ANSWERING THE INFIDELS
(Visit the MIRROR)
LONG BEACH (Pope Diva I) June 20, 2001 -- An infidel recently inquired, "WHAT HAPPENED TO GUY AERO FANS!!!" Obviously a rhetorical question, thus the lack of a question mark. And Though I was loathe to weigh in on a subject I know nothing about, not being a guy and all, I find that I have no interest in sitting silently by on this question, because, despite disclaimers to the contrary, the implication of the question is, "There is something terribly wrong with music that appeals to females, and with musicians that appeal to females."
A bit of rock and roll history:
Rock and roll has NEVER just been about the music. Not ever. Not once. And because of this, every attempt to constrain it, to lock it down, to push it into the music box only, has FAILED.
Rock and roll's power is not derived from the music alone. If it were, genres like punk would never have enjoyed any success at all. "Punk musician" is an oxymoron, as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols would have quickly pointed out in their day. To call a punk-rocker a "musician" was considered a GRAVE insult. They believed music, like medicine, to be a discipline, and had no interest at all in conforming to anything so rigid.
But I digress. History -- we were talking about history.
Rock and roll music, like all good art, isn't just about the product. It is about psychology, politics, philosophy, sociology... And yes, OH YES, it is, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN, about SEX.
There, I said it. Anybody want to dissent? Good luck.
The simple irrefutable fact is that rock music began as sexual subversion. It was a cultural reaction to sexual repression in the same way Strauss' waltzes were centuries ago.
The Baby Boomers, that massive generation of American's born between 1946 and 1964 (who are now in their late 30's to mid-50's) were, and still are, the masters of all they survey(ed) at every point in their lives.
Why? Because of the power, economically, of their sheer numbers.
Is it any surprise then that, as they hit their teens, rock and roll exploded onto the national stage... that their America was the birthplace of rock and roll? And what, do tell, were these teenagers looking for, precisely? High art? Musical excellence? A transcendent auditory experience?
Hell, no. They were looking, as every generation before or since them has, to get laid and to rebel against authority -- particularly that of their parents.
It has ever been thus.
Puberty (what an odd word for such an intense experience) is all about hormones. And for guys, the "house wine" is testosterone, which exists for two purposes only: to fuck and to fight. Sex and aggression.
And that is the duty of rock and roll, and the reason for its birth.
Seduction, subversion, aggression, rebellion, provocation... Are there any higher complimentary adjectives when it comes to describing rock music?
Here's a conundrum for ya...
If Elvis had sung about fixing cars, instead of about Hound Dogs, would he have been as successful?
If the Stones had sung about the parliamentary system of governance in Britain, instead of about Brown Sugar, would they have been as successful?
If The Beatles had sung about how much they liked pizza, instead of about how much they wanted to hold a girl's hand, would they have been as successful?
And here's an even BIGGER conundrum for ya...
If Elvis had looked like Rush Limbaugh, would he have been successful?
If The Stones had looked like The Three Stooges, would they have been successful?
If The Beatles had looked like the House Un-American Activities Committee, would they have been successful?
Successful rock stars have had two things going for them: guys wanted to BE them, and girls wanted to BE WITH them. I hate to disappoint the purists among you, but it is really just as simple as that.
If the music were the only issue... Well, you get my point.
And my point is this: rock has never been content-neutral, or product-specific.
It started out being about a handful of things lyrically -- about the things baby boomer teens wanted to hear about -- the best of these being sex (or love) and aggression (or rebellion).
The life drive, and the death drive. Creation and destruction. Libido and Thanatos.
Rock stars are SUPPOSED to be larger-than-life, and they are SUPPOSED to symbolize more than the music they make. They are SUPPOSED to be cultural touchstones, and cultural icons.
That is why rock stars stride the public stage like gods -- BECAUSE THEY ARE.
(I call myself Pope Diva I for a reason, and only with a very slight wink.)
I do believe, and always have, that rock stars (and I really don't care for people who decry that label) are the modern equivalent of Pagan gods.
Take Aerosmith, for example...
Wait. That is a little tricky, since everyone here (like me) is irrational where they are concerned.
First, take instead, The Beatles:
Have you ever heard someone say that you can tell a lot about a person by whether they like McCartney or Lennon better?
Well, if you haven't, check out TBPT (The Beatle Personality Test) at:
I am no expert on The Beatles, but even I know that there is something "there" other than the music -- something fundamental about the opposing images of the two central characters in that archetypal play. Some fundamental bedrock thing.
Now, let's take a look at OUR boys.
Many people on the boards are pissed that Steven and Joe are the center of attention, to the detriment of the other band members. I can explain why this is: People are simple.
That's right. Most people see everything in dualities. Hot-cold, up-down, good-bad, on-off, mind-body, happy-sad, etc., etc.
Five is too many for them. Two is all they can handle.
So, from the beginning, most great rock bands have revolved around two central characters, and their opposing images: Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Axl and Slash...
Aerosmith is just following that proud tradition. And in Aerosmith's case, the central characters are Steven and Joe.
And who are these central archetypes, these gods, in the grand drama that is Aerosmith?
Well, that's actually pretty easy.
Steven is Pan:
Protector of Goatherds and Shepherds
"Usually depicted as goat-like in appearance, Pan prances through the fertile countryside playing his seven-reed pipe in wild abandon. His piping can be as soft and seductive as the breeze, but when he's angered, his bellow and howl can be heard for miles.
