Too Popular For Me
I have listened to this band for almost ten years now. They were a great punk band, and I like punk rock. Their early work was a prime example of the raw energy and passion that epitomizes this genre of music. "I Wanna Be a Dominated Love Slave" pretty well say’s it all in it’s title. It is a song of anger and rage,("put a belt sander against my skin.") That song came out over twelve years ago, and the band themselves admits to being together for seventeen years now, and no one can keep that intensity for that long. Now they are a pop band, they make tons of money and play concerts before tens of thousands of fans. In other words-they sold out.
I do not blame or condemn them for taking the money, for grabbing the fame, and for finally growing out of their adolescent ways, (yea-right.) Artist are always stuck in a dangerous dilemma. When they are young, hungry, and angry at the "establishment" their art shows their passion and rage. This gets them noticed and is what people, usually young people, grab on to and start to appreciate. Then they get successful, and loose the hunger, the rage, and begin to try to make their art more"mainstream" so that more people can appreciate and buy it. Soon, in an attempt to share their art they instead leave their art, and turn to the sterile world that gives them money.
Let’s look at the options; stay hungry, stay angry, and stay unknown, wallowing in self destructive behaviors until you either die or get a real job at the post office, or sell out, get money for what you love to do, gain fame, glory, and have more women and drugs than you could ever imagine. It’s really not that hard a choice.
Green Day is not the first band to leave me this way. I used to really like The Police, now they have dis-banded, and their leader "Sting" is singing jazz and trying to save the world. Another world savior-Bono, was the leader of another good rock band, U2. Bono, Slash , and the boys haven’t had an album I would listen to in years. Elton John is now Sir Elton, and is more famous now for his Disney songs than his former on-stage antics. The Rolling Stones? Oh please, Mic Jagger and the band are still touring even though they now get AARP rates at the same hotels that they used to destroy forty years ago. The ‘Stones are a band that knows corporate sponsorship, and have made this a new art form.
Even my beloved Beatles are a favorite on elevators all over America, and it doesn’t get more sterile than that. It seems that when you finally get the fame and attention your genius deserves, you loose the muse that made you into a genius to begin with.
One of the only art forms that doesn’t have to be that way is writing. I can continue to write biting, satirical articles even after I become famous and rich. I don’t need to be hungry to write well, and anger just makes me sleepy. So, I will make everybody a deal. Get the word out, make me famous. Make me so rich that I can hire Bill Gates from Microsoft to come set up my computer, and I won’t sell out my art. Goodbye Green Day, hello pay day!