When It Took Guts To Live Your Music

Some nights when I have time to kill I just put on a recorded music video show from MTV2 or Palladia and fast forward until I see something that looks interesting. I stopped briefly on a new band out of the UK that looked like half glam / half punk just long enough to get a screen shot… I don’t even care enough to spend ten seconds looking on the internet to figure out their name.

What I really thought about was that once it took guts and rage to look different from everyone else and music / lifestyle / looks were one and the same, not just an act that you put on like makeup. If you want to read about that in action, try “Get in the Van” by Henry Rollins, the iconic lead singer of the seminal Southern California punk band “Black Flag”.

Growing up we listened to Black Flag all the time, especially the iconic “Damaged” album. I was too young (and too chicken) to go see them in concert, but reading the “Get in the Van” book really brought home all the violence and flat-out deprivation that it took to live that lifestyle, with Rollins completing a set after being punched and kicked and often drenched in spit. We also forget that Rollins was one of the first individuals to get interesting tattoos in addition to his hairstyle and overall look, which constantly got him in fights everywhere he went. If you want to read about a real and dedicated artist, not some band that was prefabricated for TV and the internet, just read anything Rollins writes but start with “Get in the Van”.

Reading the book prompted me to get back in the spirit and listen to my favorite Black Flag albums. However, they’ve been lost from vinyl to cassettes to CDs and I’m pretty much done with physical media anymore. So I just signed up for Apple Music and there they all are – the whole catalog. Kind of ironic to listen to music that was made and played with fire in such a bloodless manner as through my iPad and bluetooth speaker…

Cross posted at LITGM

10 thoughts on “When It Took Guts To Live Your Music”

  1. I think the Eagles of Death Metal band would say that it still takes guts to live your music, maybe even more so now.

  2. The closest I ever got to that was the movie “Almost Famous.”

    When I was a kid I didn’t like Rock n Roll. Bill Haley and the Comets was the band.

  3. None of these so-called punks, Rollins included, ever had to drag a generator across the floor, in a suit, in a prison, with a cast of certified maniacs about. That folks, is hardcore. Never saw Black Flag or any of the more famous units, but did get inside CBGB’s a few times, and some of the New England venues. Saw something called G.G. Allin and that was the last show of that sort I ever attended. Nuff Sed.

  4. Black Flag, oh my lord. Awful, just awful.

    Anyway, everyone is different, and tastes vary widely. I just measured my hair. It’s between 16″ and 18″ at age 69. I have had long hair since the 60s and had to fight on occasion over it. Punks are a pale reflection of hippies, and as far as I could tell, were mainly about, not having to learn, how to play music.

  5. I think it’s nice when people share the music they love and explain why that music has meaning to them. It gives me the opportunity to hear something new or to hear something old with a new ear. And everyone pissing on this post makes life harder for everyone.

  6. I think the Eagles of Death Metal band would say that it still takes guts to live your music, maybe even more so now.

    When the gunfire started the band fled first and lived. “Eagles of Death” turned more literal and less metaphorical than they imagined. Guthrie (not a musician in the Eagles or the Eagles of Death) wrote “this machine kills fascists” on his guitar. I wish he’d been there to return gunfire with guitar fire.

  7. >> When the gunfire started the band fled first and lived.
    Color me shocked. Another band of leftist poseurs exposed as the cowards they actually are. Tough and edgy on stage, when they’re all safe and pampered and protected, first to flee at a sign of actual trouble.

    BTW, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed the irony of terrorists attacking an audience being played to by the Eagles of Death. I don’t think that was a coincidence.

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