Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Can Rock change the world?

Well can it?
I grew up thinking for some strange reason that music could change the world.
I have no explanation for this except I was born in the sixties when music did seem to have that potential.
Is it now a spent force?
It definitely seems more vulgarly, cynically formularized and corporatised.
Watching "Don't look back" you can see Dylan was at least part prophet to the people at that time.
You can also see how simple and primitive the whole business back then.
No light show, an acoustic guitar and a couple of microphones plugged straight into a tiny, tinny PA.
Not a video screen, merchandise stall, coke sign or corporate sponsor in sight.
This week end we may see the unfolding of another experiment.
I cant think of another ex rock musician who became a minister of Government.
I'm speaking of course of Pete Garrett MP.
I first saw the Oils back in the late 70's when the released their first album.
I snuck in to a gig at the ANU, I was underage and embarrassingly got chosen out of the crowd by Pete to receive a copy of their self titled first album.
I really liked it especially the song Run by night.
They were post punk rock, honest and edgy with a slightly dangerous energy.
They went on to become one of Australia's most successful and most un -compromising bands.
10, 9,8.... was a masterpiece.
"US forces get the nod.."
Of course Pete was blessed with at least two great songwriters in the band but he was the enormous, bald bloke with all the hand action.
They were an amazing band live but for me the audience was often a scary rabble and I think the political message was often drowned in the beer and fights.
The band were undoubtedly aware of the paradox.
Pete ran in the short lived Nuclear Disarmament Party.
It was a quixotic idea but beautiful too.
I attended some meetings for this party and it was infiltrated from the beginning with spooks. There were endless arguments and in fighting.
Apparently Pete found the whole process horrible and draining and swore to leave politics alone forever.
I am glad he had a change of heart.
And it worked out well for him that this is his 2nd election.
He must be made of strong stuff to have survived the boredom, intrigues and party room chats that must be part of being a politician.
He has held his tongue and been in for the long haul.
Ignoring the stings and arrows of his former friends and admirers he is poised to go perhaps were rock has never gone before.
But soon we will see whether he still has the Spirit of Rock or is now bleached out cog in the machine,working for The Man.
I'm hoping it's the former we'll see some real rocking in parliament soon and some crazy dancing-hand action as well.
Can Rock, the rebel outsider, be the Power?

No comments: