Last night, I tuned into a show called “The 7 Ages of Rock” on VH1 Classic. I caught the end of “The Stadium Rock” age and watched the entire “Grunge” age. When it was over, I had to ask myself one question: are there any group of people more full of shit than musicians and their lackey journalists?
At the end of the Stadium Rock hour, the topic was about U2 and the Zoo T.V tour. It was pretty spectacular for its time, I’ll give it that, but when the interviewees (various rock journalists and musicians) start verbalizing their delusions of grandeur I become too stunned by the idiocy to keep my mouth shut.
“Zoo T.V not only wanted to change the way people experience concerts, but also wanted to change the way people view the world”
Has rock music EVER changed the world? Has music in general ever really, truly changed the world? Sure, it made people feel intense emotions and caused great inspirations, but changed the world? Good grief. No song ever shut off the gas at Auschwitz. A good riff never stopped the mass oppression in the Soviet Bloc. A well written chorus that inspired a hippie to stop bathing didn’t keep a genocidal maniac from exterminating his Emmanuel Goldsteins.
At one point, it talked about how the Zoo T.V stage was set up with a giant television that could pick up local television stations and had satellite capability. They used the satellite feed to bring in live footage of the current conflict in Sarajevo. The man speaking to Bono from the hell hole du jour in that part of the world was talking about how civilians are being bombarded with artillery and they have nowhere to go. How thought-provoking and inspirational. Except for the fifty thousand people who paid hard-earned money to be ENTERTAINED. If it were me in that audience, I would want to know why Bono felt it necessary to plunge me into more soul crushing despair. People paid damn good money to watch them play music and sing for their enjoyment. This is a moment of release; escapism from the monotony of everyday life that is already filled with the minutia of worry and wonder. Now the poor audience has eastern Europe to worry about. Thanks U2!
Then we get to the Grunge era. After fifteen minutes, it became apparent that the writers and producers of this documentary had it out for Reagan. Each show had constant jabs to the point where if you were from Mars you would think Reagan created a dystopian America and nobody noticed unless you listened to rock music.
Talk about biting that hand that feeds.
Lines like “Reagan’s fabled land of opportunity” stands in stark contrast to the hundreds of millions of dollars that non-musicians are spending so that young talented music makers can live lives beyond their wildest dreams.
Despite numerous urges to throw the remote at the screen, I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of aspects. Like how down to earth the remaining members of Nirvana are. One would think with all of the attention and “what was, and could have been” accolades over the years that they would walk around like ghostly legends. One part that stands out is when the narrator (Dennis Hopper) talking about how the members of Nirvana were drawn together by the trials and tribulations of growing up as a part of Generation X. Then it cuts to Chris Novaselic talking about how him and Kurt shared the same experiences such as a broken home and personal turmoil. It always amuses me when journalists try to take people’s personal issues and demons and foist them unto society.
The end of the Grunge era was actually pretty moving. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of Nirvana and haven’t listened to a lot of their music outside mainstream radio. So when they played the last song on the Unplugged album titled Where Did You Sleep Last Night, I was actually enthralled by the emotion.
However, it didn’t change my world…