Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Kids are Alright

Man, oh man, has the last week been a stroll down memory lane.

I went to Portland last week, to help Mage and Gretchen celebrate their 5th anniversary, and hang out with old friends. Many of my college buddies are in P-town, as well as the guy responsible for talking me into moving to Olympia in the first place, my best friend from High School, Craig.

Through some strange set of synchronicities, Craig lives next door to Mark, who was my roommate for the first two years of college. So yeah... Memory Lane.

I get back to town, and after one more night of kicking it old school with Gretchen and Mage, and some of the Oly kids who couldn't make it to Portland, I slowly try to catch up with email and the like... picking through Myspace, I find out about Vic Wiley.

But in scouring the web for info on Vic, I find out, not only did I miss his passing and his tributes and memorials... I missed the biggest reunion of the Little Rock Punk scene, EVER. I missed Towncraft Week in LR.

Towncraft Week was a celebration for the release of Towncraft the Movie, a documentary of 20 years of the Little Rock Punk and Independant music scene. Five nights of music, with some of the bands playing having been reunited after many years. It really looks like I missed something, especially with Vic's passing, last week would have been the week to be in LR.

Fortunately though, the makers of the film haven't forgotten their punk roots. The movie is being released, in what is thought to be a first, simultaneously in theaters, on DVD, and as a dvd-quality download (donations are requested.) That's pretty punk guys, and my hats off to you for it.

I just watched the movie yesterday, and was pleased by it all-in-all. There were somethings I thought got overlooked, early bands like Crooked But Responsible (which I think might have been Bircho's first band) and a significant absence of McCloud Zicmuse, the artist formerly known as Jason McCloud. But we are talking about 20 years in an incestous music scene, that's a lot of ground to cover, a lot of burning bridges to cross, and a lot of fences to mend. I'm truly impressed with what they produced. Since moving to Olympia, I have been trying to explain the 80's and 90's LR punk scene to the kids here, and it's hard. This film not only explains what happened, hopefully it will go a long way to helping other bored and frustrated kids get some DIY culture happening in their backyards.

Creative people from any small town will find a lot to enoy here, even if they are unfamiliar with the bands and individuals. It is also interesting to see how some of these kids, who are now in their 30's have grown as artists and individuals.

On top of that though, there is the Towncraft Timeline, currently running from 1984 to 2006. The Timeline is somewhere between Myspace and Wikipedia for the Little Rock scene. It allows registered users to upload stories, images, soundfiles, and movies. It is an amazing example of what the web can do for communities. The wealth of history here is staggering, oral histories, ephemera, and clips of live performances I thought were long gone.

Hopefully, someday every local music scene will have a resource like this.

Hopefully, someday every town of a couple hundred thousand will have a music scene as vibrant and independant as this.
(The picture is of Jason McCloud doing the running man behind Ricochet Rocket at a Das Yutes show in 1995)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So what are you going to write post that I just have to comment on : )

I wish the documentary had some music in it and wish they had mentioned 2 minutes hate, the glands, doctors 4 bob(sub genius band), big boss line, Nessie, and various other bands from the time. The Glands were fucking amazing! It seemed to be about a more narrow group of people but they really couldn't have covered it all as there was so much happening. I thought there was a wanker or two that didn't deserve to share the spotlight but hey wtf I didn't get off my ass and make it did I.

You are absolutely correct Little Rock youth had such a craving for culture and creativity outlets that many created their own comedy troupes, clubs, and record labels. They may have been a little ahead of some of the larger cities who just didn't have such massive cultural voids to fill. It is a great project by Richard Matson and a great model that can be initiated by other cities. Hats off to the lads GREAT JOB...

I have always felt that Little Rock for its size has had a very interesting music scene especially on the fringe. If you have a chance check out some of the bands around right now in LR like Soophie nun squad (if they unite again), Johny Mac, Hector Faceplant, Sulac, and of course Stacey Mackey just to name a few.

I truly miss the old DMZ and Das GO GO. Honky Tonk Dragon even drug me out of the house to see the Flaming Lips and The Squids now there was a great band from Ft.Smith....wonder what happened to them.....

I'll quit ranting.

Bravo Matson & Crew ! ! !