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Very British
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Edited Dec 14, 2007, 10:20
Re: Very British
Dec 14, 2007, 10:08
Can mainstream rock and roll - the music of teenage rebellion, drug induced exploration of inner space and sexual excess - ever really be "4 Real"?

I've pretty well found over the years that it doesn't do too well to look too far beyond the smoke and mirrors of most mainstream rock and roll artists. And I deffo class The Clash as mainstream. As mainstream as Springsteen for sure.

Suspension of disbelief is part of the game whether it is Gene Simmons flying through the air with blood pouring out of his mouth or the heart-on-sleeve politics of artists whose personal histories, mores and business practices don't always tally with their big message. This is what got Lester Bangs all hot and bothered over The Clash.

Lets face it most major artists are generating enough cash to be classed as mini media conglomerates in their own right. The chances of there being absolute consistency from top to bottom are pretty slender. Someone is going to get fucked up or fucked over somewhere along the line and I think we would all agree that the artist should be the first to be paid and last to get screwed. Keeping things that way when there is so much latitude for skimming is probably going to involve some people and practices most fans would rather not know about. A quick read of Robert Greenfield's "Journey Through America With The Rolling Stones" is more or less the ultimate guide book for this kind of thing. The bigger the act the more fans should thnk twice before crossing the fourth wall.

In some ways the WWF-like mercenary approach of American metal acts might be the most honest off all. "We're coming to town to take as much of your money as possible and in return we're going to blow some stuff up, play all the tunes you want to hear, fly through the air and tell you you're the best we''ve ever had."

Anyway I like the Lenny Kaye approach which says that there are a zillion artists who maybe only have one three minute burst of creativity to offer the world but those three minutes are as worth preserving and celebrating as the storied careers of the Mojo-autenticated career rockers. And the whole Krautrocksampler thing is something of a hymn to that kind of thinking. The best rock and roll is often being made off the radar and in the nooks and crevices the media never get to and by peopel who simply don't have the stomach for the grand illusion.

PS can I add Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Brooooce and Bob Marley to the list of the habitually over-rated?
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