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Inside Out

 

How much of what we perceive of our rock & roll idols is real, how much is actually the manipulation of our perceptions, by them, by photographers, and by other image makers involved in their marketing? How much of our perception of others in general is manipulated by their deliberate endeavours to create a perception? I have seen all these poseurs. It loses me. Maybe one's artifice is the reality. (I hope I'm wrong). "It" has to come from within. I think some performers in music emanate something real, certainly in music. They seem to be the best ones; nothing substantial can come from anywhere other than within.

Maybe it gets interesting when a performer concerns themselves no more with appearances, and is true. There have to be many examples. Some, I suppose, are very good fakers. And actually I respect those who admit to adopting a persona; David Bowie was very transparent, admitting to creating characters, and even admitting he got them muddled up in the end. But I still think he was a great artist. Freddy Mercury, that was a stage persona. I could never stand it, but at least he admitted it was a persona. It is just no good getting up on stage and trying to fake anything, if one adopts a persona that is a different matter because that is honest, in as much as the performer admits it is an act. I think Bruce Springsteen did this. So it seems we either have to be real or adopt a stage personality.

Lou Reed said he had had enough of his junkie faggot trip, and later said he loved the character on the cover of Transformer, but that it was not him. Actually, like many of us, I always absolutely believed in the Velvet Underground, and still do. I think they were too young to cynically contrive - they wanted to look great and did, and told true stories. Every serious musician wants to look great. There are some who feel presentation is unimportant, ok I respect that, but in popular music, no. The look has to count, and it is no good if it is insincere or worse stuck on by some image making dept. If it is manufactured, let it be good. I think The Monkees sometimes looked great, I hate those damn button up red shirts, but half the time they looked great. Surely, as hip young men in a Beatles influenced America, they would have dressed pretty cool anyway. So maybe there wasn't much manufacturing in their look. Maybe the friends I thought were lying in their image presentation were and are actually telling the truth about who they are, presenting true identities.

The mod identity is a carefully observed thing, but most mods, know the rules. Some may be DNA Groove orientated dandies, others suffice with stylish Fred Perry polo shits. Maybe a nice Harrington. I know there is true identity in this. But I also know some rockers as well, half those people were just dressed up and along for the ride a little bit, i'm sorry to say. In fairness maybe all sought an identity outside the mainstream. Of course the dichotomy has always been, something like this. It's late at night, I've had 4 drinks, but i'll try to explain this. Rock & roll musician rebels against societies values, but wants to make lots of money, now NOBODY surely to god is going to buy this. There probably aren't any thickos reading this, but just incase there are I'll elaborate. Rock & roll is a vehicle of rebellion. So one jumps aboard. "Fuck money, fuck society and it's shallow values". ok. But then of course it is simply impossible to escape the need for money, and the attraction of having plenty. Ie, wouldn't ot be nice to buy this or that. So forget rock & roll, not an anachronistic term incidentally, as a vehicle for rebellion against the values of our secular materialist society. I think the points I am making are banal to some reading, but not to all perhaps.

Actually a lot of the cooler musicians are probably staging an aesthetic rebellion, an artistic rebellion and of course making sometimes profound artistic statements. Miles Davis springs to mind. Yeah that's 100 years ago but you know me, I look back. Now, I expect he wanted a cool car and overcoat. Picasso, universally highly regarded bohemian, had at least 50p in the bank. So could it just be, that musicians could make extraordinary music, music of validity and current energy, maybe break new boundaries, or as in the case of my band village Green Machine drag everyone back into the future, without rebelling particularly against society. You know I can't stand these cheesy people who pretend they are rebelling against societies money orientated nature but are really straight, they really get right on my tits. I'd love some money. You are really, very nice looking, and likeable. So bear with me one sec while I find another drink, and ~I might have to have a little ciggie as well which is really bad news as someone incredibly cool, talented and famous is ringing me tomorrow and it's nearly 4. am. Hold on where's that drink and fag. It is here. Paul Weller made a point in line with the one I am making, re Syd Barrett. He said that people perceived Syd as the figure on the cover of the first Floyd Lp, not sentient of the pain he went through. I don't know Paul but, i think he is an example of someone who turns his insides out while making sure his outsides look good too, this has to be the way to go. All music has to be soul music or it counts for nothing. x ML



Reading the Village Green Machine blog. Inside Out