It’s funny how the orgasm is a “little death” we all strive for, letting go of our personal walls for a minute (or a few seconds, ha). But we still come back into our bones once the afterglow fades. Pop music is similar. A suspension of disbelief.
Donald Trump wants to build a wall between us and Mexico. Remember when Reagan said “Tear down this wall”? Anybody?
A black comedian I know, Kevin A Smith, recently joked that we need one
between us and Canada because we can’t have any more white people being crazy.
While he was joking, and most Canadians do seem pretty nice, it does
underscore a point that we seem to be really reaching a zenith again of
friction between social constraints imposed by throwback “conservative” minds
so full of contradictions they are even now bickering with The Pope, and those
who are ready for a new eschaton of creativity, fluid social answers and
Art and music mirrors society and thus I am going to
pen this essay today on the VALUE of being kicked out of the comfort zone. I
think metal and avant garde or fringe music is the premiere genre for this
besides the less hipster fashionable and more “pure” of intentioned indie
rock. Then again, as Boris proved on Pink, sometimes you can have it both ways
and both parody and surpass the boundaries of rock music.
We can not afford one sided discussions ever again. World history proves this. It’s like saying the Beatles were always nice people. C’mon!
Read more BELOW.
#nakedlunch #mileycyrus #deathmetal #fearfactory #tearist #nirvana #donaldtrump #racism #taylorswift #burtoncbell #thomaspynchon #yasminekittles #dhg #gravitysrainbow #boris #williamsburroughs #morphine #emo #marilynmanson #GOP #selfbiasresistor #liturgy #watain #royaltrux #cobain #incesticide #birdcloud #donaldtrumpsucks #convergecult
Was reading Naked Lunch today, (because “why not?) and listening to
Dødheimsgard’s latest masterpiece of weirdness and no boundaries A Umbra
Omega. This is not weirdness for weirdness sake but real soul searching stuff
(review here). Black metal and jazz blend to burst mass hypnosis and prove Jane’s
Addiction maybe were wrong when they said Nothing’s Shocking.
I wish I could say it IS shocking to read that someone whose ex gasped the
name of a former lover during sex was disemboweled out of jealousy this week or that
people really think building a wall between us and Mexico is not like clogging
an artery and an idiotic “solution” to the problem of wealth disparity in the
corporate oligarchy we call the modern world. But back to Naked Lunch, which
still has the power to shock many years after publication.
Any fan of tv’s Masters Of Sex might like to know that Burroughs’ most celebrated masterpiece was defended in a court obscenity trial as an examination of losing one’s soul and held in a similar category as sex research, as a means of understanding and learning to control addictions. Bill was addicted most of his life and ended up pretty destroyed by morphine, a rather conformist tit to nurse at for such a pioneer in the realm of literature and human striving.
Even at his weakest however, Burroughs was a titan at the edges of human
boundary. I’m not merely claiming something so pedestrian as to say that
Burrough’s romanticized addiction (he OFTEN showed the downside) and that this
edginess made him a shark of cool. Rather, his self awareness as being part of
a much larger maze, a maze he constantly sought a way out of or to improve
even through ugly feelings, made him a sort of hero.
I had a terrible smack addiction from ages 15-20 and ironically, reading
Burroughs after I had kicked was one of the things that made me stronger and
not return to the drug ever, even 17 years later!
One of my favorite portions of Naked Lunch is early in the book when Burroughs
Junk is the ultimate product…the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk
necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy…the junk
merchant does not sell the product to his consumer, he sells his consumer to
There are definitely forces out there via The Voice and other pop culture empty vessels that are trying to sell the consumer to their product the same way, instead of creating something valuable they would have us all become junkies to form over function, the dying gasp of pop’s failure to stay relevant as other than a distraction from real shit we should be digesting as a society.
I was tweeting today wondering if all the acid and drugs I took listening to
Skinny Puppy albums as a kid really ended up benefitting my life path in the
long run. Well, they certainly caused others pain and I made many mistakes but
on the one plus side, delvng into my own darkness and sense of mortality in
the long run has given me much more clarity and objectivity (except when I
lose my temper), along with taking post-modernism studies in college. I find
it easier than some people to rip things apart and rebuild them conceptually,
whether emotions, genre limitations in music or social conditioning. I might NOT
be good at math but I tend to help my friends through a lot of their baggage.
