In 1993 a group did their set at Lollapalooza in Philadelphia completely nude except for duct tape over their mouths. They refuse to play any music, and simply stood there for 25 minutes with the letters PMRC written on their chests, what group was it and why did they do this? The answer is at the end of the podcast.
Five weeks ago, I decided to look at different years in my life. I decided to do this not because the years were particularly noteworthy because I was there, but because they were years when I was there. I have been told many times that I should write a book about my life, but I have never really felt the need or had the ability to do that. The written word is not my strong suit, and frankly, I find writing about myself really boring. I always get the feeling I’m reliving my life, and I think, “Ho-hum, been there, done that.” I also have an issue with timelines, remembering when something actually happened to me. Many times, I use music to help me zero in on a time and place or event. For example, last week it was the Bruce Springsteen song “Born to Run” that helped usher me back to my deliverance from the shores of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a ride all the way to Washington, D.C., from a woman who became my friend and lover and her insane cat named Clare. She was Siamese and always in heat (the cat, not the woman), and if you ever spent a night with an in-heat Siamese cat that howls throughout the night, then you will know it’s an experience to be lived only once.
It will not be the music I’ll remember when I look back on this year. I’ll remember 2016 as a very sad year, a year when I dodged death’s bullets while losing friends either very near or whom I had come to know through their music. As Nora Ephron wrote, “Death is a sniper.” I will remember this year as the year that technology became even more brazen in the numbing of humans. I was on a train the other day with 12 other passengers and counted 10 looking at their smartphones. Smartphone is a smart word because it has become our ruler, our escape from reality as the world goes crazily whizzing by us.
The world has gone crazy, or does it just seem that way? In fact, it has always been crazy, but now when we get jolted away from our palm-size entertainer, we just see it close up and personal better than we ever could in days gone by. We wring our hands, we cry, we pray, we rant, we rave, and we ask why. We point fingers and assign blame. But the fact still remains that nothing changes and nothing ever will until we look inside ourselves and stop worshipping neon signs, computerized gods, and raging lunatics. We walk around with our shoulders bent, our faces in our palms, talking with some cyber warrior and playing with ourselves. Until we get our heads up and face the reality of the world and say, “I am the change that’s needed,” until that day, things will always be the way they are, crazy.
There will be more thoughts and some rock and roll in the podcast on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope you will join me there.