“Snarky.” That’s what the big bosses from out of town called this new attitude that we eager young writers were supposed to apply to our prose. This was the late 1990s, when alt-weeklies were just starting to go mainstream; rather, when they were beginning to become regarded as the legitimate sources of quality journalism that they are (that most of them are). As music editor of the Houston Press, which was owned by the largest alt-weekly conglomerate on the planet, I now felt compelled to attack, to belittle, to inflict damage, every word shaped by the truth as my idiotic douchebag twentysomething self saw it. Yes, I have learned, slowly, painfully, that being a smartasshole –– in print and in person –– is not always warranted. I’d even like to go on the record as saying that it’s rarely ever called for. No use kicking a dog while he’s already down.
Still, the snark manages to wheedle its way into my writing. Still! This weekend’s concert calendar reminded me of my rhetorical weakness. A handful of bands from my first couple of years in the Fort, when snark’s dark spell still guided my pen, have shows coming up. On Saturday at Dan’s Silverleaf (103 Industrial St., Denton, 940-320-2000) the Baptist Generals will be preceded by Bosque Brown, the nom de folk of the is-she-or-isn’t-she-from-Fort-Worth? singer-songwriter Mara Lee Miller, whose vocal stylings I once snarkily dismissed in these pages. We don’t need to live in the past, but I believe a variation of “similar to feline asphyxiation” was employed. Shame. *bong* Shame.
On Friday at Tomcats West (3137 Alta Mere Dr., 817-570-9966), a quartet of death-metal bands, most notably Fort Worth giants Interment, will open for Cadillac to Mexico. Cadillac to Mexico is a Fort Worth metal band that’s been around forever and that, evidently, hasn’t gone anywhere yet. I’d never heard of them until I stumbled into The Cellar one weeknight and met the lead singer, a fun, funny, nice guy with some tattoos and a partially shaved head who mysteriously kept assuring me that his hair used to be super-long. That’s about all I remember. I was new in town and had no one to go home to –– I did a lot of not remembering. Keeping my promise, I caught the band’s next gig, this one at some Arlington dive. Again, we don’t need to revisit history, but I believe the terms “Pimpadelike” and “Panterrible” appeared in a review attached to my pseudonymous byline. Whaddaya want from me. My sad, lonely self was desperate for friends, and I guess I thought that by being oh-so-clever in print (this was even before the Weekly had a website) and by imposing my completely unearned and utterly contrived authority on local music, I would come off as important, worthy of respect, twice as worthy of friendship. I don’t think my tack worked, because the only non-coworkers who ended up befriending me didn’t read the paper. Or probably don’t anymore. Funny how that worked out.
And yet the pain. The haunting pain. It keeps coming. Two ancient hard-rock/metal bands that I took quickie dumps on over a decade ago also have gigs this weekend: Skard Soul Friday at The Rail Club (3101 Joyce Dr., 817-560-RAIL) and Leroy the Prophet Thursday at The Aardvark (2905 W. Berry St., 817-926-7814). What are these people doing?! Still rocking out after all these years?! Don’t they have anything better to do?! Clearly, the moral of the story is: If you hang around long enough, you hang around long enough. Sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy the ride. The long, painful, loud ride.
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