The only bands that matter part two


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Pussy Riot, music as the voice of dissent………………


Those of you that have read my blog know that my main topics of discussion always relate to succeeding with your band. (or music) I write about the practical end of becoming a rock star and getting your music out into the world, or, failing that, the mechanics of making the music or firing your drunken bass player. I have never addressed a deeper, underlying question, why is music so damn important? This, in many ways, has been my motivation to be involved in music and to spend my life listening to or producing music.  Today’s blog will address that core idea and, because they have earned everyone’s support, discuss how Pussy Riot are important.

Courage under fire

Those of you that haven’t now heard of the Pussy Riot trial, yes there may be a few of you living inside an asteroid, orbiting Neptune, with only old MTV to watch on your steam powered wrist watch communicator, Pussy Riot are a Moscow based band. They sound like the Ramones but with Russian lyrics. They love to do outrageous things like fuck in public or, in the story that is taking the world by storm, jump up on the alter of the Orthodox church and shoot a video of them miming one of their songs. The song in question calls the President of Russia a tyrant. I have to assume that is what the lyrics say since I speak Russian a little bit better than I speak Elvish.  They uploaded the video and the shit hit the fan. They were arrested and have spent months in jail while the Russian government and Church fume over the fact that this band pointed out the tyrannical rule of the psycho Vladimir Putin. I am guessing that they picked the Orthodox Church since the Church, historically, has gleefully helped the Russian Rulers oppress and bleed the Russian Population.

The band has now been tried, convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for Hooliganism. For this act of oppression I hope, quite earnestly, that the feral dogs of Moscow get to feast on Vladimir Putin’s entrails. I hope that they get fed this megalomaniac’s liver real soon.  I have stated in another blog that this act of protest by Pussy Riot was a PR stunt. This is certainly true. The band does things like copulate publicly or stage a video on the altar of a church to get in the press, to get people’s attention, to succeed at Rock. There is nothing wrong with the young ladies in question being whores for attention. I expect it of them and their fans  certainly love it anytime they do something outrageous.  This is punk.  Punk, and I can humbly state that I am an expert on the purpose behind Punk, is an art form that at its heart is social protest. Of course the band pulls stunts to become famous, they are doing what any good rock band does to get their music listened to.  The important point here is that their message, and yes they have an intelligent, adult message, is that they are living in a country that isn’t free.  They are voicing the dissent of the young people of Russia. They have guts to do it and they deserve our support for having the courage to stand up and speak out.  They knew that they would get stomped on if they spoke out and that is exactly why they did it.

Music has often been used to voice dissent. Musicians are usually outcasts from everyday society and often see themselves as outsiders looking in on Mainstream life. They are, if they are any good, on the cutting edge of change.  They speak out using their art. They are uniquely qualified to do so. They are compelled to do so. This is the core reason why music is so damn important.  This is why Punk is the most important trend in the late twentieth century. (along with Rap)

The members of Pussy Riot could have chosen to play any style of modern music. They could have taken dance lessons and tried to be the Russian Britney Spears.  They chose to play Punk and Punk is, at its heart, social protest music.  They believe, as many young people in Russia believe, that they are living in an oppressive political system. They’re right. Hell, Vladimir Putin was the former head of the Soviet secret police.

This could be you………..

The band’s uniform, short dresses, punk boots and ski masks is pure genius.  The coming battle over rights will center in many ways around the fact that the world’s power elite are rolling out a complete surveillance system to oppresses us all.  In the years ahead masks are going to become an important part of standing up to oppression. The governments of the world are working very hard to identify, tag and track us all. We, on the other hand, have a right to be anonymous if we choose.  The members of Pussy Riot have made this an issue to fight over. We should all thank them for that courageous act.

The band has been convicted of Hooliganism. The power structure of Russia are treating the band as if what they have done is the equivalent of a drunken soccer fan setting a car on fire.  This is an artful lie. The band are destructive but they are out to destroy a system that is oppressing and controlling the culture they live in.  That is fundamentally different than random mindless destruction.

So please understand the message of this blog. Music has been and can be a powerful vehicle for dissent. It is an idiom that crosses boundaries of language and culture. It has a long history of putting pressure on the world to change for the better. When it moves in that direction I believe that we should all support its purpose.

And finally I will send a message to the scum at the top of the Russian Government. When the band Pussy Riot called attention to your tyranny you had a choice. You would have served your own interests better by ignoring them.  You took the bait and decided to make an example of the band. That was a big mistake since the band knew that you would be forcing the youth of Russia to choose sides.  Now you have a tiger in a sack.

