thoughts on the band on the label, the band in the basement, and the new Defiance, Ohio record

This is something that I posted in the comments section of the Defiance, Ohio website:

To comment on a few things that others have posted:The new record, like all our releases will be available as a free download from our website. I don’t know how No Idea feels about this. As far as I know, it wasn’t something we had to argue about or anything like that.

Personally, I’m not sure when the record will be out, whether its March or May. Ryan might know.

Its been a little distressing to read comments here, and that I’ve seen and heard elsewhere to the tune of “you deserve to be on a label like No Idea”. While I appreciate the support for the band, I feel like it creates the impression that Defiance, Ohio, or any band for that matter, should have aspirations of success in terms of the popularity of your band. If there’s one thing that frightens me about releasing a record on a label that is more visible, its the thought that people might think that writing songs that are seemingly only relevent to your life, your friends’ lives, and the place where you live, releasing cd-rs and tapes with photocopied covers yourself, having fun writing songs that you keep saying how bad they are (but keep playing anyway) in the basement, and playing in your friends’ kitchen are all means to this end rather than ends in themselves.

Certainly, I’m glad that people other than the folks in Columbus circa 2003 have found our songs to be relevent to their lives; and I’m glad that I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel all over, meeting interesting folks from all states and continents, while playing music. Certainly, Its nice that we were able to put out an actual pressed CD ourselves and have people like Friends and Relatives, Plan-It-X, Anti-Creative, and now No Idea! put out records for us. But, I strongly feel that being able to do these things comes as a result of trying to write songs that feel honest or challenging to us and enjoying making music with each other. Moreover, even if all the tours and all the records had never happened, the feeling of starting Defiance, Ohio and the experience that we shared with our friends in Columbus would have been something to remember.

I listened to more well-known punk bands when I was growing up: NOFX, Rancid, Operation Ivy, The Dead Kennedys among others. But the first punk bands I ever knew, the ones that made me want to play music, and the ones that made me think that there was a way of supporting and participating in music that wasn’t just buying records, listening to the radio, or watching a video, were bands like Thistle Pink and Lost Cause, who never strayed far from shows in the back of Prodejas record store in Carlisle, PA.

Perhaps small-town, obscure punk bands wouldn’t exist without their more well-known counterparts. Maybe we need that first, naive inspiration, or maybe we need that disappointment of seeing the bands we love sell out and lose substance and the idea that we can do things differently, more sincerely – better. In any case, I don’t want to live in a world without bands that never play shows outside of their town and only matter to their twenty closest friends.

Defiance, Ohio isn’t that band anymore, at least for me, but I don’t want to think that anything we do will ever discourage others from being the band in the basement.