Friday, May 8, 2009

Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll

" part of the counterculture which seeks to implant seeds of rebellion in young people's hearts and minds."

That's an actual quote from the 84 page handbook of the Heritage Christian High School in Findlay, Ohio. The reason I quote this passage that comes screaming right out of the Eisenhower administration is because this Baptist school is threatening to suspend and even expel one of their students, a certain 17 year-old boy named Tyler Frost if he attends his girlfriend's prom at her school.

Huh? Yes, you heard that right. It's bad enough that these moral Amish have a wild hair across their puckered asses regarding hand-holding, kissing, dancing and rock 'n' roll. But what they're also saying is, We own you. Even outside of school. And young Mr. Frost, as with many high school kids, has classes and final exams only until the 24th of May.

He will be suspended just for attending a social function with other young people who contort their bodies in the immoral, self-expressive ritual of dance. If he touches liquor or gets lucky with his lady friend, he'll be expelled.

Hm, decisions, decisions. Young Mr. Frost said, Fuck it, I'm going. He's never been to a dance before. Even the boy's father thinks Heritage is being heavy-handed, being of the opinion that their influence should not extend beyond the classroom.

But while this is outrageous enough as it is, what makes me laugh my heathen ass off is this school's antiquated notion of rock 'n' roll, at how it corrupts the minds of young people, which was the exact reason we murdered Socrates a couple of thousand years ago.

The whole idea behind rock 'n' roll, and this is coming from a fan of the genre (and mebbe Minstrel Boy will be so kind as to chime as a professional musician) is that it's supposed to inspire distrust (as opposed to rebellion for its own sake) of the preceding generation.

The very concept of rock 'n' roll back in the early Bill Haley/Buddy Holly era was to provide a departure from the status quo, to embrace sexuality, to inspire young people to question authority figures. Rock 'n' roll has been the soundtrack of America and for the world over the last 55 years and, guess what? It's here to stay, you Bible-humping assclowns. The people who were Bill Haley's original fans are either in nursing homes or are dead and buried. The Rolling Stones, who came around almost a decade later, are now older than the average CEO.

Rock 'n' roll is no longer just a platform for "rebellion"- it's part of the corporate culture that subsumed the "counterculture". It is packaged, shrink-wrapped, hyped and sold by the tens of thousands of grosses to kids who don't know they're being had. Rock and roll used to give kids hope, purpose, some balm for their teen angst. Now it offers a steady stream of income for record executives and rock stars who file lawsuits against entities such as Napster.

In short, rock 'n' roll has been co-opted by bean-counters and middle-aged lawsuit chasers who are every bit as uptight as these assholes in Ohio who would seek to ban them.

But for the rest of us, those of us who still appreciate the Henry Rollins Band, the Fugazis, the Black Flags and all the other hard rock bands who never sold out or bought in, rock 'n' roll remains a part of the soundtrack of the modern world, albeit more in the background. And if young Mr. Tyler Frost wants to get his wick wet and listen to some live rock 'n' roll, then the church greybeards ought to just get the fuck out of his way and get back to making their Temperance Society placards.


At May 8, 2009 at 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christian schools that can't even teach knowledge.
Q: Why is the sky blue?
A: God made it that way.
Q: What is two plus two?
A: Only God knows.
Q: Why did God kill all of those babies and children?
A: *smack!* Who has been reading you all of the Bible? You are so grounded.

At May 8, 2009 at 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who would want to kiss those
lips? Yuk! Ole biddies !

At May 8, 2009 at 8:37 PM, Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

rock 'n' roll, like jazz, blues, and just about every other new music genre, including mozart/beethoven/palestrina when he went polyphonic, got and continued to get a lot of derision and scorn from the folks in the pulpit.

they figure that it has got to be sinful if people are singing and dancing with smiles on their faces without jesus on their lips. many sects of muslim, christian, hindu, and some of the bhuddists when they really want to exert their total war of mind control ban music for their followers.

i've ruffled more than a few feathers among my collegues by saying up front that right now, the real rock'n'roll ethic resides with hip hop.

the best rock'n'roll is the stuff that your parents hate so fucking much that when you have it on they can't stop themselves from shouting at the top of their lungs "turn that shit down!" or, "you cannot keep playing that awful stuff in my house! my house! my rules!"

the best music for kids to listen to is stuff that makes any adult within earshot get all red in the face and start shouting.

the fastest way to get there for kids right now is hip hop.

don't forget that it was pentacostal preachers who spouted from turn of the last century pulpits that robert johnson had sold his soul to the devil to play music that could affect people like that. the part that they didn't understand was that folks would listen to robert johnson play, think about a deal with the devil and say "it was worth it."

they also said the same thing about franz liszt's piano playing and paganini's fiddling.

oh, yeah, they were saying mozart had sold his soul to the devil when he was only around 12. to be that young, and to play that beautifully, to write compositions at 12 that grownups couldn't wrap their hands around sent the pious into paryoxms of fear and rage.

preachers, almost by definition cannot understand real genius. since they cannot comprehend the forces at work they call it the devil.

for them to admit anything else would force them to admit that jesus danced when jimi played, and the angels are right now getting down with marvin gaye.

