what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Sat 11 Apr 09 23:49
That is a darn good lyric. Although when it comes to Pink Floyd, I prefer their music BEFORE _Dark Side of the Moon_.
Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Sun 12 Apr 09 17:29
I think Wish You Were Here will remain my favorite Pink Floyd album from the Roger Waters reign. Some of its songs are heartbreaking, even while being cold as ice. Regarding that explosion of creativity in the 1960s, there were just so many factors that combined for it to happen, all across the board: economy, war, technology, social flux, changes in education, and on and on. I think there was plenty of great music in the 1970s, but after Stevie Wonder and Elton John, consensus fast dwindled and meant something else. When Peter Frampton (who certainly wasn't bad, at least before he became huge) outsold the Beatles, it was plain that in popular music, numbers now just added up to nothing. It was hard to get mass agreement on somebody as wonderful as Parliament/Funkadelic, not to mention the Ramones or Sex Pistols. But that's okay; just as the 1960s genie couldn't be stuffed back into the bottle, neither could the progression of fragmentation, which after all still gave us lots of remarkable music. And to be honest, as wonderful as that ideal of a new social consensus emerging from and around the music of the 1960s, obviously too much of that was a delusion, though not one I judge harshly at all.
Ed Ward (captward) Mon 13 Apr 09 01:05
Well, the idea that (privileged middle-class white youth's) popular music could drive a revolution was naive at best. Also naive was how the people making and consuming that music perceived the industry behind it, which was certainly very invested in the status quo. (No, not Staus Quo).
Gary Burnett (jera) Mon 13 Apr 09 06:52
"The man can't bust our music."
Ed Ward (captward) Mon 13 Apr 09 07:26
Are you aware, incidentally, that that ad was for classical albums? It was. Including Terry Riley's In C, which is having its 40th anniversary this year.
Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 13 Apr 09 17:21
An audience-participation performance of In C, conducted at Davies Hall by MTT as few years ago, was one of the great San Francisco events of my life. It was truly blissful, with MTT walking up and down the aisles conducting everyone from band nerds who had brought their sousaphones to 11-year-old Suzuki kids with violins. Great! But for pure Minimalist THIS IS THE MIND OF GOD UNFOLDING, I still prefer Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians." I hope to see a few more live performances of that before I die.
what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Mon 13 Apr 09 19:20
"Music For 18 Musicians" live would be cool, as would Morton Subotnick's "Silver Apples of the Moon." That has to be the most rhythmic piece to come out of the 20th Century avant-garde canon, other than another Reich album, _Drumming_.
Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Tue 14 Apr 09 14:00
I love Music for 18 Musicians -- revelatory and mesmerizing. I also have always loved that "The Man Can't Bust Our Music" claim, coming from a corporation. But in truth, it was the advertising and corporate worlds who did the fastest job at accommodating youth's tastes at that time, turning it into a consumerism that worked against youth's ideals. Which was already happening, and was inevitable anyway. But I do believe that much of what happened then was genuinely revolutionary and changed norms and what we would be arguing about for the next forty years. I know that music changed my world, probably saved it, certainly recast it, and I'm hardly alone in that.
David B Dawson (dbdawson54) Wed 15 Apr 09 01:16
Mikal, Ed, and Everyone -- I want to add a note of appreciation for this discussion. I have just read the entire conference, and feel as if many of the insights have been expressed solely to reflect my experiences as a "child of the Sixties." Or, better yet, to help me clarify some of those experiences at long last. I've begun your book, and applaud the beautiful Allen Ginsburg profile, and am looking forward to reading onward, especially your take on Ken Kesey, a figure who has long fascinated and befuddled me. As an old Quaker expression would put it, your statement in the preceding post "speaks my mind" very well: >> "But I do believe that much of what happened then was genuinely revolutionary and changed norms and what we would be arguing about for the next forty years. >> "I know that music changed my world, probably saved it, certainly recast it, and I'm hardly alone in that." I wonder if you could elaborate, in light of both "The Man Can't Bust Our Music" slogan and a number of books that make the case that the Sixties was in part a product of Madison Avenue. I'm thinking specifically of Thomas Frank's "The Conquest of Cool." The Amazon.com blurb for Frank's book sums up this strain of thought much better than I could: >> "In his book-length essay The Conquest of Cool, Thomas Frank explores the ways in which Madison Avenue co-opted the language of youthful '60s rebellion. It is 'the story,' Frank writes, 'of the bohemian cultural style's trajectory from adversarial to hegemonic; the story of hip's mutation from native language of the alienated to that of advertising.' This appropriation had wide-ranging consequences that deeply transformed our culture--consequences that linger in the form of '90s 'hip consumerism.' (Think of Nike using the song "Revolution" to sell sneakers, or Coca-Cola using replicas of Ken Kesey's bus to peddle Fruitopia.)" Was the sense of exuberant freedom that I felt when hearing Sergeant Pepper or going to a Doors concert really a "co-opted" illusion created for me that by savvy advertising and marketing firms? After all, I've read Thomas Frank, and I like a lot of what he has to say. However -- like you, my world was changed completely, to the point of being saved, by the music, by the sense of freedom, and by the mindful awareness that millions of us were living through something vital and different as we, in ways large and small, were creating it. But along come guys like Thomas Frank, and they trouble me by making me question the bedrock assumptions that I still base much of my life on. There's a question trapped back there somewhere, screaming by the side of the road -- I am sorry to ramble! I guess, simply put, what's your opinion on this? (And thanks again for sharing with us!)
