Friday, February 19, 2010

The Fourth Horseman of the Emopocalypse

The fun indie pioneers, Cap'n Jazz surprised many last month with an unannounced 4-song reunion set (Little League, Oh Messy Life, We Are Scientists, and Que Suerte!) at Chicago's Empty Bottle. As you could imagine, rumors of the band reuniting and touring spread as quickly as they could, and more recently, reality has struck: There will be a tour and their Wilmington, Delaware Hardcore-gone-emo-gone-hardcore record label, Jade Tree will finally be pressing their anthology on vinyl.

I was eighteen years old when I bought the CD anthology title "Analphabetapolothology" after catching a few of their random tracks on 7" releases that were still readily available at the time. I thought it was great, and FUN if nothing else. It was a great piece of living history of a genre that was at its pinnacle. Or so we thought.

What turned me off from the beginning wasn't the music, but rather the attitude that the Cap'n Jazz fans some twelve years ago had. Before the days of Makeout Club, or Friendster, or Myspace, or Facebook, people hit up bulletin boards and joined e-mail mailing lists. It was always a pleasure to find an e-mail from the EMO-GROUP in my inbox, that is until I attempted to discuss the band Cap'n Jazz.

From day one, kids were really hardcore about these guys and I still don't get it. Sure, the Kinsella brothers went on to play in some of the more influential bands of the style's more recent days, and Davey von Bohlen ... well he pretty much ended up securing the cornerstone vocal sound for the style by the turn of the new millenium, but Cap'n Jazz, to me, remained a novelty band that was better left as a valiant first attempt. The kids who followed Cap'n Jazz (who had long broken up by the time the anthology was originally released) were just plain mean. They ripped into anyone who had anything to say about the band, insult or praise. To this day I still can't understand their reasons, but I chalk it up to the feeling of entitlement that a lot of fans of more sensitive, intimate indie music still possess.

The current state of the know-it-all indie fan base is bad enough as it is, and I cringe to predict a whole new world of back-tracking music nerds, but it is inevitable. If the band plays a few shows to sell a handful of LPs, I think we will all live. If they attempt to make Cap'n Jazz out to be something bigger than it was (which was essentially a birthday party sized sloppy, melodic singalong) then the past will be rewritten. And to that I say: "Let the thin kids get that skinny neck hex".

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