ASSIGNMENT 1 – BLOG 4: DIY PUNK, YOUTH AND THE REGRETTES

According to Griffin (2012), The DIY ethic ‘avoid[s] the capitalist, profit-driven music world by promoting their bands, shows, and records themselves or through small companies’ (Haenfler, 2006, p24). DIY records labels keep the origins of punk, and there is a trend of small record labels in the punk industry (Dunn, 2012). They keep the essential role to help unsigned artists with production, marketing, and distribution costs that might exceed the band’s budget (Dunn, 2012). With the technology given, most bands can produce music themselves these days, in their garage, or even a studio. In this article we examined a teen diy punk band, The Regrettes, and their youthful influences on political and current social issues.

The Regrettes consist of 15-year-old front singer Lydia Night, 17-year-old drummer Maxx Morando, 19-year-old guitarist Genessa Gariano, and 18-year-old Sage Chavis (Rosenzweig, 2016). Despite their youth, the band makes an irrisistible brand of punk with ’50s and ’60s pop leanings, and they shine with a youthful ebullience and strong vulnerability that result in illusionary provocative songs (Robinson, 2016). DIY/punk/politically charged spiritted, The Regrettes filled the room with “pumped full of hectic, chaotic rhythms and guitar riffs”. Their motive is to encourage young people to express themselves, be honest and be proud. The lead singer expressed her concern in LA Time Magazines, “Everybody is just kind of really scared to be honest and to be open and to be different and original, especially with our youth and people my age and people in high school” (Martens, 2016).

DIY punk makes a connection to what may be regarded as commonly as “progressive politics; attention to and concern about social injustice and individual rights characterised much of the music, merchandise and conversations at shows” (Griffin, 2012).  However, the issue here is that some local punk bands, despite their beliefs to never sell out, ended up signing with a major label. According to Gordon (2005), it is one of the dilemmas of punk, he then raised interesting questions about the problems such as “Was it the way to go, or should you stay local, unincorporated and free? Was there any value in that when your influence was minimal and you were preaching – or playing – to the converted? Could not the battle be waged from within the music industry? But then – whence the authentic punk?”.

Lydia, the lead singer, also claimed that the moment she heard that Warner Bros. Studio is interested in the band, her first reaction is a bit concerned that the corporate music industries would be “kinda douchey” (Martens, 2016). However, apparently Warner Bros. “let our ideas come to life, which is very rare for a record label, for them not to try to push something on you”, Lydia claimed after the first meeting with them (Rosenzweig, 2016). Does it mean that not “all” major corporates are trying to make profit and artists ended up losing their authenticity?  Indeed the debate over signing to a major/selling out the underground is a hot button issue, whether it is good or bad is open to debate (Dunn 2012).

REFERENCES

Dunn, K. (2012) Anarcho-punk and resistance in everyday life, Punk & Post-Punk, Volume 1, Number 2, p. 201 – 218

Dunn, K. (2012) “If It Ain’t Cheap, It Ain’t Punk”: Walter Benjamin’s Progressive Cultural Production and DIY Punk Record Labels, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Volume 24, Issue 2, p. 217–237

Gordon, A. R. (2015) The Authentic Punk: An Ethnography of DiY Music Ethics, Longborough University Institutional Repository, A Doctoral Thesis

Griffin, N. (2012) Gendered Performance Performing Gender in the DIY Punk and Hardcore Music Scene, Journal of International Women’s Studies, Volume 13, Issue 2, Article 6, p. 66-81

Martens, T. (2016) The Regrettes may be high-school age, but the band’s worldview is all grown up, LA Times Magazine, Available at: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-regrettes-20160814-snap-story.html [Accessed by 3 December 2016]

Robinson, C. (2016) The Regrettes – Hey Now, Stereo Gum

Available at: http://www.stereogum.com/1891699/the-regrettes-hey-now/mp3s/ [Accessed by 3 December 2016]

Rosenzweig, M. (2016) The Regrettes Is the Teen Band You Need—No Matter Your Age Available at: http://www.vogue.com/13490166/the-regrettes-teen-band-you-need-to-know/ [Accessed by 3 December 2016]

Wonderland Magazine (2016) New Noise: The Regrettes Available at: http://www.wonderlandmagazine.com/2016/11/new-noise-regrettes/ [Accessed by 3 December 2016]

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One thought on “ASSIGNMENT 1 – BLOG 4: DIY PUNK, YOUTH AND THE REGRETTES

  1. I think this is a really strong issue of debate – you could relate it to indie music as well given the two genre’s similar notions of ‘selling out’.

    I’d potentially look at the canon of punk music and try to modernise some of the initial signifiers of a punk. Whilst in the 70s selling out may have been extremely against the punk ideology, does it really mean the same now? The major labels have more power now and control more aspects of the industry than they did in the 70s – is signing a necessity for a punk band to gain more reach and not be preaching to the converted?

    Alternatively, you could argue that the punk music canon is still very much intact and relevant – the top-heavy nature of the industry does invite rebellion and dissent, both hallmarks of the punk ideology. You could even argue that it is more important now than ever for punk rock bands to keep their deep-rooted ideology with all the additional genres based on punk that are appearing. Pop punk for example is a fairly commercial genre overall (A Day to Remember, You me at Six for example have relatively commercial images overall) – has it damaged the punk canon, therefore making its true flag-bearers more important to the survival of the punk ideology?

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