The Null Device

Famous goth bands of tomorrow

When Johnny Cash passed away, I noticed how he had virtually been claimed by the industriogothic scene as One Of Their Own, because of his dress sense and melancholy themes. (Though his covering Nine Inch Nails and Bad Seeds songs probably helped too.) It's funny, as I'm fairly sure that when Siouxsie Sioux and Andrew Eldritch were inventing what was to become 'Goth", they weren't heavily influenced by Johnny Cash, or indeed much country music at all; I doubt that Throbbing Gristle and their ilk were either.

It appears to be a rule that any vaguely dark, ethereal or otherworldly eventually gets lumped into the "Goth" genre, even if it starts life a million miles from goth's tightly circumscribed perimeter. It happened to Depeche Mode (in the 1980s they weren't goth, but now they're Goth As Fuck), and in the U.S. it seems to have partly happened to the shoegazer genre. (In Commonwealth countries, shoegazer is firmly ensconced in the indie-rock tradition, however.)

To wit, a list of artists and genres who might be filed in the "Goth" sections of record shops in 10 years' time:

  1. Radiohead
  2. Portishead
  3. Sigur Rós
  4. Godspeed You Black Emperor, and related outfits; in fact, all gloomy post-rock
  5. all Norwegian Black Metal
  6. various German/Austrian laptop glitch techno

And some things you probably won't find filed under "Goth":

  1. Architecture In Helsinki
  2. the Dixie Chicks
  3. The Vines/The Datsuns/Jet
  4. Kid 606's Missy Elliott mash-ups

There are 19 comments on "Famous goth bands of tomorrow":

Posted by: Graham Sun Sep 14 14:44:52 2003

Well, Al Jourgensen is a big country fan. But that might be the exception of the rule.

Posted by: mark Sun Sep 14 16:04:26 2003

(Radiohead,Portishead,Norwegian black metal,German techno)

I thought it already *was*...

Posted by: mark Sun Sep 14 16:06:56 2003

misappropriated, I mean

Posted by: acb Sun Sep 14 16:17:17 2003

German techno: only the electro-industrial/EBM stuff like Funkervogt (sp?), which is basically the European form of goth. Also, it is a rather old-fashioned form of electronic music, basically an updating of the standard post-Kraftwerk tropes. I'm talking about stuff like Lali Puna, Solvent, Schneider TM, and various Morr Music laptop-glitch artists.

Posted by: cat http:// Sun Sep 14 17:22:37 2003

stop trying to force your genreisation of music onto other people. also i'd bet you any money that a lot of the original "goth" groups WERE influenced by johnny cash. goth artists don't fit into neat little boxes any more than your pretentious indie groups do.

Posted by: mark Sun Sep 14 20:29:57 2003

Uh, cat, that's kinda the *point*. That because goth groups were/are influenced by Mr Cash (whose music I've never liked; Goth? COUNTRY!), they have claimed him as their own. If an indie group is influenced by The Cure, does that make The Cure indie?

(And while I'm sure we're all impressed at "genreisation", you could probably get better reader comprehension from "labelling" or "generalisation")

Posted by: acb Mon Sep 15 04:03:45 2003

If you find my views so objectionable, what are you doing reading my blog?

Posted by: dj Mon Sep 15 05:26:19 2003

why do people do S&M, & B&D?

Posted by: Alex http:// Mon Sep 15 06:44:50 2003

To paraphrase Darryl Osmers, You'll Never Never Know if you Never Never Go And Get Whipped.

I'm just wondering how long it will take for the Pagan/Wiccan/Chaos Magick crowds to start 'channelling' The Man In Black for personal advice, divine intercession, parties, bar mitzveh and so on. Perhaps one could invoke Mr Cash if they were planning to drive home drunk from the pub on a rainy night just after being dumped by their girlfriend ...

Posted by: acb Mon Sep 15 07:33:53 2003

Given the way some of those people mix New Age dolphin spirituality, Norse paganism, Celtic mythology, Native American religion, Cthulhu, Star Wars and Hello Kitty in their personal belief systems, I wouldn't rule it out.

Posted by: Graham Mon Sep 15 09:06:54 2003

Sounds like Slim Dusty's "Lights on the Hill", actually.

Oh, and cat, goths AREN'T pretentious?

Posted by: mark Mon Sep 15 10:14:38 2003

Ah, there's nothing wrong with reading and commenting on the 'blogs of those with whom one disagrees. At least, that's what I tell myself ("whatever gets you thru the night... is all right... it's all right..."). (I hope I'm not the only one hear who recognises those lyrics).

'Course goths aren't pretentious, Graham! They honestly believe they're, like, in tune with death and suffering, and, like, shit. And stuff. And, like, no-one truly understands them, like.

Posted by: acb Mon Sep 15 11:50:01 2003

My original point about goth sociodynamics was this:

The process by which bands/genres which weren't originally goth are subsumed into goth appears to be something like this: The goth scene constantly faces an influx of teenagers who are "into" NIN/Sisters Of Mercy/Bauhaus because it makes them "goth" and gives them an alienated underground to identify with. Those who have been in the scene longer seek to distance themselves from these kids by seeking out new things on the fringes of goth and beyond, and that are too subtle for the mall-goths to be into; eventually, a genre or act attracts enough of a goth following that it becomes accepted as part of the goth corpus. This happened with Johnny Cash and New Romantic/synthpop, for example. And above are predictions for the next things to be absorbed in this way.

Of course, this process is not unique to goth; though that is one of the better examples of it, probably because of the goth subculture being extremely status-conscious and given to differentiatio

Posted by: acb Mon Sep 15 11:51:26 2003

Of course, this process is not unique to goth; though that is one of the better examples of it, probably because of the goth subculture being extremely status-conscious and given to differentiation (how many times have you heard one goth remark to another "oh, he/she's not a *real* goth...")

Posted by: acb Mon Sep 15 11:58:23 2003

And yes, I am well aware that many individual goths (or individuals identified to some extent with the goth subculture) are very nice people. Though the thing about human psychology is that individuals are governed by their individual psychology, but as soon as they gather in groups, that takes a back seat to group psychology, and their individual characteristics are overridden by the characteristics of the group they identify with. (This well-documented principle, for example, is why so many decent, intelligent people become weekend football hooligans or, in extreme cases, participate in acts of genocide.)

Posted by: mitch http:// Mon Sep 15 15:11:35 2003

How can this be?

No pages were found containing "bloggoth".

Posted by: Graham Mon Sep 15 15:20:01 2003

Have you hugged your bloggoth today?

Posted by: acb Mon Sep 15 15:33:49 2003

Surely, you'd think, someone would have that as a LiveJournal handle.

Posted by: cos Wed Sep 17 10:04:06 2003

re: Johnny Cash covering Bad Seeds songs

well, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds did cover a few Johnny Cash songs back in the 80's...