Why Everett True Is Right / Why Everett True Is Wrong … Everett True responds + 5 extraordinary songs
I’ll try and focus on a couple of the more obvious points. All the quotes in bold are taken from Princess Stomper’s articles.
So when everyone picks on Kate Bush as being an example of a woman who changed the way that we think about music and music performance, it’s because we’re not overwhelmed with alternatives.
I’m reminded of those anti-Irag war banners that people used to carry during Tony Blair’s stint in office: “Not in our name”. When you use the word ‘we’ here, I do hope you’re not presuming to speak on the behalf of either myself or many, many people I know.
The notion of saying Kate Bush is ‘great’ is often used as an excuse by folk who much prefer the sound of men making music to hide their prejudice against women making music. I’m intrigued why it should be Kate Bush, and not someone way more obvious and contemporary and critically regarded the world over – Bjork, say. I think it might be because Bjork is more challenging to the accepted (male) ways of creating music, whereas Kate Bush is more rooted in traditional (male) forms. Or perhaps it’s because the type of person who prefers the sound of men creating music prefers rock music (a male club when it was created) and hence prefers artists working within that form. (Kate Bush was famously discovered at the age of 16 by Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour.)
Let’s just pick on one little teeny-weeny short-lived scene: the No Wave movement of New York at the turn of the 80s. I’ve only heard a couple of Ut tracks, but they were extraordinary. Lydia Lunch is patchy, but I can think of a fair few acts of either gender that simply would not exist without her. As for Kim Gordon, well, you know who she is. So that’s three game-changers from 30 years ago.
I loved Ut above any band from the 80s. Loved them. They were not – by any stretch of the imagination – ‘game-changers’. No one knew who the fuck they were. Making claims like this devalues Princess Stomper’s arguments.
Where are the female Pink Floyds, Led Zeppelins and Iron Maidens?
Who cares? These bands existed and … wait a second. Iron Maiden? Iron fucking Maiden? Game-changers? Well then (shrugs), I guess whether you consider a band ‘great’ or not comes down to your individual perspective. I don’t have a problem with that, but I got the impression Princess Stomper did, otherwise why is she arguing so vociferously against the idea of female musicians being considered ‘great’?. If Iron Maiden were game-changers for Princess Stomper then that’s her call to make. Long as she doesn’t claim it on anyone else’s behalf.
Who will replace them, from either sex? If you tell me Arcade Fucking Fire I’ll bash you with this keyboard!
Sure. Arcade Fire. Why not? The idea of ‘importance’ or ‘greatness’ or ‘legend’ status is entirely down to individual perspective, unless you’re the sort of person who believes those endless Q Magazine cover stories (100 Greatest Bands Since The Last 100 Greatest Bands Ten Months Ago, etc). Also, whether or not you consider a band from a particular era ‘great’ or not mostly comes down to your age anyway. Or your relative unknowingness of the musical form under discussion.
First, let’s define “great”. A little while back, Everett True linked to a band called No Mas Bodas. I’m stretching a bit to call them “great” because I haven’t heard a whole album, but for these purposes I’m assuming that every track is this good. It was very exciting to hear it because I had never heard anything quite like that before.
In that very same article, I lay trails to SEVEN other bands and musicians – all female – who No Mas Bodas remind me of, a little. And this is just the tip of the iceberg …
Twenty years ago, a band like My Bloody Valentine – making music the likes of which has just never been made before – could sell 225,000 copies of their album. If they came out now, they’d sink without trace.
Bands like My Bloody Valentine – I’d hesitate to use the exact next phrase Princess Stomper uses above, so let’s just say that we understand each other – come out all the bloody time. All the time. They do today, they did 20 years ago and they did 20 years before that. Mostly, they sink without trace (if, by ‘sink’, you mean that musicians measure ‘success’ in terms of popularity or sales). The occasional one or two don’t. Nothing has changed there.
The flipside of that coin is that when you only get one innovative act in isolation and no accompanying ‘scene’, it’s difficult to build the momentum so the great bands that exist – like how No Mas Bodas could be if they had more songs like that – just fizzle out after a while and it’s like they were never there. Great bands are defined by their legacy.
No Mas Bodas do have more songs like that. I’ll restate it. In that very same article, I lay trails to SEVEN other bands and musicians – all female – who No Mas Bodas remind me of, a little. I even go on to add, “It reminds me of some of the glorious femme-led sounds coming from Athens, GA” … that’d be a whole scene, happening in just one American city, that I’m aware of (there are probably far more happening elsewhere). So, far from being one innovative act in isolation, they’re actually part of a far, far broader musical spectrum. By her own admission, Princess Stomper says this music “was very exciting to hear it because I had never heard anything quite like that before” … so why not follow the trails and discover a whole new world of music, and realise that No Mas Bodas – as fine as they are – are only part of a much broader picture?
Assumptions like these are what leads folk like Princess Stomper to ask questions like, “Why aren’t there more Kate Bushes out there?” without realising she doesn’t even have access to the information that would help her answer her own query.
The point is, if everyone’s shouting at the tops of their lungs about Arcade Fire then how the hell are they ever going to hear about No Mas Bodas?
Or if everyone is asking Why Aren’t There More Kate Bushes?, forever looking to the past to validate the present. And always forgetting how rock music was originally a MALE form of expression …
Let’s end on the most ridiculous statement of all, taken from Why Everett True Is Wrong …
History doesn’t favour the adequate; only the outstanding.
That is so wrong. It’s not even vaguely true. History is dependent upon the prevalent zeitgeist. It’s fluid. It changes from year to year, decade to decade, century to century. History until recently was a male construct. Maybe it favours outstanding males (I doubt this) but it sure as fuck does not favour females, adequate or outstanding or otherwise.