Dance Of The Mad Bastards

“What is the truth about rock music? Music is a powerful, and perhaps the most powerful medium in the world. Music. Plato says when the music of a society changes, the whole society will change. Aristotle, a contemporary of Plato’s, says when music changes there should be laws to govern the nature and the character of that music. Lenin says that the best and the quickest way to undermine any society is through its music…Music, ladies and gentleman, is the gift of God. It was given to man to offer praises to God and to lift us up to him and to exalt Him to touch the tender recesses of our hearts and of our minds. Satan has taken music and he has counterfeited it, convoluted it, twisted it, exploited it and now he’s using it to hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer a message into the minds and the lifestyles of this generation.”–Jimmy Swaggart

There is no doubt in my mind that rock music has shaped/ changed my life. From the friends I acquired (and still keep in touch with) through mutual appreciation for certain bands and albums, to my still percolating desire to question authority at every available opportunity. As ridiculous as it sounds, I learned a great deal about politics and morals and righteous anger from listening to records by John Lennon, Black Flag, The Clash and The Dead Kennedys. Anyone who is scared off by the reputation of the 2nd and 4th bands in the above shouldn’t be; they were two of the finest rock bands with two of the finest front-men of all time. At least they got me thinking.

From the folk music in the 60’s (“We Shall Overcome”, which Pete Seeger popularized, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, etc), to the punk movement in the 70’s (Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag) to the (self?) righteous Live Aid in the 80’s, rock musicians have at least attempted to make a difference through their music. And, perhaps to some degree, they succeeded. Were the folkies and hippies at least partly responsible for pulling out of Vietnam? Maybe.

How about those punk rockers? Although I don’t really believe they changed anything, politically speaking, in a dramatic way (come on, Reagan was elected twice!), I think they got a lot of young people thinking about the direction of the country. They also kicked rock and roll up the ass, effectively destroying the so-called rock elite hierarchy. And what about Geldof? He helped generate almost $240 million dollars for famine relief in Ethiopia.

And today? Well, you’re pretty much stuck with Bono and his self righteous pontificating. My opinion is that he’s become somewhat of a self parody nowadays..

To get back on track, why should the Swaggart-types be frightened? Because rock music exposes their hypocrisies to the youth, that’s why. These preachers preach, and that’s about it. Then they, for the most part, go back to their mansions, beat their kids and cheat on their wives.

Unfortunately, I don’t see much action on the part of kids today. One theory a friend of mine had is the fact that there is no military draft like there was in the 60’s to scare the kids into action. Faced/ forced with getting killed for a war you don’t believe in would be enough to get me to take to the streets.

And God bless folks like Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, who are still plugging away trying to get the apathetic youth of today to take some damn action about something, ANYTHING. Unfortunately, for all of us, it most often falls on deaf ears.

So go burn your bras, eat the mother-lovin’rich and peace, love and eternal grooviness to y’all!