Artist Chat: Brian Medlin of Legendary Divorce

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Interview by Francis Shervinski

We chatted with Brian Medlin (Brian Medlin and the Elk Band, Legendary Divorce) about finding comfort in his scene, inspiration within his music and music as a tool of self-expression. 

PO: What are your thoughts on our scene and its inclusiveness? Do you have any personal anecdotes pertaining to scene inclusiveness/lack of inclusiveness?

BM: I grew up playing and attending hardcore and punk shows throughout high school. And I’m still at it. The music is first and foremost in any music scene. But that music, the lyrics, the attitude- it attracts certain individuals. I think it was because it was “different.” When I was in high school in the late 90s, playing in a band wasn’t considered cool. The common reaction was dwindled down to a short phrase like, “Why are they screaming,” “You can’t understand the words,” or “It just sounds like a bunch of noise.”  So it was its inclusiveness and acceptance that was perfect for a kid trying to find a place for him or herself that didn’t fit into the normal roles of a high school teenager. See, I didn’t join marching band, I wasn’t in the drama club, and I wasn’t on the football or basketball teams. I played in a band and I went to hardcore shows.

That was where I felt comfortable. It was who I wanted to be around, talk to, and share ideas with. I fell in love with the scene after seeing how whenever someone fell down in a mosh pit, people would immediately go to help them back up. At shows, you could wear what you want, say what you want, and play what you want. Even the band I played in at that time, Inkling, felt we didn’t conform to any of the music that was even within our own scene. And I think that struck a chord with other kids. They noticed that we were just doing it because we loved it. Or doing it because we were experimenting. Kids in this scene almost always seem to have open ears and open hearts. For me, inclusiveness is part of the very fabric that makes up a punk scene. It’s what makes it “punk”. At least it damn well should be. If you can’t accept someone for who they are, you’re not punk.

 

PO: Are there any pressing issues in our scene that you think should be addressed?

BM: Not on the music scene exactly, but on a more general or global scale there obviously needs to be more of an acceptance of the LBGTQ community. And in more recent years I feel there has been. The problem is that it is a slow and excruciating process to get to the point of total acceptance. And it really shouldn’t be. I’m talking about Joe Schmoe here. I’m talking about Mrs. Housewife or whatever. All throughout history there have been people waiting for others to “catch up,” so to speak. The world used to be flat, it was the center of the universe, slavery was normal, Jim Crow, apartheid, witch trials, etc. People blamed gods for changes in the weather or common diseases. There were always people who said they were wrong, and history proved, those naysayers turned out to be right. Only they had to wait for the others to catch up, to finally understand and accept. Half of the country still doesn’t believe in evolution. Hell, half of the country still votes republican. There always seems to be a side of people that are more reserved, conservative, and stubborn to change. They eventually do. They change and evolve with the rest of us. They just take a damn long time. Hey, the new pope agrees with the big bang theory and says, “Who am I to judge?” on same-sex marriage. Cool, right? Yeah, but big fucking deal. Welcome to the rest of the world. What took you so long?  

 

PO: Have any songs you've written been a particularly strong example of self-expression for you? If it is something you're comfortable talking about, an in-depth analysis of a song would work.

BM: Every song is a form of self-expression, whether I’m writing and singing songs for solo work or even playing drums in Legendary Divorce. Everything I put out is an extension of myself. The beautiful thing about a song is that anyone can hear it and make it their own. When I hear a song, I might relate to the lyrics or just the sound of it and then instantly identify with it.

 

What inspires you to do what you do and connect with people of various backgrounds through your music?

I’m mostly inspired by other music. I listen to so many different forms and genres and that’s why I write and perform varying styles. Music is something pretty magical. It can go where no one or nothing else can go or touch. As far as connecting goes, I guess I don’t think about it very much. I mean, I have to admit when I’m writing I’ll wonder or even worry about what people close to me might think or feel about it. But I do it because I need to get it out. It’s when it does connect to people that is incredibly gratifying. It’s rewarding and makes you do it more.  

What pushes you to keep going when things are rough?

Friends, family, loved ones. What else really matters?

 

TUNE IN:

www.brianmedlinmusic.com

Brian Medlin & the Elk Band

Legendary Divorce


Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed on our Artist Corner and Blog are exclusively of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of Punk Out as an organization.

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