A shrink once told me I think like a pendulum, non stop racing thoughts
looking at things from every angle. If I’d been better at math I might have
been a great inventor but instead I dig into politics, heavy metal and culture
exchange with a rabid zeal. Gender issues as well.
Anyhow, looking at the pop machine we barely have left in place these days,
one of the last promised lands is tween money. We can see this in the hyper
marketing of Taylor Swift, who might be a nice person, but is basically a
product as much as the Idoru in William Gibson’s classic. Perhaps this happens
to all pop stars at some point, so kudos to Miley for trying to buck that
stereotype by self releasing her rather freakin’ awesome Dead Petz weirder shit (which sounds like it is trying hard to be Royal Trux, but I’ll take it). Some people would call this even more calculated marketing to festival culture, but in society you are going to have some trends merging out of sheer impact of influence.
The same can be said for metal. This is a metal website, after all. Well, if
you look at trends in metal, particularly death and black metal, you’ll find
that addiction to form has been both a blessing or a safety net depending on
who you ask. While I love early death metal like Posessed and Morbid Angel, I
was not a fan of Morbid’s shockingly different Illud Divinum Insanus album. But
you have to defend their right to proceed down their own musical paths.
All these years into rock and nothing still sounds precisely like Fear Factory’s “Self Bias Resistor” or even Surrealistic Pillow by Grace Slick and co. As Burton C. Bell once sang ,“Burn away conformity!”
I remember my first girlfriend’s little brother Abe played me Fear Factory on the Mortal Kombat Soundtrack years ago and I wasn’t into it then soon realized it was exceptionally unique. I soon listened to Demanufacture over and over whilst reading Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow for the first time, a tome for freeing the mind if ever there was one.
This celebration of real freedom in life is part of why I have a huge crush on Tearist’s Yasmine Kittles, which is only partially due to her stunning looks, integrity and great personality but also her massive talent in various disciplines. I’ve really got a lot of gratitude for how her music and resolve have inspired me lately as well as for her friendship and how all of these things combined bring me a lot of good cheer.
Some people are virulently against such change , though. We all go through
changes. It is inevitable. Repetition of form can be an homage or a stalled
link in an evolutionary chain. I admire Liturgy more than many classic
sounding black metal or death metal bands for pissing off so many people and
doing whatever the heck they want. Deafheaven of course have been discussed ad
infinatum as well for daring to have a pink record cover and play black metal
Converge are a good example of a band who have a template
sound but always push at the borders here and there to educate and widen their
hardcore kid fans palletes over the years, partcularly by embracing a strong
Swans influence (which can never be bad). J. Bannon remains one of the smartest dudes in the underground.
One of my favorite new bands is Fad Nauseam, a co-ed band of gothic influenced
noise rockers from Philly. Joey Patrone, their cute rocker manboy drummer,
posted on his Facebook today about the hedge fund scumbag who raised the price
of the Aids pill, sharing a bulletmedia link about how he is a super emo and
pop punk fan.
Joey wrote: “Does it surprise me that one of the biggest douchebags ever is
really into the most honed-for-marketing, uninspired, parent-friendly,
disposable version of underground music ever made? Nah, not really.”
That’s the thing with the walls of entitlement or safety or privatization we
build up. It strips us of irony and compassion to the point where someone
allegedly into punk could somehow rationalize it’s ok to make aids medicine
more expensive arbitrarily for profit. That’s so inhuman and irrational and
truly IS shocking. Except people suck and are insane, so it isn’t.
We are all about creating consumers who want our product, the culture order of
homogenization. The regionalism of punk defied this and now has been
whitewashed into more bland, rounded corners or the irony of countless
technical death metal bands who kind of sound the same even as they try and be
crazier than the rest. I guess it depends if you value technical ability or a
unique sound. Or hate being shocked.
One of the funnest experiences of my summer was seeing duo Birdcloud sing potty mouthed folk songs that startled even drunk cool kids at Andy Animal’s Final Meltdown.
- Birdcloud at The Final Meltdown. Phoenicia, NY. 2015
I’ve worked with musicians who only praised virtuosity and who the simplicity
and beauty of Nirvana’s ‘Something In The Way” or lonesome and often
overlooked comedown from hell cult Incesticide anthem “Big Long Now” would be
totally lost on. It’s so much easier to wear signifiers and be “normal” to
stand out. Fuckin’ please kill me.
