In the Name of Nonconformity

You’re supposed to be hip if you know about obscure bands that most folks haven’t heard of.  Well, I’m too old to consider myself hip, but as a world music fan, I listen to a lot of stuff from artists my family and friends are not familiar with.  Artists like Yulduz Usmanova.  Huun-Huur-Tu.  Hassan Hakmoun.  Tinariwen.  Hedningarna.  Anything with didgeridoos and/or throat-singing.  My main rule is the more exotic the better!

Once I went searching on YouTube to see if they had any music from the Uygurs, the Turkish tribe of northwest China.  They did, but I was ticked off because my search also found videos about Cenk Uygur, a former MSNBC host who never made any sense whatsoever.  Yuck!

But seriously, today’s hipsters also lose interest in a band if it is successful enough to make the jump from indie to mainstream.  I guess they feel the band members have sold their souls, if they can make good money off their talent.

Here’s one of those funny “man in the street” interviews where Jimmy Kimmel sent some of his staff members to a music festival last year and asked the hipsters questions about bands with made-up names.  Of course the hipsters could not have heard of them, but they acted completely knowledgeable about them anyway.  I wonder what they do for a living, if they can lie that good?


I’m also reminded of an incident that happened when my daughter was in high school.  This was a small private school in a Baptist church, and according to her, every year the principal delivered a speech to the students, denouncing rock and rock as music from the devil.  That’s not too big a surprise in a straight-laced school like that, but it turned out the source material the principal used was out of date.  I‘m sure if I had heard it when I was a student, back in the 1970s, it would have sounded exactly the same.  Bands like Alice Cooper and KISS were the main examples given, not more recent fare like Marilyn Manson or any gangsta rappers.  For the record, I would not have minded if my daughter went to an Alice Cooper or KISS concert, because there is so much music out there that is worse.  And back in 2004 I learned that Alice Cooper is both a Christian and a Republican; he just happens to still wear the creepy makeup.  I bet if that principal had heard some of the strange music I like, she would have worried more about my listening habits than those of my daughter!

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