My Final Project

my disco subculture final paper . If anyone is interested in reading it and  Also Please Upload your’s as well!! 🙂

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Across an Invisible Line (Music and Torture)


In this article, it talks about how music is used as a technique to torture prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and Afghanistan. I thought it was interesting that something that we listen to for enjoyment and escape, would be use to hurt others. The government likes to use “music therapy” or torture, as they play music to prisoners so that they can speak  about anything the government wants to hear. Songs like ‘Barney’ and ‘Metallica’ are used to these prisoners; to us, we already are accustomed to these songs while the prisoners have never heard of these songs.  Its funny because it is as if the prisoners are becoming brainwashed. I feel like that whenever I work in a Pre-School at work and the music is on repeat, hour after hour. However, I know that my workplace didn’t plan to torture me, nor did I felt tortured.

In class, it was mentioned that some of the prisoners in these places were innocent. This makes the situation awkward for a lot of people. How is it that we allow the government to hurt others by music? I found it interesting how different types of music is used in different types of situations. One genre of music would be used for interrogation while another genre would be use when the prisoners were in detention. It’s a crazy thought to think that music can be allowed to bring torture to another human beings.

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Audio-Visual iPod

This article was a very interesting reading. I can agree with the author when he states that we use iPods to “create a satisfying aesthericised reality for themselves as they move through daily life” (198). Whenever someone is upset, they can just pop in their headphones and listen to any music that sets their mood. Then, it feels as if there is an escape from reality (like you are in a music video) & you forget about life’s problems. I can admit that when I was younger, I would put on my headphones and mimic the singers; pretending to be them. Although I looked like a fool, I could say that it felt amazing to forget life problems for just a few minutes.


The reading went on to speak about how iPods can contribute to a person actually seeing a visual based on what they are listening to, instead of visualizing it based on reading from a text. I thought that was accurate because I noticed a lot of people doing that when walking in the city. Using headphones to escape can be fun, however, it is proven to be unhealthy and at risk of putting a life in danger. What do I mean by this? Well for starters, communication amongst human to human decreases. It seems that with technology, now a days, is it harder to speak to the person next to you. They would prefer to listen to their music (or use their technology) than talk to someone. Another example is when people are too much into their music. When they are listening to their music, there are times when they can get distracted and not acknowledged what occurs around their surroundings. I can’t even tell you how ANNOYED I GET when people are taking their sweet time walking across the street in front of me while I drive.


I have also seem so many people almost getting killed because they did not pay attention to the automobiles passing by.

Overall, “‘the aesthericising practices of iPod users contribute to our understanding of what it means to ‘share’ urban space with others from within an auditory bubble, immune to the sound of others.” (208)

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The Audio-Visual iPod

I really enjoyed reading this article about the negative effects that come with listening with headphones. It’s extremely alarming to think that headphones could distract people from their everyday life. We discussed in class that most people need to have stimulation at all times. This will ultimately destroy any sense of humanity left in this world. In the article, we meet a middle-aged man that believes an iPod makes “his world look better” and discusses having a private moment in public. This is a perfect example of the negative effects that come with an iPod. We also discussed that this way of living seems like a selfish way to live. You are focused on one thing and completely block out your surroundings.

Bull continues to use people that describe using an iPod makes friendlier, happier and sunnier. He goes on to talk about how the world isn’t really as quiet as we think it is. This really sparks my interest because it is something I can relate to. I’m always using my headphones. I NEVER leave my house without it. After reading this article, it really displays a new perspective on headphones. I always consider headphones as a positive think because I, too, had similar feelings like the people mentioned in this article. You shut everyone and everything off. It is not a healthy way to live.Within time, people will be so caught up in their world/thoughts that human interaction will vanish.

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Field Notes

The following were observed at the venues “Blackthorn 51” and “Spike Hill.”  Both of these were on nights that my band performed.  Blackthorn 51 was our album release show on October 17th, 2014 and Spike Hill was on December 5th, 2014.  It should also be noted that the show at Spike Hill was one of the last shows at the venue as it would close on December 7th, 2014.


October 17th, 2014

  • The people stuck mostly with their friends, but when approached by outsiders they were very welcoming
  • For the most part, most of the people stayed for the entire show and supported all the bands that were on the bill (8 total)
  • As the night progressed more the attendance increased as it got later (my band took the stage at 12am, and normally attendance would drop at this point. It should also be noted that this was our album release show, which could have played a factor)
  • The crowd was head banging, moshing, and very vocal for all performances. If a performer screwed up the crowd let them know.
  • The metalheads at this show were all unique in appearance and personally, only a handful looked like the stereotypical metalhead, excluding the other bands ofcourse.
  • As an observer, there were no fights in the crowd or expressions of anger that are commonly associated with metalheads
  • The crowd had a great time
  • As a performer, the crowd responded well to my bands prompts, which overall enhanced our performance

This show had a very high attendance of people, mostly metalheads.  Since it was a special event (album release) it definitely played into the attendance.  However, it should be noted that the metalheads at this show did not fit into the normal stereotypes, which shows that today’s metalhead is very individualized in conjunction to being apart of the sub culture.


