Metallic Identity

When I was in India in January, I ended up hanging out at Mumbai airport for about 4 hours while waiting for a domestic flight. In one corner of the terminal was a group of twenty-something year-olds – mostly boys and two girls or so — all dressed in jeans and tee-shirts, all with longish flippy hair. One of them was carrying a guitar and they were all sitting in a circle, close together, humming, strumming, and singing English songs that sounded like a cross between David Byrne and Bon Jovi. I tried to park myself near them and kept trying to figure out their story. I never did–it was the middle of the night and I was an unabashed victim of jetlag–but in my mind, I’d made up a story about them — they were college buddies traveling together (probably to Goa); maybe they were even a band, getting amped to sit on the beach around a campfire singing their songs after a full-moon rave at Anjuna Beach. …

I was reminded of this scene when I read Akshay Ahuja’s feature essay on the Indian subculture of heavy metal in the April issue of Guernica, a print and online magazine of art and politics. In “Death Metal and the Indian Identity”, writer Akshay Ahuja is asked to carry a guitar to India for his father’s colleague’s son. The guitar is to be delivered to Pradyam, who is part of “a semi-pro death metal band” called Cremated Souls (now defunct).cremated souls.jpg

A simple guitar delivery leads Akshay Ahuja into the vibrant subculture of heavy metal in India, as he becomes friends with Pradyam and his band members, many of whom work at call centers.

There are several sections in the piece where the author makes small observations about the little differences and nuances between India and America, cultural and otherwise. These gave me pause, not only because some of them rang true, but also because I enjoyed the way they were being articulated in a very specific context.

For example:

A few days later Pradyum came to my parents’ house on a black Royal Enfield motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket. He was strong and well-built. I found out later that until a few years ago, he had been serious about track and field before a scooter accident had crushed his leg. Pradyum would drop me off several times after this, but this was the only time he came inside. He was always afraid that he smelled like cigarettes (he smoked constantly) and that this would offend my parents. Once in the house, he complimented my mother on her beautiful home—and such a nice garden! This immense politeness was strangely incongruous. Looking just like James Dean, he had all the American gestures of rebelliousness, but without the appropriate American attitude.

Here’s another:

It was near midnight on the eve of India’s independence, and I was at a concert called Freedom Jam, held at a club on the outskirts of Bangalore called only The Club. Watching the band perform from beside the stage, I noticed a girl with a nose ring. My grandmother’s nose was pierced when she married at thirteen; her nose ring was a sign that she adhered to a certain traditional image of Indian womanhood. For this girl, however, the ring indicated that she was not just westernized (such girls simply chose not to get their noses pierced) but a member of an alternative community that existed outside the mainstream of westernized Indian youth. Essentially, the nose ring had traveled to the other side of the world, assumed a fringe rather than traditional meaning, and then come back to India, where it now has two different meanings. Such dual gestures exist in America, but they usually have one sincere and one ironic meaning—trucker hats on truckers, for example, as opposed to everyone else. In India, however, both meanings are perfectly sincere, both carry conviction.

And, this one:

The rest of the band wasn’t very talkative. Charlie was wearing a black shirt with something silver painted on it in jagged gothic letters. I looked at it: “Cytos…” “Cryptopsy,” he said. Then he explained that it was a band he liked. He couldn’t find a t-shirt of theirs in India so he made it himself with red and silver puffy paint. Pradyum was wearing a History Channel t-shirt. I wondered if members of any American band would have worn these two items of clothing—a homemade shirt, and one that advertised for a television channel—without being enormously conscious of what they were doing, of aiming to produce some sort of effect. Things that have been weighted down in the west with ironic associations—Scooby Doo T-shirts, hair metal, huge striped V-shaped guitars like the one Ganesh had—had regained their innocence on the other side of the world. In India, they mean nothing more than what they are, and people either like them or don’t, but they never “like” them.

The piece was a fascinating commentary on an desi’s experience going back to India and discovering various subcultures that have sprouted up as a result of globalization – heavy metal and call center “vampires” are just a few:

Pradyum’s fiancee “managed a call center for Alamo car rental at night, and then slept during the day. She was basically living on American hours. A couple of my cousins in Bangalore did this too, and they told me that entire malls and restaurants had sprung up in certain areas of the city to cater to people who followed these vampire schedules. One cousin told me that he went to such places after work to “freak out.” After much confusion, I discovered that this term has, like the nose ring, crossed the oceans to mean its exact opposite—in India, it means to relax or hang out.”

