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It's a shame that Neville Wells will be the scapegoat for the larger issue. Though Neville's irresponsible attitude has finally come to bare, stop and think how many others have fallen and who'll be next. This scene has a numerous amount of people whom are accidents waiting to happen.
Everyone should leave Neville alone. He has his own demons to bare...as many of us do as homosapien bipeds. You should focus your efforts on; sending blessings to the family and friends of his victims, his wife and newborn child and all who have had their lives changed forever because of this reckless incident.
I'm not attempting to discount the many issues raised about the climate there. I'm just pointing the finger at more people than those blamed in the villions of posts about this tragic story. By the way, those people whom are sending such vicious emails should understand that Neville had and has people who care about him...even as horrible as this situation is. So don't expect those people to join in the feeding frenzy. Leave them alone and let them wrap their heads around the fact that the friend they care about finally executed the act they were so afraid he would. Many of you also have friends who've massively screwed up and you stood by them, although NEVER minimizing the issue(s) at hand.
He murdered someone as sure as if he'd used a gun, ruined many innocent lives, neglected the lives of his newborn child and wife and finally destroyed himself. No one should EVER forget that nor the behaviors of the people around him.
As friends of mine and I discussed this matter, the same issues came up; how many years have we been complaining about the culture being destroyed be the "scene." To blame Neville is to scapegoat him for the bigger problem. DJ Denard and I complained about the "drug" issue in 1989. I've talked to countless others within the industry about the same problem as far back as I can remember. Everyone I talked to about it just saw me as a whiner, discounting any validity to the statement. Then a few years later the Limelight went down, as well as the Tunnel and a myriad of other clubs/venues being raided and padlocked. NO ONE SPOKE UP!
As one of the persistent lone voices for the culture, though we all know there were more people who were afraid for various reasons to speak out, I've said and will continue to say loudly, the "scenesters" were and are to blame, NOT the promoters. It was the club goers themselves that created the climate everyone now feels free to vent about.
I guess I was not a victim of their many alleged shady business tactics because I represent a dying breed within this scene, so I caused them (or anyone else) no threat. I had no idea about the infighting many people now proclaim. But if I'd been informed about the stuff everyone is talking about now, I would have spoken for those who couldn't speak and tried to support those who spoke out. I agree that it SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED. I and the entire s6k network stand behind all of you and support ANY effort to rid our community of this crap.
This should be used as a huge lesson to EVERYONE to SPEAK UP. If someone threatens or attempts to intimidate you, SPEAK UP...TELL EVERYONE WHO WILL LISTEN. But don't character assassinate. If your grievance is valid, the truth will be more than enough to get your point across.
In reference to the use of drugs, there's peer pressure and drug abuse EVERYWHERE, not just at the Batcave NYC. If we were to be honest, we could name many other promoters and DJ's who need a check up from the neck up. I could also name many other events and clubs that I personally don't go to because I feel they are filled with irresponsible alcoholic lab rats.
Because Miles Davis used drugs doesn't mean every jazz musician should or does use them. Every genre has it's drug abusers. Skinny Puppy is one of my favorite bands and has been since 1985. That never lead me to think that drug abuse was cool because they used them. It only reinforce my staunch opposition to drug abuse. I know plenty of people who saw Neville and MANY others staggering around wasted and said nothing. I never saw people say they were disgusted...except those who stopped going because of it.
How many times have any of you heard someone brag about how trashed they got somewhere? Why didn't someone say "shut the f*&k up and grow up?" I'm surprised that this was a surprise to anyone. There are far too many accidents waiting to happen in the scene. Drugs are part of EVERY scene and genre, but YOU don't have to be "Sheeple."
Being subculture means more than wearing the "right" clothes and listening to the "right" music. It means, to the people I associate with, not buying into the crap that's pushed on you. That means fashion fads, peer pressure or whatever. No one's telling you to be straight edge. Get buzzed, get high, but remember who you are and don't lose your sense of self. Getting buzzed and partying shouldn't be the equivalent of being a pharmaceutical lab rat. There was a time when producing "industrial" nights were a problem because the venues would complain that we weren't a "drinking" crowd. Meaning they would have a horrible bar tab even when the place was crowded. That hasn't been a problem for years.
People HAVE to be responsible for themselves and those around them. I've heard many people talk behind their "friends" back about their drug problems and other issues. That does nothing except humiliate them.
Instead, tell those whom you consider your friends that they are screwing up so they can get help if they need it. I associate with people who keep each other in check. If I were to do things that made me less than myself, I know I would be called on them. But I don't, and never have, followed anyone to be cool or because they are in positions of power. Their stature only made me scrutinize their actions more. My true role models do not exist in the club scene. I only hope that this informs others to scrutinize everyone's behavior, especially their own, and to modify themselves until they are truly centered independent-minded people.
one of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King;
As for the mediocre climate of the scene we now deal with, Neville didn't tell anyone to request the same music every week. Neville didn't tell anyone to drink until they didn't know who they were going home with. Neville didn't tell anyone to use any drug that they could find and/or afford. That was THEIR choice. That's why the scene has no similarity to the culture that brought all of us here to start with. Who the hell made "future pop" popular in the industrial scene? Not Neville. But guess who did?
