What is a rebel? A man who says no, but whose refusal does not imply a renunciation. He is also a man who says yes, from the moment he makes his first gesture of rebellion. A slave who has taken orders all his life suddenly decides that he cannot obey some new command. What does he mean by saying “no”? — Albert Camus, The Rebel
Spent an interesting afternoon browsing the CD bins looking for old punk records. Found a few, old and new: The Clash (The Clash UK version), Public Image Ltd. (The Flowers of Romance) and Killing Joke (Killing Joke 2003). Passed on The Damned, Bauhaus, Gang of Four, The Buzzcocks, X, The Ramones, oh the list goes on.
But it got me thinking about those days, lo these many moons ago, when I was a bass player and singer toying on the fringes of punk and goth. First off, I was classically and otherwise trained as a Musician. That put me in a different place than most punks, who were at best self-taught. Second, my childhood in Ohio and subsequent life in California (complete with choir, band and private Music lessons) exposed me to a much wider range of Music than most “punks” and “goths” that I knew. So to start with, the genre was limiting in terms of what was “acceptable” Music for punks to even play. And then there’s the issue of rebellion. Sure, I was in a death match with my parents, the establishment, institutions of all kinds, the government and life in general. So what was I rebelling against? The bourgeoise notions that surrounded me in the suburbs? I had a voice, and could use it as I chose. I wasn’t being oppressed except by my own preconceived notions of reality. And what notions, grand and overblown, they were.
Part of being a “rock star” is never growing up. Never changing your stand against “the man”. But doesn’t everyone change? Doesn’t the world, spinning on and on, circling the sun year after year, change constantly? What do you give up to “sell out”, anyway? Some false pretense that you are more than an infinitesmal speck of dust in the great desert that is civilization, that itself is a square inch of a nation-state on a much larger globe, which is unseen when the universe is looked at as a whole. The idea that what you are saying has never been said before, or better, despite the fact that your intellect gladly will differ on that score.
So there it is. The short version of why I am not a practicing Musician. Or something like that.