Rock Star and Politician
At first glance, Gigs Pop’s performances appear erratic by his impulsive movements and gesture. However, upon further investigation of Swig’s performance there lies a much deeper meaning. In this paper, I will examine Swig’s “Search and Destroy’ and “Greedy Awful People”, which can represent his early and later career, to demonstrate that his highly-energize performance and lyrics depict his political views from his personal experience, including his dissatisfaction with capitalism, and his feelings toward war.Thus, he was able to influence a enervation of artists, such as Henry Rollins in Black Flag, to state their political views. Gigs Pop’s anti-war view came from his personal experience with the Detroit Riot (1967). According to Pop’s biography on Oxford Music, he was born in west of Detroit to an English father (Waller).
The stubborn old generation, who supported the “total separation” between the races, was the dominant group over the minority who supported the “integration” before 1 967 in Detroit.The inequity between races created potential uneasy atmosphere in the city where both races were dissatisfied with each other. Benjamin D. Singer claims that “the origins of urban unrest in Detroit were rooted in a multitude of political, economic, and social unequal factors” between black and white people. The riot began on July 23, 1 967 and in these 5 days of rioting 43 people died, 1189 people were injured and over 7000 people had been arrested (Singers). People poured into any business section, looted the stores and burned them.While on Henry Rollins show in 2007, Pop recalled that in 1 967 he formed the Stooges with other band members and held successful concerts with other bands, such as the MAC.
However, while holding these concerts there was always a chance of getting shot at any second during the performance. The rioters in the city put every citizen into potential danger. Pop recalled that he could still remember the scenes vividly that many Of the buildings were on fire when he walked on the street, the sky were illuminated by the fire, rioters ran on streets and rolled cars and buildings were ruthlessly destroyed.He even joked on the show that the hole created by shell on the ground was so big that he tried to dig out the dust and build a studio for free. Gigs Pop and the Stooges were in Detroit in hat heavy time and the riot inspired pop deeply that he even wrote the song “Panic in Detroit” in memory of this tragedy. “Panic in Detroit” attests that the Detroit Riot is where Gigs pop’s anti-war view comes from. Pop was born in the new generation, which were open to make some changes about the racial issues and wars, and that was why he formed the Stooges to convey their political views.
After the World War II, the government strengthened the education about anti-war and war’s catastrophic consequences, but nothing would had been a better lesson than the Detroit Riot to teach Gigs Pop the pain of riot and war cause he witnessed the city burning down. David Bowie wrote the song “Panic in Detroit’, released in 1 973, and it was “based on friend Gigs Pop’s description of the revolutionaries he had known as a youth” (Waller). The lyrics of the song were written in a third person’s view, who went crazy during the riot and created chaos in the city.The lines of “Panic in Detroit” are evidence Of how pop memorized Detroit Riot as a chaotic and disaster that the person in the song “screamed and ran to smash” his “favorite slot machine”, and “jumped the silent cars that slept at traffic jam”. As the person ho witnessed this catastrophe, Gigs Pop did not want similar events, such as wars and riots, to happen again. As discussed previously, the earlier generation was stubborn about the racial issues that most white people preferred “total separation”. However, the percentage of people, who supported the “integration”, rose to 55% from 24% three years after the riot (Singers).
Pop was in a new generation, which could make some changes by adapting new philosophy, and he had seen the progress. Gigs Pop believed that he could also use his music to influence the generation by telling them his opinions. As a result, the performances of Pop and the Stooges and lines of their song were composed of political views. Gigs Pop’s song “Search and Destroy” can exemplify one of his political views, anti-war. The Vietnam War started on November 1, 1955 and ended on April 30, 1975. In 1973, the war gradually came to an end, indicated by President Onion’s announcement of a halt to all U.S.
Offensive action against the North on 15 January (Vietnamese). In the same year, the Stooges released their third album Raw Power, which included the song “Search and Destroy”. David Sesame’s The Vietnam War and American Music corded Gigs Pop’s conversation with a media that he pulled the title ‘from a column heading in a Time article about the Vietnam War” (124). The lines of this song demonstrated Gigs Pop’s desiring of ending the Vietnam War. The person in the song claims that, “I’m a street walking cheetah” who “searches and destroys”.From the first glance, people might consider the person a proud solider who enjoyed killing. However, he also confesses that he is “a world’s forgotten boy”, and he needs “somebody goat save” his “soul”.