In “Death Metal and Identity,” Akshay Ahuja proposes that “generally, it seemed, it was no longer necessary to slowly build a career through extensive education and continuous professional diligence. A decent livelihood was available at any point, as long as one spoke English. This easy money allowed for a semi-bohemian lifestyle that hadn’t been possible or acceptable in India before. Until keeping a serious job was absolutely necessary, you could do anything you wanted with your time. This withdrawal of obligations was perhaps the first step in creating an artistic class outside the mainstream of a culture.”

[As a sidenote, Amitabha Bagchi's IIT novel "Above Average" explores this subculture a bit -- his main character is a " middle-class Delhi boy with an aptitude for science and math but a yearning to be the drummer of a rock band .."]

Any metal musicians in the house? Past? Present? Wanna-bes? Is Akshay right? Has “easy money allowed for a semi-bohemian lifestyle that hadn’t been possible or acceptable in India before”?

70 thoughts on “Metallic Identity

  1. NE part of India has always had vibrant metal musician culture.

    I had friends from Meghalaya who were serious band guys.

    Also, there is a very vibrant cultural festival in India that has been going for three decades now – all IITs have them, Stephen’s College and all other Delhi University campuses, JNU, and many other colleges. It is when these colleges host a cultural meet, and often bands play an important role.

    *** If a guy gets to play in a bad in a festival at Lady Shri Ram College or Miranda House, they are in the seventh heaven.

    *** Indra N. of Pepsi used to play in a all-woman band in Madras.

  2. the non-jock boys at my high school — all had a metal phase from grade 7-11. these sensitive types would bring walkmans or discmans (walkmen? discmen?) to school, and lovingly share their music with us. i might have received a metallica tape for my birthday once, i think. of course, grunge rock was also popular — given that it gave death metal good competition in the depressive/angsty/suicidal/anomie categories.

    For this girl, however, the ring indicated that she was not just westernized (such girls simply chose not to get their noses pierced) but a member of an alternative community that existed outside the mainstream of westernized Indian youth. Essentially, the nose ring had traveled to the other side of the world, assumed a fringe rather than traditional meaning, and then come back to India, where it now has two different meanings.

    yes, i am that girl :) wanted to get a nose-ring since i was 10. my parents refused multiple times — none of your aunts have it, no grandmothers even, you’ll want to take it off, you’ll hate it. so i appealed to my grandmother. stupid move. she said, “hmmmpff, i grew up in karachi. only villagers wear nose-rings. my father-in-law promised to buy me diamond ear-rings and maybe even a necklace, if only i would get my nose pierced after getting married. i still refused.” ultimately, when i turned 16 (which was a good year, especially academically, so maybe my parents felt generous), i insisted that a nose-ring be my birthday present. funny, although there were many times my parents didn’t give me birthday presents, they relented this time (ten or so days after). they thought that since i had demonstrated a consistent desire for something for many years, it wasn’t a passing whim.

  3. When I left India in the late 90′s, I said goodbye to my “innocent” 15 year old cousin who sang Hindustani vocals and played the harmonium. I go back in 5 years to this guy who plays in a death metal band. I saw a few videos of his concerts and could not believe the audience falling over themselves to get an autograph. I guess I was proud of my little cousin :-) They are here

  4. For this girl, however, the ring indicated that she was not just westernized (such girls simply chose not to get their noses pierced) but a member of an alternative community that existed outside the mainstream of westernized Indian youth. Essentially, the nose ring had traveled to the other side of the world, assumed a fringe rather than traditional meaning, and then come back to India, where it now has two different meanings.

    Nose studs are sexy. Only second in sexiness to belly button rings.

    Portmanteau: Are you single?

  5. 4 · Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said

    Portmanteau: Are you single?

    No yaar, but long on (him) and fine leg (me) are always on the lookout for a third man (you)*. especially a loco who’s for debauchery.

    • not really true i’m afraid :(
  6. This takes me back to my Tam Brahm school in Mylapore, Chennai. It wasn’t the kind of place where you would expect to find heavy metal, but there seemed to be a good fanbase. It was here that I first heard of bands like “Iron Maiden”, “Megadeth” and “Judas Priest”; the names were carved into the wooden desks.

    This was in the late 80s, so I would guess it has been around for a while. Perhaps what has changed with the job boom is that more young people can afford to spend time and money on such interests.

