Elder Goth's Hanging on Despite Younger Goths Dismissing Them
November 30, 2012, 07:22pm
Wither the Elder Goth: Don’t count Grey Goth’s out of the communities mix
I recently posted a picture of Alice Cooper jamming with fellow elder rock statesmen Aerosmith. Some have called Cooper the founder of Glam Goth and Goth Rock, which is why we shouldn’t count him, or any of his generation out.
The Goth sub-culture owns a debt of gratitude to these tireless supporters of darkness in our lives. They laugh, love and argue about what is and isn’t Goth and the younger generation has relegated them to the junk bin of history, with the occasional kudos to mainstays like the Cult and other well known Darkwave bands, but what of the non-musical contingent that are now mothers and fathers?
Vampirefreaks did a survey recently and we received a number of responses from late 1970’s and early 1980’s fans, groupies and supporters of what the Punk movement became. They are now in their late 40’s through to their mid sixties like Mr. Cooper is and they are tired of the misconceptions and stereotypes that are being heaped on them. Many were once members of the Goth community as they searched for their own identity like Cate Blanchett, who recently revealed how she suffered through her teens as a Goth Girl in Australia, where the sun is strong and the Goth culture is weak. Those that have kept-up with the Goth sub-culture may not mosh like their children might, but they appreciate the finer things that are Goth.
There continues to be challenges to the philosophy of what is Goth and the 200 plus genres of what they are can sometimes conflict. However, if you look at what the Goth attitude is really all about, most of the genres would agree that the original premise of counter-culture, individuality, self-expression and love of all things dark, alternative, creative, imaginative and I can go on, is still true today in those that might be considered ready for the grave. You know, those head-stones that we used to like to take pictures off because they were so cool, especially when covered in snow, in the twilight of a sunless winter day. Well folks, these grey Goths are closer to taking-up residence in these cool aesthetics then they care to believe. The younger ones, better known as Baby Bats can still use them for props, while the Elder Goths consider which ones they will lie under!
Apart from the realities of the frailties of humanity, the First Wave Goths are also professionals, literary consumers, politicians, investment bankers, etc… You name it, they have taken-up positions in the society they spurned, but not for giving-up on their emotions and feelings, but rather to incorporate the realities of life with their own interests and desires. Some have been more able to assimilate by continuing to enjoy the music, art, clothing and attitudes while holding down very successful and respectable positions, while others have not gone as mainstream, considering that to be blasphemous.
I myself have kept the spirit and intense desire for all things Goth healthy in my life by surrounding myself with like minded people, art, collectible toys, graphic novels and comics, not to mention the rise of talented musicians and film-makers (Tim Burton among them). While I prefer black in my wardrobe, I haven’t worn studs, leather collars and black eyeliner in decades, partly because I don’t have the time to focus on my look and practically, because I’d put-off some of my clients, partners and others that aren’t as open-minded and non-judgmental as myself.
Some may say that I betrayed the Goth culture, but I was there with everyone when my father made wisecracks about my look when I was 18, ready to disown me because I wore a black jump-suit a la Parachute (a clothing line way before the time of Sourpuss), black boots and eyeliner as well as burgundy hair with a blond streak in it. Folks, this was 1982 when most people feared The Sex Pistols and thought Siouxsie and the Banshees were insane. Ignorance hasn’t changed much since then, but we owe it to the trailblazers of the last century, so don’t go putting us in black depends just yet!
while not quite an Elder, (born in 73) that's pretty much all i grew up on having mostly having older friends till i was in my late teens, then turning the tables when i was in my mid twenties and onwards by ending up younger friends, odd it just turned out that way, but it makes sense. Always had more "industrial" leanings, especially in my music, and i dig both old and new, i think it'd be silly just to disregard a band because they came out after (or before) a certain date... we aint milk,lol
i dunno i feel the various styles older or modern are awesome and you do see the older generation mixing with the modern style as well and vice verca. although from a young age I tended to stick with the older generation. but i party with the newer generation just as much. dunno where i stand classification wise i guess somewhere inbetween perhaps But its all fuckin badass to me bottom line.
as i lay here in the Circle of Black Wings i cannot recall what i wanted to be though the emptyness insides eternal the depression begins to cease knowing I'm not alone in the Circle of Black Wings.
