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DIY: Do It Yourself
by Julia Conny

As Michael Azzerad said in his book, Our Band Could be Your Life, Scenes From the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, “If punk [is] rebellious and DIY [is] rebellious, then doing it yourself [is] punk.”

From the founding fathers to the installments of today, one ideal has motivated the punk messenger. This one ideal has pushed through the corporate shrink-wrap, and into the basements of young punk romantics. This one ideal has been used, reused, and abused to the fullest, by both the big-business recording industry and followers alike. This one ideal is doing it yourself, or at least trying to do it yourself. So what if most who try fail miserably. It's the effort that counts.

Every big city provides a rich culture of underground life. From artists, poets, to musicians, the streets spit out a vast array of like-minded individuals; where the production and distribution of their art is all that stimulates everyday life. Perhaps each hopes for some kind of success that reaches far beyond city limits, but instead trickles into the mainstream. Perhaps secretly, perhaps publicly, wanting to succeed on a greater level is not something to take lightly when it comes to the underground world. Success is both a bitter pill and a sweet morsel. For all wish to achieve, but not all can appreciate the achievement.

If there is a single force that could represent all that is doing it yourself, look to that of punk. The music, the genre that has been based solely on not conforming to the norm and simply, doing it yourself. From the underground clubs and basements, handwritten zines, and even the Internet, punk music was and still is based on the DIY ethic. It is what started the revolution, and it is what continues the movement, despite any mass media interruptions. But for all those enthusiasts out there, the current state of punk has fallen far from the tree of originality. Record labels, both indie and main, are signing new bands with “emo” and “punk” labels faster than imaginable. Magazines, mainstream ones that is, are picking up the trends that ruled the underground as though they were pennies left on the street. Young teenagers are picking up the CD's and the mp3's that used to never sell more than a couple copies. And for those who have stuck with it since this beginning; what a stab in the heart. Because the truth of the matter is, doing it yourself no longer means booking your own shows or recording your own albums. It means doing all you can to become mainstream.

DIY devotees used to preach “DIY, not EMI,” after the powerhouse, Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. began to infest the underground. Such artist boast the EMI label like Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Duran Duran, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, and, of course, the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols signed to EMI in 1976 and caused not only an uproar, but also a start of a transformation. Punk used to just be there, with only the select members knowing what and how to utilize. The Sex Pistols brought underground punk to the limelight, not only as a form of good, entertaining music, but instead as a money-maker, exactly what punk had formed to resist. The London Explosion Summer of 1977 proved the one fact safety-pin punk kids were trying to hide: there was money to be made in punk. For the 1980's, hardcore bands defined the term DIY, with punk pioneers like Black Flag. Throw in some easily angered cops and overly energetic “punkers” and you get a perfect battle between rebellion and authority. How does this have anything to do with DIY? Everything. Doing it yourself meant supporting yourself, even to the point of jailbreak. Break it down, and punk rock is an anti-establishment musical movement. For this exact basis to be contradicted raises the question: “Are you really punk?”

Still a level of doing it yourself remains. Punk may now be classified right next to pop and alt-rock, highlighted by MTV, but you can still do it yourself. Certain record labels still attempt to emphasize DIY ethic, such as Dischord. Some record labels use the punk and emo industry as a tool, such as Drive-Thru and Vagrant. The in-between is exactly where the trouble arises. Being too DIY means you make no profit. Not being DIY at all means you make too much money. Where is the balance? This is exactly the problem, but no one knows the answer.

Since the recording industry has taken the punk image, packaged it in a little chain known as Hot Topic and marketed it for the world to rape and pillage, DIY fanatics have taken the thought to a new level. With the aide of the Internet, the punk community can form their own zines, artwork, and followings with the click of a mouse, literally. Perhaps the Internet itself suggests a slight “selling-outness,” but with this day in age, such connection is impossible to avoid. Local bands can book their own shows, post mp3's, and sell hand-made t-shirts over websites with the push of a button. To a degree, this is DIYism. Anything, from building your own house to self-publishing your own book, anything in this day can be DIYed, but only with the aide of the Internet. With this in mind, we must ask whether or not anything can be truly punk or truly DIY. At this day in age, where gas prices and rent increase rapidly on a daily basis, sometimes just doing it yourself isn't enough. Zach Lind, drummer for the hugely successful and hugely commercial emo band Jimmy Eat World could not have put it more perfectly: “I can afford paying health insurance now for my daughter and wife. Whereas before I couldn't. And that's a good thing.” Sometimes you just need a little help.

From the commercial renaissance of the mid to late 90's, where Rancid, Green Day, and NOFX were herald as punk gods, to the corporate congregation of Vans Warped Tour, doing it yourself becomes less and less prevalent as an actual action, but an ideal. DIY still exists, with the boom of internet zines and local band communities, but the punk bands most know and love are on record labels that most know and love. Punk Planet, one of the few exceptions, is a staple of mainstream DIY, as impossible as that seems. As a nationally recognized magazine, the punk vehicle receives no corporate sponsorship or backing, yet still finds itself on Borders bookshelves. Subjects include left-wing pieces on the issues in Iraq and other political concerns, focuses on DIY artists and their imaginative escapades, and CD reviews of bands not corrupted by the majors. As a matter of fact, Punk Planet represents exactly where DIY is in the 21st century: wedged between the want to be independent but the need to be dependent.

The youth of today may be genre-bound clowns. The youth of today may not understand Ian MacKaye and his hardcore movement. The youth of today may not get it; they may not understand what DIY means to represent. But it still exists. Regardless of the marketable possibility punk holds, upholding DIY ethic at this time is still possible. But again, with a little help. Never Heard of It, a pop-punk member out of California, joined Warped Tour 2002 as the only unsigned band to run the entire tour. Maybe you've never heard of Never Heard of It, but for the band's unsigned status, they still gained a following. Even up to this point, where DIYing is slowly disappearing into pop culture abyss, it still exists among bands that use the ethic as the moral to their story.