    Personally, I would attribute this change more to cable TV (which started becoming popular around the early 90s) and, of course, to the Internet.

  7. No yaar, but long on (him) and fine leg (me) are always on the lookout for a third man (you)*. especially a loco who’s for debauchery. * not really true i’m afraid :(

    Dont knock it till you have tried it ;)

  8. Ah yes, the nose ring: Yet another type of metallic identity.

    My high school scene was in the late 80s. My all-girls’ school (and soem women’s colleges) that enjoyed well-justified reputations of grooming their girls to become future trophy wives (corporate wives, metro wives, fashionista wives, society page wives) had a bevy of pretty, young women with a single diamond perched on their left nostrils (if you are typically traditional, it would be on the right nostril for South Indians, I think). At the inter-college cultural festivals, some of the same women and their diamond nose studs will be accessorized with Levis, T-shirts and high heels. Hair will be scooped up into a ponytail or if the young woman is going for a more sophisticated look–into a nice, attractive knot.

  9. I know a tad bit about this Indian scene, as subcultural studies are a casual interest of mine. I think Heavy Metal tends to have strong working-class connotations in developing countries (as it originally did in England and the US), which might account for its popularity in places like Brazil, for example, where many of the bands focus much more on politics/social issues. In India, though, conditions are different and I do personally feel that without a certain amount of money, it would be difficult to gain entry into the general rock scenes, as a musician, but perhaps even as a listener (though I think that is subject to change), which is somewhat ironic when it comes to Metal, considering much of the aesthetic of the genre and its associated fashion remains pretty simple (the tee shirt and jeans look, for example).

    There’s a documentary about Heavy Metal from around the world coming out soon that promises a look at India’s scene, judging by the trailer. I also remember hearing something about the previous film this guy did doing relatively well.

    http://www.globalmetalfilm.com/03/GM_03.html

  10. It good to see that some young people in India have good taste in music. Now if just desi on this side of the world would get into metal.

    It was here that I first heard of bands like “Iron Maiden”, “Megadeth” and “Judas Priest”; the names were carved into the wooden desks.

    Wow, I have tickets to all 3 bands in next 3 months, Megadeth[May 16], Iron Maiden[June 3], and Judas Priest[July 24]. Who will I see there. Otherwise I will be the token minority in the audience at the shows in Vancouver.

  11. There’s a documentary about Heavy Metal from around the world coming out soon that promises a look at India’s scene, judging by the trailer. I also remember hearing something about the previous film this guy did doing relatively well.

    http://www.globalmetalfilm.com/03/GM_03.html

    His name is Sam Dunn and previous film about metal was very well done. He kind of metal nerd.

  12. Now if just desi on this side of the world would get into metal.

    All in good time friend. My 6-year old does a mean Michael Akerfeldt.

  13. All these “Metal” stuff is just to be copied ?? and Name dropping?? Does it have anything to do with music and creativity? or just a stupid teenage phase ? In my gaanv (village) we never heard of Judas Priest and Megadeath.

  14. Metal has always been big in urban India, I have been part of the rock/ metal community in Bombay for so long. Infact people should check out websites like gigpad.com and magazines like the Rock Street Journal to actually see how big the scene is and the impact it has made.

  15. Desihorn: My experience is similar to yours. But instead of cousin, it’s my older sister. When she was 12, she moved to India while I lived in the Middle East with my parents. Every year, on summer trips to Madras, I saw her gradually transform from a Carnatic music student to a Death Metal vocalist. She has now carved her way into the rock music scene and has her own band. Most of her band members and others in that “scene” work for call-centers or other techie-related fields.

    I am a huge fan (obvs.) but I still dont relate to her passion for Black Sabbath and Judas Priest

    I shall shamlessly plug her band here.

    PS” Love your posts Sandhya!

  16. No yaar, but long on (him) and fine leg (me) are always on the lookout for a third man (you)*.

    Can I pitch my middle stump in this game?

  17. This takes me back to my Tam Brahm school in Mylapore, Chennai.

    PS or Vidya Mandir?

  18. I grew up in Bangalore in the early 90s, and have several friends who were in bands back then. One band, Thermal and a Quarter, have lasted a decade, but most lost their way to US grad schools. I have never understood the urban-Indian fascination for metal. Perhaps, the genre offered the most in-your-face form of rebellion, because the political and social themes embedded in other genres were mostly meaningless in India.

