The following article was forwarded to me by a friend, its just an interesting perspective on things, I thought everybody should be aware of. It's really long so I am putting it up in two posts. The Great Rock 'n Roll Swindle. "My purpose was always just to express myself," he answers. "People are kidding themselves when they think music is going to change the world or enlighten people. It's a bunch of hogwash." -- Paul Stanley, Kiss The peace and serenity of my smoke-filled suburban dystopia where I often sit for hours, chewing my metaphorical pencil and thinking about the future of mankind while listening to Whitesnake, is sometimes disturbed when some misinformed people stop by and ask me questions about music. On one such balmy summer's eve when 'Here I go again' was playing in the background, a certain guy asked me the question that has plagued newbies since time immortal, "how do I get into the scene?" Now at this point I must say that over the period of many years that I strained my ears to figure out what Mr. Varg Vikernes was to convey through his immensely under-produced albums have done irreversible damage to my auditory canals. And the fact that someone forgot to mention to me that rock n' roll excess stopped being cool twenty years ago I am usually slow to comprehend what anybody is trying to say. However when my few remaining brain cells processed the information the answer became quite clear to me. I called him up the other day and said to him "You my friend have been swindled." That question brings us to an even bigger question. Why does anybody like rock music? Let us look at the cold hard facts. A guy with long hair howling at the top of his lungs, a drummer who should be arrested for creating noise pollution, the bassist playing an instrument which nobody can hear and the guitarist who is making strange noises at 180 bpm. No wonder not many dig this kind of music. But then this isn't about those people. This is about those who do, and most importantly why they do so. Over a fairly long period of time that I have been a small part of the 'scene', first as a kid awestruck by the fake sense of glamour and largesse that many rockstars extrude, to the chain-smoking, 80's obsessed, alcoholic writer who writes extremely long and senseless articles that I am now, I have observed the people who form the scene. Mostly they come from rich homes with a great future ahead of them, they don't drink or smoke, they go to the temple everyday and have a secret crush on the girl/boy next door. But then one day everything changes. The cushioned life of the school is traded for the vast openness of the college campus; and most come with a pre- conceptual filtering of life is going to be. A matinee induced dream of going on bike rides with boy/girlfriends, going to prom like Jennifer love hewwitt in that movie, excelling in sports and studies and eventually landing up as a successful investment banker drawing 60k a month and amazing dental plan. When you are 16 you dream and dream hard; there is no tax on dreaming. Far from the shores of practicality a castle is built and the flag of life flies steady. Someone once said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. College turns out nothing like it was meant to be. Losers in school remain losers in college. Freedom comes cloaked in the garb of answering a higher authority; and your well being depends on how well you bend before it. Dreams dissipate leaving behind a ****ed up life as the alkaline precipitate. Something like that Thermal and a Quarter song... "Reality crumbled like a cookie / Left its pieces on the floor..." Feelings of general well being are taken over by depression, paranoia and sheer helplessness. There are questions which no one answers, there are secrets there is no one you can confide to, you can't relate to anything and you don't give a **** about anything anymore. Old friends, people, parents, relatives all don't seem to understand you. Then there is the million dollar teenage rant (people have actually made millions using this line); "nobody understands me, I'm so different". Yes Ms Naïveté you are very different; like twenty five thousand others, will all the 'different' people stand in one line? Oh that's a very big line... please everybody wear black t-shirts and grow long hair and buy this CD; ok thank you, you all do look very different. A fact that might disturb some is that most people are not fans of this music because they like the music, but because it fills a void in their lives. When you are a pimply teen there is an inbred desire to be a part of something, to belong, to cling on to a branch that prevents you from falling down. This is where the scene comes in; and brings the noisy music as an appendage. Something I learnt in school eons ago; Man is a social animal. I was sitting on the last bench writing a poem so I didn't listen then, but it became clear to me much later. Lone ranger was a black and white serial in the fifties; there are hardly any such people in real life. Its in our genetic code, we always strive to be among like minded people if nothing at least they must dress like us. You can see it everywhere; the longhaired chain smoking death-metallers, the spiky hair cut sporting trance addicts, the bling-bling sporting nigga wannabes and the flashily dressed bollywood fans. There are a many more but you get the point. Something great about the groups is that they accept you as you are, as long as you do everything they ask you to do. Thou shalt not be different and thou shalt be accepted. Often disowned by their own flesh and blood they find acceptance in complete strangers. You are not alone in a group, you have the mob behind you; "dem niggas will take care of dem homies in da hood", "we are rockers man... **** this world, we are in a band now, those ******s can't touch us". Take your pick from the above, in which hood/band you want to be. Trust me; even though they sound different, they are essentially saying the same things.