It bears mention that despite his particular claim to fame, Frankie is – and by the sound of it always has been – something of a troll himself. Having grown up on the rough-and-tumble streets of NYC, his bluntness has become a thing of dance music legend.
The most infamous example of Frankie’s gruff, no-filter demeanor is the story of how he popularized PLUR in the first place. Legend has it that during one of the Storm Raves of Brooklyn in 1993, a fist fight broke out and he shouted over the mic, “If you don’t start showing some peace, love, and unity, I’ll break your faces” – which wins the award for being the most unPLUR way we can imagine somebody encouraging those particular values, short of actually following through.
In the present day, where many of electronic music’s elder statesmen either pay somebody to manage their social media presence for them or simply write it off altogether and revel in obscurity, Frankie effectively engages his audience in entertaining banter on a regular basis. Take, for example, this charming discourse from the Facebook group Toronto Rave Community:
…Or his heated reaction to Jean-Michel Jarre’s recent assessment of the US’ role in electronic music:
So naturally, he likes to think that Joel took a page out of his book on the trolling front as well. He explains:
I would argue the same way on MySpace with people for hours and days on end about total bullshit. Joel saw those posts, saw people doing really horrible Photoshopped pictures and just being generally shitty to people and it was right before his career took off. So once he established himself I think he needed to express his feelings on EDM because he was in the first wave of new artists and needed to express his feelings about it. Nothing wrong with that, but knowing TMZ was grabbing bits, he started doing it for publicity.
Frankie’s account of how he was partly responsible for deadmau5 becoming a troll doesn’t strike us as definitive evidence that he was such. Most of the story has a you-had-to-be-there quality that isn’t as compelling as his original comment suggested – perhaps because Frankie felt it necessary to omit relevant details, like the identity of “Agent 23,” or maybe just because some part of him wants to feel more connected to the contemporary EDM era now that it’s in full swing.
Furthermore, deadmau5 is famous for having hardly changed throughout his career – in a business that’s known to change people, no less. As one industry insider told us, “The story goes that deadmau5 always said that he just wanted to get rich so he could tell everyone to fuck off, and that’s exactly what he did.” If he’s a troll now, it only makes sense that he always has been and always will be one.
More than anything, Frankie’s personal experience of deadmau5’ online presence puts the question of just how outspoken we want famous artists to be into perspective. Nobody’s suggesting that peace, love, unity or respect are unworthy ideals to uphold – but as with any ideology, it’s not hard to see how they could also be craftily interpreted to manipulate simple minds. Really, it’s almost surprising that the EDM status quo hasn’t already tried to appropriate PLUR as a means of discouraging music fans from openly criticizing the increasingly vapid, easily recycled music favored by the industry.
In that regard, it’s probably for the best that the steward of such a ubiquitous concept would be somebody as endearingly abrasive as Frankie Bones. For that matter, while there’s an argument to be made that deadmau5 takes his commentary to unnecessary extremes, it’s ultimately necessary for an artist with his social reach to serve a such a purpose for his own generation of fans. No matter how PLUR we might all want to be, the fact remains that there are qualities that separate good music from bad, and new fans might as well have an authority on the matter just as the old ones do.
And despite his hinting that he might stop making music shortly before deactivated his social media accounts, you can rest assured that deadmau5’ absence is only temporary. He excels at two things: making music and emotionally terrorizing people on the internet. When it comes down to it, we all know he couldn’t quit either if he tried.