THAT’S rock and roll.

Rock and roll used to be about sticking it to the man.  Now it’s about licensing deals and featured artists and collaborations and earworms.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”???  Give me a break.  It’s a Hall of Sales Achievement.

They induct this man — whose music is still being played on the radio (terrestrial and satellite) and at college parties today — into a supposed guild of greats, and they won’t reserve a few extra chairs at the ceremony to allow his band and their supportive spouses to attend.

Guess what??  The songs that built Steve Miller’s career were recorded and performed by The Steve Miller BAND.  Without the other members and their contributions, you’ve simply got another guy with a guitar who knows how to write good songs.  Plenty of those around.  But without the band to back him up, Steve Miller doesn’t achieve the greatness which qualifies him to be inducted in the first place.

Instead, extra seats are billed to the band members and their wives at ten grand apiece!

The Rock Hall is a joke.  It exists as a tourist attraction, a convenient way for Big Music to appear to pay homage to Their former indentured servants…while raking in $23.50 a ticket from Joe and Joan Schmoe.

N.W.A. didn’t even perform at the ceremony, as is customary when an artist is inducted.  According to Ice Cube, the group “didn’t feel like we were supported enough to do the best show we could put on.”

[BREAKING NEWS: Big Music unsupportive of controversial artist.]

The thing is, N.W.A. are now one of only five rap artists in the Hall —  they joined Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run DMC, Public Enemy, and Beastie Boys.

And the only reason a “crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube from the gang called Niggaz With Attitudes” gets inducted is because of the coincidental success (read: $160 million domestic gross) of the film Straight Outta Compton.  N.W.A. proved to be undeniable, so Big Music couldn’t actively deny them any longer.

Make no mistake, there was a heyday in music.  There was a time when the artists were the millionaires and called the shots.  When music helped shape and define the culture, not the other way around.

Music used to be the best platform for expressing social and cultural discontent, moving millions to seek truth and become one with humanity.

And then They shut it down.  “Stop, in the name of…money!”

It’s all about sales.  All the time.  That’s why it’s major news when a bill gets introduced to pay producers, mixers, and engineers royalties for their respective roles in the creation of hits.  Because They don’t want to pay anyone except Themselves.

Jann Wenner is revered by Big Music now, but when he created Rolling Stone he was anti-establishment.  He was on the same side as the artists.

And now…he’s charging them ten grand to sit in his building, at an event honoring the music which they were an integral part of creating?

Piss on Rolling Stone.  And you too, Jann Wenner.  You used to stand for something.  You made the magazine whose cover aspiring artists wished most to grace.  Now you recycle the same drivel about the same artists issue after issue, and cater to Big Music’s priorities.

Because Big Music pays.  And They pay well those who do Their bidding.

Steve Miller did enough of Their bidding to earn a Hall of Fame performance, and I’m glad, because it afforded him the platform and opportunity to cry “BULLSHIT!!” for everyone to hear.

But he’s a dying breed.  Today’s artists are afraid to take a position on anything, lest they potentially lose a single fan.

And that doesn’t just apply to the famous and well-known artists.  I used to be in a band in which saying anything that could potentially be interpreted as offensive or alienating to anyone was off-limits; potential social media posts had to first be approved by the group.

It’s as if everything today has to be homogenized and pasteurized for the masses.  Soft.  Safe.  Easy.  Inoffensive.

Because the offended minority has a voice now: the internet.  And the internet allows them to connect with each other and express their particular opinions and thoughts.

So what ends up happening is, enough of these offended individuals connect and become a group voice.  They stoke the fires of the negative and fuel the flames with posts and comments, throwing their vitriolic pearls into the great ocean of cyberspace.

Because they know there are no rules on the internet, nothing governing what is actually truth and what isn’t.  (There’s a reason Snopes is incredibly popular.)  “WWW” may as well stand for “Wild Wild West”.  Anyone can literally post anything about anything.  And a negative social campaign which goes viral can crush almost any business.

If you’re mad enough, and enough people agree with you, your voice may be heard.

So artists play it safe, staying in their lane, only posting positive things, smiles, show updates, etc.  Everything is rosy in their world.  They play the angles, secretly hoping for that call from Big Music someday, and they know they need to be squeaky clean in order to get it.

But we all know it’s bullshit.  Life isn’t perfect.  Everyone has issues from time to time.  Everyone has opinions about this or that social or cultural happening.

Where are the artists???  Where are the ones who speak out against injustice??

Steve Miller just did.  So did Bruce Springsteen.  They are 72 and 66 years old, respectively.

What do you have to say, Justin Bieber…?

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Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

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