Sure, Warped Tour might be over for the summer, but that doesn’t mean that the drama has to stop. Yesterday, Trenton Woodley, frontman for Australian prog-emo band Hands Like Houses, took to his Tumblr to respond to a fan who asked him what he thought about the recent influx of YouTube personalities on Warped Tour the past two summers. Woodley had no problem being forthright with his feelings on the issue, writing a lengthy post where he decried the current trend of bands translating the idea of “saving someone’s life” into currency, as well as putting some blame on the fans themselves for perpetuating that part of the culture. But Woodley saved his most vitriolic remarks for the YouTubers themselves, as you can see below.
On YouTubers being a part of Warped Tour:
“first of all – i don’t understand the attraction. maybe it’s a generational thing. objectively, i find them to be exceptionally mediocre as journalists or public personalities. so i don’t believe they’re any more deserving of a place on warped than a mediocre band. simply being someone people recognize shouldn’t be a reason to be paid to appear for the express purpose of meet and greets. they do not perform, they do not further an art. what they produce is media, not art. and i believe artists should always be given precedence. is that personal preference? of course. and plenty of mediocre bands make the bill. so that’s not necessarily reason to kick them off future tours. but i do believe it distracts from what I feel and believe the tour is about – music. i have no problems or experience with the youtubers personally (excepting one past situation where a lack of professionalism and editorial consideration almost had severe real world consequences for one of us – but I won’t divulge or dwell beyond simply stating the fact). they’re just teenagers who haven’t had to grow up yet. i simply don’t believe they should be given a platform beyond their own channels that makes them appear as anything greater than they are. paying them to be on a tour, explicitly to meet people, seems wrong to me, no matter who they are.”
On the “you saved my life” culture:
“i said it on stage a couple of times on the tour – ‘you saved my life’ has become a bumper sticker and a ‘club badge’ that people are attaching to almost literally anyone we look up to. it’s used as a simultaneous plea for attention and a badge to say ‘i belong’. if a vocalist says ‘life gets better’ yet spouts an entire set of lyrics that are misogynistic, arrogant, homophobic, deliberately narcissistic, disrespectful and insulting, people still think he’s a saint and a role model, quoting that one single statement to the disregard of all else. and people will defend that to scary ends because of how much of our own identity we invest in others. we (musicians and our audiences as a collective whole) have created a culture where ‘lives saved’ are bought and sold for profit. bands deliberately play up a feel-good ‘message’ because it sells. and this has become part of the culture that perpetuates itself in young and vulnerable teens, whom I believe make up the majority of the youtubers’ audiences.”
Read more of what Woodley had to say here.