Sam Cutler On Live Earth

Yep! The bullshit aptly described and decried – blame it on the "industrialization of music" that occurred during the "rock revolution" when the bottom line (instead of art) became what mattered.

This "creeping capitalization" and the transformation of "the music business" to the "entertainment industry" have suborned all values to the over-riding necessity of profit.

The "need for greed" informs the minds of all who administer the whole edifice. Naked greed, based upon the exploitation of the ignorant consumer who is (essentially) told what he wants and needs, is the order of the day. WHEN did this happen? When people like Allen Klein (an accountant) took over from people like Andrew Oldham (a visionary) and re-ordered the priorities. The "dream" was replaced by "the scheme"!  Money and power, money and power – the ethics and morals (and the tastes) of the military-industrial complex now rule in the sphere of popular music – we sell our children shit, but no problem, it’s a living!

It’s destructive shit, low level culture of the most primitive type, but no problem, it’s a living. It suborns all the values that liberal democracies hold dear, encourages young people to see legal systems as inherently oppressive, glorifies the consumption of noxious chemicals that harm the human body, but no problem, it’s a living! We take the music from black disaffected street gangs, re-
process it, and sell it back to the ghetto whilst the mindless savagery of the lyrics and the psychopathic intensity of their delivery give our young people a swaggering machismo that finds its outlet in gun-related mayhem all over the country. Never mind! It’s a living!

A living for who? Popular culture has been hi-jacked and co-opted to the grand "visions" of the capitalist system – which is just as it should be in a capitalist economic scene. That’s why we have acts and not artists on shows like this, because music has become comodified. It is now no longer any different from the techniques used in the selling of any commodity which rely upon a mis-informed and essentially ignorant consumer base. We get what we deserve. THAT is why the music industry is in trouble – it has not led people forward culturally but rather exploited the very consumption-base upon which its fiscal health ultimately relies. In doing so it is rapidly losing its audience, for they have moved on of their own volition to file-sharing bands who can’t even GET a record deal, and who (often) don’t even WANT one, as they can be viewed as a "cred kiss of death". All very sad; all very inevitable.

Shoot the accountants and lawyers and give the business back to the visionaries and dreamers, and re-build the fucking thing. Tear the old house down – it’s rotten with the wood-worm of an old English church! Beyond repair! You think I’m being overly dramatic? Look what’s happening – the kids are taking the control back for themselves, the kids are experimenting with a NEW form. The "executives" of the music industry drive by in their limousines and haven’t got a clue about what’s happening on the street.

I’m glad I’m writing a book about a period in the industry rather than participating in such an immoral and hopeless mess. BUT, other forms WILL arise! I am endlessly optimistic! They will be local cultural forms, specific to areas, just as they were with San Francisco and Seattle, and just as they are in Brisbane and Perth in Australia.

The centre can no longer sustain itself, the Empire is collapsing in the face of its own inherent contradictions (like the decline and fall of Rome) and on the periphery the natives are stirring! The next ten years are going to be interesting – CD’s and the like are finished – we are just watching the prolonged agonies of a dying form. Live Earth is but a money-grabbing piece of tomfoolery – some of the natives will love it!

That’s where I’m coming from!

Sam Cutler

p.s. I might be "mad bad and dangerous to know" but at least
MY ear is attuned to what’s happening on the street, which is where
(after all) this shit came from in the first place!

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