Monday, December 28, 2009

ghost mall and other foes

over the summer our good friend kabir did something noble-- he organized a show for his friends' bands to play. already a nice gesture, it says a lot that kabir poured time and effort into an event that he, a musician himself, selflessly decided not to play. at risk of patting myself and the rest of the sloths on the back, we also had a major hand in enabling the show to happen. despite having the longest trek to midtown's tank venue, we obliged to provide all amps and a full drum kit for the other two bands performing, sunshower orphans and ghost mall.

unfortunately, for all our troubles, both slothbear and kabir were slapped in the face by the members of these two bands. despite not only booking him a gig, but also filling in on drums during his set, kabir was repeatedly harassed by mike -- er, "misha"-- of the sunshower orphans in the weeks leading up to the show. initially, kabir agreed to add doug's other band, beauty feast to the bill, and we contacted them to confirm that they could play. misha, however, objected to this, refusing to play or associate with such putrid individuals who "think the world revolves around roslyn." a full disclosure, this would be a rather intriguing world perspective for beauty feast to have, seeing as how doug is not only the lone member from roslyn, but also the only member from the state of new york. without embarking on an entirely different discussion by acknowledging the fact that discriminating against a group of people for hailing from suburban long island is in absolutely no way different than discriminating against a group of people for being black, jewish, muslim, gay (more on this later), or female, we allowed misha to effectively hijack the show, awkwardly revoking the invitation to beauty feast, and replacing them on the bill with misha's friends, ghost mall.

misha's audacious behavior didn't stop there, however. kabir made the diplomatic decision to order the bill ghost mall-slothbear-sunshower orphans, in an effort to motivate the largely ubiquitous ghost mall/sunshower orphans crowd to stay for the entirety of the show. this apparently infuriated chancellor misha, who verbally and psychologically debased kabir, contesting that such a lineup would result in his ghost mall & co having to "sit through an hour of bullshit" just to see their friends play. he also objected to us playing an extended set, because it would make ghost mall "look bad" since they only had six songs. i'm not one to psychoanalyze; i think freud was full of shit. but i will say that misha's idiosyncrasies bear striking resemblance to those of my grandmother who i'm pretty sure has borderline personality disorder. after unfortunately being diagnosed with cancer last year, my grandma did a personality 180, curbing her difficult, abusive and manipulative behavior, and no longer refusing to be on speaking terms with my mother. i'm not saying i hope misha gets cancer so that he can be a nice, agreeable fellow. i'm just sayin', s'all.

kabir's pet theory, which i wholly agree with, was that misha ironically enough feared that when ghost mall & friends met slothbear & friends, these two social circles which he strove so hard to segregate would coalesce. having by that time spent several months working on sleeping with josh's ex-girlfriend (to no avail), misha just could not fathom the idea of a bunch of long island townies befriending his privileged and cultured city kin.

luckily for misha, his friends in ghost mall did their part in surpassing even his own audacity. where misha was passive-aggressive to a level bordering on sociopathic, at once imploring josh to bury the hatchet and denouncing him to kabir (both via internet), ghost mall were all unbridled, testosterone-fueled, early-adolescent, neanderthaloid aggression.

it started innocuously-- we'd just set up all the equipment for ghost mall onstage when their singer asked if we could pick up everything and move it onto the floor in front of the stage. u kno, bein authentic '77 punkrokkers and such, ghost mall just like to play in da round. this was obnoxious, sure, but we sheepishly denied them and the show commenced.

moments into their set it became clear that ghost mall's live thing was to be really confrontational in that "punk" way-- you know, intimidating the crowd and such. having quit baseball in high school due to run-ins with such machismo, and seeking refuge in the independent rock music i'd been hearing so much about as a young man, this just was not something i wanted to be a part of, so josh and i quietly sat down in the comfortable movie theatre-style seats in the back of the tank.

