Ed. - ...what follows is the hurried and scattered scrawl I wrote and printed-in considerably limited quantity- as an experimental "zine..." (which, I'm still interested in starting one day, in a still-as-of-yet-pie-in-the-sky-type view) - but...this is chapter 1, (with 2 and 3 to follow)...
Fill-in-the-blank –is dead.
Zines are probably dead. (Blogs can be dead) Irony’s definitely dead.
Saying, conversationally, as some head-shaking, case-closer, feigning regret, that “...punk rock is dead…”…is dead.
Whatever awkwardly attempted, dorkily-projected ideas spring forth from these soon to be thrown away pages, will be dead, after a while.
And overly-esoteric, grandiose slop spewed in some late 70’s New York gutter-stuck art punk manner of pitiable poetics – is also dead, so I should stop.
But it all goes on – punk rock, the idea, goes on, because people are still quite smitten with the idea. Say “punk rock” and what do you see in your head? Torn, unwashed jeans, bandanas around your ankles, Doc Martens, green hair, sneers, saliva, pogo-ing, slam-dancing, fighting, yelling, blood-shot-eyes – well, yes, all of that, but also, a primal bravado, a tougher, broker, patchouli-free take on the original (and sadly buried) Haight-Ashbury-born Hippie-ethos of being one’s own hero, you see guys selling records out of their trunk for cheap, you see, amongst the gnashing teeth, sweat, blood and cathartic self-destruction, a democratization of rock n roll glory.
It still seems like a good idea, sorta – even when I rehash it; yes, rehash it the same way you hear it all day long on junk-food chomping hang-over-recovering Sunday afternoons where you’re half-passed-out with VH1-Classic left on…
And what do you hear? Music played…not very well…but with passion. It’s fucking romantic.
The salacious and lecherous soap opera of society will never be off the air – the show goes on – punk rock, psychedelic-rock, indie-rock – we can go down the list. No case ever gets closed. You can say blogs are dead. You can say music is dead. You can keep upping the ante. These things are still going to be here until the metal cages we pilot spew enough smoke to finally offset the ecosystem enough to fry us or drown us – all of this will still keep going. It all depends on which thing, which idea – be it a newspaper, the internet, a CD, vinyl, mp3 whatever whatever whatever – grabs you, inspires you, best fits you and feels closest to your true voice, regardless of what anyone else thinks... If zines/blogs are also dead, well, here’s another one, anyway. Enjoy.
Now, to continue. This zine is not about punk rock, exclusively. It’s about whatever it needs to be about; but, it is, inevitably, bound by the whims of its creators. And those whims are connected to the human limitations (faults) of said-creators: judgmental whims, philosophical whims and geographical whims.
I stress that last whim because I, like so many otherwise hearty and guileless day jobbing show-goers, noise-makers and music writers, am still, forgive the indulged melodrama of the word, stuck... quote-un-quote, in the metro Detroit area. Or maybe, I can’t bring myself to leave. Such is our characteristic paradox.
It’s not about Detroit, this zine/blog/thing ...here, but, it’ll certainly be thinking about it, often.
I would say, er, that...it goes without saying, ...only as prelude -to the same hyperbolic diatribe and impassioned speech that we, the underwritten, the masochistic day jobbers, the Detroiters, the show goers, will often shout to each other when we’re either trying to bring ourselves up or just trying to look smart in front of each other – that Detroit is…Detroit is… Detroit is…Detroit’s, well, how about this, Detroit is sort of the reason we’re all here. On various levels, exaggerated or otherwise.
French missionaries traipsed through here not long after the English settled on the coast in the mid 1600’s. Detroit, then, just a fort, acted as a gateway, (not to get too preachy on you), for settlers, (whose ancestors would, yes, kill off lots of the natives, but, eventually, wound up building what we now drive through and live in) and for trade (the profits of which, beaver pelts or whatever else, helped fund, ya know, the vital pillars of society).
Detroit’s like a mouth, also, maybe. Well, it’s like dirt, too. A gateway and/or a breeding ground. It’s both a portal and a petri dish. But, on the dirt metaphor, it’s deceptively fertile dirt; so many things bloom from its muddy porous conditions.
Well, maybe we’re more like a mouth, after all. Because a lot of the great things that uh, went through us, or came out of us, went off into the world and spread various influences.
Trend-setting vomit. Brilliant vomit.
I’m getting way off topic – but…if this zine/blog is, at all, concerned both with music and with Detroit – then I can't avoid rattling off, as we fellow showgoers sometimes do, to/at each other, all the various inventions you can find, either born here or evolved here – jazz, blues, funk, psychedelic rock, punk rock, house, techno…and…no disco. And you can attach various names to all of those genres – If we’re talking about blues, then we’re also talking about the booming auto industry – because that’s what attracted all the Delta blues players like John Lee Hooker, and we’d thus have to also emphasize the dirty/mouthy/peetree dish’s overly obvious engineering contributions to the world – but we’ll move right back to music.
We were dabbling in psychedelic rock right along with the rest of the world in 1966 with The Frost and the Mysterians and many more – while our own style of quirky swirling smoky rock went comparatively unnoticed by most of the squares throughout the world who just spent time gossiping over the Beatles and Paul’s admittance to dropping acid – my word, good golly – regardless, the psych-energy was here – and it lead to the founding of various culture hubs (and counterculture movements) like CREEM magazine and the Detroit Artist Workshop.
We also, if you believe the legends, birthed punk rock – with our Ann Arbor-nurtured “garage” rock bands: The Stooges and MC5 respectively. I’ll hurry it up since this is turning into a rambled and tiresome conversation – Funk? Funkadelic. Soul? Gospel? Motown Records. Fortune Records. Techno? Belleville three.
And I’m just lazily, inefficiently, blandly glossing – That sums up said-blog's more cultural fixation with Detroit, setting aside obvious geographic conclusions.
So I could get to the point and return to talking about people casting things off as dead. And move into "cultural cycles."
About how useless it is, to keep getting red over about punk rock (et. al.) being dead... – and I could go on...
As useless as a cow learning to form English words and studying Plato finally gathering the moxie and bravado to stand up straight, applying intellectual-affecting bifocals on his snout and reciting an argument for his life, right at the edge of the slaughter house line when the smasher is winding up for the hammer swing.
People are still gonna want their hamburgers.