I don't particularly relish the idea of picking apart gothic subdivisions and turning them into a hierarchy. Every scene or subculture has this, at any point in time: The "founding fathers," the elitists, the wannabes, the trend-setters, the trend-breakers, and the fresh young seekers who are only just beginning to dip their toes in. I always thought goth culture was a way break out of these subdivisions and self-appointed prison cells, but I found out long ago that I was wrong. By and large, people tend to be pretty much the same whether they dress in black or shop at Banana Republic.
I think that due to the recent blending of styles, you have to be a hardcore disciple of the trend to categorise yourself as such. The same can be said of scene, emo, etc - nobody cares about names, they all want different aspects of the lifestyle without the label. Not necessarily a terrible thing; in some ways, the idea of such identities is dying out, in others, we head towards a degree of uniformity. But what do I know? I'm just a horse.
- When seeing is believing, looks can be deceiving -
GOTH is awesome yes, but not the weird style the kids today have. They just do what they THINK goth is. One of those kids in my town thought goth music was what came up when you searched for ''gothic music'' on youtube, which was typical ''scary'' athmospheric music - Which can be cool, but that's not goth music.
I think CausticRelapse has the right idea. Why can't you artistically express yourself without being labeled something? After all we are all human beings. We are not a different species so I really don't see the point in labels.
Not to mention why brand yourself a certain style when you can branch out and do whatever you want? I don't think you need to call yourself something in order to express yourself or wear dark clothes.
Hmm I love the first pic all of my fave men in the same room at the Golden Gods award show. <3 Hot Topic is too expensive and mainstream bullshit. The kids today are kinda ruining the whole style. I agree with Pestilenz as well.
The fact that they have nothing to do with the goth subculture, perhaps? The fact that their music is in no way whatsoever related to gothic rock? Goth is primarily a musical subculture, based around gothic rock and its subgenres, its fanbase, and the fashion inspired by all of the above. None of the four artists in the image have anything at all to do with the subculture because they neither play gothic rock music or participate in the subculture. If this were a real discussion about goth the pic above would be of Siouxsie Sioux or Olli Wisdom or Peter Murphy, or hell even Rozz Williams or Dinah Cancer. I'll take Ian Astbury over any of the above pictured, at least he actually played a part in the subculture and at one point made gothic music.
I'm in no way, shape, or form insulting any of the pictured artists. I'm a huge Alice Cooper fan myself, and you'll never find me insulting an artist simply because I dislike their music(unless they do something really despicable). It's simply that none of those pictured artists have anything at all to do with the subculture.
Goth has nothing at all to do with the mainstream or being anti-mainstream. Several bands within the subculture are signed, or have been signed, to mainstream record labels and have at some point or another been played on the radio and featured on music TV channels worldwide.
"One does not care to acknowledge the mistakes of one's youth." - Char Aznable
as a uk elder goth (born in 68 so was there in the days ) i love not just old school goth but all of the industrial and newer goth stuff and punk and psychobilly etc etc etc ... as long as i like it then cool.... in terms of someones comment about tending to dress towards the old school goth style and it being more acceptable in the workplace i get what you mean but still get annoyed that ppls style has to be dictated by their job ... i was based in london in the city of all places where i was surrounded by suits ... but i still wore my ankle length duster coat and all my silver which is .. alot ... and as i had been there so long i was accepted .... was funny one day tho when my boss was asked by a worker who didnt know me if i was a goth .. shje replied yes and i slept in a coffin and everything!! the person who has asked believed it lmao!! goths are just as misunderstood today as we were then so there is alot of common ground... liked the article btw
"One must pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while still alive"
Your article put a lot in perspective; I find it kind of funny how much of the Goth culture has been accepted by most of society. When we used to go out in the late 70s we were often beaten up because of what we looked like; if got to the point where we all studied martial arts and realized we either had to take getting beaten up all the time or strike back and kick some ass. We decided the latter and at the same time we earned respect. By the early 80s the same people that made fun of us or tried to beat us up were asking to borrow out tapes...revenge can be sweet. Especially when some of the people that used to give us the gears because of the way we dressed - ended up having kids that dressed more like we did. I'm 47, I am a professional and yet I still maintain a small record company, tour throughout North America and have the skill set and the time to produce all sorts of different music. I hope the younger part of the Goth culture does (to a certain level) respect the blood and tears that a lot of the older Goths had to go through so that they can exercise their right to be more creative and express themselves in so many different ways. Thanks for the article; I really appreciate it when we have intelligent articles to read on this website. WE do have an amazing online community on vf and I hope to be around to continue to enjoy it for years to come!