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5 Reasons To Support Underground Music

5 Reasons To Support Underground Music

Remember that one kid in high school who seemed to not have too many friends but always posted insane pictures of concerts on Facebook? He was one of us. Or that guy at work who shows up looking really tired a couple times a week and constantly mumbles about bands you’ve never heard of. He’s one of us too. It’s this huge thing that very few people know about – and that’s exactly what makes it so darn special. Underground music is a vast community, but one that is, by definition… underground. This a community that you want to be a part of – and not just because of the great music.

1. It Gets You Unique Access To The Artists

I just got through figuring out whether or not Rolling Stone Magazines favorite metal band of 2014 was going to sleep at my parents house this week while touring in the area. Someone who opened for Black Sabbath just liked my Facebook status and I also just got a text from a dude who’s been touring the world for thirty years. These things might seem weird and out of this world to folks not involved in the underground, but for us devotees it’s pretty par for the course. What I think a lot of people don’t realize is how accessible a lot of this stuff is. You can see four bands with a combined hundred years of touring experience for less than twenty dollars as long as you know where to look – and a lot of these artists just want to hang out with normal folks like you and be your friend.

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In the underground community it’s surprisingly easy to watch a show from the front row and actually be close enough to reach out and touch the artists you love (Not that that’s encouraged!) Beyond that – you often find yourself chitchatting, sometimes by accident, with folks who have been lucky enough to go all around the world pursuing their art. If that doesn’t pique your interest – simply from a human perspective, then I don’t know what will. As crazy as it sometimes sounds – the underground really is all that and more. It is truly a force to be reckoned with.

2. You Find A Whole New World At Your Fingertips

In my work in the underground, I’ve come to discover radical sides of society that I might have otherwise never crossed paths with. While on the one hand I’ve learned a lot about people who work in the trades and who identify closely with the empowerment that comes with a blue collar lifestyle, I’ve also gotten to meet millionaires who use their affiliation with the arts to boost their social status. Once you pull back the veil of the underground, you get a chance to look into what makes this entire thing so special. People in the underground community tend to be much more open and willing to share bits and pieces of their lives, opening you up to whole new sides of the human experience.

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Beyond that, there’s also the incredibly deep world of touring musicians and all the characters you tend to meet who help make that lifestyle possible. A lot of these people spend almost their entire lives on the road and they are aware of things that many of us might never be otherwise exposed to. Being a part of the underground gives you a window onto a world of punk rock magic where strangers sleep at each others homes just because they need a roof over their heads for the night before they hit the road again and where you find yourself frequenting 24 hour diners out of necessity more than anything else. It’s a strange world, and a rough one, but certainly something that I think you want to be a part of.

3. You Enter A Unique Community

A huge part of this hidden world is the community – something I briefly mentioned in the previous entry that but definitely should be expanded upon. The underground is a community built off of necessity and despair. We all know there isn’t a lot of money in this business so it often feels like everyone has banded together to make the best of our situation. In a world where everyone is trying to get better opportunities for their bands, and the bands they love the most, people have come to terms with the fact that we all need to work together if we want to help create the best possible scene.

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This whole notion of a scene in and of itself is an interesting one. For the uninitiated, it refers to the group of people who regularly attend underground shows and help to contribute to the art, be that financially, through art of their own, or something else. Your local scene is sure to have it’s champions and villains, a sort of quixotic take on a world that often tries to base itself around films like Almost Famous. And this is fine – but getting involved in the scene is always a rewarding journey that leaves you meeting new people constantly and making friends from all over the world.

4. Your Understanding of Art Totally Changes

When you get a chance to pull back the curtain and see how the artists live, your understanding of art totally changes. You end up in a place where you can see the why and how of the art you adore. What better way to get a better understanding of music you love than by actually getting a chance to talk with the singer over beer and cigarettes? These are the opportunities regularly foisted upon you in underground music. What the underground allows you to do is to get a chance to look at the incredibly deep infrastructure that allows more mainstream artists to succeed.

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It also gives you an opportunity to see how hard it is to make it out there. The fact that so many of these artists have touched so many lives and yet remain starving and are forced to take on side jobs is a very weird thing to see play out. The underground is a strange community and when you start to realize the brutal nihilism of it all, it will either totally alienate you from it or make you fall deeper in love than ever before. As you delve in and start to get a sense of what makes your favorite artists tick your eyes are opened and you’re forced to face brutal realities – realities that are endlessly interesting and give you a unique perspective on the works you love

5. You Meet Famous People Before They Become Famous

My mentor got a chance to hang out with Kurt Cobain before Nevermind dropped. My uncle got to know Zakk Wylde on the local scene before he started playing with Ozzy. Hopalong, a band who have now played various late night TV shows and toured with the Rolling Stones, used to play my favorite local coffee shop every weekend. The point being – a lot of these famous people who we all worship used to be a part of the underground, and many of them can still be caught now and then hanging out at underground shows. (Hell – Dave Grohl does it all the time!) Why? Because they love it.

The whole point of the underground, despite what some people might say, is to churn out the next big thing and to help create the sonic gods that the masses worship. Of course the odds of any one band being the one that gets launched to stardom is ridiculously small, but if you meet enough people the odds are you’re going to end up hanging out with some pretty special folks. It’s simply how it works – and it’s really exciting when stuff like that plays out in your favor. The music industry is a strange place – one full of heroes and demons, but meeting someone famous before they make it big… that’s what makes this whole thing special. Because everyone has a shot – and don’t you want to be able to say, “I knew them when…”?

Featured photo credit: Fraser Mummery via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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