A somewhat cynical defence of progressive rock


Please note: Copyright ownership for music below belongs to respective artists and distributors. These materials are referenced here in accordance with the principles of Fair Use, and no copyright infringement is intended. 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Progressive rock has been mythologized in to some sort of musical statue since the 60s and 70s. It’s now seen as something it never was, and that’s not helping modern musicians progress.

Be warned – This is a very long blog, for which there will be no apologies. Music is a very personal subject to me, so excuse a few catty-but-sincere remarks. I’ve included some videos to ensure a healthy sense of being browbeaten. Continue reading

Rap must die


Rap is now nearly 40 years old. It hasn’t changed. It’s still the “sound of the street” according to some middle class 50 something white guy in an overpriced office who wouldn’t know a sidewalk if it bit him. Rap is about a pseudo-culture which is basically lost in its own bull.

As black music, it’s barely a joke, and very unfunny. A very few artists try hard, and some do good mixes, but the point is that the really good stuff isn’t rap, it’s music. Compare modern rap to any other type of material ever done by any black artist, including jingles on TV. Cole Porter, perhaps the greatest musician of modern times, invented the whole idea of modern music. Holland Dozier Holland took that and created a whole musical business model. Atlantic turned it in to an iconic part of 60s culture, courtesy of Aretha Franklin and friends.

Rap couldn’t create an excuse for buying a Big Mac. It’s an insult to black culture, the Ultimate Cliché of predetermined stereotypes. As for cultural statements – Where? Is anyone actually saying anything new, or worth listening to? Compare Sly and the Family for statements, and sheer talent. With rap, you get the occasional Boom, but no Shakalaka.

It’s also a very good way of ensuring artist failure on a routine basis. Less than 1% of rap artists ever go on to do anything. It’s sure not the road to riches, unless you’re lucky or know someone. It’s a rap sheet for “forget it” as an artist. If you do a rap, you instantly become “one of those anonymous people”. No ID. This is John Doe music, backed up by tired old 1980s patches from Grandmaster Flash and some real singing by chicks who never get much publicity or acknowledgement for being the only things worth listening to.

Somebody told me recently that they were getting rappers to work for free, as “auditions”, i.e. free labor in venues. Another ripoff now built in to the scene.

It’s a soundtrack to a failed society, rattling away in the depths of American despair. Put it this way – Rap started with Reagan, and black America, like the rest of the country, has been going backwards ever since. It’s now the “they’re all like that” image of black America. I heard some kid with a voice like Robeson, doing some useless nursery rhyme. As a singer, he’d be a superstar. As a rapper, he’s just another “one of them”. That’s what’s happening to black music, and it has to stop.

RAP MUST DIE. It should die like it’s been killing whole generations of black musicians. Just think of the music that might be.

LOGO with Sydney Media Jam edit 300PPI