    I do know that among younger musicians back then, there was this obsession with technical expertise on instruments. The coolest guitarist was always the guy who played the fastest licks truest to the originals. Drummers would always have a five-minute solo, their time in the spotlight. For all this, Metal seemed to offer the grandest landscape to show off.

    There might also be an element of signalling. In a culture mostly segregated by gender, Metal offers an inexpensive, harmless way to signal how much of a bad-boy one is. All it took was a tee-shirt, maybe a jacket, jeans and long hair; most kids rode bikes anyway!

  19. 12 · Shodan said

    All in good time friend. My 6-year old does a mean Michael Akerfeldt.

    up to this day I’ve never really thought seriously about children, but the prospect of bringing up a kid who could imitate (if not become) a world-class prog/death-metal genius has turned my life around. Kind of a “Watershed” moment, eh?

    I always hoped the next great prog-metal band would come out of the sub-continent/diaspora–can you imagine the sheer joy of air-santooring/air-veenaing/air-saroding your way down I-Whatever? I know that air-keyboarding to Liquid Tension Experiment is one of the finer musical geek-experiences in my life.

  20. 17 · Chennai-vaasi said

    This takes me back to my Tam Brahm school in Mylapore, Chennai.
    > PS or Vidya Mandir?

    Vidya Mandir…though I’m hardly an alumni, having only studied there for a year! I consider myself more a product of the Adyar branch where I spent two wonderful years.

  21. “Vidya Mandir…though I’m hardly an alumnus”

    with a name as pretty as suchi, i also think you’re hardly likely to be an alumnus, more likely an alumna, yes? ;)

  22. In my gaanv (village) we never heard of Judas Priest and Megadeath.

    Pyara gaanv ain’t so pastoral anymore. My (BM) musician friend’s site gets plenty of hits from small-town India.

    …but the prospect of bringing up a kid who could imitate (if not become) a world-class prog/death-metal genius has turned my life around. Kind of a “Watershed” moment, eh?

    :) Unfortunately, the brat’s just continuing the long tradition of mocking one’s parent’s music.

    Speaking of traditions, this brought smile to my face.

    The band on stage was playing a less-than-thrilling version of Roadhouse Blues, which had already been covered twice by two of the other bands.

    Desi traditionalism shows up in the unlikeliest of places.

  23. 22 · portmanteau said

    “Vidya Mandir…though I’m hardly an alumnus”
    with a name as pretty as suchi, i also think you’re hardly likely to be an alumnus, more likely an alumna, yes? ;)

    Thank you portmanteau!

    Apparently the more inclusive, non-gender-signifying but highly-informal word to use would be alum. But that just reminds me of that milky-white stone my dad used for shaving.

  24. I agree with Kush in #1 there were some great bands from NE especially Meghalaya and Manipur when I was in college. They used to perform all across India in college festivals the highlights being the festival at BITS Pilani and Mood Indigo in Bombay. There used to be a band called Pentagram which was great, one of the guys Vishal Dadlani produces music for hindi films as a part of Vishal Shekar. Parikrama from Kirorimal College in Delhi was huge and if I am not mistaken they are still around and have released their own album. There used to be band in Hansraj College in Delhi called Phoenix that used to do Judas Priest covers. A lot of the band in my time had great original material but not a lot of them got record deals. More here.

  25. Vidya Mandir…though I’m hardly an alumni, having only studied there for a year! I consider myself more a product of the Adyar branch where I spent two wonderful years.

    i wrote my JEE in the Mylapore Vidya Mandir, and a good friend of mine went to the Adyar branch. Small world (well, not really, since there’s so many people on sm, and naturally several from chennai :-) it would really be a small world if you were the daughter of crotchety bala mama next door who would hold on to the tennis ball if it was hit into his garden when playing street cricket.

  26. it would really be a small world if you were the daughter of crotchety bala mama next door who would hold on to the tennis ball if it was hit into his garden when playing street cricket.

    ..that is my husband, you insensitive clod!

  27. ..that is my husband, you insensitive clod!

    I didn’t see you complaining when we got it on in the agraharam, with you complaining that your aathu-kaara was only interested in hanging on to balls.

  28. A couple of months ago, Spin Magazine did a big story about the metal in India.

  29. all had a metal phase from grade 7-11.

    Yeah, I totally wanted to get into that, and tried to be real cool by picking molybdenum. Unfortunately, it only got me beaten up.

