Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sympathy For The Devil


O' Devil Where Art Thou?

Satan.  Lucifer.  Angel of Death.  Beelzebub.  No matter the name all religions have some sort of Devil tempting us.  And as long as there has been a Devil there has been zealots with skeleton filled closets, warning us of the devils influence through music.  And while it may have been this influence that kept Elvis' hips from being showed on national television, it certainly didn't start with Elvis.  Mephistopheles has a long connection to music.  From Pagannini being labled as Diabolus En Musica in the 19th century to tales of bluesman Robert Johnson selling his soul at the crossroads in Mississippi, the Prince of Darkness has been getting some level of blame/attachment to the music some pious asshole didn't want his teenage daughter listening to.  

But be wary of getting in bed with Diablo.  Sure he underestimated Johnny when he went down to Georgia thinking he found a soul to steal.  In the end he had to lay the golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny's feet.  But Johnny's the exception that proved the rule.  Few are successful when taking on Satan.  Or so legend would have us believe.  Hark the tale of Led Zeppelin.  Lore tells us John Paul Jones was the only member who refused to make pact with ole Lucy and hence was the only one spared of personal tragedy.  From John Bonham's untimely demise to Robert Plant tragically losing his 5 year old son to a stomach ailment to Jimmy Page who probably paid the highest price by having to do a record with David Coverdale.
Couldn't this argument be turned around though?  I mean is there anyone in Led Zep you'd rather not be more than John Paul Jones? (Assuming being John Bonham didn't also mean being dead.)  I mean, if the devil gets the blame for Coverdale/Page then why not give him credit for all the awesome shit?  Led Zeppelin created some incredible music.  So did the Beatles, Elvis, KISS and pretty much any band the Peter's brothers took time to protest in between Jerry Sandusky retreats. 

Full disclosure. I don't believe rock bands typically have the time to worship Satan with all the drugs and sex and all.  And I don't believe listening to a recording of any kind could result in demonic possession or somehow worshiping the Devil by accident like you tripped over a curb.  But I did. 

I was 13 when I first held the cover of Motley Crue's Shout At The Devil in my hands and I was quite convinced they were in-cahoots with the Devil they so boldly shouted at.  I was worried for my soul and final place in heaven... or hell.  And I still needed to have that record.  And here's the important part.

Music was better then.  

Now the only church that bothers picketing anything is the Westboro Baptist Church.  A tiny church of inbred hate mongers who so distort the teachings of the bible Pat Robertson finds them a bit weird.  When I was in Jr. High my wardrobe separated me from the the popular kids.  I liked music that would lead me to drugs and teenage sex and they listened to shitty music that would make them spend hours on the telephone talking about boys.  Now days pop stars like Taylor Swift are just as likely to share the stage with Motley Crue as Vince Neil.  Justin Bieber did a Best Buy commercial with Ozzy.  Justin Fucking Bieber.  In the 80's the kind of people who would give J-Biebs the thumbs up were suing Ozzy for secretly convincing the kid they'd been ignoring for a decade into killing himself.  He calls himself the Prince of Darkness for fucks sake! 

We don't care anymore.  And I contend music is worse because of it.  I grew up.  I developed an adult brain that realized the idea of accidentally worshiping the devil was stupid.  But how come your kids aren't worried about it?  Why aren't churches with legitimate reputations out protesting Breaking Benjamin when they come to town?  Because there hasn't been a band that a teenager actually gave a shit about in the last 15 years?  And parents are too busy fighting little league coaches and buying their little brats iPhones to worry about little their souls?

I suppose it's partially my generations fault.  If I came to realize it was silly to think music could steal your soul then most of my generation must have as well.  Our lack of superstition and unwillingness to ritualize ruined it for future generations. And while digital technology has made it easier to hear those secret backwards messages its a lot less fun as well.  Remember how evil just spinning a vinyl album in the opposite direction once seemed?  Depending on your age probably not.  But trust me it was pretty fucking scary.  

Is there a direct correlation to the quality of music and how satanic we thought it was?  How scary it was?  Of course there is.  From what I can tell Marilyn Manson was the last artist who actually scared parents.   Prior to that you had a change in rock music at least every 7 years.  From Elvis to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones to Pink Floyd to Sabbath to KISS to Motley to Metallica to Guns N Roses to Nirvana to... Limp Bizkit?  Godsmack?  Nickelback?  Now?  Hard Rock has been churning out the same Nickelback/Disturbed influenced vomit for 15 years.  And artists crossing over doesn't make it better.  It's makes it boring.  Pharrel may be happy but he has no frame of reference.  He's a dick.  I don't want to see KISS on American Idol anymore than I want to buy an AC/DC shirt at Wal Mart.

No matter what the cause.  The internet.  File sharing.  Illegal downloading.  iPod's.  American Idol.  Video games.  Parent/Church apathy I DON'T CARE.  It was better then than it is now.  It's harder to find even a cover band in your local area than it has ever been.  The future of music is being left in the hands of people who answer to Nielsen ratings and if I have to explain why that's bad then there truly is no hope.



1 comment:

Unknown said...

Ditto brother......scary thing that the only album to go platinum this year was a Taylor Swift album.

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