Recently I had a huge discussion about the scene and its decline. The multi-generational aspect of the conversation left a great impression on me. The scene has turned into a bunch a vapid alterna-bots with seemingly very little concern for the culture we hold so dear. Take a look at the Skinny Puppy video "Ain't it Dead yet?". You'll see that the people hadn't been informed yet that there was a fashion code. While you are at it, check the Einstursende "3/4" vid and check the fashion code there. You won't see one.
My primary issue is that we will always have a stagnant scene if our audience doesn't allow us as DJ's and promoters to expand their horizons. I use the Dead, Zappa, Parliament Funkadelic, Pink Floyd and Fish as my examples. Their audiences allow them to explore the full range of the talents and visions. Even when they warp versions of their songs to the point of rendering them unrecognizable, their audiences enable them (or grants them the honor) to explore. They have some of the largest audiences and never feel they will be playing to an empty venue. Then why in our world are we forced into "top 40" formats or almost certain obscurity for non-assimilation? Are we more mainstream than the examples I've given? Where is the full range within our genre. Who will nurture the new bands & new ideas?
Especially in New York City, I'm shocked that in 2004 I'm supposed to play music that's more mainstream than the music I played in 1987 in NJ while producing events in the heart of Springsteen and Bon Jovi. That's not progression in my opinion. If I have to do that to survive, I'd rather start going to Fish shows where the people have a more expansive few of what music appreciation means.
That said, it's time to take a serious look at this culture and assess why it's basically a "POP" scene in "cool" clothing. The scene couldn't be more mainstream and that's NOT Neville's fault. It's the fault of every person who pulled the culture down to where it is today. Neville didn't make VNV Nation popular. If the clubgoers demanded change, by not going, he would have done anything to get people in the door. But EVERYONE went, complained behind his back, and then went again the following week.
I'm not into the mainstream stuff. Although I think that everyone should have access to dance to and play what they like. I've never castigated anyone for using the "top 40" strategy. I just didn't go, but referred anyone who did like it because I want every party to succeed.
I've had people come into the DJ booth and say, "Hey play some Skinny Puppy" after I had just played something off of "Bites," "Mind" or "Remission". Ask most of the DJ's that have been around for a while and they'll ALL tell you about the frustrations of being nearly forced to play what the "scenesters" want versus being allowed to turn people onto new stuff or older music that hasn't been heard in a while. You can't have an expanding and growing culture when the DJ's are held hostage to the "top 10" industrial format. Promoters are trying to make a living and will do what the clubgoers dictate.
Your power is in your pocket. Support the nights you truly believe in and don't go to the ones that offend your sensibilities...if you have any. We had the same problems in the punk scene 20+ years ago. And you see where that went. If we can only have an "industrial" scene under the strict confines of predetermined formats, it's not the scene I entered nor one that I think will be interesting enough to endure the test of time. Meaning, years of growth and expansion so in 2020 we will not be completely mainstreamed while another genres dare, as we once did, to explore uninhibited.
Here's a challenge to ALL of you club goers. Take a cold hard look at the "pop" elements of the scene and DEMAND better. Ask yourself why you have to get wasted to enjoy the music you beg so much for. Allow the DJ to do their job. Dance to a track you never heard before because it moves you...not because it's a hit. Actually go an entire night without asking the DJ to play a request.(Unless of course your at Contempt NYC where that's their thing) If you do make a request, ask the DJ to play something you've never heard before. Dare to wear something that's NOT in fashion...but looks cool TO YOU.
And to the promoters and DJ's. I dare you ALL to actually live your dream and explore. Play your dream set for your next 4 gigs. Not the one you've convinced yourself you needed to play to keep people on the floor. The one you thought the crowd wouldn't allow you to play. You are a DJ, not a human jukebox. It's YOUR job to take the people on a journey. YOU get music that average people can't long before they do...so play it. If you don't turn them on to other music, who will? Break the chains...ignore what "everyone's playing" and do your job. Play the odd track you've never heard anyone else play. Play a track from one of the many unknown bands that have been playing to 16 people at the Pyramid, Batcave or wherever. Dig into your collection and check out the track from one of the villion CD's you've been given because they hoped that you would be the one DJ that would actually play it instead of throwing it in the "circular file cabinet." You'll be happy you did. As a long-time "free" DJ, I assure you that you'll find a whole new world inside your own music collections.
Stay Hard*Stay Real*Stay
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