Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tapping The Sauce

What was the punk manifesto again?! Anyone can do it? Yeah, that was it. But you know what, they were wrong. Anyone can be a star – as long as yr. blonde, buffed or a celebrity child but not everyone can be in a band, not everyone can record a song, play guitar, make a record. Well, not anymore anyway.

See, us old farts remember what a burst of fresh air punk was back in the 70's – how you really could believe that anyone could do it. Of course I'm talking that brief two or three month period before the marketing gurus and the record companies got their big boof heads and cheque books in the mix. Watching all the little emo kids and the Mohawk retro kids and the plain dweeby kids think that they're punk now cos they've got the uniform and can drop a few names (like Greenday and Rancid are soooo retro dude!) makes me laugh until I cry. There was no uniform you dimwits, there was no "sound" – you can't compare the sex pistols to Richard Hell nor would you say that the slits sounded like the ramones, geza x had nothing to do with the clash, suicide and the damned had nothing in common except to incite a riot – that was the point, they were breaking away from the music industries' manipulation of our senses, they were all creating their own sounds, their own styles and looks. Now every subculture is turned into a style, a look, a sound. You have to sound like someone else or you wont fit in. And that counts as much in the so called 'avantgarde' as it does in pop music, as it does in metal as it does in jazz. You gotta have a pigeon hole to put them in, to compare them to, to market them with.

Talk about taking the fun out of it all
. Music is to be enjoyed. It's an escape, a joyous moment of fucking, fun and frivolity. Not all of it I know, it can be deeply moving, music can have memories for people, of moments when they first heard a song or bought the album, memories of family and friends that become linked to a song or a piece of music. I couldn't play Miles Davis Kind Of Blue for a year after my father died because of the memories it brought back. But there are songs I still play that bring back teenage years, of cruising and sunshine and being dumber than a box of nails when I tried to talk to girls. I can still remember the day I saw the sex pistols on tv – pretty vacant and how raw and fucking ugly it sounded on my little b&w tv playing in the kitchen while mum cooked tea in the background. I didn't run out and shave my head or rip my clothes or even form a band but it instantly changed my way of thinking, the way I saw my life in a small country town of 500 people where I was the only one who listened to that "rubbish". It would be fair enough to say that without the pistols, the damned, boys next door, radio birdman – that I wouldn't be writing this, that I would still be there working in the mill, drinking Friday nights at the club, playing pokies and giving the kids money for chips and coke so they would leave me alone.

Do they get that now? Is there an epiphany when you are being drenched in this stuff – when it's marketed and festivalled and shoved down yr throat constantly? Well, at least until next week when the next album, festival, nextbigthing comes along. You don't even have to hunt for the stuff anymore, you just go on yr computer or try myspace or just wait for them to slap it on high rotation on that "aussie youth network" – whatever happened to the discovery of something new, the search for that song you caught a glimpse of late at night on the telly or radio when no one else was listening. Trying in vain to get yr local record shop to track down the song.

At times I do kinda feel sorry for the kids today, the fun has been taken out of their fun and they don't even know it. They think they're still rebelling with their designer brand alternative bands, clothes, lifestyles. Years ago (many years ago) I took my earring out because I realized it was actually older than the girl I was chatting up at the pub. Now every little twerp has holes all over his/her body. Being cleanskin is rebellious now. I never got around to the tattoos and I'm kinda glad I was always broke/slack/sober 'cos now they don't mean shit – it's just a great marketing tool and they look so cool in those "alternative'' fashion shoots in those "alternative" glossy mags. A smart man would be investing in tattoo laser removal technology right now because in ten years there's gonna be a boom market there!

And sure, pop music has always been marketed and money orientated and top ten hits and all the pretty boys and girls but hey, look at the 70s – garry glitter, angels, slade – they weren't pretty were they? Sure there were music machines pumping out songs but they were songs!! They were written, played by real people they weren't computerized samples and celebrities doing computerized film clips, they was real folk what could actually play their instruments and write the odd song. Some of them could almost lipsync too! (I mean when the pussycat dolls who started life as a dancing troupe need their film clips manipulated so they get the dance steps right you have to wonder) Where are the ugly pop bands? Where are the studio musos who manage that one big and usually silly hit? Where's any bloody musos?

So, what's it all about? It's about having some fun, about the idea that anyone can do it, that you don't need technology, or a good looking front chick, or political correctness or the latest sound/style or even a fucking Mohawk…
just an idea or two, a sense of humour and some time. Time to actually stop and enjoy it, the music, the socializing, the act of doing something creative, regardless of what it is or how many people get it or see it or hear it – just do it for yourself and see what happens. It can be fun occasionally. Music used to be about the music (regardless of the style) not about the money or the marketing or the units shifted or getting on the festival bill, it used to just be about the creation, the sound, the fun. If fanzines can be like that again (and they seem to be heading back in that direction) then why can't the music? DIY4Y

End of sermon


Post a Comment

<< Home