Jul 232014

I’ve written the words a million times on here, but Alternative Press is my favorite magazine in the entire world and I attribute SO MUCH of the breadth of my music tastes to it. They saved me from a stagnant wasteland of 90s R&B (which I still have room in my heart for, but thank god I branched out, you know?).

I even became friends with one of my music critic idols and was fortunate enough to get to visit the AP office twice. It was just as magnificent for me the second time! And through AP, I became friends with Terri and Christian, who are visiting me next week and we’re going to talk and talk and talk about music until Henry is like CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT TED NUGENT NOW, OMG.

Anyway. Monday night, Alt Press hosted their very first ever music awards show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. I wanted to go in the worst way, but couldn’t make it out. Luckily, it was televised. But we don’t get the channel airing it! I was just about to admit defeat when, FIVE MINUTES before it started, I happened to find some random Panic! At the Disco fan site on Twitter who tweeted a link to a livestream they had set up. Literally, it was a webcam propped up across from their TV, and I laid in my bedroom on my stomach watching the entire four hours on my fucking iPhone, because that is how much it meant to me. This is what it looked like:


But it didn’t matter to me, because I was just so stoked that MY SCENE was getting red carpet treatment for once. MY BANDS were nominated for awards. THE FANS got to vote. And it was legit! Like a beautiful marriage between Alt Press and Warped Tour (Kevin Lyman was one of the producers, even) and then Ice T came out and taught all the kids that if they talk shit, they get shot. It was glorious.

There were so many moments when I cheered and wept openly (Pierce the Veil won Best Live Band, you guys) and the only low-lights for me was the fact that Falling In Reverse* and Attila got to show their disgusting pig-faces on TV at all.

*(Ronnie Radke makes Jonny Craig look like a wholesome potato farmer.)

But the best moment for me, and the entire reason for this post, was when Billy Corgan accepted the Vanguard Award with this speech:

“I know you’ve been out here a long time because you’ve been out here a long time and you want to hear the bands play, as you should. The kids rule, the kids always rule, the kids win, and they should. The kids should always kick motherfuckers like me out of the way, and I mean that. I’m no legend, your favorite song is legend, your favorite band is legend, your favorite concert is legend. That’s what makes it work, you make it work. Every generation deserves its dream, its bands, its artists, its voices, and I’m glad to see you have those bands here tonight, that’s awesome. Let me say one last thing, if you don’t mind, if you’ll indulge me. And by the way let me thank Miss Joan Jett for being here. Incredible artist, incredible career, and yes it’s a career, it’s called a career, it’s okay. It’s okay to make money, it’s okay to sell things, it’s okay to sell t-shirts, nobody gets hurts. Let me say this last thing to you. There’s two paths you take when you first put on that guitar or sing that song: do I want to please this audience, or do I want to push this audience’s buttons?”

“In alternative music, which Alternative Press has been putting across for how many years now, you have to be able to push those buttons. You understand what pushing those buttons means, but most of the world doesn’t, they just see angry people screaming about God knows what. So over 25 years ago I made the decision that I was going to push your buttons, or the people that came before you, or the people that came before you. I like to think that I’m receiving this in humility because I’m willing to push your buttons, because I’m willing to tell you to go fuck yourself. I didn’t start a band to be anybody’s bitch, I started a band to kick your fucking head in. What I love about the bands that are coming up here tonight, is that they’re trying to kick your head in, and they should. You deserve it, you deserve your bands, you deserve your bands to push you, to make you question everything about you, because if they don’t do it, nobody else will, and you do understand that. So God bless you, thank you very much.”

(Thanks to the fine people at Alternative Nation for the transcript!)

Billy fucking Corgan, you guys. Such truth. I know a lot of you can relate to this, and that is why we’re friends.

I am so ridiculously proud of Alternative Press and my friend Jason and every last person involved in putting together such an epic production for a scene that is so often shat upon. I really, really hope this was the first of many more AP Awards. Because if there’s one next year, I’m fucking going.

  5 Responses to “An Awards Show I Can Get Behind”

  1. That speech gave me goosebumps. “I started a band to kick your fucking head in.” Thank you, Billy Corgan! While I’m not a huge fan of his music, I definitely get what he’s saying.

    • I knew you would love that!

      I’m not a super-fan, but I do like a lot of their music, and also James Iha’s work in A Perfect Circle. There’s a song called “Eye” that the Pumpkins did for the Lost Highway soundtrack, and it seems like people who don’t generally like the Smashing Pumpkins like that one for some reason. You might too! It’s dark and creepy.

  2. That speech is as excellent as his “Alternative to What?” speech he gave at the MTV Awards nearly 20 years ago. BC has definitely pushed buttons during his career. And though I don’t really care for anything he’s done since Adore, I give him credit for all of the influence he’s had on bands throughout his career.

    • Agreed! Adore was the last Pumpkins album I bought. But his speech inspired me to teach Chooch about them because I think it’s important that he at least knows who they are.

  3. “we’re going to talk and talk and talk about music until Henry is like CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT TED NUGENT NOW, OMG.”

    TOLHURST *spitting protein shake everywhere*

    Right, so I was not aware you were a Smashing Pumpkins fan. “Cherub Rock” is my favorite by them, I think, though I needed to take a long break from them recently.

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