Dexy’s Midnight Runners once sang that ‘The only way to change things/ Is to shoot men who arrange things’
What? You mean singing a pop song isn’t a major revolutionary act?
Try telling that to the all-mouth-and-trousers bunch of so called rebels that are rock stars.
Famous ‘working class hero’- okay middle-class art student turned multi-millionaire – John Lennon really proved his worth as a rebel when it came to the Vietnam War. What did his missus do to stop all that death and destruction? That’s right, they went to bed had a kip! Well, that’ll sort that out, then!
Lennon was clearly bogus of course. This was man with a white Rolls Royce who sang about having no possessions. A wife beater who wanted us to ‘give peace a chance’. Instant Karma, indeed!
And what about those honorary Sandinista freedom fighters The Clash? Public-schoolboy Joe Strummer certainly liked to play the tough guy with ‘the last gang in town’, wielding his guitar like it was a machine gun.
In fact, The Clash even wrote a stirring rebel song called ‘Guns On The Roof’. And what was it about? Revolution? An armed robbery shoot out that went wrong? The poor and oppressed rising up the fight their oppressors?
Naw, it was about a sunny afternoon in West London when those naughty boys The Clash were told off by the police for shooting pigeons with air rifles!
As Robin Scott of M so rightly said in Pop Music ‘Wanna be a gunslinger/ Don’t be a rock singer/ Eenie meenie minie mo / Will get you were you wanna go.’
That’s show business!
16 thoughts on “I Didn’t Say That, Did I? : Rebels Without Claws by Paul D. Brazill”
My sentimnents exactly, Mssr Brazill!
I’ve long said Rock n Roll shouldn’t concern itself with politics. The ultimate rebellion of Rock n Roll is in simply not giving a fuck. As Jack Black might say, it’s about sticking it to the man.
Don’t even get me started on that sorry excuse, the pretentious little shit, Billy Bragg.
Keith Moon. There was your man.
And I much prefer the honesty of Johnny Ramone: “I’m retiring to L.A to do what I’ve always wanted to do – absolutely nothing.”
Dean Martin when he was asked to take part in a civil rights march said ‘I wouldn’t even walk that far for Italians’.
and dexy’s lines ‘if you’re so anti fashion, then wear flares’ always struck me hard – i didn’t until i was far too old for such things. couln’t get me out of a pair of combats with scissors and knives.
Interesting thoughts. Its hard to find examples of real life rebels anyway, because a lot of times they are just thugs. Lenin, Che,some of the gunslingers.Musicians in my mind are rebels because they lift us out of the constraints of society, if just for a few minutes.
I respect most rock stars unless I can tell they are a phony (there are a few) who put on an act, “woking class champion etc etc bruce springsteen, john cougar melancamp)or fight against their own fans like lars ulrich, blech, but most are genuine, and i think of them as rebels
and now for some reason cant get bowies rebel rebel out of my head
Lots of rock stars started out poor, then came the $$—poof, they are transformed and that’s OK with me. But they do become business men vs rebels.
Nice piece and you could do the same thingy on baseball players–are they rebels?—nope, and it’s just a supply and demand thing–all business.
Rock n Roll is an attitude. You’ve either got it or you aint.
Some people who’ve got it make music. Most haven’t.
doctor: “One more drink and you’re going to die.”
Dean Martin: “Frank, get my white suit. I’m going to die with a drink in my hand.”
Thats funny, I was talking with someone about rock stars really being businessmen a few weeks ago.but this has turned into a discussion about what a rebel even is,lol.
Dunno, but I’ve got to tell this story now.
A fellow is out in a restaurant and sees Frank Sinatra at another table. While the fellow’s female companion is in the ladies room he goes over:
“Frank, my name’s Alan, I’m with this lady. She’d be so impressed if she thought I knew Frank Sinatra, if you get a minute would you come over and pretend to know me?”
Frank kindly agrees and a short while later goes over to the couple’s table:
“Hey Al, how you doing?”
Alan: “Not now Frank, can’t you see I’m with a woman.”
See, that is a rebel. Gamesmanship.
Great piece Paul,I totally agree. Bring on Iggy Pop.
I’ve often had arguments with Lennon fans who get all shirty when I point out that he was only a pop singer. They hate mention of the wife beating and fucking under age groupies – the difference between Glitter, Lennon, Jagger etc is that Glitter got caught.
Lennon made some damn good pop music but totally lost his way when he went solo. I like Imagine (the album), I love the Plastic Ono Band album and I think Woman Is The Nigger Of The World is the best song he ever wrote; but Mind Games? Walls & Bridges? And Double Fantasy is totally shit!! Mark Chapman did not murder John Lennon; he carried out a justified piece of extreme musical criticism.
As far as other rock’n’roll rebels go I’ve never bought into that fantasy. For me it’s all about dressing like an idiot and making a fool of yourself on stage.
that was so funny!
Great stuff as always, Paul. Love UV’s comment! Rock n Roll rebels are sexy baby and nothing beats the real thang.
Paul, nice piece. Lennon was a guy I worshipped as a kid, but as I got older, I started to realize that he was a good musician, but other than that..Nothing gets under my skin more than when a rockstar starts preaching, because I don’t give a f*&c what they have to say. Bono, Eddie Veder, Sting, the list is long. Stick to the music!
As an American, I was born with the idea and the notion that people can and should do what they want, as long as it isn’t hurting anybody and it’s positive, do whatever the fuck moves you, where ever your passion takes you. All people are flawed, human beings are flawed and no amount of fame or money can change that, in fact it magnifies it.
Fame can be a ball and chain of self destructive indulgance or it can be a currency to promote cause. Just because I don’t beleive in Sean Penn’s or Rosie O’Donnells politics (which I don’t) doesn’t mean I think they should shut up, or stick to this or that. They can say what ever they want. I know I saw Penn wading through the streets New Orleans after Katrina, (it sure wasn’t me), and Brad Pitt putting millions or his own and freinds money into buiding new home and doing it right. If Sting want’s to save the rain forest, awssome, good luck with that, (just plant more trees). Can Bono live in a mansion and help feed some people? I beleive he can. Did John Lennon with all his personal baggage and Rolls Royces’ save one life during Vietnamn, because some kid read a billboard? Maybe he did. and that might have made it all worth it.
Only the nieve, and passionate will make even the slightest bit of difference in the world. The closed minded will just sit there and do what ever it is they do and never feel or try.