JUSTIN BEIBER: 3 (UGLY)TRUTHS ABOUT THE IOW MUSIC SCENE YOU SHOULD KNOW
Justin Beiber… you are the anti-christ of music. You look like an NWA-obsessed Donny Osmond and you sound like Donny Osmond yodelling though a French-horn made of shit.
It has come to my attention however, that according to (completely unsourced) rumours republished by our very own Daily Mail-lite, you’re shopping for an IOW holiday home. My pet hamster Norman is extremely savage and has a penchant for attacking anything that bears your likeness. Be warned: if you move here he will almost certainly chew off your face.
For this reason, you may well have to start your career all over again, faceless (or at best well-chewed) on the Isle o’ fucking Wight.
But fear not: I have made you a local music-scene survival guide. Some of these IOW-centred truths will prove difficult to hear. All will sound twisted and cynical. If egos get bruised and Icarus wings get burnt that’s frankly your problem. It’s doubtful any of your Beliebers will recognise you once my hamster chews your face off. Besides, at least half the globe already thought you were a dick when you were wearing that creepy Donny Osmond mask (and made wanker signs behind your back) so if you want to learn how to survive as an IOW muso you’d do well to stop puking on stage and heed my advice.
#3. Venue owners/manager only care about what they can get from you (getting it free = better)
Justin Beiber Bellend,
Now you’re just another faceless fuck-puppet competing for gigs on the IOW know this: for every nice publican and bar owner looking to give you a break there are at least thirty 80s movie rejects that would rip off your head and shit down your throat if they thought this would make a profit.
FACT #1: most of the nice bar owners don’t last or get screwed over by the breweries and/or other less scrupulous bar owners with freakish fetus-shaped heads.
FACT #2: all the bastards remaining really care about is drinks sales (sub-fact: even if you’re gigging for free and you pack the place on what would otherwise be a quiet night, don’t expect said bastards to give you any of the money).
FACT #3: if they tell you they really like what you’re doing they’re lying.
FACT #4: if they tell you they can’t give you any money tonight but they’ll pay you for gigs at some point in the future they’re lying.
FACT #5: if they tell you they can’t pay you but they can get you on the bill at the Isle of Wight Festival they’re probably telling the truth. At this point you should probably start to cry.
#2. No Isle of Wight Band Ever Got Big By Playing The Festivals. EVER.
Justin Beiber Helmet Head,
I’m hoping you’ve embraced this opportunity to reinvent yourself. Something other than the musical equivalent of being buggered sonically by a Smurf with a Sunny Delight bottle would be nice.
Congratulations! IOW music-scene tradition dictates that you (along with the island’s other 250000 bands) have blagged an unpaid festival slot! But what’s this? Nobody coming to the Isle of Wight to drink over-priced weak-beer and get stuck in an endless queue of traffic on the Friday night (before finally wading onto the site at some point on Saturday morning) appears to give a fuck about your new band/set/pretentiously-named side-project?
Don’t get me wrong Justin “I Am Infinitely More Interesting Now I Haven’t Got A Face” Beiber: I understand your excitement at playing the Isle Of Wight Festival. It’s a big deal right? Maybe even another big break. Not everybody gets to share a stage with the mighty Derek Sandy.
Except NO ISLE OF WIGHT BAND EVER GOT BIG BY PLAYING THE FESTIVALS. If you’re lucky a lost and cold sleep-bereft reveller might wander past and buy several of your band t-shirts. 1 of the 3000 free CDs you throw at a crowd of half-a-dozen people might be caught by an unscrupulous mainland bar owner (maybe he’ll offer you a mythical unpaid overland gig!) Hell, Neo from The Matrix’s dad might even grace you with a thumbs up before going back to the excruciatingly difficult task of trying to look cool in a golf buggy and shit wraparound shades.
Here’s the reality: you are stuck on a small stage in the middle of nowhere. It’s midday. It has been raining since last Wednesday. When you look out at the crowd you are greeted by the bored faces of IOW School Of Rock parents who have all parted with their hard-earned to come and support their (invariably awful) kid’s bands. Worse: Neo from The Matrix’s dad is stood at the side of the stage with Kate Moss shaking his head as they take it in turns to blow smoke up each other’s arses. “Don’t complain. At least you got free wristbands,” they chorus. “Later on you can go and stand with all the other pissed-up children to watch Tiny Tempah and that Star Sailorcunt.”
#1. The Isle of Wight Is Covered In Cover Bands (And A Lot Of The Bands That Aren’t Cover Bands Probably Should Be)
Dear Justin Beiber Barry Von Bitchtits,
Make a list of all the bands/artists/DJs you love. Now, beside each entry, write a short sentence about what exactly it is you love about them.
Not one of those sentences will say, “I like this band because they sound just like The Beatles.”
Not one of those sentences will say, “I like this band because they sound just like The Bees.”
Not one of those sentences will say, “I like this artist because they sound almost exactly like an infinitely more famous original artist.”
Everybody invents their identity and art by a process of amalgamation and adaption. That’s all perfectly right and normal.
“If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.” Still, a lot of the School Of Rock bands you saw at the festival seemed to be doing impressions of better bands from (at least) 30 years ago, who were at least doing whatever they were doing when it was still relevant.
After your IOW Festival experience, you have a new favourite joke:
(JUSTIN BEIBER): “Did you hear the one about the wildly original School Of Rock ex-Platform One band that became phenomenally succesful?”
(NORMAN THE HAMSTER): “No.”
(JUSTIN BEIBER): “No? Me neither!”
FUCK YOU BEIBER! The fact is every musician you respect got where they are by stealing from other artists, and putting their own spin on things (remember how you ripped off Donny Osmond and a bucket of exceedingly ripe shit?):
Does this cookie-cutter approach to musical styles and trends explain the island’s proliferation of cover bands? No.
Demographically the island is largely populated by The Greys. The Greys are old. The Greys have made the IOW the welfare capital of the UK. The Greys like to blame the youngsters on housing benefit for all that so have put their rents up. The Greys are slightly to the right of Adolf Hitler politically and slightly less compos-mentis than the person who paid £31000 for the giant multi-coloured butt-plug outside St Mary’s.
Don’t say: “Well you left the world like this you selfish self-aggrandising grey-haired tits.”
Do say: “Crikey… this might just pay the bills! I’ll give the coffin-dodgers what they want and form a covers-band!”
There’s a shit load of inventive and talented musos on the Isle of Wight, but for a large-part The Greys don’t want inventiveness and talent. They want memories. They want to remember the old days.
[SMITHEE’S TOP TIP: if you are forced to play a set consisting entirely of safe Radio 2 staples you may find ingesting vast quantities of skunk (before) and much alcohol (during) helps mask The Grey’s overpowering stench of Werther’s Originals and piss.]
Do not fight The Greys or the IOW muso-scene Justin. Accept your fate, follow the path of your most brilliant local forbearers, and remember that each hour-long set should always include a fifteen-minute version of something safe and singalong at the beginning, the middle, and the end.