Sunday, August 13, 2006

Clear Signs of Endless Middle Eastern War: Part IV

By Kanrei

How punk can you be if MTV has a reality show about your marriage? Can you imagine a Sid and Nancy show? Actually, scratch that. That would probably be pretty good…

No, I read today that Blink-182's drummer is getting a divorce according to ET. I wondered why ET would be covering the marriage of a punk star, pre-fab mom friendly punk, but punk. Then I noticed these words:
Travis and Shanna wed in October 2004 and starred in the 2005 MTV reality series "Meet the Barkers," which followed the couple's ups and downs as newlyweds.

My loyal Lemmings know what is coming...

Blink 182 is supposed to be some kind of punk band. Punk was about anti-corporate anti-establishment attitude. How can you be punk and on MTV TRL? How can you be punk and have a reality show? How can you be punk and win teen image awards?

I was shocked, saddened, and disappointed when Dave Navarro’s reality show started. He was the guitarist for Jane's Addiction: alt-rock gods. I was even more shocked, saddened, and disappointed when I saw that he is on a new one: something called Rock Star?

If you don’t know it, I envy you, but here is the concept anyway. Take a drummer who was in a big metal band of the 80’s, add the second bass player in the line up of a band that was good before he joined, and a guitar player who claims to be from an 80’s metal super group, but actually joined in the declining years and have them audition an assortment of TV friendly freaks to be their new singer and you got Rock Star. Tommy Lee of stolen sex videos and Motley Crue, Jason Newsted of Metallica on bass, and some guy named Gilby Clarke.

Tommy Lee was the drummer for Motley Crue for years. He was famous for the spinning drum set; a gimmick that made drunken teens think he was actually a good drummer. His real claim to fame came after he married Baywatch’s Pam Anderson and had a tape of them having relations stolen. He then entered the world of reality television like all true anti-establishment rock gods and went to college. He didn’t go to learn, he went to mock higher education and those who seek it. It was a thirty minute escapade into the mind that wasn’t there.

Jason Newsted I had some respect for before this. He was a founding member of 80’s heavy metal band Flotsam & Jetsam and joined Metallica after the death of their very popular bass player, Cliff Burton. He had a huge shadow to fill and he did it quite well. The 5.98 EP and ...And Justice for All are both classic albums, but Metallica became the spoiled children of rock and Newsted was one of those children. I lost every bit of respect I had for him. Seeing him on reality television shows me I was not alone in that loss.

Gilby Clarke seems to be the Ted McGinley of rock. Looking at his bio on Supernova’s website and it reads as a list of victims, not a resume of bands. You see MC5 and think “wooh” until you notice it is the re-formed MC5. After failing there, he started his own band named Candy and failed again. He released a few solo albums and failed each time. Once Guns N’ Roses had lost most of their original members, in he came like Ted McGinley on Love Boat and, like the Love Boat, GN'R hit an iceberg and sank.

Now these three losers of the metal scene are trying to shortcut the struggle and get right to the fame. They are basically saying that rock is so simplistic and basic that chemistry in a band is not as important as finding the singer America likes best. They have taken the most tv freakshow friendly looking people devoid of talent, think American Idol first 3 weeks, and put them infront of a hundred screaming girls who don't know why they are screaming and ask which one they like the best. Instant top 10 hit in theory I suppose.

Metal is not supposed to be about charts, popularity, and all of that nonsense and these three rock stars should know that. Both Motley Crue and Metallica released their best work when no one was listening but the die hard fans and both still sold albums and sold out tours. In interviews Metallica even used to brag at how well they did without videos and singles. It was greed that killed those bands. It was reality television that made them not mind.

It bothers me that parents don't get upset over the music thier kids listen to anymore. It bothers me that parents don’t mind their kids listening to Blink 182 or Sum 41. It bothers me that Blink 182 and Sum 41 are not bands they should be bothered by. You are not supposed to like your kid’s music. That is where they start to have their own identity. It is when they start to say “no, I do not like that.” That is an important step for kids.

They have prepackaged rebellion. No wonder no one blinked when Bush established “Free Speech Zones”. They have been told how they are allowed to rebel. They are told they don’t have rights, but are never told when they do. They grow up allowing their lockers to be randomly searched for weapons, their backpacks randomly searched for drugs, told when to speak and when not to, and they will grow up not knowing their rights. They grow up expecting to be thought guilty until they prove thier innocence. That bothers me as well.

Metalhead, Punk, Geek, Jock, Princess, Freak, Nobody, etc. These divisions are important. They help kids identify themselves. It helps them learn. It is a natural part of growing up and one of the greatest assets of these groups is that each has their own style, own slang, and own music.

Punk and metal reality shows makes rebellion tame. It takes the ROCK from rock and roll. Metal and Punk were never meant to be mainstream. They were the answer to mainstream and to each other. When the alternative becomes mainstream, where is the edge?

In essence, where are the freaks of the new generation? They are the ones we will be depending on to keep my generation in line when we take over in a few years. Our hippie parents equipped us with the tools to deal with the world. Why are we taking those tools away from our kids?

As Ozzy once sang:

'Cos they don't really know even what they're talkin' about
And I can't image what empty heads can achieve
Leave me alone, don't want your promises no more
'Cos rock & roll is my religion and my law
Won't ever change, may think it's strange
You can't kill rock & roll, it's here to stay

-You Can't Kill Rock n' Roll from Diary of a Madman

For Part Three
For Part Five


Serena Joy said...

It is a sad thing to see former rock icons selling out -- and to reality TV of all things.

The music I grew up with certainly played a role in shaping the person I became. And yes, my parents hated it. I still listen to that music today, along with new favorites. It had substance and it had soul. It's timeless.

kanrei said...

My parents made sure I had a steady diet of the music you grew up on as well. My uncle then made sure I had a steady 70's diet. I waivered in the 80's with metal, but I love it still. I just know it isn't good, but hey, I like Roadhouse too.