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Working for the Lizard People

10-13 minutes

Have you been out on the indie/punk/rock music streets lately? It is BRUTAL. Total carnage. It’s like West Side Story, except the Sharks and Jets are fighting over a single block, and the block is a NFT, and instead of Maria and Tony it’s Scene Police, CREEM’s official drama-rama column, and you. Let’s drink the gossip poison together!

A photo of Jason Van Tatenhove testifying at the January 6th hearings.

Photo via Getty Images North America

Everything Sucks, am I right?

I Only Like the First Album

Remember Jan. 6th? It was kind of like V For Vendetta if, instead of a single anarchist in a Guy Fawkes mask, it was a few thousand OnlyFan reply guys whose politics largely consisted of “I will literally believe the stupidest shit imaginable (and, also, racism).” You know, guys who wore masks made of Blue Lives Matter Punisher skulls, wraparound sunglasses, and cheese curd crumble.

Anyway, there were some hearings in D.C. about it. Pretty normal stuff, totally outside the Scene Police purview! EXCEPT: one of the witnesses, a former spokesperson for the fascist paramilitary group Oath Keepers (a far-right organization of strict Constitutionalists—in that they want to bring back slavery—sympathetic to King Leopold’s aims but not formed in response to the Belgian hardcore/metal band Oathbreaker) named Jason Van Tatenhove showed up wearing a Descendents’ Everything Sucks t-shirt, under a denim jacket with Deftones pins.

The Descendents, perhaps hoping to avoid any connecting of dots between the lyrics of “Clean Sheets”* and incel culture, issued a response on Twitter saying, “We completely disavow groups like the Oath Keepers and in no way condone their hateful ideology.” Deftones did not comment. Possibly because they either saw all the “fucking PUNK ROCK” comments posted in response to the Descendents’ tweet, and opted to avoid the cringe. Or because their guitarist and noted antivaxer, Stephen Carpenter, didn’t want it to look like the band was working for the lizard people.

It should be noted that Van Tatenhove was appearing before the committee to denounce the Oath Keepers. Describing how the group’s fascist tendencies eventually became too fascist for his taste, Van Tatenhove told the assorted senators, “I only like the first album.”

*Tensions were high in the squad car as Scene Police debated, Training Day style, whether “Bikage”, “Hope”, “Kabuki Girl”, “Myage”, “Catalina”, “Sour Grapes”, or “I'm Not a Loser” worked best for this joke.

Image of Cro-Mags' John Joseph, taken from his Instagram account.

Photo via John Joseph's Instagram Account

Meat is for pussies and so are selfies.

Look Around and What Do I See / Bad Takes All Around Me

Speaking of anti-vaxxers, John Joseph, former singer of Cro-Mags and notable disbeliever in dinosaurs, decided to denounce cancel culture on Twitter, again, saying, “Went to punk shows in New York City 1977. Got into Ramones, the Clash, Sex Pistols, the Bad Brains, sang in the Cro-Mags…if any of those bands, including mine came out today, we would ALL be canceled by the current Internet punk/hardcore scene. Let that f*cking sink in.”  Accompanied by a meme so lackluster it might as well have said: “You can tell me. I’m definitely not a narc.”

Over here at S.P. CREEM HQ, we are hesitant to even address this. Both having a lil’ fun at Mr. Mags’ expense and debating the societal changes that might get the (??) Clash (????) canceled (????????) is beginning to feel a bit like Jessica Rothe’s character in Happy Death Day. But seeing as we haplessly used our Hard Times joke in last month’s roundup and we failed to comment on yet another quarrel between New York’s “realest” tour guide and his former bassist/would-be assailant (not to mention our incontrovertible appreciation for Jessica Rothe’s entire oeuvre), we here at Scene Police feel a certain responsibility. It comes with all this power, you know? So, since JJ has a very punk tendency to hide mean comments, we’re just going to tweet the lyrics to “Malfunction” at him till he blocks us. Then we’re going to go outside and yell at some grass.

A screenshot of Cro-Mags' John Joseph bad tweet.

A screenshot of John Joseph's tweet

Rockin' in the Free World.

And, not to pile-on to Mr. Joseph, but we couldn’t help but notice that, just a couple weeks later, JJ C-M posted, “I have never heard a successful person say ‘Mondays suck’.” We can think of a certain pussy, for whom meat (lasagna) is always for, with a net worth of (according to the entirely reliable indicator of typing in “Jim Davis net worth”) five billion dollars, who might disagree.

(Five billion dollars feels…high, but Scene Police has half a dozen Odie dolls and only two or three copies of Age of Quarrel, so the point stands.)


A press shot of the indie rock band Wednesday.

Photo by Charlie Boss

Because "Thursday" was taken.

Media Roundup for Landlords, Crybabies, and Baby Landlords

Remember the media watchdog site, Gawker? It was occasionally good, occasionally bad, and it was destroyed by some of the corniest people alive. (It is also the reason why 87% of online pundits tell jokes in the exact same way. RIP Gawker.) Scene Police is hesitant to step in the late site’s shoes but, unfortunately for everyone, this month brought more than its fair share of media brouhaha. All we can do is try, and just pray no shitty dads in red leotards take notice.

