wrong about this. I’d say 50-60 percent of the music I listen to is 30+ years old,..from classic country and honky-tonk to delta blues to 60′s/70′s soul, r&b and rock, but to say not enough cream has risen since 1985?…….a classic old person mantra,…and you’re just not looking or listening close enough.

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        • seems to me 50′s/60′s/70′s r&b, rock, country, blues, would all be pre 1985. oh, i look and what i find, for the most part, i don’t like. it’s a matter of taste. like i said, just looking for some one to make some music i want to own. there hasn’t been much since 1985. simple as that.

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          • I pointed out that 50-60 percent of what I listen to is pre-’85,…to show that I am versed in, enjoy, and appreciate greatly the music of generations past. But that means that the other 40-50 percent is post ’85. And I am simply stating, if you haven’t found much you like,…..you aren’t listening to much of it………period.

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      • i agree with you 100%. with very few exceptions, 1985 is a pretty good guage for the end of the line. now, the oldtimers can still do it right, like haggard and willie and so on, but as far as new artists – i just dont see it happening. the culture that produced great talent is far gone. i dont see some young kid facebooking all day and walking around with his nose in a iphone ever writing a great song about that. try watching blade runner and imagine a genuine country singer emerging from that culture. haha

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      • it takes work to find good new music. don’t right it all off as bad just because it’s hard to find. there’s tons of it if you know where to dig. it’s practically a part time job for me, but i know it’s out there. and this site has helped me to find lots.

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  • I wonder if there are a bunch of devil worshipers out there going, “These kids don’t know shit about Satan”? Also, for years, we have been accusing of Nashville malevolently manufacturing cliched music solely for the purpose of making themselves a couple extra bucks, but now we see it growing undomesticated right here at home. And imma just squeeze one more point in here: if there is too much music, then doesn’t that means that an eruption is overdue?

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  • Some greats point all around here in this article and in the comments. I’ve really enjoyed reading them. Some of them have some very heady points that really break down those other old stereotypes, shared by both country and punk genres, that their fans are dumb or uneducated…. Now let’s all quit thinking so hard and just listen to the way this music makes us feel!

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  • There is “an eruption overdue”. In terms of music, culture, style, and business cycle, this isn’t new. What IS new is technology. Things changed in the 20th century with the evolution of records, tapes, CDs, downloads… Today, with handy technology and the sheer volume of information, it’s changing what it means to interact as human beings. Humanity itself is literally being digitized and reduced to DATA. Have you seen a family of five sit around a dinner table lately? How many are buried in their phones? Talk-to-text? Seriously? And then the recipient has the phone read the text message out loud for them. That’s insane to me but to most people, it’s just convenient. None of that pesky human interaction. It’s a phone, call a muthafucka.

    The same thing is happening in music. The T-Pain autotune microphone is being sold thru infomercials. I honestly wonder how long future generations will even understand that music was once made by humans. It exists for pleasure and is a deep and profound method of basic communication. Will a teenager in 2042 perceive music as something made by humans or will it be the result of hitting the icon on the touchscreen? Will they understand what the lyrics to “Blue Dixie Cup” mean or will it just trigger an impulse to click “buy”.

    When I was 16 I nearly died in a car wreck. In the hospital, I had a nurse adjust my IV, feeding, and oxygen tubes so I could hold my guitar. When I could move from the bed, I had them wheel me to the juke box and prop me up there. At these moments my attraction to music was as primal as my will to survive. Since then, life’s been too short to worry about musical styles and specific genres. Before I got married, I told my wife, “understand, you’re marrying a musician, that won’t change”. I’m not above good ol fashion labor for a living but I’d rather be pickin’.

    This ties in to why I’m drawn to SCM. Even with a computer as a medium, it provokes people to act, react, and speak up. Now Triggerman doesn’t need any help defending himself from the haters. Still, when you criticize, try starting your own site. Then you can explain to your followers just what’s wrong with SCM. See where that gets ya. Then you’ll understand WHY Triggerman can say whatever the hell he wants to and why you should appreciate the fact that he lets us ride.