I know that my blog is read by many people in Russia. To those readers I say -stay the course and support this band. They know what they are doing and they are acting as leaders and heroes for all of the youth of Russia……………

©Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2012

Pussy Riot, music as the voice of dissent………………


Those of you that have read my blog know that my main topics of discussion always relate to succeeding with your band. (or music) I write about the practical end of becoming a rock star and getting your music out into the world, or, failing that, the mechanics of making the music or firing your drunken bass player. I have never addressed a deeper, underlying question, why is music so damn important? This, in many ways, has been my motivation to be involved in music and to spend my life listening to or producing music.  Today’s blog will address that core idea and, because they have earned everyone’s support, discuss how Pussy Riot are important.

Courage under fire

Those of you that haven’t now heard of the Pussy Riot trial, yes there may be a few of you living inside an asteroid, orbiting Neptune, with only old MTV to watch on your steam powered wrist watch communicator, Pussy Riot are a Moscow based band. They sound like the Ramones but with Russian lyrics. They love to do outrageous things like fuck in public or, in the story that is taking the world by storm, jump up on the alter of the Orthodox church and shoot a video of them miming one of their songs. The song in question calls the President of Russia a tyrant. I have to assume that is what the lyrics say since I speak Russian a little bit better than I speak Elvish.  They uploaded the video and the shit hit the fan. They were arrested and have spent months in jail while the Russian government and Church fume over the fact that this band pointed out the tyrannical rule of the psycho Vladimir Putin. I am guessing that they picked the Orthodox Church since the Church, historically, has gleefully helped the Russian Rulers oppress and bleed the Russian Population.

The band has now been tried, convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for Hooliganism. For this act of oppression I hope, quite earnestly, that the feral dogs of Moscow get to feast on Vladimir Putin’s entrails. I hope that they get fed this megalomaniac’s liver real soon.  I have stated in another blog that this act of protest by Pussy Riot was a PR stunt. This is certainly true. The band does things like copulate publicly or stage a video on the altar of a church to get in the press, to get people’s attention, to succeed at Rock. There is nothing wrong with the young ladies in question being whores for attention. I expect it of them and their fans are certainly love it anytime they do something outrageous.  This is punk. Punk, and I can humbly state that I am an expert on the purpose behind Punk, is an artform that at its heart is social protest. Of course the band pulls stunts to become famous, they are doing what any good rock band does to get their music listened to.  The important point here is that their message, and yes they have an intelligent, adult message, was that they are living in a country that isn’t free.  They are voicing the dissent of the young people of Russia. They have guts to do it and they deserve our support for having the courage to stand up and speak out.  They knew that they would get stomped on if they spoke out and that is exactly why they did it.

Music has often been used to voice dissent. Musicians are usually outcasts from everyday society and often see themselves as outsiders looking in on Mainstream life. They are, if they are any good, on the cutting edge of change.  They speak out using their art. They are uniquely qualified to do so. They are compelled to do so. This is the core reason why music is so damn important.  This is why Punk is the most important trend in the late twentieth century. (along with Rap)

The members of Pussy Riot could have chosen to play any style of modern music. They could have taken dance lessons and tried to be the Russian Britney Spears.  They chose to play Punk and Punk is, at its heart social protest music.  They believe, as many young people in Russia believe, that they are living in an oppressive political system. They’re right. Hell, Vladimir Putin was the former head of the Soviet secret police.

This could be you………..

The band’s uniform, short dresses, punk boots and ski masks is pure genius.  The coming battle over rights will center in many ways around the fact that the world’s power elite are rolling out a complete surveillance system to oppresses us all.  In the years ahead masks are going to become an important part of standing up to oppression. The governments of the world are working very hard to identify, tag and track us all. We, on the other hand, have a right to be anonymous is we choose.  The members of Pussy Riot have made this an issue to fight over. We should all thank them for that courageous act.

The band has been convicted of Hooliganism. The power structure of Russia are treating the band as if what they have done is the equivalent of a drunken soccer fan setting a car on fire.  This is an artful lie. The band are destructive but they are out to destroy a system that is oppressing and controlling the culture they live in.  That is fundamentally different than random mindless destruction.

So please understand the message of this blog. Music has been and can be a powerful vehicle for dissent. It is an idiom that crosses boundaries of language and culture. It has a long history of putting pressure on the world to change for the better. When it moves in that direction I believe that we should all support its purpose.

And finally I will send a message to the scum at the top of the Russian Government. When the band Pussy Riot called attention to your tyranny you had a choice. You would have served your own interests better by ignoring them.  You took the bait and decided to make an example of the band. That was a big mistake since the band knew that you would be forcing the youth of Russia to choose sides.  Now you have a tiger in a sack.