These two lines indicate the person’s helplessness during the war and he wants the AR end so that he can go home. Lyrics of the song also imply that soldiers’ unwillingness to fight against others and killed their enemies. Although on the opposite sides of the war, the person in the song as an American soldier calls his enemy “baby/’ and “honey’, and even gives them warning to “look out, cause I’m using technology’.Even though soldiers do not want to fight, the war is cruel and will not give them sympathy: when the solider is warming his enemies about the high-tech weapons, the enemies will still “strike me blind” and “penetrate my mind”. The song reveals the cruelness of wars and oldies’ dilemma that do not want to fight and being killed. Pop’s anti-war theme did not change throughout his career. On 6 March, 2007, the Stooges had a reunion after 33 years and released their fourth album The Weirdness (Waller).
Though the band broke up for decades, the theme of their songs and their rage about political issues did not change, but this time their dissatisfaction was towards the new President George W. Bush. During president Bush eight years term of service, he announced the War On Terror, including the war in Afghanistan launched in 2001 and the war in Iraq that launched on 2003. As a result, Pop firmly opposed the Bush administration, and his political views were revealed by an interview with Henry Rollins in 2007 after the reunion of the Stooges.Rollins claimed Gigs Pop as his personal hero in the public, and thus made an animation to illustrate his idol’s political view. Henry Rollins played the animation during the second half of the show, and in the animation Wall-Mart was the symbol of Bush’s government, where people received food, cultures, and entertainment. Rollins could not buy the New Yorker, the Times magazine, or the Washington Post from the seller, but instead he could only arches violence related commodities, such as “Guns and Ammo” that came with a free gun with purchase of the magazine.
Also, shirts’ motifs were violent things, such as a burning cross and a military one with tank, a helicopter and a young soldier (Henry Rollins Show). Gigs Pop’s successfully conveyed his political views to fans, such as Henry Rollins. Another part of the political issues that Pop focused on was capitalism, and this part also came from his personal experience. Pop came from a normal Michigan family that his father was a former high school English teacher and baseball coach (Waller). His family did not really enjoy the welfare and advantages of capitalism.Rich people were getting richer by taking advantages of the lower and the middle class, and that was another idea that Henry Rollins animation tried to illustrate: a employer of Wall-Mart fainted during the work, but the manager did not care at all and kept shouting at another employee with angry facial expression (Henry Rollins Show). From a macroscopic perspective, punk rock was raised by the “failure” Of capitalism.
Kenneth J. Bind’s states “punk arose in England during 1976 in the midst of a rebel recession that appeared to many English youth as the failure of the British socio-economic system. (2) The depression of economics and fail ere of capitalism were the breeding ground of punk rock that there were many new born bands who called themselves “punk” pessimistically viewed the future. For instance, “there’s no future”, the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten sang in early 1976 (3). Pop held negative views about capitalism as well, writing multiple songs that criticize it, especially his later career in the album The Weirdness, including “AT M”, “Greedy Awful People”, and “She Took My Money”. Greedy Awful People” is one of Pop’s typical anti- capitalism songs.In the song, Pop viciously curses the rich and expresses that he hates the upper class.
The person in the song first confesses that he “used to like my neighborhood ” and “it really made me feel good”. These two lines of the song imply that the person in the song does not start to hate his neighbors until he knows that they are rich people and can “brought a church and steeple”. From that he knows that they are rich, and he starts to call his neighbors “greedy awful people”. He hates the “awful cars” that his neighbors re driving, “rich and Shiite bars” that they go to, and “channels” they “bought on TV”.Also, he considers his rich neighbors stupid that “they always clap on the wrong beat” and “they’re wearing loafers on their feet”. Also, after cursing the rich, the person in the song cannot hide his sadness that “I’m sad and lonely baby” because “l can’t live among my class”. His feeling of hate is raised in inequity and he does not want to bow to the rich because of his proud that he still emphasizes that “I’m the upper class”.
The person who is telling the story in “Greedy Awful People” is a metaphor of Gigs Pop himself that he is to supportive of capitalism because of the inequity coming from it.On the other hand, some people would argue that if Gigs Pop wanted to convey his political views, why would he has chosen to perform in such a aberrant way, jumping around the stage, throwing up into the audiences? If the political aspect Of Pop’s music could easily get lost in translation, why he did not choose a more settle way to perform his music so that audiences could easier to perceive his messages? The answers to these questions were the development of television as the embodiment of mainstream show business and the rising of MAT. K. J.Donnelly, in Tracking British television: pop music as stock soundtrack to the small screen, points out that “popular music always has been important for television, and since the sass, pop and rock music have gradually asserted themselves on a medium that never fully embraced their possibilities. ” (3) As a newborn medium, television provided musicians a stage to demonstrate their talents. Whereas, this stage was different from previous stages, such as radio and tape, which focus more on the voice; audiences of television concentrated more on the visual impact.