  30. I grew up in Bombay in the 80s/90s listening to Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, AC/DC etc. I always felt the dearth of really good Indian metal bands – even though there were plenty of college bands – the bands that played at Mood Indigo used to be decent – but hardly any original material, most of them did covers. I think most Indian metal bands, although they profess to be influenced by Maiden and Sabbath and the like, end up sounding like Pop. May be it is the too liberal use of keyboards, instead of the jarring guitars and growling vocals one would associate with the metal genre. Just my 2 cents ….

  31. The band on stage was playing a less-than-thrilling version of Roadhouse Blues, which had already been covered twice by two of the other bands.

    Well at least they didn’t bust out Mr.Bryan Adams! which was like The Song for every school band during my school days in darjeeling, delhi and bangalore. I hate Brayan Adams.

  32. A couple of months ago, Spin Magazine did a big story about the metal in India.

    Holy shucking fit they play metal is stock article for music press. It used to be Russia and Poland, now it’s India.

    I should have mentioned the song Summer of 69.

    Charmingly introduced as, “This one’s for the laydeez.” Followed by shower of “Teri ma ki” from audience.

  33. May be it is the too liberal use of keyboards, instead of the jarring guitars and growling vocals one would associate with the metal genre. Just my 2 cents ….

    Oh, things have changed a little bit since the 80s/90s.

    Here is evidence.

    That last video has an amazing desi female drummer – something not too common.

  34. Been there, done that as a drummer in a maverick IIT-B band that used to call itself “nicotine”. It should’ve probably been “ganji” considering that we smoked more joints than cigs. (FBI puts a trace on IP. No green cards for potheads-current or former :D ) The music scene was interesting though, cause it was the time when Remo Fernandes (anybody remember the guy) was hitting it big in the jingle scene. The best gig to play was at the National Law School festival, when rockers can actually get laid there.

  35. This may sound a little condescending but I’ve never understood the desi in the desh fascination for Metal. I’m making some huge generalizations here but growing up in the US I have a different take on metal. In southern California where I grew up in the early nineties, it broke down like this, the kids who picked on the weaker kids, the ones who were always a step behind on what was going on socially were the metal kids. The kids who were music nerds(I mean that in a positive way), the ones who hung out in record stores, were more willing to reach out to something new, who showed a open interest in music, who were rebellious but in a more creative way were into punk, ska, reggae, indie, hip hop & electronic music. The Metal kids were either parodies of the genre or pretty close to it. So it was interesting to find out that the “rebellious” thing to do in India was to be into what most people here would consider clichés … metal bands from the 70s and 80s? I understand that the author’s point is that they approach it without irony but does that make it any less cliché?

  36. 42 · DJ Drrrty Poonjabi said

    Whoops, error in the previous comment, should be “So, how’s the shirt coming along?”

    Shodan, that is an awesome shirt. I’d totally buy it and drape it lovingly over the folds of my well-nurtured belly in an attempt to establish my coolness. I also really loved Iron Belan. Where is Judas Vaadhiyaar?

    Not witty, but here’s a couple more shirt ideas. Of course, I have no concept of visuals, so I don’t know if they can be rendered well at all.

    “Stairway to Heaven” with a photo of a Ghat on the Ganga and steps leading down to the water. “Rupees for nothing” accompanied by a photo of a leering babu.

  37. 40 · fundametal said

    In southern California where I grew up in the early nineties, it broke down like this, the kids who picked on the weaker kids, the ones who were always a step behind on what was going on socially were the metal kids. The kids who were music nerds(I mean that in a positive way), the ones who hung out in record stores, were more willing to reach out to something new, who showed a open interest in music, who were rebellious but in a more creative way were into punk, ska, reggae, indie, hip hop & electronic music.

    My own experience, on the other hand, has been the opposite. The Metal kids I met growing up here in NYC (the ones who strongly identified with the subculture, not just casual listeners) were some of the most musically open-minded, interesting people I’ve known. They all dug Western classical, Jazz, Hip-hop, Punk (well since the early 80s, you can’t talk about Metal or Punk without each other), and electronic music, among other things. On the other hand, the “indie” kids I knew, for example, tended to look down on a lot of different stuff, and would not reciprocate the Metal kids’ interest in their scene. Some of them were also some of the most open-minded people I’ve known otherwise, and even my previously cautious family ended up taking to them very well (they wore the bullets, spikes, studs, leather, etc.) Perhaps it has something to do with an outsider status that is less associated with pretention than much of what’s considered underground/independent these days.

