Posts Tagged ‘Rock n Roll’

TUNE IN TUESDAY, Ed. #6

August 31, 2010

It’s too hot to write. Just watch this video and learn something about Rock n Roll. I’m gonna go throw up or something.

Enjoy? -DFH

Eric Clapton and the Past, Present and Future of Rock n Roll

January 7, 2010

The Beats begat the Hippies;

Who begat the Punks;

Who begat the 80’s;

Who begat scenesters;

Who begat the hipsters;

Who begat ?

For a movement that has shown itself to be nothing if not self-conscious the hipster brigade has great trouble answering the simple question, “what is a hipster?” Is it the clothing, the neighborhood, the music, the diet, the, the, the…? Well, in short, no; it’s not any of those. But, far too often, when faced with the question of what a hipster is, the most common answers given by both hipsters and, um, others alike, revolve around those things. The look, the location, etc. Isn’t that rather silly? In fact, doesn’t that, as a hipster – if you are one – kind of offend you? Have the phenomena of Facebook Live Feeds, Twitter, blogging and internet dating made us so surface-oriented? Have I used enough question marks in this paragraph?

Sorry.

Think of how you’d describe the Hippie movement. I’ll tell you, when I think of those people, the first thing that comes to mind is an ethic, a credo, an ethos – you know, like the tenets of National Socialism, say what you will about them. Same with the Beats and the Punks. Sure, there were physical expressions (clothing, music) that allowed them to identify themselves and be identified appropriately by others; but, to be identified as something and to be defined by something are two entirely separate issues. Yes, a hipster wears a flannel shirt and a vest, and the girls don’t show off their tits or their legs. Yes, a hipster listens to Grizzly Bear. Yes, a hipster lives in north Williamsburg, Greenpoint or Bushwick. Beyond that, there must be something more, no? A definition?!

Before I deliver what I can only imagine will come across as a self-indulgent sermon about hipsterdom, watch this video of Eric Clapton. Trust me, it’ll make sense once put into context.

Hipsters started popping up around the country in the late-90’s. Saddle Creek packed the hipsters’ lunch while Rivers Cuomo put their clothes on. Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond, Jr. brought the hipster to the big City right around the turn of the Century, and, as typically happens when something catches on in New York, the whole world caught wind. That’s why Lebron needs to come to the Knicks. But, that’s for another post. (And, to be totally honest, this dirty hipster half wishes he’d stay in Cleveland and teach the children a thing or two about loyalty. You remember which sin is Al Pacino’s favorite in The Devil’s Advocate, don’t you?) Once the identity had been disseminated to the masses, pockets of hipsters began sprouting in cities around the world, especially in the northeastern part of the United States. Philadelphia jostled for rank with Brooklyn for the first several years of the aughts. Man Man, The Teeth and Dr. Dog shaped the scene in Philly, which, in turn lent its sound to the Brooklyn bands like White Rabbits and The Harlem Shakes.

Rivers Cuomo - a lesson for all hipsters in fashion

So, that’s the identity. But what about the fucking definition? What. The Fuck. Is. A hipster?!

This dirty hipster has an idea, and it’s not a particularly pleasant one. Ahem…

the hipster movement has no definition!
It’s not a movement!

It’s not a revolution! It’s a reaction.

It’s a reaction of a generation firewalled. This country has grown too big to have a collective consciousness. No number of Facebook messages is going to incite a riot on Pennsylvania Avenue. And, why would we want a riot, anyway? We’re safe aren’t we? Even in these “trying economic times,” are we really all that afraid of slumming in the shadowed streets with distended bellies? Are we worried our president is going to ship us to gas chambers or have his guards open fire on public gatherings? Americans are comfortable. (It’s impossible to stave of generalization, here, so just deal with it. You get my point, don’t ya?) Americans have been comfortable for quite some time now. So, it kind of makes sense that this generation feels the need to be uncomfortable. Self-imposed poverty is nothing new to youth movements. In fact, it’s more or less a staple. The difference this time round is that there is very little more to the movement than the notion of self-imposed poverty, and there need not be more to it. It’s a simple reaction. It’s half conscious, half unconscious, and it’s simple. It may suck to realize that it’s so ordinary, but that’s also kind of the idea, isn’t it? We hipsters are not giving a middle finger to the world. Rather, we hipsters are engaged in a conversation with those who will write our biographies and we are pretending to listen. Is it just me or is there something perfectly and beautifully ironic about that?

One thing the hipsters can certain hang their hats on is that there has been a resurgence of Rock n Roll as a result of the movement’s attitude. Granted, it’s not what Pitchfork or Rolling Stone would classify as “Rock Music,” but that’s because Pitchfork and Rolling Stone don’t get it. Sure, it’s typically more lilting, typically less extravagant than Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones or Cream. But, what Rock n Roll is, always has been and always will be, is the musical and ethical expression of the nation’s youth. Luckily, the hipsters survived the 90’s and have successfully separated themselves from the grossly over-produced, over-hyped, over-syndicated dog shit that wedged its way into this country’s treads after Kurt passed. And some really beautiful music has come out in the past five to nine years, and it seems to really only be getting better. As radio dies, bands no longer have to adhere to the 3.5 minute pop structure. As music videos die, bands can once again concentrate on their words and meanings instead of their hair. It’s very nice, but we should be very, very careful about taking too much credit for that. For, who this can all be attributed to is Eric Clapton. And John Lennon and Paul McCartney. To Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. To Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Marc Bolan. To Bonzo, to Roger Watters. It’s attributable to Tina Turner, Bono and Paul Simon; Eddie Vedder, Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Kurt Cobaine, Billy Joe Armstrong, Thom Yorke, Julian Casablancas and Jack White. It’s all Rock n Roll, man. All of it. Department of Eagles, Girls, Phoenix: Rock n Roll. It’s the way that “Badge,” a track originally recorded in 1968 (that’s 42 fucking years ago, people) was still powerful in 1986 in Switzerland, and was still powerful when Clap, Ginger and Bruce got back together at The Garden in 2006 – and people went ape.

Let’s keep the pressure on. Let’s not let bullshit find its way into the hipster identity, because the hipster identity is all the hipster has. Let’s remember what Rock n Roll is and what it’s all about. It’s about inclusion through filtration. Everything gets a shot (how else is a little spanish dude like Santana going to make it big unless someone says, “yeah, you can open for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band?”) but it’s got to impress to stick. The hipster movement will be dead soon and there will be nothing left but nostalgia. And that nostalgia can either be reminiscent of that which hovers around the 60’s, or it can be that which hovers around the 80’s. I know which one I’d prefer… “Where is my place?” Think about it. -DFH