Saturday, August 30, 2008

The 70s

My friends and I were born at an interesting time, at the end of the Baby Boom and the cusp of Generation X. I am a product of The Beatles and old Dylan. People just a little older than me are forever trapped in that era. People just a little younger than me will never get it.

My high school anthem was The Who’s Quadrophenia. Dominic and I wore trench coats with a male symbol on the back.

Everyone seems to remember the 70s as the worst time for music and popular culture in general. The airwaves were filled with Elton John’s plastic period and then disco. Everyone was doing cocaine which to my mind is the biggest self centered asshole state of mind there is. I should know, I had a little problem with it myself in the 80s. Rock and Roll was dominated with the corporate bloat of bands like Journey and Styx. Bands factored cocaine into their expenses when they toured. This eventually led to no brown M&Ms.

Underneath all of this was the most creative, diverse period music has ever been through. Miles Davis paving the way for The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Captain Beefheart, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Sly Stone, Funkadelic, Gong, Leo Kotke, Cat Stevens, King Crimson, Mcdonald and Giles, Todd Rundgren’s best stuff, the Bonzo Dog Band, Roger Ruskin Spear, and I feel sorry for people who only know Jethro Tull by the album Aqualung. Most of these people inspired separate sub-genres that were terrible. Jazz Rock Fusion, Disco, the New Romantics, and New Age come to mind.

A side note about New Age music. My band “Delay Tactics” was courted both by Verve Records who was looking to start an ambient catalogue of their own and Windham Hill. Windham Hill was the big New Age label at the time. They suggested we tone it down. We had a suggestion for them. Here I sit still without a label. Oh well! If you don’t have an attitude when you’re young, you’re not taking advantage of your youth.

When Punk, followed by New Wave came around in the late 70s a lot of my friends were a puzzled. We were a little older than the adherents. I was so disillusioned by the dinosaur the industry had become, I reveled in the kick in the ass they were getting. It was funny watching all the knock-offs that came out as they tried to penetrate the market. You could feel the stress from our local Classic Rock station KSHE as they put the movement down. They never got it but of course by this time they were tools of the industry.

I remember my old girl friend Jill confessing to me she thought Devo was a comedy act. She had always been so open minded. She loved Captain Beefheart for crying out loud! We talked about what “Duty Now for the Future” actually meant. Even though a lot of the music was derivative of earlier 60s music, it was a reaction to the pompousness of the industry. It was a real revolution for people like me.

There were moments that were painful though. “Fuck Art, Let’s Dance!” and “Back to mono!” were necessary attitudes for the youngsters but it left a lot of cultural evolution lying in the dust. I had to just get over myself.

People individually are the most beautiful part of living. People together are a mob and should be feared and run away from. Witness two terms of this recent insanity, it’s not George’s fault, that’s who he is. It’s the fault of the majority, no matter how small, that voted him in. “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

Man I miss Walt Kelly.

70s pic of me serenading Lora. 80s pic is the back cover of the 2nd Delay Tactics record. I have the cigarette. This pic was from a session with the photographer I’ve been talking about in the Monica posts.


Margie said...

Hey,that's my apartment on West Pine! I loved that rug. Didn't I take that picture?

Doggie said...

That's our apartment on West Pine. You probably did take the pic.