    Currently, I think among many of the underground metal acts there is a lot of experimentation and crossover going on, moreso than I see in the “indie” (not a big fan of this term) scene, which I feel is stuck far too much in the emulation of pop music or pretention to truly be experimental.

    I’m sure there are tons of people like the ones you’ve described, as well, but I thought I’d provide an experience from a different angle.

  38. NYC Akshay thanks for offering another perspective. I guess terms are always difficult to nail down, I don’t like the term “indie” either. The people you were describing seem more like the people I would identify as punk(bullets, spikes, studs) there is definitely crossover between speed metal and punk. A lot of the desi bands don’t seem to be into Motorhead but rather bands like AC/DC or … on the pop side bryan adams. I remember having this discussion with a “metal” musician in Goa who kept tell me bryan adams was a genius. I was not convinced :) .

  39. A lot of the desi bands don’t seem to be into Motorhead but rather bands like AC/DC or … on the pop side bryan adams. I remember having this discussion with a “metal” musician in Goa who kept tell me bryan adams was a genius.

    Dude, that is such a caricature! Totally not true. Pick any serious group of musicians in India, and by serious I mean beyond the “my mom bought me a guitar” crowd, and you will find genuinely curious, open-minded and well-versed folk. This is even more true since the advent of the mp3. There used to be a time when finding good contemporary music in India was difficult, but that was in the 80s.

  40. 26 · Chennai-vaasi said

    i wrote my JEE in the Mylapore Vidya Mandir, and a good friend of mine went to the Adyar branch.

    Oh, nice. The Adyar branch, now an independent school, is very very special.

    it would really be a small world if you were the daughter of crotchety bala mama next door who would hold on to the tennis ball if it was hit into his garden when playing street cricket.

    Alas, no. But maybe you’ll turn out to be the son of “might-have-been” Vishwanathan mama, so named because he might have married an aunt.

    Btw, do you read tamizhpenn.blogspot.com? I recommend it highly.

  41. Sandhya,

    Thanks for this interesting blog post about the urban Indian metal subculture, and thanks for mentioning my novel in this context. Akshay’s observation – “This withdrawal of obligations was perhaps the first step in creating an artistic class outside the mainstream of a culture” – is very interesting and talks directly to something I felt while writing Above Average. The urban middle class kid in the nineties in India felt the pressure of obligations and largely internalized this pressure, was more or less unable to shake off the urge to succeed in recognized and quantifiable ways. In fact the reason why music became a big theme in my novel was that it seemed to be the most accessible way to express the need to be something other than what one was expected to be.

    Today things are different in many way but that ability to maintain contradictions within oneself – being conservative and rebellious at the same time – remains strong. Akshay’s conclusion that the need to build careers is fading – in view of the options available to English speakers today – is premature to my mind. It contradicts his observations in certain ways, I think. There’s also an implicit assumption in this argument that Indian urban/youth culture is in the process of converging to a Western/American model. I feel that’s not necessarily the best assumption to approach all of this with, and, as I said earlier, is not borne out completely even by the evidence Ahuja offers.

    Amitabha

  42. hang on, hang on…how did we get so far into this indian rock discussion without anyone bringing up avial?

  43. in my experience, i’ve rarely if ever seen any inclination towards metal outside of the anglicized middle and upper classes here in india. classic rock and metal have had a following for decades and there are pubs that exclusively play their music. in bangalore, if you go to one of these places, or to a heavy metal concert of a visiting foreign act, one will find a fairly predictable demographic. if anything, due to greater exposure to different kinds of music, i see heavy metal culture going into decline. the kids who came of age in the early 90′s like to brag about how “rocking” the scene used to be, but note that the current crop of college partygoers prefer hip-hop,r&b, house, and other more danceable nightclub oriented music. the “intellectual” crowd has assumed a more ironic stance towards pop music in general which is opening the way for what used to be called alternative or indie. but its not just a case of classic rock and metal being displaced, these other dance music genres are often gaining the appreciation of the “vernacular” classes in a way that metal and hard rock never did. kannada and tamil film songs and radio jingles readily incorporate hip-hop and r&b, even sounds like soca and reggaeton. i see kids in small towns listening to akon and t-pain between filmi tracks…