This must be how Scene Internal Affairs must feel. Let’s get this out of the way fast.

OK, *deep breath*. A few months ago, the music blog Stereogum published a long essay called “Why Are Musicians Expected To Be Miserable On Tour Just To Break Even?” about a viral Twitter thread from a band called Wednesday. The band had recently lost a fair amount of money touring, because apparently they thought it was 2004 and that there was any reason a band should play SXSW, other than taking a nice working vacation. Or to put some money in the pockets of Austin/Denton’s garage rock bartender population—a good reason as far as Scene Police is concerned!

When the band admitted to this somewhat embarrassing fact, they were inundated with even more embarrassing responses, largely consisting of Spotify-rotted music “fans” who proudly declared on Beyoncé’s internet that any musician that isn’t willing to literally die in a hot car outside of Tulsa is essentially a landlord or a crybaby or a baby landlord. (Awe!)

Either way, if Wednesday (the band) was made up of mewling infants or feudal lords, they should still stop complaining and leave some room for real Twitter complaints like climate change or how some fifteen-year-old with a Red Skull avatar and 78 followers said Scorcese had a “big butt."

Wednesday (the band) wisely declined to be part of the Stereogum essay, but one of Sky Ferriera’s ex-boyfriends gave some quotes, saying that tour vans were carceral, or something. Everybody felt weird for a couple days and then forgot about it.

The band had recently lost a fair amount of money touring, because apparently they thought it was 2004 and that there was any reason a band should play SXSW, other than taking a nice working vacation

Fast forward a couple weeks, and humanity was faced with the one-two punch of some music writer asking Stereogum for $185 after they posted her Instagram clip of the newly reunited adult-core band Karate (don’t worry about it) without telling her. Then the publisher of Stereogum, either filled with the spirit of Wednesday (the band), or the spirit of SXSW (the vacation spot), sent a mean email in response, basically calling the music writer a fool, a cad, a scallywag, and a true mountebank. SO, *deep breath*, the writer posted the email exchange and everyone took sides, largely siding with neither party.

Then everybody forgot about that UNTIL, *deeper breath*, Bandcamp—the music streaming/distribution platform and the reason Scene Police pays its rent on the 15th every month—ran a two-part essay covering indie band Dummy’s national tour, in which both band and essay writer said some decidedly unkind (if pretty funny) things about poor (or not) Wednesday (the band), Sky Ferriera’s ex-boyfriend’s band, and a bunch of other bands that Scene Police didn’t (and doesn’t!) care enough to identify. Then both Dummy (who Scene Police likes) and the Bandcamp author (same) were shocked, shocked, SHOCKED that the people they named took issue with their DIY war criminal accusations—and that they had the gall to make indie rock about money.

Suffice to say, most people chose a side largely dependent on who they were already friends with, and feelings were hurt all around. Scene Police (effete and impudent useful idiots for the State as we are) opted for their usual coward’s path of making vague jokes at everyone’s expense, and everyone, right and/or wrong, proved to be so thin-skinned you’d think we were all in the Cro-Mags.

The moral: next time you're at SXSW, be sure to catch the Riverboat Gamblers if they’re playing. And if any of the members are tending bar, you better tip at least one dollar for every Lone Star.

Using the Webb Telescope To Spy on a Kickball League

Oh, right, one more media thing: Maximum RnR’s Instagram posted their weekly radio show. The accompanying image was a member of the Breathing Light holding up a sign in front of Johnny Ramone’s grave that said, “Johnny Ramone was a RACIST. Are you one too? Rock and Roll has always been black music.” The post was quickly filled with comments (312 and counting) left by boomer punks yelling at the San Francisco punk ’zine for being politically correct, disrespectful to Johnny Ramone’s memory, and intentionally or not, answering Breathing Light’s question.

Now, Scene Police are aware that the Ramones guitarist was famously both right wing and purportedly a bit of a prick. We don’t know if Johnny Ramone was, strictly speaking, a racist. We haven’t read any books about the Ramones because reading a book about the Ramones is like using the Webb telescope to spy on a kickball league. But, for the sake of this discussion, let’s just say he was. And, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Johnny is looking down/up/or laterally from some purgatorial nether-void decorated like the Continental green room at the MRR Instagram post, and is bummed at the disrespect. Maybe that proves John Joseph’s tweet right. Maybe, as we are typing this, zoomers with purple hair are burning copies of Road to Ruin live on TikTok. What this really proves is that the punk police, so dependable when it comes to patrolling BeReal to make sure their fellow dis-rockers are black clad at any moment of day, aren't carrying their weight. They must have fallen into a k-hole, waiting a full eighteen years after Johnny’s death to get around to canceling him. Scene Police canceled Johnny Ramone the day we got our first Descendents record and realized that fascists were, above all else, real twerps. All we can say is, “Do better, Punk Police, do better.”

weoooooWeooooooooweeeeeOOOOOOOOOO Scene Police!

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