Tag Archives: Chris Rock

The soundtrack to our lives

Watching the Michael Jackson memorial in bits and pieces in between work, I noticed that so many mentioned his songs as the “music they grew up to”. And it made me think of two things:

First, I’ve always said the music you listen to is the soundtrack to your life. But thinking about it today, I realized that as a musician I deal with that differently than maybe a lot of non-musicians. You might think key moments, and the songs that are associated with those times, are like “the song that was playing when I lost my virginity”, “my first slow dance”, “music from that summer by the pool”, “my wedding song”. Maybe. But for me, the key music always involves my being a musician – the first song I performed for a girl, the first song I wrote, the song I wrote when my father died.

Second, “the music I grew up to”. Because it transports you to a different time, a time of “innocence”. Because you don’t listen to music anymore? Because music changed and you never did? Because you just “don’t understand kids today and their music”? REALLY? The first record I ever heard was Elvis. The second, the Beatles. But those records don’t inform or make who I am any more than Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead (the first time I heard it) or Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 4 or Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert or James Brown Live at the Apollo. Unless the movie is over, or you’re in a constant state of flashback, the soundtrack (which has to play at the speed of now, or die) is constantly changing. It evolves, or your storyline (and your character) never do.

I’ve always hated nostalgia, “oldies” radio formats, and revival musicals (like Grease or High School Musical X, that dare to presume that anywhere near the majority of people had a positive experience in high school, regardless of the decade they attended). Like Satchel Paige once said, “don’t look back…something might be gaining on you.”

I think it was Chris Rock who said that the music that is the most important to you in your life, that you remember the most fondly, is whatever happened to be playing at the time you first had sex.

Is that true? Personally, no.

My soundtrack is on an entirely different level.

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Add Chris Rock to the List of My Generation

In my last few posts, I was lamenting the fact that my generation seems to be missing writer voices. Well, I just picked up Rolling Stone issue 947, that included an interview with Chris Rock. I’ve always appreciated his comedy on a number of levels; but something he said in this interview struck a chord with me:

[RS Interviewer, Neil Strauss]: When you were doing the Janet Jackson bit in your show, you decided to come down against her. What’s the other side?

[Rock]: On one hand, you are crazy to whip out a titty on a Sunday afternoon. On the other hand, there are jet fighters flying over the stadium and people are cheering, “Hey, go murder more people.” This titty, we can’t have this — but murdering jets, now that’s all right.

[RS]: I’m surprised by the near-apathy of popular artists to what’s going on in the world right now.

[Rock]: Can you believe there’s no Rage Against the Machine? There is no Public Enemy? There’s no Arrested Development? No one is talking about anything. Nobody young gives a f**k. The only people that even mention that there is a f**king war are, like, me and Al Franken? It’s a f**king sad time for art. Art is dead, man.

[RS]: Especially since now the right song can make a difference before the election and maybe put a catchphrase in people’s heads.

[Rock]: There is not one record on the radio that reflects anything that is going on, except for the guy, what’s his name? McGraw? Chesnutt? Toby Keith, I mean. I don’t agree with those guys. But I respect them, because at least they’re f**king dealing with what’s going on — in their own crazy right-wing way.

We’ve got AIDS, SARS and all this s**t going on. All these dead dolphins rolled up on some beach the other day. We are at f**king war, people are f**king broke, mothers are killing their kids, and the welfare thing is going on. And everyone is singing, “Everybody in the club getting tipsy.” It’s f**king insane.

Props to Chris Rock. A voice from the 1962-1968 born generation worth listening to.

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