Monday, 13 October 2008

Blame Davey

If you think about, or debate, a certain event too much, you will eventually arrive at several origin points, with the earliest being The Big Bang/Genesis etc as they were the first things ever and the debated subject eventually came from that, along with everything else. Of course, this is ludicrous, but it's always fascinating to take a major aspect of any part of Pop Culture and find its birth. The death of one scene, the emergence of a wide-eyed new talent. The possibilities are endless. Sometimes, though, its something thats not obvious and you would never think about.

So, the Myspace generation. How did it happen and why did it happen the way it did? Was its success based on the emergence of this "emo" scene, or was it something that was destined. And why, oh why do I always come back to this particular album as a turning point?

A Fire Inside (AFI) were another scraggy young punk rock band from 90s California, all ripped clothes and dodgy haircuts. Fair play to them, but nowt overly special barring a bit of energy and the odd cool track title (I Wanna Get a Mohawk (But Mom Won't Let Me Get One)). It was pretty much law that US punk bands had to like old goth punks The Misfits to some positive degree, even if it only meant to play the odd cover at Halloween. AFI, however, had some sort of moonlight-induced epiphany and decided to fully embrace their inner Danzig in 1999, which resulted in Black Sails in the Sunset complete with even weirder track names (Malleus Maleficarum, Clove Smoke Catharsis). It also got them noticed a bit more and they enjoyed it so much they never washed off the make-up again. They followed Black Sails... up in 2000 with The Art of Drowning

Not surprisingly, with any local band made good, the local rockers took notice. Orange County started to sell more black nail varnish and rock bands of other genres started dabbling in the dark (music) arts. It was around the turn of the millenium that the likes of Avenged Sevenfold, Bleeding Through and Eighteen Visions also started to make a name for themselves. Suddenly, local kids who had nothing but sunshine and ska had something a bit new and fresh to enjoy, even if the rest of the world had seen it before. The OC was black, black, BLACK, like the rivers of hell through an eternal cordial blend of evil and sin, etc. By the time AFI released the next album in early 2003, Sing the Sorrow, California had a quite a large dark-hearted community. This whole thing was no doubt exacerbated by the rest of the world spunking over Linkin Park et al. Those scensters have got to be ahead of the pack, haven't they?

Then in October 2003, somthing else happened. Some bloke called Tom decided to take the best bits of Friendster and Yahoo and came up with a new way for men to stalk hot girls. Unsurprisingly, this California-based "Myspace" malarkey seemed a great thing to grab ahold of first by these local be-gothed whippersnappers, seeing as they retained a bit of good old-fashioned hardcore elitism - "We were there first!"... Granted, everyone was going to jump in, and did, but by that time, the dark horde had made their mark with their skinny black clothing, sideswept haricuts and mirrored photography. They did get there first, kids, don't forget it!

This, of course, was dynamite for any other bands who were starting to get somwhere in 2004 as they could take full advantage. The first to this cake was My Chemical Romance, and funnily enough, they became huge. I'm not sure who decided that "emo" was the right term though. That's a discussion I never want to enter.

The rest really is history. Of course, I could be talking out my backside as I've never been to California. But I did read the rock mags on a regular basis, and I picked things up, and all of this just seems to fit:

AFI Go goth,
the local kids then go goth,
the local metal and hardcore bands go a bit goth,
they all create their own communtiy and look,
they showcase their community on some cool new platform,
the everyone else joins in....

Not that I'm saying that the biggest pop cultural phenonemnon in modern history owes AFI a few royalties, but for me, this is quite an obvious path. What I'd be keen to see is if folk have a different timeline figured.