Song #55: Glazer – “Couch Cooking”

October 19, 2020
Song #54: Glazer – “Couch Cooking”

It’s an uncomfortable conversation.

A couple of years ago, I heard a story about some friends that were playing a show at a DIY space. The members of the band are probably in their 30s, with at least one member in his later 30s. Before their set began, they were milling about, and a person who was attending the show approached the older of the band members in a really accusatory way, implying that a person his age should not be in the venue. The musician calmly explained to the kid that he (the kid) had just paid a cover charge to get into the venue to see his (the older guy) band. The kid sort of slinked off.

There is ageism in the independent music and DIY scene, and it is rampant.

I get it. There are all kinds of social issues that need to be addressed in independent music. We pride ourselves on being inclusive, and yet women still have to deal with ungodly amounts of abuse from venues, labels, fans, and even other artists. We look around and see the dearth of people of color in DIY music. We see the struggles of the LGBTQ community. These are all real issues, and all important, I see every one of them and I strive to constantly get better, to be an ally and to help elevate anyone who feels marginalized.

And I’m saying that age also needs to be a part of the discussion, because some of the most progressive, inclusive people I know are ageist as fuck. I’ve heard some leaders in the scene reel off ageist tropes like they were reading their grocery list, completely oblivious to my obvious and visible distaste at the words coming out of their mouth.

Here’s what I can tell you:

People over 40 in the scene have been doing this shit for decades and have seen a lot of cool stuff, and have a ton of great stories.

People over 40 in the scene who are still in the scene have 20 years of passion and love for music, a passion that fades for a lot of people over time. But if they’re 40, and still doing it? That’s passion.

People over 40 buy records. They’re married to the idea of owning a physical artifact and they will buy your record, your tape, your T-shirt. They will pay the cover to see your band. They’ll actually pay more. If you’re playing a DIY show where you pass a hat, the people over 40 will put more money in the hat.

People over 40 can be astonishingly talented and creative musicians.

People over 40 are a ton of fun to party with. People over 50 are even more fun to party with.

If there is a person over 40 that is showing interest in your creative endeavor, chances are pretty fucking good that this person is not part of the problem you are railing against, and is actually actively working to better the situation. People over 40 in the scene are activists, they’re volunteers, they’re educators, they’re artists, and you should include them. Inclusive means everyone.

When I asked Glazer if they wanted to come on my radio show, their answer was “yes.” When I asked if they’d be interested in playing a benefit for WFDU, their answer was “yes,” and when I asked them a second time, their answer was also “yes.” When I asked them if they wanted to put out a record on Dromedary, their answer was “yes.” There was no ageist bullshit there, even though I’m pretty sure the guys in the band are not much older than my kids.

And we put out a record, and it sold out quickly, and I’m proud to have done it. I think they’re the best band in New Jersey (though wait til you hear Cathedral Ceilings), and I’m thrilled they didn’t turn their backs on my radio show or my record label because I’m paunchy and greying.

Here’s “Couch Cooking,” which is the second song on the lathe-cut we did with them this past summer. Last week they sent me a gift as a thank-you for putting out their record, and it was touching and cool, and certainly not something that’s ever happened before. You should listen to all their music, and buy all their records. And if you’re over 40, I love you. Also if you’re under 40, I love you though, so…

~ by Al on October 19, 2020.

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