December 5th, 2014

  • The venue itself is smaller than Blackthorn 51, which made for more of an intimate show
  • Unlike the previous show, this was not a special event; it was just a good old fashioned metal showcase.
  • Fans drank more at this show as compared to the last show (mostly due to the cheaper prices at the bar at this venue).
  • Crowd was a mixture of metalheads and other subcultures (hipsters, preps, etc.)
  • The crowd was not as responsive as the last show, and therefore made it more difficult to interact
  • Environment was more general then the previous venue, which was catered more towards the genre
  • Had the same amount of people at both shows (50 people)
  • Crowd stayed for the entire performance for all bands (3 on the bill)
  • This show was earlier than the last show (we went on at 9pm)
  • Crowd seemed more engaged talking to myself and the rest of the band after the show, but did not display this during the performance

Overall this show did not have the same atmosphere as the previous one.  It might have been due to the venue closing, or the fact that this was more of a general venue that was not specifically geared towards the subculture (It had a basic lighting and sound system, whereas Blackthorn 51 had more effects lights, which mimicked a professional metal show).

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Metalheads of the late 70’s/80’s experienced a renaissance of music within their genre.  They formed a subculture that created an outlet for youth over the common love of this type of music.  I intend to explore the legacy of these metalheads and the influence they have on today’s metalheads.



Hjelm, Titus, Keith Kahn-Harris, and Mark Levine. “Heavy Metal as Controversy and Counterculture.” Popular Music History 6.1 (2011): 5-17. Equinox Online, 18 May 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <>.


Field Notes:

Butka, James.  Field Notes.  10/17/14, 12/5/14.


Personal Interviews:

Roseo, Joseph. “Joseph Roseo Interview.” Telephone interview. 5 Dec. 2014.

Sucio, Oli. “Oli Sucio Interview.” Personal interview. 5 Dec. 2014.

West, Steve. “Steve West Interview.” Telephone interview. 4 Dec. 2014.





This will also include firsthand accounts to supplement the academic article from people who were metal heads during the 1980’s and today.  I feel a personal account from people who were there will compliment the general overview generally given in the article.

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Females and the Music Industry

While reading the article on Riot Grrl, it really reminded me of a very sad fact.  The music industry is a very male dominated industry.  Now before I divulge into this I would just like to clarify that some views that I will repeat do not reflect my own opinion on this matter.  I personally believe that music is music, regardless of gender.  With that being said I will now give you a very personal account.

A few years ago, I had the idea of forming a female fronted hard rock band.  Personally I liked the idea of having a female singer because I felt that it would make for more of a diverse range when it comes to singing (it is no secret that vocal ranges vary with gender).  One of the guitarists in the band, Richie Blackwood, did not agree with having a female singer.  Richie had played numerous times with the band Danger Danger, and also does session work with other artists like Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), etc.  His exact words to me were as follows:

“Woman have a very short shelf life in this business.  The crowd will only focus on her because she is eye candy and the rest of the band will become invisible.  We can be on top of the world and then one day she will decide to shit out a couple of kids and then our careers will be over because people will forget about us.  Out of all the bands in our genre that have sold out stadiums (i.e. Metallica, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Megadeth, Slayer) how many of them had female singers? None of them.  Women are meant for backstage, not being at the front of the stage.”

For those of you reading this and are offended, I apologize very sincerely.  The reason I recalled this is because this was the single most grotesque, sexist thing I have ever heard in my 8 years of performing.  But the sad thing is that others feel very similar to the way that he did.

A specific person that comes to mind is Lita Ford.  In the late 1980’s she performed a duet with Ozzy Osbourne entitled “Close My Eyes Forever”

This song skyrocketed her solo career and the song charted very high.  After all you had the Prince of Darkness backing you, you have to be doing something right.  Then at the height of her career she decided to settle down and have kids in 1995.  She wasn’t heard from again until 15 years later.  The reason I mention this is because not only does it provide a specific reason for the whole “shitting out kids” comment that Richie made, but it also goes to show you the bias of the music industry.  Many bands including Metallica, Green Day, etc. have taken a hiatus in order to raise a family.  The difference being is they return with ease where in the case of Lita Ford it takes 15 years to come back.

Another thing that should be noted is the insane amount of attention that is spent focusing on image when it comes to female musicians.  It is almost unfair when you compare it to the average male musician.  The industry wants females that look like super models, and once the looks go, the career go with it.

There are many other issues that I can explain about, but at that point I would be writing a novel on these issues, so for the sake of time I will focus on these two above mentioned issues.  Basically magazines like Riot Grrrl created an outlet for female musicians to gain exposure and to network.  The spirit that the magazine created is reflected today in the underground music scene, but unfortunately the gender bias are still very much reflected.  One could only hope that one day an artist can be judged on their work rather than by their gender.