At May 8, 2009 at 9:17 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Stevie, I agree with all the above sentiments except for those about hip hop. I am sorry. It is not singing. It's slurred dictation. That isn't music they play unless it's "sampled", which means it's ripped off with attribution. In fact, in my opinion, it ought to be included in with the nation's noise pollution laws and I haven't even gotten to the godawful content about killing cops, women being labeled as "bitches" and "ho's."

Just because one's folks hate a certain type of music doesn't automatically qualify its quality. Are you telling me that if our kids started listening to disco songs our rage at hearing it rear its blow-dried, coke-addled head would automatically mean it's worth listening to?

I rest my case.

I sometimes despair when my own kids would ignore the music of the 60's while affecting some affection for hippies and the newer faux breed that we saw spring up around Phish. The music of the 60's, the kind that you yourself play to this day with those who had written and originally played it, had soul, it had passion, it had a fucking conscience. Sometimes I don't know what's supplanted it but very little of it can hold a candle to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Winwood or Janis Joplin at their best.

Other than that, I agree 100% with the rest except I'd like to add that preachers ain't the only ones who get it wrong when it comes to musical genius. My own kids disappoint me every time I listen to their Limewire playlist. Misrepresentation usually makes up for at least half of genius's reputation.

At May 8, 2009 at 11:12 PM, Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

I'm with MB on the hip-hop thing. I'm surprised that you, JP, a guy who's been serious about poetry, can't see the poetic core of rap. At its soul is rhythm and rhyme. It's spoken word. with drum rhythms and sound fragments. It's also low-tech so that people with no talent for playing musical instruments can still participate.

That defence said, I'll admit that I can't stand rap. It strikes me as repetitive -- always the same basic beat. (I feel sorta the same about bluegrass -- quick, anybody but a pro like MB, name me a bluegrass tune where you can play the music inside your head. Aside from "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" I bet you can't.)

Down here, they call it "doof-doof" music because that's all you can usually hear of it from outside the windows of whatever car fulla wiggers is rolling by playing it. I actually LIKE the samples part of rap, because the way they're blended shows some inventiveness.

I don't listen to it. Aside from Gil-Scott Herron (the original rapper) and "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" by NWA (for the politics of it) I don't own any. I'm like my parents, who didn't own any Bob Dylan. They felt the same about him as you do about hip-hop, JP.

Most rap is shit. So is most country, disco, punk, and if you go back and listen to obscure bands and "deep cuts" from most hippie bands in the 60s, they were shit too. Humanity only has so many geniuses. That doesn't stop the rest of them from recording stuff.

The rebellion stuff that Steve talks about -- rappers know that. Part of growing up is asserting your independence from your parents, and authority in general. "I'm a grown-up, godammit, and I do not have to follow your rules." Unfortunately, the hip-hop generation expresses its rebellious instinct through crack, hos and guns. The dirty fucking hippies already claimed the acid, peace and love vibe. Can't rebel by espousing what the old farts like. Have to rebel with the opposite.

To the extent that the rap ethos is driven by corporate manipulation, that works well for the master class. Better to have the kids getting into shooting matches with each other than having them rap tunes about "cappin' the rich muthafuckas."

That negativity and the shitty quality of the music is ultimately what will doom rap. I'd like to think it won't have "legs." Will there be "classic rap" radio stations in the future? Can you sing hip-hop in the shower? Will you snuggle up with your girlfriend/boyfriend to a romantic soundtrack of gangsta music?

Hey, maybe the kids will! I can't understand it, but that's the point. If it's too loud or obnoxious, then I'm too old. Take that, decrepit bastard Bukko!

(Although I'm proud to say that my daughter, now age 19, listens to descendants of my kinda punk like Anti-Flag, Dropkick Murphys, Wednesday 13, etc. It was cool to expose her to bands like the MC-5, New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders so she can see where it all came from.)

At May 9, 2009 at 12:13 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I'm with MB on the hip-hop thing. I'm surprised that you, JP, a guy who's been serious about poetry, can't see the poetic core of rap.That's right. I am serious about poetry. Rap and Hip Hop ain't poetry, pal. You want poetry? Read Wallace fucking Stevens or Yeats.

