The Worst Kept Secret In Punk Rock
Posted on June 9, 2014
June 9, 2014
by Bryne Yancey
“Worst-kept secret in punk rock.”
“Excited that I can finally talk about this.”
“The new album from [BAND] that comes out [FUTURE DATE] is great.”
Chances are good that if you’re a punk fan on the Internet, you’ve read these phrases or variations thereof many, many times. They’re usually posted by music writers, other bands, managers, label owners, or friends of a band in response to a new album, a new label or a tour announcement. I have certainly been guilty of it in the past, and it was almost always more out of sheer excitement and an unfortunate tendency to overshare (Hello, welcome to my website!) than it was a desire to appear more important than those reading my words, but it certainly came off as the latter, didn’t it?
In punk and in life, there’s often an internal struggle when it comes to oversharing. Find out something few people know, and it can feel oddly burdensome, tortuous even, keeping it to yourself. Think about something relatively important that you and few others know right this second. How does it feel when it reenters the front of your mind? Do you feel like you need to say it out loud, or write it down? Do your eyes feel like they’re about to pop out of your head? You’re not alone. Knowledge is power, after all, but when it’s wielded to display some sort of false sense of influence, well, you should be called out on it. I was, and deservedly so. But then again, how do you release that intense pressure from behind your eyes? Here are some things that helped me:
1. Write it down on a piece of paper and stow away the paper somewhere. An easy transfer of memory. Paper has no agenda; it will happily listen to whatever you write on it.
2. Tell an older relative. You will have told someone your secret and, because it’s about a band signing to a label or an upcoming tour, there’s a 99% chance they won’t give a shit. But at least it’s out of your head now.
3. Tell your boss. Same rules apply to #2, except they’ll tell you to get back to work which in turn, will get your mind off the fact that you’ve heard a record others haven’t.
4. Mute mentions of the band/album/tour in question on your social network of choice. Just take yourself completely out of the conversation and let the “haves” dictate their inside knowledge to the “have nots.”
5. Go somewhere secluded, like a forest or a mountain, and yell out the secret as loud as you can. Yell until you’re hoarse. Yell until it feels like the next breath you take will expunge your lungs from your body, and then take that breath.
6. Really, just go outside. It’s warm now.
A while back, a person from a band most of you have heard of came to me looking for advice. Their band had some offers from a few large independent labels you have also heard of, and the luxury of being selective. They wanted my opinion on which deal I thought would benefit them more. I consider this person a friend, and I gave my honest opinion to them. They went against my recommendation. I never asked why they chose to go the other way, or if others were consulted (though I’m sure that was the case) because I didn’t really care that much; I was just happy a good band was benefitting from all their hard work and to be honest, my opinion isn’t super-informed on matters such as those anyway. It was cool to be asked though, and I just left it at that.
That’s no triumph by any means, who really cares right, but it’s an evolution from the guy I used to be. A couple years ago, I would’ve immediately been shouting this from the top of Internet Mountain, and then asking for forgiveness instead of permission after word got out that it was me. If I can change, we all can change. Let’s not act too cool for everyone else because believe me, that shit is not in any way sustainable. Eventually, the stench of desperation and cloying to be liked/respected will catch up to you.
You know something we don’t, or you knew it first. We get it. We also don’t care.