Sunday, 29 April 2007

Punk Is Dead, Long Live Punk - Rambalations 2

"My little white ass is tickled pink when I listen to the music that makes me think" Red Hot Chili Peppers

Watched a doco on SBS tonight titled Punk:Attitude which explores the history of punk music and the attitudes which drive it. Some of this is captured in the interview below with film-maker Don Letts.

Punk was brought to the fore in the 70's at a major time of unrest, when things had gotten so bad that the people started to stand up and literally say "FUCK YOU". It was a style of music that was in your face and shoved its message down your throat. It rebelled against the establishment and encouraged its audience to take action. It was more than just music and an image - punk was an attitude.

A lot of this attitude carried over into more mainstream music in the 80's with bands like Midnight Oil, Dead Kennedys, U2, Black Flag and Public Enemy. In the 90's Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy continued the attitude. But what about today? In a market of sanitised commerciality it is hard to find any bands or artists who hold true to the punk attitude. Certainly, there are 'punk-rock' bands such as Blink 182 around, but their sound and attitude is more mum-and-dad radio-friendly than the "FUCK YOU" attitude of the earlier punk bands. Green Day are still holding on to some of their punk roots but have let it slide since their earlier releases of Dookie and Insomniac. Even U2 has moved away from raising social awareness through their lyrics.

Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil made the following comment in his acceptance speech when the Oils were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame last year:
"Maybe complaint rock is still being written, but is ignored by an industry hypnotised by get-famous-fast TV shows. Bless you, John Butler, but you shouldn't have to do it all by yourself."
The challenge was thrown out to the industry, but no-one seems to have taken it up. It appears the music industry has become too obsessed with cheap and un-nasty artists who are going to turn a profit in the least amount of time. It is afraid to sign or promote artists who may have a political or social message in case it upsets the stock-holders. This is unfortunate for any talented, unsigned artists out there as the major record companies are in bed with the radio stations, the media and the retail outlets, so independent releases rarely make it to the mass consumer ears or market.

The internet does give these unsigned artists the chance to self promote, and we have seen successful acts, such as Jet, emerge this way, but only a very few. And again, Jet's music and attitude is far from punk. Today's generation are being feed corporation pleasing lyrics, sometimes blatantly incorporating product placement. A new voice is needed - one that isn't afraid to speak its mind, to challenge business, government and society, to motivate its audience, and to say "FUCK YOU".
"All you need is one guy or girl to stand up and say "fuck this", and everyone goes: "Voice of a generation"."
Henry Rollins

Songs played while writing this entry:
"My Lovely Man" Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Love For" Glenn Underground
"Why Go" Pearl Jam
"Cranium Accelerator" Sven II
"Defiant" Christopher Lawrence

"Welcome To The Jungle" Guns N Roses
"Khe Sanh" Cold Chisel
"Breaking The Girl" Red Hot Chili Peppers

"Coded Language" DJ Krust feat Saul Williams
"Anything Goes" Guns N Roses
"Time Out In Toronto" SS
"Back Porch" Presidents Of The United States Of America
"Come and Die" Therapy? & Fatal

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Times Like These

"Times Like These"
Foo Fighters
Skin and Bones (2006)
mp3 -> save target as to download

I, I'm a one way motorway
I'm the one that drives away
then follows you back home.
And I, I'm a street light shining
I'm a wild light blinding bright
burning off alone.

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again

I, I'm a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky to hang
the stars upon tonight.
I, I'm a little divided
do I stay or run away
and leave it all behind?

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again

It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Of Rabbits and Rabis

I normally avoid delving into religious matters too much. This is for 2 reasons:
1) Whilst I consider myself a Christian, I have zero respect for the institution that is the Church
2) Religious beliefs are very subjective and vary according to interpretation
However, this being Easter and with the state of events around the world at the moment, I thought I'd venture into the topic.

Whether you are Christian, non-Christian or Atheist, there is no denying that Jesus Christ was a bloody good guy (based on the stories of him in the Bible). His message to the government and church of the time was, simply put, "get ya heads out of your asses, get off your high-horses, stop being hypocrites and start caring about your people". His message to the people was, again simply put, "stop caring so much about yourself and the petty shit in life and start looking after each other. Oh, and take some responsibility for your own actions while you're at it". Now, I don't know about you, but I think those are some fairly simple and reasonable concepts to build your life and country around.

While there have been some fairly major changes in the world over the past 2,006 years it seems that JC's message still hasn't gotten through. Compare the attitudes and actions of the characters in the Easter story then to those today:

The Sanhedrin: In today's world - the Court. JC's trial was held, unusually, at night when not all members of the council were present. Shame they couldn't have shipped JC off to Guantanimo Bay back then - though he'd be waiting a while if he was in line behind David Hicks.

Caiaphas: In today's world - Church Leader. Caiaphas lead the plot to arrest and kill JC because he saw JC as a threat to the Church. Caiaphas wasn't a fan of anyone who spoke out against the teachings of the Church and threatened his position of power and wealth. I'm sure that it would be possible to trace Fred Nile's (or any other condemner of the Chocolate Christ's) ancestry back to Caiaphas' blood line somehow.

Pontius Pilate: In today's world - Government Leader. Pontius was reluctant to condemn JC to death as he was afraid it would cause an uprising. Likewise, he was afraid to go too soft on his sentencing as he didn't want to put the Church off side. Stuck between a rock and a hard-place, Pontius sends JC off to King Herod. Just like little Johnny Howard, Pontius was too busy sucking up to his stakeholders to have the balls to make any hard and fast decisions. Fortunately for Howard, Bush didn't send Hicks back for him to deal with.

King Herod: In today's world - Foreign Government Leader. Herod welcomed JC from Pontius Pilate with as much interest as he would a tray of cow-dung. He wanted nothing to do with the issue and figured JC was Pontius' problem, so sent him back. Try as he might to shirk the issue, Kyoto keeps on coming back to haunt little Johnny.

At least it seems that we, the people, have taken some notice of JC's message. We've still got a long way to go, but there is hope for us yet. And that is what faith is all about.

May the deity of your choice bless you and your world this Easter/Passover/Pascha/Weekend.

Songs played while writing this entry:
"Children Of The Revolution" The Violent Femmes
"Mr Brownstone" Guns N Roses
"Raver's Damnation" The Wizard Of Oh
"The Stalker" Green Velvet
"New Year's Day" U2
"Blood Sugar Sex Magik" Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Animal" Pearl Jam
"Sweetness And Light" Itchee & Scratchee
"Born Slippy (Pink Floyd Remix)" Underworld Vs Aphex Twin
"Return To Reality" Antarctica
"My Happiness" Powderfinger
"Deliverance" K90
"Holiday" Weezer
"All I Want Is You" U2

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