I’d literally rather listen to white noise than the noise of some more
whitewashed bullshit, and that is not a race comment. But when you have a year
full of stunning releases across the board in the underground, how can we
elevate the same tired pop formulas and pretend things aren’t very different
in 2015? We’re supposed to be in the future now. That doesn’t mean white girls
or anyone who likes Taylor Swift are automatically not allowed to have a
voice, but we should also be aware a lot of our pop is written by a few old
dudes to a strict formula and often not at all by the stars.
Marilyn Manson is still shocking to some and to others he is like a Mickey
Mouse version of extreme rock. But you still have Walt Disney banning artists
from House Of Blues, so god bless the boogie man.
Then again, we really are a society based a lot on fear of the other and while
normalizing things that are different can create acceptance, it also is
interesting how the same rock that liberates some can be used to rile up
others to grab their pitchforks and defend “their” turf that we stole from the
While Manson struggled a bit once people got “used” to him, he still manages
to push buttons and I think that is a good thing. Kids need to realize
Mechanical Animals came out years ago and then follow the thread back to Bowie
and fuckin’ see that maybe it’s pretty ridiculous that as old and life
changing as rock n roll is, where Kiss and the andronygy of glam rock has been
capitalized on now literally for a few generations and is even considered “All
American” at times…what the fuck is the big deal? Why is M.I.A. still
considered an outsider compared to Taylor?
We need all these types in the melting pot so we can rub up against each other
conceptually and decide what best will help us adapt as a society to the
future. Personally, I don’t think it is “Bad Blood”.
Speaking of “blood”…Metal is also full of blood and horror. Stylistically
that is some people’s bag. Watain use pig’s blood tossed from the stage to
throw people out of their comfort zones (often throwing up their lunches in
the process). To some people this is just immature and pointless while to
others it creates an atmosphere or others see it as animal exploitation.
You should see their feature length film Opus Diaboli for a better idea of the full scope of what Watain are about.
Whatever you think, black metal that is not super conservative is one of the
best forms for kicking people’s brains towards infinity, though I’m not a fan
of when some people become just as much Lucifer’s bitch as religious zealots are to
Jesus. That’s missing the complete point of rebellion AND the transfiguration.
We are held back by walls, though sometimes they can support us as well. Many
people find comfort in pretending there is no death. Personally I think that
holds us back from truly finding immortality or seeing one another, just as
building a wall between us and Mexico ruins the message of the Statue Of
Liberty. But we can’t cling to some contexts of symbolism while bickering
incessantly with a blind eye to the fact that it is a far different country
and world than when the Constitution was written, as well. It’s a hyper fast,
cannibalistic, media swarm out there. We eat our young and ourselves alive and
forget our roots in the process.
Nu Metal was interesting in that it was basically a new form, though it
quickly became self parodying. Imitators always chase the dollar and ruin
things or bands parody themselves. It’s cool to have a style you love doing
though, like Motorhead. Perhaps it is in the ear of the beholder, but it isn;t
always easy to tell which bands are becoming tributes of themselves out of
love for their signature sound or out of fear of losing fans should they stray.
All I know is we are better off for discussions of collage, appropriation and
future shock. We are NOT better off for discussions like the 2015 GOP debates
hyper targeted to ignore #blacklivesmatter and sticking only to talking points or for
the simple language of Trump that seems refreshing to some but is really
micro-targeted distilling of xenophobia and an ignorant denial of class
divisions and/or privilege.
Meritocracy is great, sure…but you can’t
pretend everyone has the same chance at getting ahead (even through busting their ass) when we don’t even have
equal pay for women, let alone a reasonable minimum wage AND massive tax breaks
for fake churches like Scientology or the 1% (who dare to still say the
evaporating middle class need to shoulder even more of the burden that Wall
Street and unsustainable wars created). Blame it on terrorists all you want
but George W. Bush and Dickhead Cheney lied us into Iraq, yet we’re worried
about Brian Williams lying about Iraq more. Yes, I know that’s a meme.
Anyway…ignorance is bliss. Until it isn’t. That’s why it can be so delicious
when an artist actually shocks and makes us think or argue over signifiers,
what is cool or not and what is hype versus integrity. We’re all part of this
rat maze at the end of the day. But all cheese is not created equal and some
is downright rat poison.
Or is it?
Jai Kali! Maha Devi!