Back when I was 15, I was hanging out with a crowed that was a few years older than me. They introduced me to alternative music, bands like Depeche Mode, the Smiths, The Cure and many, many others.
In a stack of vinyl I was loaned to help me along, there were two albums, though, that were different: Front 242’s Never Stop! e.p. and Nitzer Ebb’s ‘That Total Age’. While my friend included them as examples, it was clear that he did not consider Industrial or EBM to be particularly great musical forms. Despite owning some, he was quite dismissive of it. But I wasn’t. I was hooked.
And so I dug deeper on my own. I started taking regular trips out to an import record shop in Schaumburg called The Turn Table (Long, long, looooong, gone) and digging through the binds of CDS and Records, and slowly building my collection. Front 242 lead me to Wax Trax and, being the collector that I am, I went on to get almost every release they ever put out on CD (still have all of them).
It wasn’t just rampant consumerism I was also instilled with. The punk-borrowed “anyone can do this and do it well” ethos of Industrial Music and it’s bending of technology into art pulled me in and I started the path to becoming a musician in my own right. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in that stack vinyl was my entire future.
The downside, unfortunately, was that I drifted from those friends that were dismissive of the art form in favor of my own direction. I don’t regret this. Finding my own path and having the courage to go against the prevailing group-think was an important step in my development as a human. In a way, it was just my acceptance of the fact that I was never going to exactly fit in anywhere and that I’d always be an outsider. Even after 30 years in the scene, I still feel that way.
As I’m sitting here listening to Nitzer Ebb and prepping to see them in concert for the second time in my life, I am very grateful for everything that Industrial Music as given me. There might not be a ‘me’ to be grateful without it.