When writing an old post for this site (Goth music - then and now) I was reminded of the attitude that a lot of the older Goth bands seem to have regarding the subculture; for example, Robert Smith's remark that "it's so pitiful when 'Goth' is still tagged on to the name 'The Cure'". This kind of attitude is something that I find exceedingly irritating. If these artists are not particularly fond of the subculture, that's fine. But there's no need to complain and bitch about the group that, in most cases, consititutes a large proportion of their fanbase.
Of course, the subculturally-beloved band most famous for ragging on the devoted followers that pay their bills are The Sisters of Mercy, who have practically made verbal Goth-bashing into an art form, as well as infamously booting support act Sunshine Blind off a tour for being 'too Goth'.
I did hear a while back that the Sisters referred to Goths on their website as 'g**h', as though it was a dirty word. Even for 'if-I-wear-black-socks-I'm-stigmatised-as-a-demon-overlord' Andrew Eldritch I thought this was a bit silly, so I popped over to their site to see if this was true. In fact I found very little mention of Goth, save in their FAQ where there are a few snide remarks:
Q: Do you always wear black? [Amy's note: Did this really need to go in their FAQ or was it just an excuse to make sneaky 'we are not in any way shape or form a Goth band, despite Patricia Morrison's dress sense and the fact that the music we play is very recogniseably EARLY GOTH ROCK' comments?]
A: "Not at all. Traditionally, we very often wear shirts of the most flamboyant colour and design.... You shouldn't be that bothered anyway.... A TV station or a magazine or a citizen with a particularly desperate agenda might insist on exaggerating the importance of the occasional black sock...[what's with all the socks?]; you don't have to make the same mistake. If the songs are too difficult to concentrate on, or you're simply so sad that you have to draw substantive conclusions from what we wear, you should at least ignore those morons who need to discuss the kind of capes we wear. Because we've never worn any."
Q: My friend says he thinks that the singer with some dodgy band of darklings is really Andrew Eldritch. Has Andrew ever been in any other bands?
A: "Andrew has sung guest vocals for a couple of major artists ... but that's it. You certainly won't find him singing with your friend's dodgy darklings. Especially as their lyrics are undoubtedly gibberish."
Dodgy darklings? Oh, my dear followers, you just KNOW what I'm going to be calling you guys from now on... ;-)
Anyhoo. I'm not entirely sure why bands like these seem to think it makes them cool to whine about being associated with a large section of their own fan base, but it's undeniable that the Goth scene presents them with an easy target. Mention to your Goth friends or local spooky club DJ the idea of boycotting The Sisters - in return for their lame comments, we'll stop helping them pay their rent - and you'll be met with looks of abject horror and remarks along the lines of, "But... but what will I do without First and Last and Always?" And don't get me wrong, I'm just as bad.
Which probably means that the Goth subculture is the only consumer group in the world that can be viewed with public disdain by artists and will STILL go buy their stuff. I guess we 'dodgy darklings' are too forgiving when it comes to talented musicians... dammit.
On a completely unrelated note, this was the highlight of my weekend: