(Reprinted from the Hic-Up #7, January 2008)
"Sense surround sound in a two inch wall. I was waitin' for the communist call. I didn't ask for sunshine, and I got World War Three. I'm lookin' over the wall, and they're lookin' at me!"
Everything's filtered. For instance the first wave of English punk bands didn't exhibit much if any of the tabloid inspired Bristish Punk Look. No mohawks. But the very next wave, which was inspired by the first wavers, were also filtered through the media blitz; so the Exploited and Sham 69 have a much more cliched look by today's standards. In 2008, there is over thirty-five years of filters upon filters. The reason my position is an enviable one is that through fifteen years of study and practice, I can fully comprehend and see through all filters, I mean, as far as rock and roll music is concerned.
"I see the velvet zippies in their bondage gear. The social elite with safety pins in their ear. I watch and understand that it don't mean a thing. The scorpions might attack, but the system's stole the sting. PUNK IS DEAD."
That being said, it may be logically impossible to play punk rock today. Maybe the label can only truly be applied to the handful of original CBGB bands (Television, Richard Hell, Patti Smith, the Ramones, the Heartbreakers, the Dead Boys, not all of which actually play Punk music) and their Bristish prodigies (the Pistols, the Clash, the Damned). This filter disincludes many usual suspects, like the Stooges, MC5, Velvets, and the New York Dolls, and also means that everything that followed was something else, including the Angry Samoans, the Queers, and Explosive Kate. But, if those bands aren't playing punk rock, what the fuck is it? And what of the Dictators! I guess it's kinda semantical. None of those original bands really wanted to be called "punk" anyway, but everybody since has.
"Yeah you little copy cat, who do you think you are? You copy everything I do right down to my Jaguar. You little copy cat. Who do you copy, me. You copy everything I do, but you just can't cop my stuff."
Well screw it! In my band, the Headies, it's simple. We play rock and roll like Chuck Berry, but willingly embrace the filter of all the great punk (or whatever it was - Ramones, Vindictives, Plow United) I've listened to over the past long time, so, our rock and roll comes out undeniably punk rock, cause that is all I wanna do. We play it faster and louder, and have catchy and mean tunes that one can shake one's booty to. This, while a very broad template, can be found at the base of all the really good music. And conversely, if it ain't there, then the music ain't good, no matter what yer heathen ears tell ya. If it's quiet and slow, toss it out the window! I thought this was supposed to be America! "Experimental" style of punk a.k.a "indy" (such as scream-o, sonic thrash, hybrid metal, math rock, etc...) or whatever can't be seen as musical experimentation, but rather experimenting on who can stand around acting like it doesn't suck the longest. No post-modernism in rock and roll! B.B. King was experimental! I don't need to tell such erudite readers that the REAL GOOD comes from inside three chords and bringin' it fresher and bigger and prettier and meaner and cooler and that's what we're in it for, and that is punk rock.
"Robert Plant, a slimy fuck! John Bonham man, he really sucked! Those greedy fuckers. Those phony shits. They made their money off idiots. I hate Led Zeppelin."
- Ben Weasel
To be painfully clear, 99% of new music and old music suck dick. The filters upon filters have turned most American underground "musicians" brains to Swiss Cheese to the point where rock and roll is on life support, plugged directly into me. One filter says that Miles Davis was talented... ha! One filter says that Led Zeppelin was just a band and not a right wing dumbing-down conspiracy, (by the way, there was never such a person as this "John Bonham", I don't know where you got that one!) One filter says that the wheel needs reinventing. Well, guess what. They already did that. In 1973 the country's leading skateboard scientists introduced polyeurathane wheels to the populace, allowing America's youth greater speed and mobility whilst skateboarding. You could use 'em harder without breaking them. Also in 1973 the New York Dolls eponymous debut LP hit stores allowing America's youth greater speed and mobility in rock and roll. At this point, the invention phase concluded, and the wise need only to ride.
"Last week I was watching Saturday Night Live. There was this band, their singer had bleached hair. They were singin' about stuff I could relate to, so I put Bon Jovi in the trunk and taped the lock."
-Third Year Freshmen
Filter 1996: Act like you've been involved in punk rock since you were two years old. Filter 1999: Act like you've never been involved in punk rock ever. Filter 2001: "Maturely" accepting yourself and many facets of yer personality, water yerself down, "it's ALL good." I SAY NO! Any number of horrors can come out of this unholy dork-fuck formula, this catalyst for mediocrity and boring, atonal garbage. You can like whatever you wanna, but it might make you an idiot or a bad person or a waste of life, don't you agree?
"I gotta letter from Uncle Sam today. Grabs what he wants and he just won't stay away. I went down to the hop, the local disco show. Cause they won't ever stop, oh no. Go go go!"
It's like the socio-political sitch in Iraq (stay with me please!). Under my main-man Saddam Hussein, you'd get yer tongue cut out for swearing and yer dick cut off for rape, etc... but under the Christian USA troops, you can't really even leave yer house without gettin' shot at. So, Sid Vicious was a brain-dead British teenager, heroin user (mark of the truly retarded), murderer, and Johnny Thunders (my musical hero) was a horrible junkie opportunist, and let's face it, racist. However, somehow I'd still rather have either Johnny, Sid, or Saddam baby-sitting my kids than you and yer boxing glove-fingering, I'm talkin' 'bout you Cursive and Mineral, From Autumn to Ashes and all the rest, shady hipster mutherfuckers!!
Ari Wallach (TEAM HUMAN)
7 months ago