    In any event, I’m glad that he didn’t name names here. Every band has to start somewhere. Today’s unnamed parody band may evolve to spearhead the change we’re all looking for.

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    • I wasn’t nessaceraly calling out Triggerman specifically to out these bands,i was just annoyed with the vauge bitching that was being posted by all the commenters.
      if we’re gonna kick up a shit storm,let’s get some turds in the air.

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      • I hear ya! Certainly nothing personal.

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  • i read a couple of times here someting like that the halftime musicians steal the work of the fulltime musicians. i wouldn’t say that (and not only, because i’m not a full time musician). full time musicians will always have the better fanbase, sell more CD’s & merch and in the end receive better payment, because they’re getting well known with time.
    they can get their name out there everyday and can create a much bigger fanbase. look how things for bob wayne went. he got what he deserved and got signed by century media. he earned it with hard work.
    but where would we be without bands like the pine box boys. i mean lester is a history high school teacher. i would miss those guys if they didn’t “throw their stuff on the market”. probably the best live band i’ve ever seen… and if someone uses all his free time to travel around and even play in foreign countries, he should be admitted besides the “professionals”.

    on the other side there are really some “bands” or people that don’t even have a band and don’t tour at all, that are selling CD’s they have recorded by pushing one button on a tape recorder. and they sell it for the same price as a band that recorded in a studio or that had to buy a lot of equipment and invest a lot of time for recording their stuff.
    i hope my english made sense… *lol*

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    • I do think that full time bands and bands that are currently on tour deserve a little more preference that other bands, because they are the ones who are set up to more directly benefit from that support. But this should not be at the exclusion of part time bands at all. The biggest test for me is who I think is best. I gave my Album of the Year to a guy who is an engineering student, because he deserved it more than anyone else. Deciding who needs support is more a feel for me than it is a formula. I would love to support them all, but unfortunately with parody and limited resources, tough decisions must be made.

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      • Yeah, “support” is a heavy-ass word for so many people to throw around. Support my band by liking this or buying that… Sometimes I just wanna say “support my band by paying the babysitter so at least I won’t LOSE money entertaining you for 3 1/2 hours, twice a day”. That wouldn’t be much of a show though.

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    • That’s a great point. there are many instances where the part-timer is the true professional and the full-timer is just too lazy to get a real job. About 6 years ago I quit my day job. My 2 weekly gigs and a few others were my only source of income. This did NOT make me a “professional” musician. There was more work for paint-by-numbers type cover bands but I just can’t do that.

      This went on for about 4 months, just long enough to move to a better city and go back to a real job. My wife was soon pregnant and then jobless (and about to lose health insurance). That’s when I was forced to be professional. When we had our first child and she went back to work, I quit playing gigs for months. I was burned out. When my day job got to be too much BS to deal with, I knew what to do. Since then, I’ve had a new respect for the part time pros. For the first time I can look someone in the eye and call myself a “musician”. That was always hard before.

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  • A week or so ago you claimed Jashiep called you out but did not use your name? Now your doing the same to bands. Basically calling them fake copy cat hacks. But no names?

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    • I did name names. I mentioned the Honky Honk Hustlas. And then in a comment (you’re free to scroll up and check) I mentioned myself. I think I am just as much responsible for this as anybody.

      I find it interesting that virtually all of the negative comments in this article have mentioned Jashie by name, as if this article was somehow a shot at him. Maybe Jashie needs to not be so self-centered, or maybe his friends and readers need not come here through the filter of his friendship or a Shooter Jennings-run internet web property, and then the wisdom of this article wouldn’t wizz right over their heads.

      You can make this out to be some hatchet job against Jashie, or you can understand this was and honest attempt to solve a problem, which is the underground of country being typecast from the outside as a bunch of “punk gone country, whiskey, devil, cocaine!” screamo freaks. I put this article together to criticize and understand this myself just as much as anyone else.

