Sunday, June 21, 2009

I need a time machine

“The show must go on”, said Freddy mercury. Little did he realize where the music was heading off to?

Years before that, in the late fifties, end of World War II, probably the bloodiest era in history. End of the world for many, beginning of a new life, onset of a new sunrise for others. A lot had changed, most importantly, the way we perceived life. Tyranny, bloodshed, hatred, unemployment, poverty all at their peaks, little did people realize what was to come. Music is a great healer, a companion in loneliness, or a way to express sadness, sorrow or joy. On this backdrop started the musical revolution, the one known to us as the hippie era.

This was the era when some of the best music was made. It was the age of innocence, the age of self discovery. Making music was a way of life and not a way to make money. The music, the lyrics had a deeper meaning attached to it. Music was more than money and fame; it was a way of self expression. The greatest boon to the musical scene was the lack of technological innovations. It was an era when Internet didn’t exist. You could not download any music, could not get free videos from you-tube or for that matter read reviews on some blogs. Forget the Internet, even CDs didn’t exist. Radio, LP and a live show were the only sources for listening to your music. This era witnessed artists like Led Zepplin, Queen, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, just to name a few.

Every person has a rebel inside him. The 70’s probably made the young, rebels in practice, rather than rebels at heart. They no longer wanted to fight a fake war just because their father said so. It was a time when the youth started voicing their opinions and inspired others to do so; taking music as the channel to express the thought. Probably this rebellion drove millions of people towards rock n roll. It was not music, but a lifestyle. You didn’t listen to it, you lived it.

Rock and roll was considered as the music of the rebels, the hippies or the rotting teens. Things could not get crazier. If I look back at all the events, man it feels that it was the craziest era ever. Ozzy Osbourne; drinking the blood of a bat flying over his stage, or Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morisson having an orgasm while performing on stage; people were crazy. Be it the performances at Woodstock; a holy pilgrimage for the unholy rock fan. Thirty-two of the best-known musicians of the day appeared during the sometimes rainy weekend in front of nearly half a million concertgoers. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest moments in popular music history and was listed on Rolling Stone's 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll. It’s not a coincidence that a similar movement in India (Independence Rock) followed the same schedule as Woodstock (15th Aug – 17th Aug). Imagine a show where Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Credence Clearwater Revival, Pt Ravishankar etc performed live. A collection of artists never witnessed before prior to that day.

What do we have now? Buffoons; (Judges on popular talent hunt shows) calling the head buffoon Himesh Reshammiya a rock star. Nowadays music scene is dominated by R & B. R & B for me means Rub and bang, don’t agree with me? Just watch the videos; all they feature is guys with six packs rubbing themselves against a teenager with 36D containers waiting to bang her at the first chance. I think rap music, should actually be called rape music. Invariably all the rap videos feature a black guy, covered in gold (more gold than clothing), either driving a car or standing besides it, talking about how he wants to do or how he did his girl, or sometimes how he did the rival gangsters girl. It’s only about sex or crime. The high speed lyrics definitely make you feel as if someone raped your ears with fast meaningless sound. Is this what is in store for us? What happened to the good old music with a meaning and a cause? Where have all the artists disappeared? “Imagine” and “Give peace a chance” by John Lennon, inspired thousands to make peace not war. The guitar solos of Jimmy Hendrix continue to inspire young guitarists till date. It was this era that has given us anthems like Stairway to heaven, behind blue eyes, imagine, sweet home Alabama, Purple haze, I want to break free etc. Sadly I cant recall a single song produced after the year 2000 that can even remotely be considered as an anthem.

Looking back I feel, I need a time machine to go back to the time when, all it mattered was music. The music video didn’t matter; the cunning marketing company didn’t lure you by putting 10 bikini clad hotties in their videos. Go back to an era when the shows were not sponsored by large corporations, trying to sell you stuff that you did not need. I want to go back to the pure sound of the guitar. Go back to perform in front of the half million strong crowd that didn’t care what you wore or how you looked but purely followed your music. Go back in time and get fans who would listen to radio patiently, waiting for their favorite song to be played. Can somebody make a time machine available to me, so that I can go back?