by Mark Hanford
Has anyone other than me noticed that Bad Religion and Pennywise are the same band? Or maybe Pennywise is Bad Religion in a time warp, back when they were more punk? Even the singers sound the same. Has anyone ever seen both of t hese bands play a show together? If so, could you tell when one started and the other stopped? The thought that these bands are interchangeable gave me a brilliant idea on how to increase the fame and fortune of so many of these cookie cutter bands that a re jumping on the punk and pop-punk bandwagon (this does not infer that Pennywise are bandwagon jumpers, cuz they aren't really- they've been around for quite a while now).
I don't know how many of you are familiar with the way that the Harlem Globetrotters work (or at least use to work, since it's been 10 years since I've paid any attention to them), but that' s the way I propose these bands should be set up. You see, in the Globetrotters, there are some key players that everyone remembers (Curly, Meadowlark Lemon, etc.) and then there are a bunch of other players who round out the teams. It's the 's' on the en d of team that is the key to my idea. You see, the Globetrotters have more than one team touring at any given moment! They just rotate the famous players between the teams so that everyone gets to see at least a few of them. One team will play in the US, while the other is playing Europe or wherever. This way, they get twice the revenue, and are able to spread their name around that much more quickly (not that the Globetrotters need name recognition, but it still works that way).
So, why don't a few of these bands who sound alike (and c'mon, does anyone from Pennywise actually believe they DON'T sound like Bad Religion?) team up with other bands in the same sub-genre of punk, and adopt the same name? They could all learn each others songs, and then head out on tour, playing in various cities around the globe, garnering new fans, selling records, and making name recognition for themselves at least twice as fast as they would otherwise (really, it could be more than twice as fast, because there is really no limit to the number of bands who could link up together all the Orange County hardcore bands could become one unit, for example). Then, once or twice a year, the bands could all get together i n one central location to meet up and learn new songs from each other, write more music, and learn new witty stage banter and faces to make while drumming, so that everyone was ensured of the same quality entertainment no matter which group they happened to catch.
The only problem with this whole scenario would be when it came down to recording. Who really wants five bass players on the same record? But, just like the Globe Trotters, favorite personalities would emerge from these bands, a nd I think that these would be the best to play on the record. You could judge who was most famous were by who got talked about in the fanzines, mentioned on the net, or was arrested the most times for spitting on cop cars.
The benefits to this setup are enormous. Not only would the band be making a ton of cash, but really, they'd be doing it for the kids. I mean, EVERYONE would get a chance to see their favorite band more often, meet with the m embers, and let them crash on their floors. It would do nothing but promote scene unity, because what could be more united that a band with some 20 members spread out all over the country?
Okay, so here's the plan. We need to start a campaign to get some of these bands to join forces. You can e-mail me your suggests for what bands should be linked up, and then we'll see what we can do about convincing them to g o for it. After they read this little column, I'm sure they will be more than convinced it is the wave of the future.
I hate endnotes, but I have a couple of things that I wanted to mention that won't fit anywhere in the above column. First off, after 15 years as part of the Boise, Idaho punk scene, I have decided to move. I am heading to Santa Cruz right around New Yea rs day. You can still e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to me at my new address. After New Years, I will be at PO Box 8059, Santa Cruz, CA 95061.
Secondly, I turn 30 in January. I have a feeling that this has something to do with my decision to move, but I haven't really studied myself enough to know if that is true or not. I don't think I've done enough in the 15 years I've been a punk rocker, an d I think that maybe I can accomplish more if I'm in a more populated area. Santa Cruz is about 75 miles from San Francisco, so it is still sorta like a small scene, but it has a lot of opportunities (for bands, zines, etc.) clustered around in the area. We shall see. Hell, maybe I'll even form my own 10 band supergroup and have them tour the world. I'm old, decrepit, and outta here. -Mark Hanford