Someone told me that she don’t understand why anyone would want to be a critic, which strikes her as merely a way to put oneself on a pedestal and opine. However, the voluntary critiques I provide via DayAfterDayDC do more than that. The opportunity to run my virtual mouth to dozens of like-minded Google searchers a day is appealing, but the chance to render my judgments is just a small part of why maintaining a media outlet is fulfilling. That conversation made me realize that a lot of people probably don’t “get it,” so here are the reasons I’ve kept DayAfterDayDC going for three years.
1. Documenting the Scene & Propagating the Ethos
Why document the scene? To support it; I like to think of myself as a cheerleader for the scene. The main reason I started the site was that no one else was doing it. If you want something done, do it yourself. In D.C., punk-ridden music is almost never afforded any respect by the establishment press (or the alternative press), and I wasn’t familiar with anyone trying to document the contemporary scene on an accessible level, so I opted to.
Punk in D.C. ain’t history, it’s vibrant – and it still can be whatever one wants it to be. DayAfterDay is a way to get the word out.
I don’t want to write an essay about what punk is. Suffice it to say: Get your rules away from me. If I want to write about heavy metal or soft indie or anything else via my e-zine, I surely will.
Punk = You don’t need permission for anything (look it up) + being different by being yourself.
Those ideas are the basis of punk’s appeal to me – that and the fact that I prefer the aesthetic because it validates my ever-boiling cauldron of hatred, anger, angst, unquenchable thirst for speed and ravenous hunger for kicks, etc. – you know, my feelings.
Although punk is nearly 40 years old, the initial style and ethos and their progeny still appeal to me in ways that few other things do (particularly other aesthetics) – and is 40 years even really that old for an artistic movement / sub-cultural ideology? I formally studied political science, not art history: For an ideology, 40 years ain’t shit.
When something better comes along, I’ll be the first in line; I’ve been trying to invent that thing for years.
In addition to the aural aesthetic, the “DIY thing” is great, too; the fact that I see such a personal, poorly-disseminated endeavor as a good use of my life shows what I think of the “DIY thing.”
1A. Providing information
I generally dig the bands/people/scene and I want to help people learn about ‘em. In particular, I want to help young adults like my erstwhile self learn about fun times and fast bands in the big city that are happenin’ in the time in which we’re living. In D.C. punk, there’s far too much focus on the past.
Based on the impressive variety of Google searches that draw people to DayAfterDC, it is clear that there is significant interest in reading about subjects such as “Corpse Fortress parking,” “Nicktape and chicks” and “Jen Hauser.”
Top Google searches that brought people to DayAfterDay: Corpse Fortress (377 searches), Magrudergrind (139), Bodycop (86), DC punk shows (80), Ilsa band & similar searches (68), Ian Svenonius interview (39), Corpse Fortress DC (38), Dayafterdaydc (36), Corpse Fortress shows (33), Mischief Brew (28), Spoonboy interview (26), punk shows dc (26), windhand (24), Sick Fix (23), Lotus Fucker (16), Chad Clark DC (14), Sad Bones (10), Greg Mazur Baltimore (8), Mass Movement of the Moth (8), Jen Hauser (7), The Coits are quite possibly the greatest band ever (7), Kiki Tropea (7), Tim Lorndale (7), Pat Vogel interview (7), Brian Baker interview (5), Revolta thrash (5), Beauty Pill Benneton (3), etc.
Where else can all these wretches – hunched over their keyboards as their lives slip away, peering into to our modern oracle – turn for information about these and all the related subjects DayAfter covers so insightfully?
It’s cool to be able to provide information to the fans and the curious potential fans. In a world of marketing, hype, and similar sewage, I am happy to provide actual information.
People all over the country (and beyond) looking for insight into cool D.C. bands, etc. can get that info from someone who actually knows something about the community.
Also, the site is a potential time-capsule for the future, and will be particularly valuable after D.C. gets nuked.
2. Creative outlet
This aspect of the site is far more important to me now than it was at first; it’s actually far and away the most important reason I work on it nowadays.
Between the ages of 17 and 29, I was a student journalist and then a professional blessed with a steady flow of work as an arts, sports and news reporter and editor – all of which drives one to write creatively, straining to produce prose that is simultaneously informative, vivid, entertaining, insightful, and economical.
Even in those halcyon days, however, I wanted an outlet where I could raise my freak flag to half-mast half-anonymously. I couldn’t be weird or obnoxious – or write about my friends’ weird, unambitious, unpopular bands – in the newspaper, but I could do that online, for kicks.
When my life-sustaining stream of freelance assignments dried up early in 2011, I realized how exceedingly blessed I was that I’d always received reportorial work.
With no journalism $ flowing my way, I spiraled down a vortex of debt and madness and sought refuge in a well-appointed office where I currently correct the spelling and grammar of businesspeople and mathematical analysts. Consequently, I crave a creative outlet.
DayAfter allows me to write with verve which must be wholly bleached from my daily bread.
… I also initially wanted to create the site to do some absurdist / funny writing, which professional journalism generally doesn’t encourage.
A lot of DayAfter’s humor is derived from extreme narcissism. This mocks and highlights the appalling narcissism of my time. I also endeavor to treat D.I.Y. rockers as celebrities, an obvious formula for hilarity ha.
3. Compiling material for a book
I hope to publish a book rife with interviews with my favorite D.C. musicians and reviews of local shows. The site is a draft of a book which will likely be little more remunerative than its source material, but which will, hopefully, give me more credibility with potential employers.
4. Putting myself on a pedestal
All I have ever wanted in life is to sit in my rightful place.
So that’s it. See ya in the pit!
Fan response: Critics are less useful than even musicians, and I think punk is dead, personally.
Response to response: This is journalism, not criticism; punk is dead like blues and jazz and Woody Guthrie and Francis Scott Key.