It's always weird to hear those outside of the EDM scene talk about the ills of EDM. For all of their "these kids and their newfangled sounds," they don't sound any better than the grown-ups we imagine they slandered for slamming the music of their day. I don't know how USA Today even got on the subject of EDM with Tom Petty (we figure it was a larger issue he took with today's youth and their music, but did he bring it up or did they?), but I always try to ignore commentary like this:
"Watch people play records? That's stupid. You couldn't pay me to go. I'm not oversimplifying it. That's what's going on. I don't think it would be any fun without the drugs. It's a drug party."
Petty went on to say that when he saw ads for the EDC in Las Vegas, he knew that people would die (which is a fucked up thing to say, honestly). It's an old-hat argument, and one that I hate even getting into, because dance music wasn't made for people like Tom Petty to understand. God bless people like Pasquale Rotella, though, who have a way of defending the scene without bashing someone. Today he released the following statement regarding Petty's comments, making sure to point out the similarities between hippie culture and rave culture:
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about records, DJs and dance music, including Tom Petty. We’re living in a very electronic era with constantly evolving forms of entertainment, which may be a daunting thing for a classic rocker in search of contemporary social relevancy as he starts promoting new music. But I would think that someone who played shows with Dylan and the Dead—someone who lived through and actively contributed to the counterculture era of the ’60s and ’70s—wouldn’t be so quick to drink the overhyped media Kool-Aid about our festival experience. If he wants to come to EDC Vegas next year and see what it’s really about, we’ve got a ticket with his name on it. If he doesn’t want to wait that long, Nocturnal Wonderland is right around the corner. My Mama Irene would be stoked to meet him! Who knows? He might just have a “Change of Heart.”"
Brilliant. And on a side note, Rotella isn't the only one defending the scene. After word of a Keith Urban concert turning into a serious nightmare (there are charges of a man raping a 17-year-old girl, 22 hospitalizations for alcohol-related ailments, and 50 arrests), Kaskade sent out the following tweet:
Weird that so many ravers were at a Keith Urban concert. Oh wait…there’s a drug/alcohol prob OUTSIDE of electronic music?? Shocking.
— Kaskade (@kaskade) July 28, 2014
It's a point that many of us in the EDM media have tried to hammer home: yes, there are issues with drugs in the EDM scene, a lot of them stemming from people who are too young taking too much of substances they know nothing about. The thing is, as evidenced with that Keith Urban concert, this is nothing new, nor is it an issue that's singular to EDM. Stereotypes about the scene won't go away until those within the scene change them, but it sucks when the non-EDM media decides to focus on one side of the scene.