A Study of Gothic Subculture

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Updated 3-12-2009
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City of Residence: Riverside, CA

Age: 24

Length of time "in the scene": 7 years

Occupation: Musician (Classical)

Education: Got a GED at age 16. Attended several different colleges, mainly studying music, but stopped going to college when he started living on the road. He's attended schools in Riverside and Portland, OR.

Musical taste: "Descendants, Ella Fitzgerald, Lycia, Anita O'Day, Kate Bush, Misfits, Christian Death, Sarah Vaughn, Tori Amos, Tool, Coil, Danzig, Circle Jerks, Dead Can Dance, Curve, Virgin Prunes, Gitane Demone."

Distinctions in appearance: "No tattoos, no piercings (not even ears), purple hair, usually in whiteface, clothes often quasi-Victorian or medieval."

Hobbies, activities, interests: "Traveling, music collecting, visiting National Parks and Monuments, singing, meeting people, going to clubs, watching John Waters movies (especially from 1970-1982). I play approximately twelve musical instruments." He's traveled to many different cities and spent time living in each place, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Denver, Portland, Spokane, and Salt Lake City. When he's working he does acting and has performed in many plays. He plays keyboard, piano, xylophone, harp, and guitar as well as being a trained opera singer. He also writes music and has composed symphonies and some experimental Jazz and ambient music when he's had the opportunity.

Spiritual, philosophical, religious affiliation: "Atheist, however I make it a point to learn as much as possible about others' beliefs (religious or otherwise)."

Goals, dreams: "Enjoy my youth -- you only get one. Be good to others. Make my little corner of the world a more enjoyable place." He lives on the road right now and enjoys having the freedom to pick up and take off whenever because he has no long term commitments to be tied to. As a profession he mainly would like to be singing wherever he can find work.

Do you consider yourself gothic?: "Yes, because of the attitude, lifestyle and musical preferences." He views gothic as "the descendant of 'Bat Cave Punk' circa 1982." (The Bat Cave was a club in London. In the early eighties it nurtured the growing gothic population from its punk heritage and is now referred to as the more punk oriented gothic.) "Those of us who have been in the scene long enough, or can remember, understand that it has nothing to do with depression, vampirism, or inner or physical weakness or meekness." He believes that gothic is a dark glamour, a punk attitude of "fuck you" to the world mixed in with some dress up. He likes the glamour and the wide variety of music in gothic. "I, personally, would rather be in a mosh pit than file my teeth. I think I speak for most REAL Goths when I say that."

Owen has had the advantage of seeing closely the gothic scenes in other cities and provided me with some observations. In other cities, the average age of gothics tend to be older because most gothic clubs or gothic nights at a club happen in bars where the crowd is over 21. In places like San Francisco and Los Angeles where the scene has a strong hold, there tends to be a greater degree of elitism and snobbery than SLC. In Portland, he noticed the fashion was more Victorian, while in L.A., the dress was more fetish. He said that Salt Lake has a fairly indistinct fashion, mixing Victorian and fetish styles.

5/16/97 last updated 11/18/99 (although that was just his age)