I know that my blog is read by many people in Russia. To those readers I say -stay the course and support this band. They know what they are doing and they are acting as leaders and heroes for all of the youth of Russia……………

©Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2012

The Ramones on 40 gram audiophile vinyl………………….


I am going to veer off task and give little or no advice on practical matters, that is to say, I will rant about music and listening to music rather than saying something dreadfully clever about landing a gig or firing your bass player. (Go ahead and fire him… all bands must come to an end)

The interwebthingy that offers evil bastards like me the opportunity to warp young minds also aids the giant zombie musical death machine daily opportunities to track your movements and attempt to pick your pocket. At the mega labels they are just figuring this out.  If they truly understood the power of it they would have killed off rock and emptied every chicken out of every pot in the western world. It is a great stroke of luck that the Major Labels  have largely been staffed, in recent years, by complete imbeciles. Despite this handicap the labels are starting to spread their vampire wings across the cyber sky and circle around your carcass with other vultures like Google or Microsoft or The Council on Foreign Relations.

Lately, as I have been drifting along from webpage to webpage I noticed that Rhino Classics label has been following my every move. I’ll admit that I have actually visited their website. And yes, when I glanced at their page they stuck a homing tracker suppository in my ass and have been bugging me ever since. This kind of action falls under the principle of “If I can do it to you I will do it to you”.  The utter retards in the label marketing departments, drunk on their own power, had the same brain flash that all of the other megafuckulists have had in the past ten years – that is to say – they decided that the web was there to allow them to pick your brain and your pocket. It will never occur to them that we, the music listening public, do not see it this way. It will never enter their rodent brains that this is somehow immoral, in poor taste and extremely bad manners.

Now for an obligatory disclaimer. Rhino Classics is Warners Music, ie WMG.  The reason I happened to go to their leachlike website was to find their damn phone number so I could call them up and scream at them. It wasn’t actual screaming it was hyper polite since I have manners. I called to tell them I was suing them for failure to pay royalties for two years and for sending me fairy tales as royalty statements. That, in the music biz, is considered screaming. So there you have it, I am suing these gentlemen. In fact, since they, by being complete turds, forced me into a situation where I had no other choice, I am going to sue them for lots of core issues that matter to all artists as well as to me.

So back to the “If I can do it to you, I will do it to you” school of business practices. This attitude has nothing to do with ethics. For example I can try to sell you an ice cream cone on the street. If you refuse I can then beat your beloved dog with a shovel to influence your actions. As another example that is, perhaps, closer to the case in point – if I sold toilet paper I could place a camera in your bathroom to study your personal hygiene. I then could sell this valuable info to all interested parties.  Just because you can do something as part of doing business doesn’t mean it is right.

For the past few weeks the ads that have followed me have pitched The Ramones on heavy vinyl – a dream come true for audiophile collectors. They are trying to be oh, so clever. They know that you can just download the music. Since it will be a digital copy it will as good as the next downloaders copy. They also know that on some levels digital audio is just not as good as analog (ya know vinyl..) copies.  So when they pooled their collective brilliance together they came up with a plan (pronounced scheme) to sell you these rare jewels at these exorbitant prices.  They are desperate to sell you anything since they are all going broke fast. Soon, if things continue on the current path, they will be in such trouble that they will lose control of what’s playing out of your radio and which band you will hear about being the next big thing.  Shortly thereafter they may be forced to get real jobs. This sucks for them since they have heard rumors that there are no real jobs.

This brings me to the Ramones. The Ramones were great. They were one of the creators of punk. They rocked. I once saw them do 31 songs in a 65 minute set. I recommend that you acquire every Ramones record, even the one produced by Phil Spector the brilliant homicidal producer.  Do not buy them from WMG on 40 gram vinyl. It’s the fucking Ramones for god’s sake. Buy their records at thrift stores, garage sales and out of luck friends that need to raise cash for dope. This is the only way to buy Ramones records. You don’t own a forty thousand dollar stereo do you? Why, in God’s name would you want a slab of vinyl that costs twelve times the cost of a cheeseburger?

As a sidebar here I will say that I have met a few rich audiophiles. Ya know the type. Perfect apartment, expensive car, fancy pants yobs that have the absolute peak of audio perfection to impress their lady friends.  They invariably have eight audiophile records hermetically sealed in some kind of astronaut album sleeves. These recordings were carefully chosen for their recording clarity and the recommendation of some writer that also owns a sound system with its own mortgage. Oddly, one of the titles is always Dark Side of the Moon even though the guy has never smoked a joint. The only other guys that own audio systems that involve CIA Black Program technology are record industry executives and they never listen to music.  Well they might listen to the 40 gram vinyl version of Rocket to Russia and wonder in quiet terror whether you will buy it……………….

©Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2011