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Confessions of an Indie Artist

While reading Ryan Hibbett’s article “What is Indie Rock?” I noticed many similar trends with that genre and the local NYC music scene.  First off lets look at a general history.  Metal music gained prominence in the late 1970’s and enjoyed almost two decades being in the main stream until the coming of grunge rock in 1990.  Since then, the great metal bands of that time period either toured overseas and were forgotten by American audiences or quietly disbanded.  Indie Rock, just like metal music, does not focus on the main stream.  Rather it is created for the sake of creating music and does not require the need for big studios and glossy productions.  One of the key factors is that the music generally does not need to be distributed via a record label.  It makes use of social media and other online resources in order to get the word around.

I can personally relate to many indie musicians, because I myself am one.  I am the lead singer and guitar player for the Hard Rock band Exercitum ( and play many shows within the local NYC area. These past few months we’ve released an album independently, had a lot of radio play, and have performed many shows.  This is the process that many bands end up going through, and the way that we did things is similar to the concepts mentioned in this article.  Here is our single “Metal and Lace”

As you can hear, the recording is very “rough around the edges.”  This is because we recorded it in a makeshift basement studio.  Among the 8 songs that are present on our album, this is one of the popular ones (I wish I could explain why but I can’t speak for the people).  A normal, glossy album would cost anywhere from about $10,000 – $15,000 (which does not include mastering, and distribution) depending on the studio.  Overall we recorded our album (including mastering and distribution) for $2,500, a mere fraction of what it would cost to do it in a studio.

The point being is that musicians do not need labels and other mediums to get their songs out there.  With the advent of many technologies, we have fostered an industry that can cater to the independent musician.  It has made it possible for them to experience success without the middle man.


Just A Girl?

“…propelled Gwen Stefani to her position as female rock icon, the performance of girlhood, although by no means a homogenous or universal enterprise, can now be said to constitute a new cultural dominant within the musical practice of women in rock.” Gwen Stefani is the lead singer of the alternative-punk band, No Doubt and they were on the scene in the 1990’sGwen immediately stuck out from the typical lead singers of alternative-punk band. Firstly, she was a female. It is extremely rare for a woman to be apart of a band or even a lead singer of one. In Gayle Walds Just A Girl she talks about of Stefani is seen as not only a powerful figure in music, but she is also discusses how they changed the definition of “girl” with the release of their hit “Just A Girl”. I really enjoyed how Wald incorporated different ethnic girls to back up her argument. She talks about the star qualities of each ethnic background. For example, african-american girls in the music industry tend to produce a brand of innocence in their music. Wald goes on to discuss “rock music cultures, especially the cultures of independent rock, provide crucial sites within young women can negotiate their own representations of girlhood in varying degrees of opposition to, or collaboration with, hegemonic narratives.” I believe Gwen Stefani is a perfect example for Wald’s argument. While it might not be publicly displayed in everything she does within her career, it is evident that Gwen Stefani ultimately defines who SHE is instead of having society decide.


Jay-Z: Rags to Riches

Throughout the years, Jay-Z has proven himself to be the most influential rapper of our time and he continues to break barriers for other rappers. He has pushed the boundaries and made it known he is different from the rest. As a big Jay-Z fan, I really enjoyed reading Cynthia Fuch’s article, ‘I’m Rags to Riches’: The Death of Jay-Z. This articles discusses the business motives of Jay-Z and breaks down his decisions. Fuch talks about how most hip-hop artists create songs/music videos that are filled with real life experiences. She believes that ultimately the relationship of a role and actor are interchangeable. She states, “rather hip-hop performances tend to be read as direct translations of the artists’ experiences, beliefs, and self-understanding.” Jay-Z broke this barrier when he released the music video for 99 Problems. At the end of the music video, Jay-Z is seen getting shot multiple times in the upper chest. This sparked curiosity and controversy because realistically, Jay-Z was never taken down by a gun.


Fuch goes on to discuss how Jay-Z’s music video stuck out from regular “ghetto” rappers. She explains that instead of getting different visuals of the dirty streets, drugs, fighting and poor neighborhoods, viewers see “a dramatization of the dreams ignited by such environment even as it lays out geography and connectedness.” Jay-Z used his poor upbringing as inspiration to transform his life. It interesting to see how he doesn’t abandon who he truly he is, rather, he incorporates it in his music but presents it in a way that is likable for different audiences. From great albums to different endorsement deals, Jay-Z has proven to be a historical figure. He “retired” from rap in 2004 to evolve into a legendary businessman. Today, Jay-Z has deals with Def Jam records, the Brooklyn Nets and even created his own music festival (Made in America). All of these factors proves that Jay-Z can handle anything in his career and he refuses to be categorized as just as “regular” rapper.

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