Face the facts, and doing it completely by yourself is impossible. Without the Internet, word of mouth was the only way to go. Buzz about a new band can travel faster than the speed of light, but not without the Internet. Evil of the 21st century it may be, but reality it is. Doing it yourself ethos still exists, maybe not as much as before, but it still reigns in the underground world. Perhaps the problem is now we have to look to doing it yourself as no longer the cycle and program it was before, but a new entity, with the online journal and web blog playing a necessary part. Does this mean you are still “doing it yourself?” Hell, why not? As long as you simply do it yourself, then you are, simply, doing it yourself.

由Julia Conny著 Malcolm Ke译

如Michael Azzerad在他的书<我们的乐队会是你的生命>,<来自美国地下独立音乐人的景况1981-1991>里所说,"如果'蓬木'(译注:即'朋克',颓废抗议钱权森严统治社会的年轻人)是叛逆的,且DIY是叛逆的,那么DIY是'蓬木'的."

从缔造之父到今天的作品连载,一个理想一直促动着蓬木使者。 此一理想挤过了公司的热缩包装膜,而后挤入年轻蓬木浪漫者的地下室。此一理想被大商业唱片产业和类似追随者使用,再使用,和滥用到极度。此一理想是你自己做,或至少力图你自己做。所以即使大部分尝试者可怜地失败了又怎样?真正值价的(译注:即"有价值的")是努力。



DIY投身者往常在电力房后面宣扬"DIY,而不EMI(译注:百代)",电气和音乐产业有限公司(译注:百代)开始滋攘地下音乐。这种艺术家自夸EMI商标象Frank Sinatra,海滩男孩,甲壳虫,Duran Duran,Pink Floyd,滚石,冷耍,和,当然,性手枪。性手枪在1976年签约百代而引起的不只是一阵哗啸,还是转型的开始。蓬木往常就在那里,与仅仅苛选的懂得运用什么和如何运用的成员们。性手枪带引地下蓬木来到石灰灯下,不只作为一个优良的,娱人的音乐形式,且代而作为一种赚钱之物,恰是蓬木过去已经成形抵抗的。1977的伦敦爆发之夏证明了安全别针蓬木小子们正力图隐瞒的一个事实:蓬木界有钱赚。在1980年代,硬核乐队定义了词条DIY,与蓬木开路者象黑骷旗。扔进一些容易激怒的捕差和精力过旺的蓬木族然后你获得一场叛逆与权威的完美搏斗。这个如何与DIY有干连呢?所有事。DIY意味着支持你自己,甚至到越狱的地步。捣垮它,而蓬木摇滚是一场反既立体系的音乐运动。对于这个将是矛盾的确切基点冒出这个问题:"你真正地蓬木吗?"


自从唱片产业占用了蓬木形象,包装它在周知的热门主题的小链子内并市售到全世界去强奸和掠夺,DIY狂拜者已经带引这个思想到一个新的水平。借网际之裨助,随着鼠标的卡嗒之声,蓬木社群能形成他们自己的杂志,作品,和追随者,毫不夸张。也许网际本身启发一点"售卖",但在时代的今天,这种联系不可能避免。通过网站,随着按钮的按下,本地乐队能登记他们自己的演出,邮寄MP3,和销售手制T恤。某种程度上,这是DIYism(译注:"你自己做"主义,或"自己动手"主义)。任何事,从建筑你自己的房子到自行发行你自己的书,如今的任何事能DIY,而仅仅借网际之裨助。怀此于心,我们必须问是否任何事能被真正地蓬木或真正地DIY。时代的今天,在日常基准的煤气价格和房租飞涨的地方,有时只DIY是不够的。Zach Lind,极大地成功的和极大地商品化的emo乐队Jimmy Eat World的鼓手再完美不过地描述了这种情况:"我现在能供负支付我女儿和妻子健康保险的费用。然而以前我不能。那么那是好事。"有时你只需要一点点帮助。

从中到晚90年代的商业复兴,其时Rancid,绿色日子,和NOFX被预报作蓬木上帝,到Vans Warped Tour公司集团,作为实际行动,DIY变得越来越不盛行,只是一个理想。DIY依然存在,随着网际杂志和本地乐队社群的兴隆,不过最为熟知和喜爱的蓬木乐队在最为熟知和喜爱的唱片商标上。"蓬木星球",少数几个例外之一,是主流DIY的一个仓屯,象它看起来般难以置信。作为一个全国认可的杂志,蓬木媒介收不到任何公司赞助或支持,但依然在Borders书架上找到自己的位置。主题包括左翼关于伊拉克问题和其它政治关注的篇章,聚焦于DIY艺术家和他们富于想象力的特立独行,和评论不为大公司腐解之乐队的CD。事实上,"蓬木星球"确切代表着21世纪DIY之所在:楔嵌于想要独立但需要依赖之间。

今天的年轻人或许是风格束缚的会员。今天的年轻人或许不理解Ian MacKaye和他的硬核运动。今天的年轻人或许不懂得;他们或许不理解DIY所意欲代表之物。但它依然存在。不管蓬木持有的市售可能性,此时高举DIY道德依然可能。但再一次,借一点点帮助。"闻所未闻",一个出自加利福尼亚的流行-蓬木成员,作为唯一未签约乐队加入Warped Tour 2002跑完整个周游。或许你闻所未闻"闻所未闻",但以该乐队非签约状态,他们依然获得一批追随者。即使到目前,DIY正慢慢消失于流行文化无底洞,它依然存在于使用该道德作为他们故事道德的乐队中。


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