      Scroll up in the comments to the comic and read it. And there’s more where that comes from. People are making fun of the country underground for being a bunch of GG Allin wannabees. Now either we can construe the people who say that to all be assholes, like I have been construed, or we can attempt to learn from that information, and the story that JB Beverley told, and attempt to do something about it. I have chosen the latter, and one of the reasons I posted this article was to counter some of these claims by the outside by explaining that the “whiskey, devil, satan” crowd is just a small sect in a much bigger sea.

      You may think Facebook is dumb or whatever, but the link on there to this article got 34 “likes”. That’s more than any other article I’ve posted in over a month. There are many positive comments on here. I have also received probably a half a dozen emails from artists thanking me profusely for saying this, because they have been thinking it, but in fear of a backlash, cannot say it publicly. JB can and did, because he’s got balls, and a dozen years of skins on the wall and is respected. I am perfectly willing to take the heat from some in lieu of the artists taking it, because that is my job. I can take it. I have my big boy pants on. And it’s worth it to get the information out there. As you’ve illustrated, people hate me already anyway, no matter what I say.

      So at this point you and these other “Jashie” commenters have a decision. You can continue to characterize this article as some sort of hatchet job on someone, or you can learn from it like many others have. The choice is yours, but at some point the lies about me and SCM, how I delete comments and make fun of people’s dead mother’s in law are going to run out, because they’re not true, and never have been. There are basic fundamental principles that SCM is governed by, and until you understand and appreciate that, I’m afraid you will never “get” what I am trying to do here.

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      • I don’t know jashiep, I have never listen to his radio show. I was pointing out a simple fact that you were so mad at being called a homosexual but not saying your name. This article sounds like there is a ton of fake copy cat hacks out there. You name one?

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        • Yes, I did. I named the Honky Tonk Hustlas in the article body, and then I named them again in response to your comment. What am I missing here?

          But again, this article is not meant as an inquisition. The Honky Tonk Hustlas have some good songs.

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          • So this article is solely about the HTH? That’s it? The article made it sound like there was hundreds of bands. So its my fault? I read to much into the article?

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  • to me this whole debate is embarrasing. ‘punk’ and country mixed is as nauseating to me as ‘hip hop’ and country. for one thing ‘punk music’ is a code word for bad ‘musicians’ – almost anti-musicians. country music has traditionally housed the greats, especially the nashville session players of the 60′s and 70′s. This ‘punk’ thing is kid stuff.
    we’ve got to face it, country music died a long time ago…it probably aint comin’ back. but it’s ok – there are still lots of great albums to listen to…ask yourself ‘do i own all of the porter wagoner albums?’ or ‘do i own all of the buck owens albums?’ etc etc… if not, what are you waiting for, its gonna be a whole lot better than the newest fad of ‘metal music played with a standup bass’. just because you use a standup bass, bang around on a fiddle and ‘sing’ through a crappy distortion box, doesnt mean your bluegrass or country. like merle says on his new album ‘we gotta be more demanding down at the corner pub.’

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    • Excellent take. One of the best posts I’ve seen on here in a long time. I couldn’t agree more that punk in country is as bad as hip hop.

      Great Merle quote referenced as well. Is Merle still credible to the “underground” or is he just “trying to stay relevant” as other legends have been accused of when they collaborate with some of todays stars?

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    • punk is not bad musicians. good music is good music, blanket statements about genres is a bit ignorant. just cuz you don’t like it don’t mean it ain’t good, hoss. i love black metal, grindcore, punk, pop, polka, honky tonk, ambient, noise, soul etc… there’s too much great stuff out there to dismiss anything out of hand.

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  • Music is music.. If a band wants to make 13 different versions of “Crazed Country Rebel” on one CD and you like it, then good for you. Buy it, support it, and be happy with it. My only point is that there is a lot more to offer (content and quality wise) than something that has become formulaic and beat to death.

