Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hardcore Dancing: Part II

My second round of correspondence with Carl at Uth TV. Yeah, the Hardcore Dancing feature on their show was a bit silly, but it's refreshing to see the people at the show are interested in trying to do it better next time around:
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Ronny,

Thank you! I really appreciate your honest and thoughtful critique of the piece, and the background behind it.

The shows we produced over the summer (Elements and Speak On It) were created entirely by people between the ages of 16 and 20 - we gave them a budget, equipment, a general outline of what we wanted, and a requirement of very high quality work. We put very few editorial constraints on them. Clearly they wandered outside their areas of expertise once in awhile.

Our longer term goal is to build out a community of young filmmakers to create and submit films on things that are of interest and importance to them for distribution both online and over the air. I would love to find someone who is young and has cred in the hardcore community to create the right film about it - one that would be respected by the hardcore kids as real. Do you think this is a realistic idea, or would the community rather just be left alone?

Thanks,
Carl


Carl,

I may have some people in mind, but I think just about all of them fall out of the 16-20 year old range. Most of them are in their mid-to-late 20’s.

I think hardcore kids would embrace a well done film. I’ve always been disappointed that there were no real good follow-ups to documentaries like “Another State of Mind” in the 80’s, especially now that video/editing/CG technology is so much better these days.

When it comes to television features about hardcore, kids in the scene can be very hard to please (as you may have guessed), but I can assure you that stems mostly from the mainstream media’s piss-poor coverage of hardcore over the years. Camera crews tend to flock to the most extreme fringe elements of the scene to get the shocking story that will scare parents silly (the recent “Straight Edge is a Gang in Utah” news/magazine show theme is the latest indignity thousands of good hardcore kids have had to suffer and explain to their parents in recent months). The result is dubious fame for a few kids that go way outside of the boundaries, while the other 99.999% of the scene collectively slaps their foreheads in disgust when they see the coverage on TV.

To answer your question, I think a well-done segment/movie/series on hardcore would be welcomed with open arms, but you need to keep in mind that hardcore, in its structure, isn’t so different from rock n’ roll. Let me explain:

Rock and Roll began with dudes like Elvis, Duke Ellington, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc. They were the first wave. The Beatles were in the 2nd wave, along with bands like the Stones, Kinks, The Who. Then there was the third wave that got heavier and weirder like Led Zepplin, Hendrix, and the Doors. The 4th wave was bands like AC DC, Van Halen, Aerosmith. After that, it went down hill to bands like Poison, Motley Crew, and a million different hair bands. From that point on, people pretty much stopped calling it “Rock n’ Roll” in favor of identifying music by genres like alternative, speed metal, nu metal, pop punk, ect. None of them are considered “rock,” but they all came from the same bloodlines.

Here’s my point: the definition of rock n’ roll spans as widely as Elvis to Poison. Putting the two together side by side looks pretty silly, but they're both technically Rock n’ Roll. It’s the exact same thing for hardcore. The umbrella of hardcore, which started at the Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Agnostic Front and DOA now covers everything from The First Step and Betrayed (current bands in a more traditional vein of HC) to band like Darkest Hour and Most Precious Blood (bands on huge indies that market these bands as “hardcore,” but purists see more as Metal).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a movie about hardcore, as broad the scene is, would be hard to do in a manner where it would please everyone. However, a television show or a series covering “genres” of hardcore (straight edge, street punk, old school, oi, metalcore, emo, etc.) would be something that would be easier to accomplish with credibility. My feeling is the scene would collectively embrace that approach, because hardcore would be shown for what it is – a broad music category that has many different native peoples. Think of each genre of hardcore as a tribe. The natives get upset when you start pointing out Cherokees as Navajos. Make sense?

If your requirements for segment and movie producers is capped at 16-20 years old, I don’t know many people I can refer you to at the moment, but I’ll keep my eyes open for you. However, if you ever want to solicit an outside opinion on anything the realm of hardcore, I’m always willing to offer advice. The presentation of your shows is top notch, and I really think a show, or series of shows dedicated to hardcore would draw a lot of interest in a very large underground scene like hardcore.

Best,
Ronny Little

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