the best thing about the musical back lash of punk rockers in the reagan era was their thoroughly anti- hippy take on it all. they effectively removed themselves from being part of the problem by offering no communal solutions. they related the difficulties and crushing defeats of their personal lives in a very tangible, easy to relate to and personalize form that did not encourage everyone to think and act alike. the hippies were the fucking gross luv bug borg- everyone took drugs. everyone wanted free love. everyone looked alike. everyone hated the war and the soldiers and the ' establishment'. love and smilies and peace signs and everyone over 30 sucked, man. the defining aspect of the 60's and it's ultimate motivations are marked by controlled revolt of the commune against individuality- treating all people as one thing that had to look and act like all the other things. the odd thing out that may have had other ideas that did not conform to the established nonconformity was "part of the problem not the solution".
jello biafra was most effective in showing up that the hippies- then the ones ascending to political power finally- were no better than the reagans, the nixons and other assorted establishment right of center politicos. he in fact posited that the inclinations of the far left were even more insidious in that their desire was to ultimately straight jacket individual liberties and subdue them to the collective under the state. people now write books about the fascist underpinnings of the liberal left in america- in the early 80s the dead kennedys were writing songs warning about it. many in my generation- raised under the auspices of the prevailing groovy love in hang over of the 70s, some of us raised by hippies- were indoctrinated since childhood that anyone who wasn't a liberal was as good as a nazi.unlike those flitting about on their age of aquarius cloud, once teenagers we figured out it all and they all sucked. the world could not be ruled or changed with love. the world was ruled with power and violence was the most effective agent for transformation. we were the age of depressed homicidal and suicidal realists. it wasn't about chanting 'stop the war', it was fear screaming, 'let's have a war'( ("give guns to the queers!")while we threw each other around the pit.my fucking war indeed.
i think it's difficult now for people to see how outraged people were by the band's very name-the kennedys being the rather unfortunately chosen embodiment of many of the political and social aspirations of the flower chillens when they grew up, got a job, and left the commune for a suburban home. punk pissed all over all of them. we wailed about reagan, for sure, but we sure as hell weren't willing to let the likes of teddy off the hook. we weren't going to change the world into our own alleged image. we wore black and bondage gear and combat boots( to this day i recall my grandmother's only comment about my friends was- "why do all the girls wear army boots?") . we didn't spin and swirl and watch the trails. we pogoed and slam danced to the sound of no hope. "we're desperate / get used to it/ it's kiss or kill."
punk was a revolt against the age of aquarius more than anything. more modern efforts at punk fall flat because they lack access to and appreciation of the forces that created the original movement.one of the only reasons a band like nirvana was more successful than the rest was because kurt cobain was born in the 60s- he was only 3 years younger than me -and able to effectively latch onto the aura of alienated personal pain that defined much american punk. he genuinely felt it. his songs are like x's- intensely,searingly personal. it's the antithesis of the collective spirit- being fiercely a dissatisfied, isolated angry loner who sees society as a damaged and damaging entity one wants nothing to do with.
our whole fucking life is a wreck:
while x did write songs that were somewhat political in nature-for example on the more fun in the new world lp- their statements always remained deeply personal and emotional not preachy and polemic. x for me was about the politics of personal despair and loss- the siren call of punk and goth.they spoke of their own experiences and never tried to or claimed to speak for others. unlike the popular collective oriented cultural and artistic musings of a good deal of the 60s generation , x to me were honest- they wrote from their own perspective and assumed nothing. we're not going to change the world- we're just trying to get through another fucking day without falling apart.
exene was just diagnosed with MS.
in better news, i had been waiting for this- gretsch has been promising a billy zoom tribute silver jet for the past 10 years and it slipped right past me that they finally did it. the man is so deserving. he's fucking 61 and still sounds like a keg of gun powder going off- he's got such amazing tone . he just cruises around so effortlessly like a powerful well oiled machine.