At May 9, 2009 at 12:14 AM, Blogger daveawayfromhome said...

JP, you might try various world rap artists, rather than the materialistic hacks that currently fill the airwaves here in the U.S. If you go to the Middle East, Afric and Asia and you'll find both rock'n'roll and rap buried in the heart of youthful rebellion, being just as dispised by The Man there as it once was here.

At May 9, 2009 at 1:37 AM, Anonymous Lisa G said...

Did I miss something? When did you lose your job? You have had nothing but shitty luck lately - here's hoping and sending good thoughts (and a little something in your Paypal account). I'm unemployed to, but on disability, so at least I'm still getting a check. Here's to better days!

At May 9, 2009 at 4:30 AM, Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i was playing one of the awards shows, this was before i sobered up so i really don't remember what fucking show it was. what i remember is that the musical director was quincy fucking jones.

one of the breaks some of us "real" musicians were out back smoking camels and joints and i spouted off pontifically that rap music was conflicting terms or some other kind of arrogant bullshit. that's when quincy came up, stole a newport from one of the guys, lit it and said "you just haven't taken the time to listen to some of it. after the rehearsal stevie, come out to the house, there's some stuff i want you to hear."

this was q, when he says "listen" you listen the fuck up. i went, i listened. it was some ice t sides that he was producing.

the things that he was doing with internal rhyme, playing with the percussive sounds of different consonants, was hypnotic. he was being backed by live musicians, there wasn't a bit of sampling on that one (although i'm with bukko, sometimes the samples are the best part of the music, sometimes they even track players down and kick with some royalty love, like when snoop sampled george clinton)

there is a lot of music out there that just doesn't grab me. i can still see that there are a lot of folks who don't play stuff i like, but reach huge audiences and do their work.

just because i don't personally like something doesn't make it bad necessarily. no wait, creed fucking sucked out loud. they were bad christians playing bad, simplistic, overproduced crapola music.

kid rock, on the other hand, has a fucking ball and so does his audience.

thing is, if the music is capable of taking you back to a time and place in your life that was happy, if it grabs you hard enough to lift you out of the depths of a depression, if it makes your head nod and your hips twitch while you're pumping gas, that music has done its fucking job and so have the players whether they've done that to me or not.

i've seen traditional musicians on bali playing stuff i thought sounded like a drunken catfight disrupting a hobo clusterfuck.

the audience was entranced. does that make what they played good? or bad?

it aint' my fucking call. i'm just the guitar slinger and i get paid whether or not the critics pan or rave.

if i think it sux and the tween girls can't get enough, i can think it sux all the way to the accountant's office so i can keep earning my bush tax cuts.

At May 9, 2009 at 8:57 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Lisa: I lost my job going on two weeks ago. Thanks for the donation but you shouldn't have since you're on disability.

Dave: Why would I listen to rap from other countries and I can't follow the language.

MB: Sorry, neither you or Quincy will convert me. I heard enough of that shit back in '99-00 when the ids went through their brief rap/hip hop phase. Thankfully, they quickly outgrew Limp Bizkit before Fred went all corporate and became Vice President Short Pants.

I admit, Kid Rock, while he's an asshole in real life, has produced some great hard rocking number. But KR is probably the only artist I've ever heard who perfectly synthesized rap with hard rock.

Other than that, I have no use for the shit. Gimme my Metallica, Ministry, White Zombie, Slipknot and all those guys. They'll lift me above my occasional blue devils, they'll put lead in my pencil, they'll get my air guitar out of the closet.

At May 10, 2009 at 12:37 PM, Anonymous Emmanuel Ephraim said...

As Luke 14:26 says:
"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children,and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
Jesus himself said it. Obviously, all the religiosos take it very seriously, and hate their mothers this mothers day.
Nuff said.

At May 11, 2009 at 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to let you all know that God does not kill babies, cause war, create homelessness, etc. WE DO! Yes bad things do happen to good people, and it may seem unfair, but it all started in the Garden of Eden, and we just keep on sinning. God is real whether you choose to accept it or not. Jesus is coming back someday to take His children home (that means those of us who love and follow him) Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. That is a fact. If you die without repenting of your sins and accepting Jesus as Lord you most definitely, without a doubt WILL go to hell. Believe it or not that is the absolute truth! If you don't believe me, die without Christ and you'll find out. Just so you know, it's understood that you will make fun of this post, my Savior and my God, my faith and anything else you can come up with to make yourself feel better, but that's OK, I know the truth and I will be eternally rewarded, not condemned for my faith. Check out Also, if you like good music check out Decypher Down, Tobymac, Chris Tomlin, and Kutless to name a few!! By the way, if you do decide to "get saved" there's a huge party in Heaven when you get there!!


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