Some of my best memories….
[I must state that I was most likely the one guy in the audience at most of the underattended shows described in these posts. SWA was a total obsession for me.]
“Everything is but the sum of its effects. What something is, whether it be sex or madness, depends altogether on the concerns of interpreters who make things cohere, who create compositions, discourses, and connections, who construct genealogies by composing narratives.” –Nietzsche, Of Genealogy
“When people are used as society’s tools then history shows in turn we will learn that mass confusion rules.” –SWA
Background info (unknown source): “In philosophy and politics the postmodernists see reason, progress, scientific truth, and democracy as just (to use J.F. Lyotard’s expression) “meta-narratives”, big stories the Western world has told itself to convince itself that it’s better than the rest of the world and has a right to the resources and leadership of the world. The belief in objective Truth is a product of the rationalism of the Enlightenment, of a faith in economic and technological progress, and is expressed in the optimistic humanism that ruled the modern Western world for so long. Derrida calls this faith “logocentrism”, the West’s centering its philosophical and political vision on universally valid rational beliefs. The postmodernist wishes to take apart this faith, to substitute local stories for these meta-narratives, to make truth an individual rather than a social phenomena.”
So SWA crawled out of that pond. But wait, wait.
STEVE ALBINI? Steve Albini was himself a joke. Note the frequent references to his ineptitude in the Letters section of FE. Virtually every issue of FE is overloaded with Albini-slander; for instance, “I don’t care if Albini condemns entire genres of music about which he knows next to nothing…” (FE#11, p. 8). What Robert Fripp was to Creem Magazine in the 70s, Steve Albini was to Forced Exposure in the 80s: a pompous, conceited, pretentious ass who served no purpose other than as object of ridicule. That same issue lists “Be SWA” as #17 in a list of “The Most Pathetic Things a Man Can Do (in order of Pathos).” #6 is “Write about rock music” and #8 is “Write about anything besides rock music.” “Listen to SWA” is not mentioned. Personally, I followed Coley’s and Meltzer’s picks more closely than Albini’s. [On a side note, Big Black’s Songs About Fucking suffered from some of the same misinterpretation that SWA suffers from, parody heard literally, yet toying, nevertheless, with the same notions of labeling, pastiche, unfunny jokes, contextualization, and expectations.] That SWA’s music fell on deaf ears is unquestionable. Were their music labeled otherwise, it would rank more highly. The death of LA’s post-punk music scene left a gaping hole devoid of meaning, of significance, highlighted by SSTs declining experimentalism and open-mindedness, as indexed by the signing of Flag clones Bl’ast, and as represented by critical responses to SWA. Don’t deny; don’t forget Dukowski.