This is the fourth in the series called "Jrock Where You Live," in which Jrock Revolution staff writers chronicle what it’s like to be a Jrock fan in their community. In this installment, staff writer Zeanne tells us all about the underground Jrock culture in Montgomery, Alabama.
It’s a strange thing, being a Jrock fan here in a small town in the southern United States. I was quite certain for the longest time that I was the only one around. Even my family thought I was strange until I started playing the music for them. Being music-lovers in general, and rock’n’roll fans in particular; they quickly became converted to my way of thinking. (Insert evil laugh here.) Then one day at work, about eight months ago, I was talking with my husband about one of the bands I had just discovered and a girl in the break room with us mentioned that her friend listens to that kind of music. We talked and I eventually made her two sample CDs to listen to. The next day, she came in to work and said that her friend had swiped the CDs because she didn’t have those songs yet. Other than that, the fan base here is very secretive.
In an area that lives and breathes college football and country music, even the rock music gets a backseat. This means anything outside the usual has to go underground to survive. Survive it has, to the point where there are more and more fans every month. Being an underground movement is to be expected around here, though. After all, what self-respecting African-American listens to Jrock? How about my oldest daughter’s boyfriend? He came to listen to it nearly the same way as my family did. Anime introduced us to the usual suspects: L’arc~en~ciel, Gackt, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Aqua Timez, etc. The shift to Jrock came as we searched out these bands and discover how many more are out there that play the kind of music we really love.
There are more fans around here than you would suspect, as can been seen by the way the anime magazines always sell out when they do articles on the rock bands. Just take a visit to the FYE store in the Montgomery mall and try and find girugamesh, D’espairsRay or Dir en Grey CDs. It’s not because they aren’t being shipped here, because I’ve seen them a time or two. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to catch those that buy them. They are much too elusive for that. Talking to the employees there and at the other place that sells them, Hot Topic, I’ve discovered a little more about them. They are either older than expected, or very young. Either way, most all of them are into anime, especially the stuff that is only sold on DVDs or broadcast online. The airing of Death Note, with Nightmare and Maximum the Hormone’s songs has been a huge boost for the popularity. Now that the fans here are more aware of how hard Jrock can get, they are even more into the music.
The most recent unexpected encounter I had with a jrock fan was when I was talking about becoming a JRR staff writer with a good friend I’ve known for seven years now. Come to find out, he’s a Jrock fan. He knew nearly all the bands I asked him about. I shouldn’t have been surprised. He is the person who introduced me and my husband to Disturbed before they became big.
I am always on the lookout for more people to introduce Jrock to around here. The way I look at it, if they listen to rock music, they’ll enjoy jrock. A good example of this would be two nights ago, when I gave one of the managers at work the website address for Jrock Revolution. After all, her son listens to Metallica, so why not Dir en Grey and Nightmare? And I’m always on the prowl when I get to the mall.
One of these days I might even find out who keeps buying all the girugamesh CDs!
Written by Zeanne H.