Alice Cooper turned out to be a Republican who plays golf and Ozzy Osbourne is a harmless grandfather who putters around the living room and you’re supposed to have me believe that Donald Trump is DANGEROUS?
Those with memories will recall when music tested limits, when the establishment was up in arms about the sound and the lifestyle, before every act became a brand playing to corporations to get money. What’s the first word you hear in music? SPONSORSHIP! Whereas Donald Trump paid for his campaign by himself, garnering tons of free publicity in the process. Yes, Donald Trump is a rock star, if you go back to what that once upon a time meant, someone who adhered to his own vision living a rich and famous lifestyle who cared not a whit what others said.
MTV may be dead, but everybody in D.C. and the mainstream media is still living in a monoculture, believing we all read the same stuff and are on the same team, sitting at home watching “Thriller” and partaking of the spoils of Reaganomics. But the truth is we all get our news from different sources and we love poking and prodding the powers-that-be. This Paul Ryan thing is hysterical, that the wimp couldn’t come down and say he supported the Donald or not and now the Donald’s issuing warnings! This is like seeing the aforementioned Coop’s “Killer” tour! Wherein you had no idea what was coming next but you knew it was all in fun.
Oh, come off it. There’s gonna be no wall and immigrants won’t be expelled and every trade agreement won’t be canceled… What Trump is doing is channeling the populace’s anger, and the more the establishment gets its knickers in a twist, the more I laugh. I mean did you really think Alice said dead babies could take care of themselves for anything but shock value? Once an outsider, Coop hit the mainstream with “School’s Out,” blowing the institution to pieces.
And that was about the last hit he had.
But then you had Tipper Gore afraid the kiddies would listen to Prince. Meanwhile, the Purple One dies and gets more press than any public figure passing in years, he’s a national hero, he was the grease of our life, can we stop paying attention to the prognosticators and gatekeepers of our nation, who made them king?
And speaking of gatekeepers, for all the musicians bitching that the new system screws them, Trump figured out how to make it work. First and foremost by licensing his name. Second, by knowing it’s all about appearances, did you see that article in the “Times” that stated his air force was decades old?
He declared himself king and then he got a TV show and then he utilized social media to get the word out and now the press is following him. Wanna succeed in music? Do the same damn thing. Put yourself on the map. In Trump’s case it was by paying for the renovation of an ice rink, in your case it’s about a hit single. Without either you don’t get the mic, sorry. And then once you get the mic you leverage the relationship with the media, because it turns out the papers and the websites and the networks have to fill space and if you deliver controversy… Watch the Shep Gordon documentary if you want to see about manufactured controversy, he made Coop the star he was!
All we keep hearing from acts is they can’t get paid.
You’ve got to spend it to make it. Trump’s drinking at the well now. There’s plenty of money in music if everybody knows your name, there’s streaming revenue, endorsements/sponsorships, merchandise… It’s just that the players are lazy, they want the label to pay, the machine to make them a star, get them on the radio so they can sit on the couch and make dough. But times change, musicians are just like the Republican establishment, the fat cats who don’t realize they’ve lost touch with the proletariat, the common man, those who elect them.
The public LOVES YouTube, the public LOVES being able to hear whatever it wants whenever it want. Remove this and acts are gonna freak. If you think that people are gonna listen to radio ad infinitum to hear their favorite tunes and then pay to hear them again not only are you living in the last century, you’ve got stock in the failing Cumulus and the debt-challenged iHeart. Turns out people are not worried about gay marriage, but their jobs. And all the Republicans keep doing is granting advantages to the rich, beholden to religious zealots all the while, despite religion fading in America and believers betting on Trump.
And the left wing ain’t much better. All you’ve got is overeducated Northeasterners who want nothing to do with THOSE people. Like a Beatles fan who couldn’t fathom Black Sabbath. But the holier-than-thou left depends on the downtrodden for its culture. That’s right, you may send your kid to private school, but he’s living for hip-hop. The left is the thought police. If you say something they don’t agree with they excommunicate you. Phew!
So I’m not saying I agree with what Trump says. I’m not even saying I’m gonna vote for him. But right now, his personality and antics are aligned with my sensibility more than those with names who’ve controlled the mic for far too long. Karl Rove, time for you to leave the building. Fox News? The truth is you prey on the fears of alta kachers, you’re gonna sink like a stone, you’re the buggy whip of news, I’d rather surf BuzzFeed. And the more the “New York Times” fans the flames of fear the more I laugh.
Those Trump supporters aren’t bad people. They’re not insane. They’ve gotten a raw deal and not only do they want a better one, they relish seeing those who think they’re in control squirm.
Metal… Sold out arenas when no one was watching. Ain’t that America, where despite garnering dollars the establishment shies away from that which it believes is unseemly.
And the reason metal triumphed was because it was the other, it channeled the audience’s anger, it was for all those closed out of the mainstream, and it turns out there’s plenty of them.
Lady Gaga ain’t had a hit in eons, but the press keeps fawning over her. But her audience has moved on. Give Taylor Swift credit, at least she understands the new game, where you’ve got to make news all the time. But she’s safe. Drake’s more dangerous and he just blew up the charts. Then again, that’s a chart so antiquated, so irrelevant, that you’ve got to laugh. No, x number of streams does not equal an album, IT’S JUST X NUMBER OF STREAMS!
And there you have the story of the music business in the twenty first century, even at this late date clinging to past models, praying that the old days will come back, burying its head in the sand re the new. We haven’t had a rock star in music since Shawn Fanning, who disrupted the status quo.
That’s what Donald Trump is, a disruptor.
As is Bernie Sanders.
And rather than analyze their success, try to bring the disaffected on board, those in power want to denigrate and isolate them. The fat cats are hair bands who couldn’t see rap coming. You enlarge the tent to bring people in, you don’t close the flaps.
To see the press and the Congress and everybody who paid their dues under the old paradigm freak is incredibly satisfying. Like turning up “Purple Haze” to those used to listening to Up With People. Trump goes on Howard Stern years before the mainstream and Obama still won’t go on Bill Maher.
Howard Stern reaches more people and has more influence than Jimmy Fallon. He helped get Christie Todd Whitman elected. And you know why Howard wins? Because he’s just like you and me, a regular guy who sings it straight. Someone obsessed with sex who farts and works for a living.
Trump is more real than Hillary Clinton. Using that old saw of who you’d rather have a beer with, if you don’t say the Donald you’re a wimp without a dick.
That’s right, it’s all right to have testosterone. It’s all right to have opinions. It’s all right to be wrong. It’s all right to bark back. We all put our pants on the same way and when I keep hearing those who shop at Brooks Brothers as opposed to Old Navy complaining about the unwashed I only want to do one thing….
TURN IT UP!