(dana) Wed 15 Apr 09 12:28
Thanks for joining us, Mikal. We begin a new discussion today, but you're welcome to continue here as long as you like.
David B Dawson (dbdawson54) Wed 15 Apr 09 15:02
Ack. Sorry to post a Tolstoy-length question right here at the end. I'll get my self in gear in the future....
Ed Ward (captward) Wed 15 Apr 09 15:26
'Sokay, I'd kind of like to see Mikal's response to that myself...
Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Thu 16 Apr 09 02:16
David, I'll happily come back later today and give you a reply. I've been caught up with something else all day, and it's a little late right now. I'll just quickly say that I admire much of Thomas Frank's work, but I flat disagree with him regarding some of his Conquest of Cool and Commodify Your Dissent arguments. Co-opted or not, a lot of great stuff has come from what was co-opted. After all, authors and publishing get co-opted to, as do political leaders. Examine and question it all, of course -- there's tremendous value in that. But throwing the baby out with the bath water just disregards too much pleasure and revelation as far as I'm concerned. Again, real stuff did happen, and not at small risk. Commodified dissent is still dissent and can still help change things. I'll be back later.
Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Thu 16 Apr 09 18:54
Looking back at what I typed here last night, I realize I maybe summarized my thoughts on the subject. The advantage of commodified dissent is that it reaches a lot of people. It helps change some of them, helps spread some ideas and notions. If its aim is to subvert the ideology it's working within--such as capitalism--well, good luck. The Beatles aimed for that with Apple and soon opted for a hardline capitalist ethos. But that doesn't devalue what they did to help spread some ideas and great music. Others--the Grateful Dead among them--were better at setting up alternative systems. Even so, their main achievement was in constructing closed loops of their own. Almost everybody involved still went to the banks and made investments, though hopefully investments in non-toxic interests. It's true that the bohemian moves from the adversarial to the hegemonic. That can bother me, of course, but to be honest, not really that much. Bohemia and revolutions aren't static, and in our system they will indeed be co-opted. Sometimes things happen in increments, and sometimes not at all, they start then sag, but that doesn't necessarily invalidate the impetus we felt due to them. It also doesn't mean that the pleasures any of us felt over Sgt. Pepper or the Clash, or any of it, were illusory (even if Pepper in fact felt illusory to the Beatles themselves). Our responses might seem naive later, or to others, but those epiphanies can change us in lasting and utterly valid ways. And co-opted or not, the opposition that popular music helped signify in the 1960s had an effect that sill pisses off a lot of people. The single best example of commodifying change that I've seen in my lifetime happened last year, when Obama used some extremely smart and effective methods to sell his campaign. And I believe we're all better off for buying what he was selling.
Mikal Gilmore (mikalgilmore) Thu 16 Apr 09 18:57
This is where I get to say thanks to all of you, and to the kind folks here at the Well--and especially to Ed Ward--for inviting me in here to have these conversations. I've enjoyed it; it's more satisfying than a lot of the activities that surround a book's publications. Now, let's spend time with David Gans. He is a very cool guy and he's been a real help and inspiration to me over the years.
what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Thu 16 Apr 09 19:25
<59>: Well, it WAS the music and other cultural expressions, and it was and remains real. After all, Madison Avenue had to have something to co-opt in the first place.
David B Dawson (dbdawson54) Thu 16 Apr 09 19:26
Thanks for the thoughtful answer to my rambling question, Mikal. As I expected (and hoped), you summed up my rambling feelings very well. "Our responses might seem naive later, or to others, but those epiphanies can change us in lasting and utterly valid ways." Absolutely -- very well put. Good luck to you. I enjoyed this conversation a great deal, and am likewise enjoying your book. Again, thanks! David in Memphis
what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Sun 19 Apr 09 00:36
And my thanks to you as well, Mikal!
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