Princess Stomper

How I lost my love for music (and how I found it again)

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Nine Inch Nails

I had subscriptions to Smash Hits and Number One magazines, and later Melody Maker and Select. BBC2 ran some wonderful shows such as Rapido showcasing the most exciting new bands, and I watched slack-jawed and awestruck at this interview in which NIN’s Trent Reznor professed the same love of The Wall that I had. Within the month, I’d be flipping off the slammed door while screaming, “I’d rather die than give you control“:

Music was more than my catharsis, it was my inspiration. One day my classmate leaned over his chair and told me, “Levitation have split up. You’re not gonna cry, are you?” Instead, I called up their record company and blagged an interview with Dave Francolini, which formed the first issue of my fanzine. The word “inspire” is related to breathing: I breathed in music and breathed out words:

I’m a bit like the rabbity thing from Sam & Max, so I tend to be noticed. When I left school, I found a music industry job pretty quickly and took on some writing on the side. It went well for a few years, but then I wound up making the one mistake that you should never, ever make:

Never write for a publication you wouldn’t read.

I’d written myself into a niche where I was only being sent one type of music and when that scene died a slow and painful death, it bled out of me all the enthusiasm I’d ever felt for music. There’s nothing like listening to 10 really shit albums a day to put you off music for life. The bands sucked and the albums sucked and the gigs sucked and I felt sick at the thought of listening to one more tired mess of embarrassing cliches. I remember hearing Sophie Ellis-Bextor and thinking that it was better than anything I’d heard all year. You take in poison, what you produce will be toxic, too. I wrote my resignation letter: fuck this, I’d rather listen to Kylie:

I didn’t go to many gigs at all in the 00s. I moved to the country. I can count the albums I bought, and most of those were by Disturbed. I hit rock bottom (if you’ll pardon the pun) when I bought Korn’s greatest hits because I liked ‘Here To Stay’ and that was the only good thing on it:

I pretty much stopped listening to music after that. There was nothing out there, was there? After all, I had MTV. I’d glance at the covers of NME and Kerrang and the bands I’d heard of I hated. I just assumed that nobody in the world was making good music any more. But that’s the way it goes, isn’t it? It’s just called growing up. Leave music to the kids with their new-fangled emo clothes, I’ll take my nostalgia and Best of the 90s compilations and get drunk on cheap wine in front of the TV. I wasn’t exposed to good music any more. As a kid we’d had Mark Goodier and John Peel on the radio, there were magazines and TV shows and clubs and gigs where you could just hear anything and it would probably be good. Now it was just insipid, pallid shite that was either recycled from the 70s or sung by some autotuned harpy with an Oompa Loompa tan and a stupid rap bit in the middle.

(continues overleaf)

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8 Responses to How I lost my love for music (and how I found it again)

  1. Lucy Cage April 27, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Big thumbs up to the Foetus and the Alexander Tucker tracks and to you rediscovering music! Magnificent stuff.

  2. Daniel April 28, 2012 at 3:00 am

    This piece is great… always falling in and out of love.

  3. Less Lee Moore April 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

    This article is great! Thanks for reading, enjoying, and linking to Popshifter.

  4. Princess Stomper April 29, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Thanks, all! 🙂

  5. Golightly May 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I completely relate. I think coming of age in the nineties was pretty special. There was so much depth and passion in the music of that time, even the pop had balls (even if they were chessy ones) and it was an exciting time for Metal, Grunge was happening, Riot Grrl was inspiring, everything was new, even the retro inspired sounds were inspired as opposed to completely ripped off factory style, unlike these days… then there was trip-hop, hip-hop, r’n’b, brit rock, brit pop, prodigy and the chemical bros reinventing dance music for non-dance audiences… so I guess we were spoiled by all that naturally… and then Emo came along and ecstasy of all inappropriate substances started to enter the rock clubs and it was time to clear out… but where to go? Everything was shit for a while and I even ended up owning a Disturbed album. I guess that music, like fashion and the seasons and phases of the moon all run in cycles… and when you’re sitting at the bottom of the wheel of fortune, the only way back is to start moving up to the top again. I too think it’s all got a bit confusing… it’s not as easy as it once was… hell, it’s hard enough figuring out what song is at number one! In fact, IS there a number one still? Or is the number one different depending on what radio station you listen to, what music tv channel you’re tuned into? Without even a clear number one or top ten, no wonder we are all feeling as lost as we are at times (especially during the 00s… a vacant time for music if you ask me, with only few exceptions)… I got lucky when MGMT came along and cheered me up and it was back to buying albums, going to another city just to hear them play, loitering around their tour bus to meet them (I did), getting autographs, buying them pints of guinness and begrudging my boyfriend for the fact I couldn’t run off with them as their new groupie on their tour bus to Paris that night… getting that excited feeling when you saw them on tv, because it was special and important…
    It all reminds me of a time when to be in a band or to be going to gigs actually said something about the type of person you are. Nowadays it’s mainstream to do such things, it’s conformist to do such things… I am no longer faking enthusiasm when some dick at a party gets out a guitar in the attempt to impress me or one of the other girls present. I could write a song on the spot better than the bland indie boy haircut band he’ll be covering… and Lord help him if he plays me Muse. I might even get up and leave while giving him filthy looks on my way out the door.
    I don’t think it’s about getting old per se. I think there’s been a significant cultural shift due to the internet and I think that’s made the growing pains harder to bear. I also think that glossy production sounds have a lot to answer for (again modern technology’s influence) and then there’s the significant loss of decent percussion from music. Think about that one. I’d like to blame the White Stripes here… but that would be barking up the wrong tree. I miss Sepultura’s percussion. I miss Dave Grohl actually drumming (I actually dislike his banal singing voice)…
    At least we now have Dubstep and I can comfort myself with that because it’s dark, it’s dirty, it kicks ass, it gets me in that hard to reach spot only previously accessed by bands like the Prodigy… and beyond that, it’s actually new, vibrant and original.
    I went pretty la la when Cults came into my life and I got excited because they warmed my heart after an experience with music not too dissimilar from yours Princess… but you couldn’t have accused them of doing something ‘new’ just something fresh. And I loved it. Big time.
    By the way, do you ever listen to Zola Jesus?

  6. Princess Stomper May 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Yeah, I force myself to watch the charts on cable channel Viva, just so I know what’s going on. It’s mostly crap.

    Percussion: I love the drumming on the Amebix album ‘Sonic Mass’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQIPeLwlzKA

    Zola Jesus: funnily enough, she’s working with JG Thirlwell at the moment. I wish I was in New York for that Guggenheim gig, because I’d love to see them perform an orchestral version of ‘Vessel’! https://www.facebook.com/events/424659520894774/

  7. Golightly May 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Their drum sound is pretty cool, reminds me a little (just the drums) of Downset who I used to get a kick out of. Glad you’re onto Zola Jesus.

  8. Princess Stomper May 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Although I should say that, having listened to three albums by Zola Jesus, I still only like two or three of her songs. Oh well, eh?

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