the sound of revolution
by Miles Caston
Wed 17th Apr 2013
In this seemingly unsafe world, wouldn’t it be refreshing, revitalising and more hopefully, revolutionary, for music to act as a pre-action to the threats of war, terrorism and scandal.
The two bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon claimed the lives of both adults and children, with many others suffering life-changing injuries. Tension now mounts in the UK, with the London Marathon 2013 a mere few days away. Security measures will undoubtedly be rigorously reviewed, but what struck me was just how strong, confident and unfazed runners who called in to today’s BBC Radio 5 Live discussions sounded.Not only did these budding participants talk of the London Marathon as like one big family, another caller – who had first-hand experience of the ravages of war – declared how the British people should express their defiance and unity in the face of fear and threat of possible attack. The Metropolitan Police Service is regarded as one of the elite law enforcement units worldwide, so the general feeling may well be the event is in the safest possible hands.
With great power comes great responsibility, something
John Mayer’s ‘Vultures’ includes the stark statement: “Power is made, by pure manipulation.” For many of us, music is one area which might feel too safe. Today, music can be created, controlled, manipulated and destroyed during your lunch break at the office.Hit a few keys on your laptop and boom (sorry), your efforts are instantly saved, stored and backed-up – you even had one free hand to knock back that quick-fix can of Rockstar.
Consider this, perhaps now is the time for an uprising. A cultural shift, a change in attitude, a revolution, a new ideology. Before shit hits the extremely large proverbial fan (again), wouldn’t it be great to have a new stance and state of mind which propels and expresses itself through music. Dangerous and edgy music does not need to endorse a dangerous and edgy planet.
Put it this way. Some of the greatest music was created as a reaction to the zeitgeist. Broadly speaking, if the blues was a reaction to racial oppression, and punk was a reaction to political unrest, then love or hate these genres, they became what they are because of the world that unfolded around them. For once, wouldn’t it be great if someone or something took to the mic and said “no” to both Pro Tools and power hungry political protagonists, BEFORE the outbreak of war, chaos, anarchy and destruction.
Imagine an environmentally-conscious, egalitarian band with the cultural impact of The Beatles, the brute force of Black Flag, the virtuosity of Led Zeppelin, the sex appeal of Elvis Presley, the bad-boy image of The Rolling Stones, the tireless dedication of Michael Jackson…OK, I admit this sounds increasingly unrealistic. But that’s just it, it’s idealistic. And as Oscar Wilde professed: “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”
My underlying point is that music could be the vehicle that sparks a positive change. Like I said, look at what has come before. We need to learn to harness and express our creative talents to make music without having been provoked by fear and fatalities. As ever, the late great George Carlin knew what needed to be done: “I love it when it didn’t take a fucking catastrophe to get us to care for one another.”