this apparently severely bruised ghost mall's singer's ego, as he got up in our grills and essentially threatened and attempted to humiliate us (would've worked in high school!) in between songs for sitting down, a cardinal sin at ghost mall shows. i'm not going to get into how i think the bands that whore themselves to indifferent crowds with lines such as "C'MON GUYS YOU KNOW YOU CAN MOVE UP FRONT" are embarrassing. what i will say is that music is something i enjoy deeply sitting on a train, walking through suburbia, running on the treadmill, and laying in bed at night. everyone has their own listening habits and mannerisms, and has every right to them; there is no one right or wrong way to appreciate music. the notion that by sitting down, i am somehow less engaged is remarkably close minded, and evidence of the fact that ghost mall were more concerned with their own insecurities, than the crowd's enjoyment.

eventually the threats of physical violence deteriorated into gay jokes. ian and doug had a veritable sit-in up closer to the stage, which led the singer to call ian a "morrissey faggot," or something preposterous like that. doug made the astute observation that the band was biting the hand that feeds them, alternating between insulting us, and playing on our equipment. the singer responded with some brilliant quip about ian's drum set being "sparkly," and therefore gay.

once ghost mall had had their fill, we took the stage. josh quoted the late (:'(), great Emperor with a well timed "WHAT UP FANS?!" and informed the crowd that they could sit, stand or do as they please. we tore it up for an hour, our friends went crazy, the ghost mall singer sternly stood front and center, and misha disappeared into the shadows of the tank. after our set, we suggested that kabir get up and play a song or two, since it was after all thanks to him that this show became a reality. after a hushed argument with misha, kabir declined to play.

after the show, the drummer in ghost mall called josh a cocksucker and threatened to kick his ass. josh laughed him off, and said "one love." we assumed they were high schoolers based on their behavior, but months later were shocked and appalled to learn through mutual friends that the members of ghost mall were actually older than we were. we evidently made quite the impact on them, nonetheless, as they spread the word about slothbear being a bunch of assholes everywhere they went. several times have we run into people, and when slothbear comes up, they say "oh man, my friends ghost mall say you guys are assholes!" googling slothbear and ghost mall yields aim conversations posted on blogs about members of slothbear ass fucking each other, and josh being a "gay, aryan bruno bodybuilder," which is honestly just awesome and not even entirely inaccurate. other search results include a new paltz zine article on the band which opens with the line "ghost mall really hate slothbear." disgruntled blog posts by friends of the band about the show we played together are littered about the web. the ghost mall myspace features the motto "NEVER SIT DOWN," and various other thinly veiled allusions to us being assholes. our facebook page was even recently flooded with "FUCK SLOTHBEAR" posts by someone who is either in or friends with them.

i am both amused and saddened by this fixation. the fact that ghost mall like slothbear's music is indisputable. their homophobia and flagrant lack of gratitude notwithstanding, i honestly feel bad that these dudes are so jealous of us that they can't get us out of their heads. a part of me wonders whether ghost mall attempt to blacklist us from brooklyn, while another part takes some satisfaction in the fact that there are people out there who only know of slothbear via the fact that they are apparently assholes.

i will be the first to say that it is remarkably presumptuous to assume that anyone out there is seeking information on this ghost mall vs. slothbear beef, but i write this gratuitous spotblog post not only because i've nothing better to do at 4 AM, but to serve as an honest-to-god accurate account of what happened. though, from an objective standpoint, i could see how it is merely our word versus the words of band of incredibly petty, bigoted individuals who sing hackneyed lines about "wanting to change the world" or some shit. and they call us hippies!

that said, i at the very least am certain of the fact that given their obsession with us, ghost mall will read this entry. and so, in an effort to bury the hatchet once and for all, i extend this peace offer:

i will come visit y'all, and for as long as it takes, work on teaching you guys how to play a major seventh chord. free of charge. it breaks my heart to see you go on the way you've been, and i'm willing now to set things right.

you know how to reach me.

palz

3 comments:

Kipling said...

<3

Simon said...

Why was this even on your mind? It's the holiday season. Breath easy friend, I can assure you, that other than the occasional, "Don't sit down" there is no genuine animosity to you or your band.
And I think they're pretty set on playing Maj7s.
Except for the singer, he can't play shit.

Greg said...

i love sitting down at shows, and i feel slightly amused he called ian a "morissey" faggot... i would've busted his head for his poor attempt at intimidation, cheers for machismo!