If a Lumberjack Shirt falls in the Forest…..
And nobody hears it, does it make a sound? Yes it does, its the sound of mediocrity. Its the sound of white van man externalised, it’s the sound of all the people you ever despised enjoying YOUR music and claiming it for themselves, loudly.
Take the Foo Fighters as a prime example. Dave Grohl may be the nicest man in rock today, a saleable commodity in and of itself, but as a singer, he’s still the best drummer of his generation. Is there a direct link between the lack of effort put into the music and the presentation thereof? Is there a reason that music seems to have dumbed itself down to the point it’s the equivalent of a takeaway burger? It seems so. It used to be that you had to invest a little something, pay some attention.
When rock and roll was born screaming into the world, it demanded you watch it, and as a result we got Jerry Lee Lewis, a sociopathic child marrying megalomaniac who you couldn’t take your eyes off, and whose better known songs can still be sung by most of the western world fifty odd years after some of them were released.
If, on the other hand, you can sing me more than two songs by The Killers, then you’re a better man than me. Little Richard, a peacock in a man’s clothes, had to change the words to Tutti Frutti, on account of the original lyrics being about rough gay sex. You just don’t get that with the Vaccines, do you? An ante needs to be raised, upped or at least be made aware of, because we are losing.
Where’s the rock version of Lady Gaga? Why all this imagined integrity, where the music just speaks for itself, maaan? Give me a show. There’s all kinds of shows. Give me the broken glass horror show of the Stooges, the mixed race onstage running show of The Specials, even the overblown warts and all million plus lightshow of Pink Floyd, but give me something to remember you by.
When I was a youth, all the cool kids hated Boy George. Now these days Mr O’Dowd may be a passed it, over plastered pantomime dame, but in the ’80’s he was a game changer, a man who completely divided opinion, but it wasn’t related to his music, a weak white sickly reggae pastiche with the occasional half decent slow song, it was the presentation of himself and his music that marked him out. You ran the risk of physical violence FOR NOT HATING HIM! Not for just enjoying it, but not actively hating it! Hard to imagine these days. Don’t blame pop either, for there is some degree of contrivance or manufacture to all the great music of the rock and roll age, even if its just in the marketing.
Ask Brian Epstein, Beatles Manager and a man without whom the world would have been a different place. No, its them that claim there music as a badge of meaning that need to look at themselves, and if Dave Grohl isn’t dressed as Gene Simmons on their next tour, then I think we all should be asking ourselves why. If we cant expect the presentation AND the music, then surely its not too unreasonable to ask at least one of them is up to scratch?