    I really DID ride trains.. I really DO carry guns.. I really DO have moonshiners in my family, and I really AM from the south.. and yet, I don’t feel the need to hone an image to sell records.. But then again.. that is ME, and I don’t expect anyone else to adhere to the same standards that I live by.

    I don’t “hate” the bands that work the Hank III formula.. Some of them are good at it.. They just don’t mean as much for me as people like Wayne Hancock, Dale Watson, and others who write real songs and don’t bite an image to sell records. Again, that is my personal preference and tastes.. and I don’t give a fuck either way if people agree or disagree with me. Music is music.. and taste is relative.. I know how I live, and what writing music means to me, and that is all that matters at this stage in the game. If someone who has never owned nor shot a firearm wants to act like a gun-toting outlaw.- FINE. Likewise, if someone who has never had real moonshine wants to sing about having a still in their backyard.. FINE. Nothing will stop them… But I do think it’s funny how everyone gets a pass at giving Nashville shit for their artists riding a “country” image and not BEING country… and yet, when Trigger or anyone else holds the underground to the same standard, there is a backlash. How do you spell HYPOCRITE?

    In the end… Enjoy the music you like.. Be it guys like me, or guys who want to tell fictitious stories about running moonshine and dope cross-country with Satan riding shotgun. Cheers. -JB

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    • That’s killer! I’m reading a book about Miles Davis where he was talking about people in the Jazz scene in the 40s-50s that “ain’t playin’ nothin’”. And so it goes…

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    • that was a nice ending for this discussion. case closed.

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    • Well-said J.B. I can appreciate that.

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  • a band/artist that has good songs, good merch, stays busy, and doesn’t break up has nothin’ to worry about. i reckon Darren (Farmageddon) said it best…shit sinks. Fads and trends come and go…the biters gonna keep biting and the real bands/artists are gonna keep doing what they do.

    All the raging debates about fake this and fake that, …it can be a little insulting to the average listener don’t ya think? As an artist myself…i don’t want to be seen as condescending to tell people what’s real or not…I’m real and that’s good enough for me…i actually trust people to make up their own minds about what’s genuine or not. There’s plenty of folks that dig what i do and might like some of the stuff on the radio that i think is utter shite…i’m not gonna TELL em’ their music sucks…the best i can hope to do is SHOW them some good music…by covering my favs or layin’ some of my own stuff on em’.

    Gary Roadarmel….your version of Golden Chain Of Hate is f*ckin’ brilliant. The first PHT album was f*cking GOLD.

    J.B. – I don’t care if you shoot guns, run shine, wrangle steer, etc….when i hear you singin’….that sounds pretty damn country to me.

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    • Thanks, bro… I don’t care about those things either…. Just making the point that if I wanted to cultivate an image, that I could without being an actor. I’d prefer to write real songs and have fun. Cheers. -JB

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    • Thanks man. I know my comments were slightly off the original topic, but this post just kinda hit home to me given some recent events. So, it seemed like a good spot for me to vent a little. Alright yall. Enough chit chat. Let’s make some fucking music!!

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  • I agree with a lot of the posts on hear about “music is music” and “if it is good, it’s good”… I get that. But this site is called “Saving Country Music” and I know Trigger has every right to run it how he wants, but chosing that name sure has a lot of weight with it just as when a young Nashville star uses the term “Outlaw”.
    Folks have to be responsible for what “handle” they use or what they claim and say.

    Good music might be good music, but as others have mentioned, just because you are not signed to a major Nashville label, and you put a fiddle in the mix, doesn’t mean you are kicking out true country music. You maybe making good hard earned music, but punk country is as country as pop country.

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  • I guess it is pretty arbitrary. After all, who is the decider when it comes to “who is really country” and who isn’t?

    Personally, I don’t know of many bands who actually do have the country/punk history besides the ones you mentioned in the article…the so called “real” ones.

    Kinda makes it seem like they all feel like they have something to prove.