He fought with the Olympians against the Titans of Kronos and for his terrifying war cry, his name is still associated with PANic fear.
His lust for the nymphs, naiads and dryads is legendary. The nymph, Syrnix, was the name sake for Pan's reed-pipe because she was turned into a reed to escape the amorous advances of the Goat God (I'm not sure where this story originates). Also, the nymphs Pitys and Echo, were made famous when they fled from Pan. For their insolence Pitys was turned into a pine tree and Echo was transformed into a voice that could only repeat that last word spoken to it.
Joe is Hades:
Ruler of the Underworld
Hades was the ruler of the underworld, which he ruled with his bride Persephone. Three judges decided the fate of souls; heroes went to the Elysian Fields, evildoers to Tartarus. The Underworld itself was sometimes called Hades, and it still is today.
Hades was one of the children of Cronus and Rhea, and was assigned the Underworld after the division of power among himself, Zeus, and Poseidon. Since Hades was always in the Underworld, he did not sit with the other gods in Olympus. He ruled the Underworld with Persephone and the goddess Hecate, the actual overseer of the dead. Hades represented the finality of death, and as a result was little seen among mortals, or other gods. In fact, Hades was not allowed to visit Olympus.
The best known legend concerning Hades is the story of him and his wife, Persephone. Hades greatly wanted Persephone as his wife, but her mother, Demeter, was extremely protective of her daughter and would not allow it. Hades kidnapped her when she was picking flowers in the fields accompanied by her maidens. She wandered aside noticing a new, glorious flower, the Narcissus. Hades took advantage of the separation and quickly came up from the Underworld, snatched her up into his chariot, and with his wild steeds quickly descended to his gloomy abode."
So, what do we have here?
Steven: lusty (fun), expressive, vocal, extroverted, mercurial, physical, humorous, energetic, earthy, natural, sunny, social
Joe: lustful (serious), reserved, quiet, introverted, volcanic, moody, serious, powerful, other-wordly, dark, solitary
Sound about right?
Now, onto another subject.
There has been a lot of talk about how, in the beginning, the Blue Army was all (or mostly all) guys, and how NOW, everything has been ruined by all these horny women Aerosmith is making music for.
First of all, there is a world of difference between Aerosmith's early days, and now. For instance, I know that when I lived under my parents' roof, if I had asked them to let me go see Aerosmith in concert, they would have said "no." If I had asked them to let me go see Lionel Ritchie, on the other hand, they would have said "yes." If I was a boy, I don't think they would have minded me going to see either concert. My parents weren't stupid. I think they knew that Aerosmith oozed sex, and thought it was just as well that they kept their baby away from such dangerous characters, and away from the kind of guys that would go to an Aerosmith concert.
So, I am not at all certain that the gender makeup of concert-goers in Aerosmith's early history indicates ANYTHING about who did or did not love their music at the time.
...Well, I see I've run on here, and for a lot longer than I had intended, so I'm gonna wrap this up, though I have a TON more to say on this subject. But before I do, I just want to say one more thing:
The original post that inspired this rant -- the one where somebody is getting their boxers in a twist over the gals on this board and our lusty conversations about, and physical infatuation with, Aerosmith -- is just conservative crap.
For a conservative, there is nothing more subversive than women treating men as sex/love objects, rather than as success/power objects.
And the reason this is so, is that it represents a role-reversal -- standing the traditional "places" of the sexes on their heads. WOMEN are supposed to stay in their place as sex/love objects, and MEN are supposed to stay in their place as success/power objects.
Well, for all you guys out there who are bothered and bummed by the women on this board, and our healthy sexual interest in the bounty that Aerosmith lays willingly before us...
GET OVER IT.
Aerosmith didn't write "Lord of the Thighs" for you. The "you" Steven is singing to is a GIRL.
And that song, by the way, isn't even ON the new record.
PS: And another thing, dang-blast-it-all!
I LOVE EVERY SINGLE AEROSMITH SONG I HAVE EVER HEARD. EVERY SINGLE MOTHER-FRICKIN' ONE! ALL OF 'EM!
If I met the band, I would even cop to loving "Angel," as much as I know they hate it. I wouldn't kiss their tushes on this one. I'd tell them the truth.
And another thing... In my PERSONAL OPINION (you know -- those things that everyone has, and is entitled to?) the fluffiest songs on the new album are no more fluffy than their early slow tunes, and the rockin' songs on the new album are no less rockin' than the heavy tunes on their early albums.
Do a little experiment.
Put them on back-to-back.
Then come back and tell me that "Beyond Beautiful" isn't as heavy as "Toys in the Attic."
(HINT: It is as heavy, only many *ahem* "men" don't notice that, because THEY have become pussified, and unable to identify with stabs of lust, so the same kind of music just doesn't get them off anymore. HINT 2: Viagra won't cure THAT problem. Once you've lost that, you've lost it.)
So, come back and tell me how "Toys" is just such a heavier song.
I'll listen. Really I will.
And then I'll remember that, no matter what you say, it's just your OPINION, and you have an absolute inalienable right to be completely screwed.
As have I.
And by the way, before I forget, ISN'T JOE A TOTAL HOTTIE? AND DOESN'T IT JUST MAKE YOU GUYS NUTS THAT I THINK SO?