Sex, Grits, & Rock and Roll
Sex Grits Rock & Roll 004

sex Grits Rock & Roll: a bi-weekly column about twang, funky butt, and the pursuit of succulent fatback. Animated by coeval guitar army and hominy fetishes, these fan's notes hail from a Dixie boogie wonderland whose anthems are "Water No Get Enemy" and "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed."

In response to CMT Editorial Director Chet Flippo’s recent Nashville Skyline column, “If I Ran Nashville,” this SGR&R; installment seeks to draw up some “Rock Rules.” Brevity is the soul of this moving special.

If rock & roll as a subculture becomes even more constrained, clichéd, and frozen-in-glass—such that an Emily Post-type etiquette queen could actually hold sway over a large part of the arena—these are some things I feel should be addressed or changed:

--- Every music city—Austin, Nashvegas, LA, Seattle, Chicago, Miami, Philly, Hot’lanta, NYC, Boston etc—would have a public arena, rather like a Roman forum of antiquity, wherein musicians newly come to town or locals looking to become bards could ply their trade before the real public…Should they pass muster with the masses, then they would be rewarded with an equitable record contract (fair to the musician in question and any prophesied diminished demands of the marketplace) not to exceed five years in length, with option to renew if said artist still has creative vitality and currency with an audience.

--- ClearChannel and its clones would obviously be unseated…Let the freeform radio days pioneered by KSAN’s Tom Donahue come again.

--- Veteran rock stars’ forays into genres rock seeks to vampirize would be banned…In the recent past, world music was the culprit. Currently, the American songbook is de vogue. What’s next/left to rip off…Polka? Surely Diddy (or whatever his new silly moniker proves out to be) must be mixing his “pimpin’ ‘n polka” opus as we speak.

--- No allowance of rock star vanity projects like bad novels, poetry collections, thinly-veiled biopics, reality shows (this finger’s pointing at you Dave Navarro and your shameless Hollyweird hucksterism) or starring on Broadway—unless you really have the goods…[Uncertain about the wisdom of rockers teaching courses on their “art,” as Huey Lewis recently did in Montana]…And no cooking shows. Ever.

--- If any aspiring rocker—of either gender and of any race—presents themselves as a clone of Rolling Stones guitarist/rock icon Keith Richards, their career will be violently curtailed in its infancy. Bonus points, however, for coming on strong like Richards’ idol Chuck Berry.

--- Once and for all, power ballads must go.

--- Any band whose members cannot jam as fluidly as the Allman Brothers Band (or their jazz titan influences) will automatically be hit by an invisible Death Ray onstage should they venture into endless, pointless noodling.

--- The rating and de facto censorship of pop music, initiated by Tipper’s PMRC in the mid-1980s (but the mission of All-American parents since rock’s inception in the 1950s), would immediately cease.

--- All tween and teen pop stars who turn 18 and suddenly want to reach for rock cred must attend boot camp where they’d train 6 days a week, 20 hours a day at CBGB (an afterlife use for the venerated joint). It might not exactly resemble Motown’s famed charm school but such fluff queens as the Olsen Twins and Mandy Moore would have to genuinely become schooled in rock’s aesthetics and secret history, pay their dues in S-W-E-A-T instead of merely posing on Village sidewalks in carefully distressed vintage AC/DC tees.

--- A pox on PVC trousers. Beyond Marilyn Manson’s freaky-deke antique armoires, just don’t go there.

--- Don’t seek to replace dead or sacked band members via reality shows. INXS and TLC are right now riding this shame train, looking for the successors to Michael Hutchence and Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes respectively. In INXS’ case, their only real way to beat the stench is to vote for the Corey Glover-esque, ‘Fro-hawked bro Ty…but they won’t listen to me (and seem not to appreciate the ringing Carl Anderson qualities of his voice).

--- If—as during the last three years or so in New York City—there actually is a glaring lack of a scene in your locale, don’t attempt to promote it as such nor alert the British music press…and then, after the Brits have done all the hype work, do not persist in beating a dead horse unto the limits of self-parody and catalyzing an untenable influx of young hipsters (would-be hipsters really) to drive up the rents and overrun what was previously a haven of creative expression and low-ish cost-of-living.

--- Lynyrd Skynyrd would finally get elected to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame…And yelling for “Freebird” at concerts would become courtesy instead of comedy.

And so on and so on and so on…

By: Kandia Crazy Horse
Published on: 2005-08-02
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