The Wiltern


There’s already an undertow at Wilshire/Western – a sold-out show from one of the seminal figures of LA bedrock – Perry Farrell. If you don’t know who this is, if you don’t remember lollapalooza or, more importantly, Jane’s Addiction, then what I have to say here will have little impact. It may be quite unintelligible, but, if so, why continue reading? Maybe there’s something of the rebel in you?


The alt scene is a necessary cultural movement in a world increasingly homogenized — corporate music designed for mass appeal is unacceptable. If it were only that it could be disregarded, but the message, the intent behind the music, has a strong and lasting impact on our youth. If there’s no doubt in the machine, no vinegar in the soup, what are we creating? Is a bland musical universe even acceptable to those who aren’t moved by the landscape, who don’t identify with any particular genre? If there were no voices of protest, no startling shouts from the abyss, we would evolve at a snail’s pace, or perhaps devolve. I get down on callused knees every day, not only to the purveyors of Dharma, but to give thanks to the kings of the alt universe.

My musical tastes have always been toward the rebels, the outcast, and the ill-defined. A lot of things I listen to defy a category. I’m always frustrated when asked what I listen to. It’s a very small group, very particular, but not of the same genre. Of these, Jane’s Addiction, and Psi Com, are top-tier. There are a lot of bands of the same genre that don’t make the list, that I would cringe listening to. To make this easier, from the alt scene, these are my picks:

Nirvana, Hole’s first 2 albums, Jane’s Addiction, Aphex Twin, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead, Magik Markers, The Disappears, Daisy Chainsaw (and every other Katie Jane Garside incarnation), Zola Jesus, LA Vampires, Azalia Snail..

It confuses me when some of these are listed beside more generic bands, as I don’t see them the same. These are my bands, and nothing else. I have a particular distaste for the 12-bar blues, for instance, unless it’s a new interpretation, or a very old one. Am I wrong? Should I listen to music that I find disappointing? This question can’t be answered, as who will be my arbiter of taste? I’ve found no one who shares the same taste as I. It reminds me of the number/color association:

1. ___
2. Green
3. Orange
4. Red
5. Blue
6. ___
7. Brown
8. Blue
9. Black
10. ___

(The blank spaces weren’t immediately apparent).

Do these colors match the numbers, to you? This is the other side of the musical spectrum. What excites you, that resides within you, is built-in. When someone speaks your language, you just know. It has to be authentic. It can’t be substituted. Perry Farrell is one of my tribe. His voice speaks to my world, my people. His colors match mine.

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