Growing up I was spoon-fed a diet of the rock ‘n’ roll greats. My father’s record collection spanned everything from The Beatles to Blondie to Zepplin. I knew the words to AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ before I knew the lyrics to any Spice Girls song and I had heard the Beatles experimental stage long before I ever took the time to listen to Britney.
It wasn’t hard for my parents to foster and nurture an intense love for music and the arts in me. I spent most of my ‘growing up’ period (i.e. late childhood to late teens) in a collection of tiny coastal towns on the South East Coast of Australia, NSW, which was (surprisingly) brimming with art and culture.
It can take effort to discover ‘culture’ it can be hidden in the most unlikely places. Would you expect to find ground-breaking artists hidden in a gallery that used to be the local service station? Probably not. Would you expect to find a thriving music scene to be created, run and executed by fifteen to nineteen year olds? I highly doubt it. Would you judge that the youth of today, who cop a lot of flack for being ‘lazy’ and ‘brainwashed’ – although who brainwashed us? Surely the burden is on the accuser – can successfully run art and music shows across an entire stretch of coastline? I really don’t think you would.
If you burrow under the fact that the area I grew up in has one of the highest underage drinking rates in NSW, if you slip past the terrible public transport and the bigoted High School populated with bullies and mean girls who have caused more than one student to take their own life you discover something in the way of a saviour: The kids, the new school of kids are turning up the volume, making some noise and causing a ruckus. They’re fingering their guitars and bashing their drum kits, they’re writing novels while doing their HSC and painting pictures that will make them enough profit to run away to Europe for a year. The kids from these quiet, sleepy little towns that glean their power from the gossip mill and run off small town politics are starting a revolution. A rock ‘n’ roll revolution.
There are live shows every month, they rent out local halls and print out tickets which they sell at school to their peers for ten dollars a pop. They practise new songs and cover old. They do drum solos and start mosh pits. They enter (and win!) Triple J Unearthed contests. They support Australian acts like hip-hop artist Urthboy even though they play rock ‘n’ roll and Hardcore music and they love it.
I can feel the tremors from their guitars in my own fingertips. The rock ‘n’ roll revolution has started in the tiny town halls of the South East Coast and it’s blowing its way, on the back of a hurricane, all the way up to the big smoke.
Support your local bands, yo. They need the support, they have a dream, or maybe they’re just having fun. But supporting them is the easiest way to help them realise their dream. Don’t you one day want someone to help you realise your own?
ENDNOTES: Ellen W is an Australian university student who enjoys every flavour of tea, spending Saturday nights reading The Economist and every other waking hour reading and writing. You can read some of her stuff HERE: http://www.inthemix.com.au/people/ellensays203 or on her blog www.allofwhichwereamericandreams.tumblr.com