Hot Snakes - "I Hate The Kids"

Time moves on and adjusting is never easy. Older people feel replaced by the younger and everyone feels replaced by ever evolving technological advances, especially older people. 

For example, in the independent rock world, those who came up in the pre-Internet days hold a special grudge towards those who are coming up in it presently. Life for musicians ten years ago, while not necessarily more difficult, was extremely different. Many bands adopted the “Do-It-Yourself” ethos in order to avoid having to deal with pushy, single-minded record companies; for a time it seemed every band had their own label, were booking their own tours and making their own t-shirts. For a time all seemed absolutely beautiful. Fame was not an issue, supporting oneself by playing music was the end-all.

Old habits die hard, however, and by design or by default, a younger generation of independent rock musicians rely more on the helping-hand of technology to ease their way into an otherwise unattainable fame. This rankles the older folks for various reasons; some see it as too easy of a way for a band to mire their way through the world, mostly though it’s a problem of a younger bands not feeling the necessity of paying their dues. Without paid dues, there’s no respect or integrity. Without paid dues, there’s no humility.

Let me present to you one of the best examples of an older-generation’s push-back against the rising tide of Ease:  “I Hate The Kids” by San Diego’s finest export, Hot Snakes (formed 1999, disbanded 2005, periodic reunions since). On the surface, the song may contain a certain “back in my day…” tone, but underneath the obvious, guitarist/singer Rick Froberg encapsulates today’s first-world's frustrating ability to quickly acquiesce into mediocrity. Using the indie rock scene as a metaphor and with only a few lines, Froberg delivers an honest and brutal critique on what he sees as a lazy, good-fer-nothing, self-obsessed society. Meanwhile,  the band (Froberg, guitarist John Reis, drummer Jason Kourkounkis and bassist Gar Wood) builds a tension-filled charge which starts with a low, insect-like hum and bursts into a fantastic and determined rock march. Used as a set opener of for a lot of their shows, (not to mention the opening song for the band’s second LP, Suicide Invoice) “I Hate The Kids” sets the tone, illustrates Hot Snakes worldview,  a beautiful pessimism. 

Life is work, even being in a rock band is work and not some easy ride into the sunset. There is no easy ride. Ever. In barley three minutes, Froberg uses one verse and one chorus (repeated once and changed ever so slightly) to sum it all up perfectly. One line stands out above the rest, a brutal but honest soliloquy where he’s he talking to himself as much as he’s talking to everyone else:

…grab a spade, get in the dirt / the older you get, the less your worth…