I’m not sure I still believe in DIY’s ethos.
Is this the world we’ve created for ourselves, ideologically cut out and away of the middle section from the glut and irony inherent in our lives? The “authentic,” the “real,” the starvation for attention coupled with the lexicon of irreverence; will we be DIY when we’re 64?
And what does it mean to me now? I see DIY yoga studios, DIY home-brew starter kits, DIY cheese, #DIY, DIY things on Etsy, DIY homemaking (as the first Google result), and DIY venture capitalism — the whole DIY process completely hijacked by the middle-brow American culture I feel completely bored and at ends with, on labels and signs in Whole Foods, baby boutiques, and artisanal pet stores. The indie rock I grew up with declared itself morally bankrupt from the foundations it (we) built. With attitude: Pray for the suburban, but what happens if we become the suburban? Why is Fugazi on indefinite hiatus? Does DIY support a family? Is it too hard to act as the fake press agent and book shows in Iowa City when you have a child to watch over? And what will I say when I watch a hetero-normative couple buy gelato for their crying toddler whose wearing a Black Flag shirt?
I’ve seen my punk forbears in real life. Some in bars, blackout drunk, playing in bands, rehashing their glory years, allowing themselves excessive drum solos, being cheered on by their wrinkled friends while my date rolls her eyes. We all dream of being Fred and Toody Cole (Dead Moon), the ultimate romantic expression of a lifelong dedication to rock ‘n’ roll; at least it’s the one of few that don’t include overdose and early death. Or should I dream of being Greg Sage (Wipers)? Like the days where I would shout the names of my favorite baseball players every time I swung, will I shout his name whenever I record another set of 4-track demos and upload them to the great SoundCloud of oblivion? Will the songs be heard or swallowed by a black hole first?
Is lo-fi still the greatest voice to speak through, or am I just telling myself that? And what if I turn into the rockists of my parents’ age, playing guitar solos with arthritic fingers to drunken friends? What then was the point of my teenage rebellion?
I’ll do my best to keep things simple, reminded by older folks of a time when it was totally acceptable to admit being part of the KISS Army. I’ll listen to British punk bands, wear a Stiff Records t-shirt, and tell myself I’m still working within a language that matters to me, because in some strange way, it still does. Though, I realize that pure DIY is a complete fable. “I’ll invite love into this house,” The Woolen Men may sing, but from the way I allowed myself to be raised, what choice would I give otherwise?