In Music video in its contexts: popular music and post-modernism in the sass, Will Straw concludes the characters Of music video that “the music video had made ‘image’ more important than the experience of music itself. “(2) Also, Donnelly states something similar that “television is dominated less by developmental drama, such as in films, but more by momentary dramatic The visual image that musicians showed in the music video tended to be more important than the lyrics itself, and singers or bands need to do something dramatic and special in order to impress their audiences.As a result, Gigs Pop chose to demonstrate his political opinions not only through his lyrics but also emphasizing them through his erratic and strange body languages. Pop’s rage during his performances were his expression of rage towards war and capitalism. His actions of never wearing any clothes when performing, shaking his head oddly, shouting out all the lyrics, and running into the crowds were dramatic enough to attract a large number of audiences. There is evidence that Gigs Pop is not intrinsically crazy, and he is only being expressive during performances to deliver his ideas. Up’s interview on the Tom Snyder Show in 1980 testifies that he knew what he was doing, and he explained the reasoning behind his behavior.
At the very beginning of the show, Gigs Pop came down the stage and sat down with Snyder, breathing quite heavily. He tried to calm down by drinking water, but audiences were used to his regular performance, and labeled his every movement crazy because of inertial thinking. They laughed at Pop for about two minutes. However, Pop did not act “crazily’ as the audiences expected.Instead, he answered every question from Snyder logically and philosophically. The first time when Pop claimed that his performance appeared to be painful to some people, but in reality his performances were intrusive, audiences still laughed because they thought that this was simply a crazy person saying something without thinking. However, the second time when Pop said it he had calmed down from the performance and was breathing normally.
He told the audience one more time that his music was about expressing himself, and expressing the truth.The audiences did not laugh at him this time because they knew that Gigs Pop was telling the truth as a normal person, as normal as everyone else. During the show, he explained that it was very understandable that people could not calm down immediately after dancing and singing like he did, and he told everybody that he could talk quietly and logically by his actions later. He even apologized for his early action of throwing up into the audiences in 1973:” I had problems, and please forgive me for my problems previously, you know. Pop wished that people could forgive him for his previous problem. In the second half of the show, audiences started to give Pop cheering and clapping instead of laughing at him at the very beginning. Gigs Pop testified him as a normal arson and earned audiences’ respect.
Even though the political aspect of Pop’s songs tend to get lost during translation, his ideas have been successfully displayed, as stated previously, to his fans, such as Henry Rollins, indicating that there were people who received Pop’s messages, and some of them tried to further propagate the political messages.There were astonishing similarities between Henry Rollins and his idol Gigs Pop: during Rollins performance when he was the lead vocalist in Black Flag, a hardcore punk rock band, he also frequently did not wear any clothes, shouted with rage, and had very strong visual impact awards audiences (Oxford Music). Rollins also had the same political views of anti-war and anti-capitalism as pop. In “Henry Rollins 2012 Tour Capitalism”, he criticized “unregulated capitalism” and claimed that in the capitalist world “there are a few winners and a whole lots of losers” (Henry Rollins Show).From Rolling
As a result, Pop’s political views are not only limited to himself but have been spread by groups of punk musicians. Gigs Pop tries to demonstrate his political views of anti-war and anti-capitalism through his music, such as “Search and Destroy’ and “Greedy Awful People”. Both parts of his political views are from his personal experiences, including his experience in Detroit Riot and being exploited by capitalism beneficiaries. As a result, he chose to form the Stooges and used his expressive music to tell the truth and convey his political views to his audiences.Some of the musicians, who received and agreed with Pop’s political views, created their own punk music and further spread the same political ideas. Although the political aspect gets lost in the translation, his music contains the truth and appears to be exaggerated and erratic because of the rising of television and MAT in the ass. Though most people cannot understand Pop and consider him crazy, he still occasionally roves that he is a normal human being and his music contains a deeper meaning.
Work Cited Hebrides, Dick. “The meaning of style”.