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A Rock and Roll Generation (Post-Election blues)

So, today I spent the day listening to old rock and roll. ‘Old’ is sort of relative here, but music like Skid Row’s ‘I Remember you’, The Nelson brother’s Album ‘After the Rain’, some Joan Jett, Some Pat Benatar, and I just followed this YOUTUBE rabbit trail song after song. I found great stuff, Bon Jovi’s ‘Always’, Bryan Adams’ duet with Tina Turner ‘It’s only love,’ and on and on I went.

I sat here in a stupor mouthing the words to those songs. But I was doing more than just that, I was feeling every word and every guitar riff, and was swaying in my chair as I sang along.

Now, I’m a music freak anyway. I love music. I have since I was a kid. Like reading, it was a way out. And I was always attracted to the lyrics and the drama of the production.

(Lyrics like, “…with an Iron clad fist, I wake up to French-kiss the morning,” from Bed of Roses. Nobody writes like that anymore.)

And I was sitting in my chair as I started choking up and I started to cry.

And I realized at that moment what I was doing.

Like many of you, I was hurt. Am hurt. Hurting in the present tense.

This election took my breath away.

We had it soo good this past 8 years, like someone who falls in love, it rips your heart out when that lover leaves and I think that’s what I was feeling.

Last night we did what Tom Petty sang, “Free fallin’,” until the end when Trump was announced as President. That was our sudden stop. And just like the old saying goes, ‘It ain’t the fall that kills ya.”

I was looking for unrestrained expressions of love. Just these great old songs that express without boundary – this undying, unyielding passion that as a kid – attracted me to that music to begin with.

I wanted to be reminded of this other time when the worries and stress I had wasn’t so breathtaking.

So, I started researching Rock and Roll and found that, after the 1950’s and especially in the 1960’s – when Rock and Roll hit mainstream – the music was an act of defiance.

Firstly, because Rock and Roll was invented by a black lesbian by the name of Sister Rosetta Tharp.

It gave voice to the angst of a generation that was struggling with Vietnam, with The Civil Rights movement. It gave voice to a generation of people – who, like us – were dealing with insurmountable odds. And because it allowed them to vent, to lash out, to put to music their raw emotions – it shook the foundation of the establishment.

It was called, ‘the devil’s music’, by religious.

It was banned on radio stations and played in underground clubs.

It led to Woodstock. It was anthems as culture began to shift – much to the old guard’s chagrin.

Even when I was a kid, in the 1980’s, the leather clad, glam rock, big haired men and women head banged and crooned out about passionate love during their parent’s love affair with the Reagan revolution and the height of the Moral Majority (which we found out later, was neither moral nor the majority).

There were two worlds struggling for dominance.

And today, that struggle is here – again.

I have concluded that the reason why those songs were so hated was no simply because of the riffs of the guitar or the beat of the drums, not because of the raw sexuality of it – but because it was human beings speaking to other human beings and stripping down barriers the establishment (church, government, society) put up to separate us. And those songs gave us – hope. And they gave us an outlet for our fears, dealt with social issues, and set our hearts searching for the heights of love.

It was unifying.

While I am not suggesting we all should try and squeeze into the clothes we wore back then, maybe we should go back and listen to some of that music. To recapture the feeling of that music that wasn’t afraid to stare into the face of certain doom and say, ‘fuck you.’

We blamed the millennials for this.

That’s crap. This isn’t their fight.

It’s still ours.

Look at the actors:

I am saying this because we’re not fighting some new age-y wave of intolerance. We’re fighting the same ol’ raggedy ass bullshit we have fought since the 1980’s. Donald Trump is seventy fucking years old

Putin is KGB – you can’t get any more 80’s than that if you were to put that motherfucker in polka dots and a poofy skirt. ((although I think that shit would be funny)).

Liberty University – ran by Jerry Falwell before he died and now run by his son.

The religious right.

Clinton was a vestige of the 90’s.

This is our fight. And although we’ve aged right along with them, we already know their language. We know their moves. We know – essentially – how to fight back.

Gay marriage is a new reality – and if we’re going to guard this next generation’s right to marry – we’re going to have to make ourselves uncomfortable again. Angst, again. Needing again. Hungry and horny and unsatisfied, again.

Donald Trump tapped into an old hate in this country. And old anger. And old fear. People who didn’t want their world to change now as much as they didn’t want it to change then.

We must fight these people back now, like we did then. We must be the counter culture.

And that’s by being unafraid to speak. To be. And I’m not just talking to my writers. I’m talking to everyone out there who jammed out to Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, The Styx, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, Rush, John Fogerty, people who knew Motown, people who knew Cinderella, Lita Ford, Bad Company, Tina Turner, Queen, Scorpion, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, and so on.

David Axelrod described this election as ‘…. a primal scream.’

Let’s scream back.

We owe it to our kids. We owe it to the millennials.

Let’s meet their primal scream with Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.”

When it hurts, lets beg for more.

When they push, let’s push back.

Let’s show ‘em how it’s done.

And to my writers out there – the pressures on us to become the rock stars, now. The words we write are important now more than ever.  Not only to provide an escape, but to also reflect the world around us.

Here’s Joan Jett not giving a damn about her reputation.

Let’s chuck ours.

This is still our fight to win. Let’s protect them millennials who aren’t ready yet, from a job we haven’t finished.






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  1. Pingback: American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder | Stepping Toes

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