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  • “I really DID ride trains.. I really DO carry guns.. I really DO have moonshiners in my family, and I really AM from the south.. and yet, I don’t feel the need to hone an image to sell records.. But then again.. that is ME, and I don’t expect anyone else to adhere to the same standards that I live by.”

    That right there has got some serious irony going on….

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    • haha. good point Jeff.

      Also, isn’t the talent of true musical artist in the way they can tell a story through song. Their talent isn’t necessarily that they live what they sing. Going to jail, carrying guns, living in a trailer, etc… isn’t a talent.

      Sure sometimes an artist does come from that, but that isn’t their talent, that is just part of them. Their talent is in telling a story through song.

      To my knowledge, Cash, Waylon, Willie never actually shot and killed men, but they have talent telling a story about it and we believe them.
      Hell, Hank3 even admits he doesn’t worship satan or do all the drugs he sings about, but he tells the story well and we believe him.
      So how do you measure “real”?

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  • On the subject of honey tonk hustlas: I really loved hallways of the always. So when trig gave south of nashville a shitty review I chaulked it up to the bickering between him and T. Junior and the fact that darker country seemed to be going out of style in the underground. So I bought it anyway. But other than a couple of songs, the album definitely did cross the line between dark and edgy into parody. So I while I do still enjoy the shadier side of this genre, I agree that it is getting oversaturated with people just throwing out whiskey, devil, cocaine references. if you’re going to do it, do it right. Be somewhat original. otherwise, its not worth listening to.

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    • I liked Hallways of the Always too. It was a good album for that time. But they didn’t move forward. If anything, they went back, but I do think South of Nashville does have a couple of good tunes on it.

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  • anytime someone is trying to measure ‘country’ via your music trivia or some other pissing contest its just BS. I grew up in the hills, most of my family has never listened to Hank Snow, heard of Hank 3 and most of you city folks could beat them at trivia about OUR OWN culture. Start booking these punks-gone-country in little honky-tonks around SW Virginia….we will do the vetting for ya!!!!

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  • supersuckers-must’ve been high, such a good country album…they took jesse dayton on tour way back in the raisin’ cain years and that really got me back into good country and honky tonk.

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  • I am A J.B fan and perhaps that makes me biased. I grew up in the S.F. bay area and not in the hills of Tennessee. When I was very young (5) my mom used to play Hank Sr. and i loved it. Been through many phases where my music tastes were centered on Charlie Daniels,Metallica, NIN , house Music, Clutch and many other genres. Whatever I was interested in I have always thought that Songwriting and Musicianship were the basis of good taste. I have an inherent sense of quality, and I just “know” that J.B. and the Drifters song “Highway Blue” is the epitome of a real country song. If you cant see that then i will listen to your arguments, I don’t think we are going to agree on much, but who knows. Perhaps you can bring me around to another way of thinking.

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  • For me Country /Punk is kind of like Whiskey/ Dick. One has been with me for all my life but I really didn’t appreciate it until I got a little older and realized what it’s meaning and purpose was. Realized that it is really at the roots of life. The other I discovered at a young age. Took up lots of my time and I had years of amazing fun with it. But as I got older, I started to slow down a bit and use it sparingly. Just when I am in a mood to get a little crazy. I have great fondness for both. But put the two together and the outcome isn’t always so desirable. And can, on occasion, be disastrous.

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  • Maybe some people actually enjoy singing “offensive”, hell raising country songs. GASP. I’ve been doing it before I was even introduced to Hank 3. This article is very close minded, just because you don’t like the harder side of country does not mean that it lacks legitimacy. You sound like the same reactionary assholes who were bashing David Allan Coe for his “Undergound” and “Nothing Sacred” albums.

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    • This article was written in sort of a devil’s advocate perspective. Seeing how this website grew out of a support site for Hank3, it is hard to say I would find that type of music offensive, or that I don’t like the “harder side of country.” The question is, where is the line, and what is best for the music? The point of this was to stimulate discussion.

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