Monday, March 2, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

You know what? I am sick of people looking at me and the bands I listen to like we're uneducated drunks who just like to slam on guitars and scream into microphones. Credit needs to be given where credit is due. And folks, I'd like to point out that these alternative bands, as well as myself, are educated and have an amazing sense of literature which they have woven into their music and messages. 

The list could go on forever, but I'll try to keep it short. 

First, let me start with a little band known as Envy On The Coast. These boys, in their early 20s, have
exploded onto the scene with a sound all their own. But not without a little help from a poet named Homer. 
Remember, he wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey. You probably read them a long time ago. Anyway, EOTC are familiar with these epics, and have pulled on ideas from the Odyssey to form their latest album Lucy Gray

Check out how the 12th song entitled "I'm Breathing...Are You Breathing Too?starts:

No, there is no Odyssey.
There's no Penelope,
just maids and suitors.

Hmm. Kind of makes you think they read it, huh?

Let's move onto a band named Silverstein. Yes, they got their name from writer Shel Silverstein, but that's not the point. Have a listen to a song named "Your Sword vs. My Dagger" and you might just hear some hints to this old English dude named Shakespeare. That's right, everybody's favorite. Weird, these guys kind of understand his writing. 

Check out the lyrics:

Drink the poison when you think it's over.
Stabbing yourself when you think it's too late.
Tragic endings are your thing, you love them.
You love letting go, the ending's the same.
Drink the poison when you think it's over.
Inevitable, Verona lives inside of you.

You might want to re-read Romeo and Juliet and Two Men From Verona to "get" this. Good luck.

Not enough to convince you? Okay, well let's take a look a some hot names in the alternative scene. We'll just see how disconnected from literature these bands really are. Would anyone like to know where the band Chiodos got the name for their last album? It was named Bone Palace Ballet. That's funny, I seem to remember an author
named Charles Bukowski releasing a few poems aptly named Bone Palace Ballet. Since Bukowski's work came out in 1998, I'm assuming lead singer Craig Owens read it, and decided it would be fitting for his band's 2007 release. Wait, he must have read it? Yes.

Oh, and while we're talking about Bukowski, let's not forget another one of his works entitled The Pleasures of the Damned. Sound sort of familiar, kids? That's right, Bayside played off this title with one of their songs. Remember? The Tortures of the Damned.

Like I said, the list could go on forever. I'm trying to keep it short, but I can't help myself. This makes me angry. 

Anyone ever heard of a band called, As I Lay Dying? That's a bad-ass name right? Do you realize that As I Lay Dying is the name of one of American author William Faulkner's most popular novels? No? Oh, you've got so much to learn. 

Okay, one last example for you haters. The band Aiden is recording again, and this time lead singer Wil Francis is looking to a new place for inspiration. Literature. 

He explained this in a brief interview in the latest issue of Alternative Press:

"I spent the last year or so just reading book after book after book, instead of sitting online and e-mailing people or watching TV. I've tried to expand my mind in a literary sense. Instead of writing every song about things that have happened in my life, I'm writing songs about stories, short stories that I've written in the past and turned into songs, or different things that I think are interesting."

Okay, I'm done. Seriously, if this doesn't prove the point that we're not all stupid and we understand literature, I don't know what will. That's really the beauty of music in general though. It can expand your mind into different avenues you didn't know were even out there. Hopefully, some people will recognize the literary influence on the alternative scene today and give us a little credit. We know how to read too!

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