A R T I C L E
Where Did All the Cowboys Go?
A Re-Blog from HP Writing in Capital Letters
This all started by trying to find an EP from a Hamilton (NZ) band I love(d) called Wizz Kids. Once upon a time I even wrote a review for it for those cool dudes at Hamilton Underground Press [HERE]. But that was many moons ago and since then, it has vanished…
The link in that review used to take you to a bandcamp page for the EP and the band, and while they can still be found on bandcamp via a split album with other Hamilton hardcore heroes, Spiteful Urinator, the EP I loved has gone. I downloaded it all those years ago, but since then I have moved at least four times, I’ve moved past my Ipod (broke) onto new laptops (Mrs’) and all records are lost. Now had I bought Taylor Swift on Itunes or similar there would be more outcry had it gone missing form several very white teenage girls and many, many more dads who secretly keep up with pop music. But smaller acts can remove their work from the world by stealth.
I’ve still got my CD’s and my dad’s records but losing the Wizz Kids EP made me ask questions about the legitimacy of ownership of art, particularly music in the modern age. There was a time when publication was final, but no more. Is that fair? And I am aghast partly because this isn’t the first time this has happened. I’m looking at you Nadia Reid. And I’m out for answers PNC!
Nadia Reid has shot to stardom recently, but what hooked me on her soulful folk music and striking voice was a track called 'Good Things'. She put up a live recording on bandcamp and there is a brief intro where she explains that a friend of hers told her that all her songs in a minor key were depressing, so she wrote this one in a major key and it was really sad. Someone close to me had just committed suicide and I sat at the top of the hill between Raglan and Hamilton having just heard the news of his passing and listened to that song on repeat. I think I listened to it approximately one katrillion times over the following months. Now, gone.
A lighter example is the Who Betta Then This Remix that PNC put out with NZ’s best MC’s spitting verses over a 41 instrumental. Louie Knuxx, Scribe and Sid Diamond might give the verse of their careers on that number, but can I get it on Spotify? Nope. PNC (most underrated rapper in NZ anyone?) has some stuff on bandcamp, but not much and I can get it on Youtube so not all is lost, but hardly ideal. I bought his album 'Under the Influence' on CD, which was dumb as he was giving it away for free online, but it meant that I could throw it on when I wanted. I actually was in control of recorded music.
Perhaps I am looking at this all wrong. I can’t get back those gigs I saw as a younger person. I hold in my head the time the lead singer of Diediedie swung from the light fitting at Soul or the stage dive at a Sommerset concert that ended in concussion, but I can’t replay the music. Those memories are some of my favorites. Perhaps my desire to hold onto something tangible is born out of consumerism, addiction, a need to have control of the environment in order to what? Feel something?
I guess what I am missing is the ability of the Wizz Kids, Nadia Reid and PNC to make me feel something and because they did it so well in the past, I’ve become reliant. I should really thank them for sharing their artistry with me in the first place, but the selfish part of me is like, HEY, WHERE IS MY MUSIC?