Music Is Better Off Seen As A Commodity
'Doc, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken,' and the doctor says, 'well why don't you turn him in?' And the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.'
I'm 1/4 through Dance Of Days, an engrossing history of the DC Punk scene. I'll probably stop once it gets to years/bands I don't care about. Where I'm up to, Ian Mackaye is feeling really hurt again because someone said bad things about him, HR of Bad Brains is a Rasta prophet who gives a note to Biscuit of The Big Boys that reads "Burn in hell, bloodclot faggot", hate-machine Henry Rollins leaves the DC scene after a member of his SXE gang takes a baseball bat to the head in Philly, women are treated like non-entities, outsiders are shunned, heroin is a major reason why things don't happen... I could go on for a while.
Ian and Henry formed a crew to beat people up for fun after seeing firsthand an episode of the O.C. Reich destroying the L.A. punk scene. Let me type that again - the jock, suburban fuggknuckles who destroyed the original L.A scene inspired the prep school SXE gods to create a violent mob.
Dance of Days, while a decent book, is another collection of stupidity, rationalizations and royal fugg-ups. So-called creative people as a group are damaged goods, and maybe instead of idolizing them we should just humor them as long as they provide us entertainment. Maybe art is an insanity/genius thing, a savant thing or a cry for help thing more than about natural talent. Singers, writers, painters and poets are not better than those of us whose only skill might be to show up to work every day.
I, by buying a book, record or DVD, or by seeing a concert, am as important in the process of culture as the people who create the works. I help make it happen with my cash, and I validate them by paying attention to what they're doing. I pay their salaries, so give me my packaged goods and spare me your many personal failures.
I read books on music history so I can write about them. On one hand they give me information, but on the other they lead me to believe I'm better off not knowing how the sausages of music are made. It's really ugly.