Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why I must see Henry again

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be going to see Henry Rollins again in October. For those of you unfamiliar with him, he was the lead singer for Black Flag (a pioneering punk band), and then later for The Rollins Band. I have to admit that I was never a big fan of their music, but they had a message that rang true.

Later, he would go on to write poetry, star in movies, and then he started doing spoken word tours. Basically, he stands before an audience and mouths off about his opinions on things for two to three hours, but he's a very smart man, and his opinions are backed up by good data...which is very important!!! He has a very in your face style that I like. He refuses to accept anything without a challenge, and for that I admire him. In some ways, I reflect his attitudes, but my actions don't always follow my attitudes. Perhaps I've been too beaten down by the system, or perhaps I haven't yet found the courage to really express myself as I would like. Of course, he also has some money...and that can go a long way in our society.

These days, a lot of punks think that he's sold out because he does Hollywood movies and has his own talk show on IFC...but being punk (or a rebel of any kind) is about more than dressing a certain way, or wearing your hair a certain way. It's about having the heart and courage to really stand up for the things that you believe in...and actually believing in them in your heart...not just believing them because the rest of your clique does.

So, here are some Henry excerpts...


Jim Shannon said...

Punk Rock. Rant alert, rant alert!! (Punk really got started with Iggy Pop around 1970-but it wasn't called punk. It didn't have an official name per se')

I'm old school punk myself :-) Buzzcocks, The Clash, Sex pistols. Ramones that sort of thing. I embraced Punk rock when I was 25 when the punk scene took over in 1977.(too timid though to dress Punk I still enjoyed the music) Punk music(in it's 2nd incarnation)lasted from 1976-1983.

In 1983 when the wind changed direction the punk music scene went on life support barely registering a pulse beat. The Buzzcocks and the Clash had broken up in the approaching mid 1980's as 80's music took over, punk music was resigned to being a footnote in history. However, Punk went underground with a few hic ups through the 1980's(Billy Idol, Bad Religion)letting those that cared know the music was still alive, somewhere.

Sure there are a lot of punk bands out there today and punk is popular since the Buzzcocks reformed in 1990 reviving the punk scene from there but there is nothing like old school punk. Other then activism there is nothing to Rebel about these days music wise. The original Punk theme was to rebel about the way music was produced in the disco era. At that time my generation had had enough of disco and the time was ripe for punk.

Today people are so enamored into Rap "music" these days and worried about being oh so politically correct they won't rebel against it. Rap is acceptable and mainstream and tired about ready to go (I hope) the same way original Punk did. IMHO Rap stereotypes people. It sends negative messages to our society. "It's cool to B&E for your crack habit and do a ho and use the N word in every other word and robb 7-11's." Rap has been dumbing down the music industry since it's beginning in 1991 and still going strong. I haven't listened to much Rap (makes me cringe when I hear it) and I hope Rap has matured beyond those initial first impressions. My supervisor at work is a Rapper and in hearing him rapping at work every day. Hearing him it seems the form hadn't matured at all.

Like I said Punk was about rebelling against music trends of the time. Not about using it as a vehicle for activism although all music is really a vehicle for activism of some kind. Pop music reflects the attitudes of the street. What you call Punk these days isn't really punk. It's power Indie pop. Old school punk shook people out of their comfort zones shouting "Give us something else." Punk today is a parody of it's former self.

The Sex pistols original song "God save the Queen" started it all and imho was about the best Rock n' roll song in music history. Other then the old school punk bands Punk music is dead. Performers are using it to go through the motions. It isn't about anything anymore. "Punk music" today isn't about anything that matters.

I agree punk isn't about how you dress. Billy Idol taught us that much.

Sorry for the rant.

J Erwine said...

Jim-I really couldn't agree with you more, although I would say that there was more to it than just a rebellion against music...which was definitely needed!

The emergence of "Punk" came at the same time as the second coming of Metal, and both were a rebellion against the crap of the mid 70's, but there was more to both of them. There was an element of rebellion against society in both. The Clash's "London Calling" and "Radio Clash" were about a lot more than crappy music.

Much like the second wave of metal (bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest), Punk's second coming was when it REALLY turned political, with bands like Black Flag.

I was never much of a punk fan, although I have always loved The Clash, but I can certainly respect what the music tried to do...unfortunately, corporate America convinced most of the world that they needed to hear people like Britney Spears...

I used to work with a girl who claimed to be a punk. I asked her who she listened to, and the first band out of her mouth was Green Day. I immediately stopped her and asked if she'd ever heard of The Clash, The Sex Pistols, or The Ramones. She said that she liked some songs by The Clash, but she didn't know who the others were. I immediately tuned her out...

Jim Shannon said...

The Clash are my favorite band of all time, their music is timeless. My favorite Clash song would have to be "Death or Glory."

When Rap came out (2nd incarnation really)1991 it was all what contemporary radio was playing and disenfranchised me from music. Probably having the same affect as when the Beatles came out for my parents weened on music from their generation. I was grateful the old bands I loved like Kansas, Midnight Oil, Allan parsons still turned out Cd's.

in the mid 1990's I yearned for the day when something new would push Rap aside and bury it. I discovered Ska when I was a one time Christian (that's another story) The only thing I got out of Christianity was Ska and then I discovered the various elements of Ska and varieties. I like the 3rd wave Ska. Sadly Ska died out as well around 2001 and yet Rap is still going strong :-(

When you mentioned about metal bands my favorite metal band is The Scorpions. A co worker and a nice fellow that works with us from time to time is in a death metal band he created, I think it's SNAPT or something like that. Too much screaming and I can't hear the words. No melody but he's a heck of a guitar player.

Not metal but lately I'm becoming a fan of The Stranglers.

BTW, I like your stake of books pic better then Keith's. Your pics seem to show more novels. In his library I couldn't see many novels but he's got a ton of books but I couldn't see many novels.

I used to have a collection like yours but when I became unemployed during my life I had to sell books to eat. Hopefully I won't need to do that any more.

J Erwine said...

I'd hate to have to sell my books to eat...I think I'd rather starve...