This is another nostalgic post. What’s happening to me? Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of my old band’s first and only record. By total coincidence (which is why I felt compelled to write this post), I also I met my good friend and former Counter Riot cohort, Anthony, for beers and catching up yesterday. This was necessary as we both now live pretty far apart, and he’s busy these days building and repairing guitars, while I barely have enough time to do my laundry.
I could probably write pages and pages about being in this band, but I’ll try to restrict the rambling. To sum up what we did in a phrase would be this: totally uncompromising. We were loud. Like really loud. We had more gear between three people than bands with 5 or 6 members. And it was big, boutique (read: heavy), expensive gear. There were literally no shortcuts taken in Counter Riot. We recorded an album in a real studio with a real producer, and it took a lot of time. In this era of bedroom recordings and plug-ins that can doctor every facet of digital audio, we were pretty old-fashioned by comparison.
However, the band was completely unsustainable. We burned bridges, were banned from playing certain venues, frequently had other bands not want to share bills with us, and generally polarized anyone we ever dealt with. Beyond that, we never found our audience. We jammed a lot, but were too aggressive for the jam band and festival scene. Our music had a lot of rock and punk elements, but we couldn’t seem to fit in with the club circuit. Above all else, nobody really seemed to care about what we were trying to do (although that’s pretty common with regards to playing original music, and speaks to the difficulty in generating interest from the Philly local music scene in general). As musicians, we should always be doing what we do for ourselves, but it’s easy to get burnt out without seeing too many external results, particularly when you take the aforementioned “no shortcuts” route. Not to say that there weren’t mild successes: regional touring, nationwide radio airplay, and a very small faction of militantly devoted fans certainly helped.
In the end, it was great to be in a band that did exactly what it wanted to do, with real integrity, and I’m incredibly proud of the record we made. I haven’t listened to it in a while, as I usually don’t revisit projects, but the two year anniversary of its release gives me reason to check it out again.
Also, while searching for an image to add to this post, I found this. I thought it was kinda hilarious to be “officially removed.”