Clemente's Lament #4 The Last Word On Lament.3:00:00 PMConstrux Nunchux
Rock n roll is like an abusive relationship. I don't say this to be dramatic or comedic or contraversial in anyway. I am fully apprised and experienced regarding the procedural drama that follows the unilateral villainy of men hitting women. To a very similar degree, our American culture's relationship with Rockstars and Music has driven us down a deluded, destructive path that we sought out initially.
As children of latter 20th C., we were all told the story of Rock N Roll, in some form or another, by one slightly unreliable afficianado. Regardless of the point of view or slant the story each heard, there rests quite comfortably in the collective consciousness a general understanding of American Rock Music. It's a given. It's unspoken. It permeates our vocabulary to the point where we refer to ourselves as rockstars in the completion of mundane tasks (we may explore why later).
A common theme of the childhood fairy tale of rock n roll is danger. Our culture has long been enticed by danger, before our ancestors were even born. The exploration of this dissatisfied infatuation could overfill its own post, so we won't clutter this already inflated page with more unnecessary observations. But the specific danger of rock n roll comes in three generalized varieties I can immediately assign, danger to the established culture, danger in the experiential gap and the fantasy, the dangers of the lifestyle itself. More simplistically, one can say that, depending on who told us the rnr bedtime story as kiddies, we eitehr heard that 1) Kids love Rock N Roll and Grownups hate it so it is an vehicle for and emblem of revolution; 2) Kids who fall in love with rock stars or try to infiltrate the rock n roll world will themselves realize (all too soon, but too late to be saved) that it's more or less a lie and suffer the failings and trappings of unrealized dreams; 3) Excess will destroy anyone but is the most desired form of escapism.
So foolishly we believe that we are in control, as every youth believes in the aggrandized perception of oneself. As the aged often state, sometimes with enamored amusement, sometimes with piteous contempt, youth as a collective and as presented in fragmented individuals, believes their timely creations to be the heighth of human expression, the pinnacle, the simultaneous apotheosis and rejection of all that came before. And now we're on the journey. Every man and every woman believe they'll be the one to change their desired lover. They heed no warnings and scoff at the fact that any power in this material world could be enough to overwhlem their senses or abilities. The young bookie sorta lass listens to Carl Perkins and turns into a loose and drug infused, induced floosy. The shy, good-lookin boy hears of Lennon's rise from the Liverpool slums and in attempting emulation finds himself alone and hopeless at an ancient 28 years. The spins on the story occur in endless permutations.
So rock n roll, the concept, continues unchecked, unfettered, and undulating. As youths, or as pathetic middle-agers attempting to reclaim our vanity and perpetuate our impetuosity, we consistently and inconveniently seek out the most socially acceptable deviance, we dig for danger. We search not to destroy, but to be destroyed and stories of our failures, our excesses, our missteps and misadventures become self-fashioned legends. The closer one can skate beyond the balcony, the tighter one can hold a poker, the more angelic one appears. We're guaranteed that by rejecting mainstream lifestyle, which we childishly assume rock n roll, in whatever temporal disguise it assumes, will elevate us to a superior status. By being groupies or dropouts, even, we're demigods or archangels.
But with each new incarnation of rebellion, if anyone still is listening to this old man holler over the backwards spinning discs, comes the belief that it's genuine salvation, that it will deliver stale music, and by mythical extension, stale society, from the suffocating confines of its own pomposity. Of course, as the aged know about us, we will defy and deny them at every opportunity, only to arrive at the same conclusions they advised us on half a lifetime ago. We don't listen, our children won't listen, so we'll forever see the masturbatory honeymoon phase of creating our own soundtrack skip like the interrupted hiccup of the scratched up solo somewhere on the second side of an inexpliable indie vinyl release.
As a result, every ten years or now after even shorter intervals, a new individual will be hailed and nailed and those on the imposed periphery will note that it's all the same. And it is all the same, rock n roll is only repeating patterns of its father, blues, and mother, traditional folk of false populist pretense. No marketed music is for the people. We see musicians now scrambling to construct artificial reasoning as to why self-promotion through the internet or self-recording on cheap technology is not only sonically inferior, but ethically so. Established as well as yearning rockstars keep belittling attempts by norms and noncoms to ape their style, claiming that unmastered records are nigh unlistenable, that there is a prescribed course of musical success and that pretty much no one, not even the established, can eke out a living, that they themselves are pathetic losers for being professional musicians and engineers. A combination of snobbery and scare tactics has been put in place to prevent the inevitable return to music as the setting for the vastly more important social surroundings (to propose a simple trajectory: pop music (meaning popular, as opposed to court music) began being performed by memebrs of the community then was appropriated by modernized capitalized royalty/court systems as with each new variation on this theme, but will eventually be circumvented when we stop glorifying singers for a learned craft no more important than knitting [f, let's not start on knitting culture]). it's creating, created and creates a skizm in the very basic human need to express oneself (which is no more than relieving oneself of pent of perception by sharing it and realizing it's commonality).
Rock n roll, under which I'm grouping its resistent progeny, hip-hop, is the youngest form of major artistic expression. So it's no wonder that each new manifestation believes itself in all its youth argumentative ardor to be the purest form of the craft. And every time it comes back, after having been dismissed, we fall in love again, we forget the previous bruises and anticipate the impervious bliss we're promised. I guess it's better than just writing about it, though.