The world is burning. We have gas poisoning and acid attacks in the UK, Russian meddling in politics and mother nature taking back her lands via fires, volcanoes, hurricanes/twisters and earthquakes. We have a problem with pollution in the air and plastics in our waters. We have people carrying out mass shootings or people driving vehicles into crowds of people. We still have wars over religion and poverty/famine in Africa is still happening and as much as big business wants to deny it, climate change is real.
The past is littered with bands and music in general taking a stand against a problem, a situation, injustice and war. But what about now. What is upsetting musicians enough that they feel compelled to write about it?
King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” is a powerful anti-Vietnam War statement while “Khe Sanh,” by Cold Chisel portrayed the damage that the Vietnam War did to a soldier after he came back. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath focused on the fallout of nuclear war with “War Pigs”. Metallica also touched on this topic with “Blackened” while Megadeth protested nuclear warfare with “Rust In Peace”.
Bob Dylan sang about about the injustice of imprisoning an innocent man in his song “Hurricane” while Midnight Oil sang about the corruption of corporations in poisoning its workers with asbestos in the song “Blue Sky Mine”. Rush challenged religion in “Freewill” and how people use god as an excuse for their own lack of accountability.
Today, artists who speak out or write about social issues suffer blowback from “fans”. And as soon as they get blowback, the accountant speaks to the manager who then speaks to the artist. And the artist then remains silent.
Robb Flynn spoke out about racism and Trump America and he suffered death threats and hate mail. Meanwhile Metallica kept quiet on the issue, choosing financial perseverance. Even Mustaine, who normally has an opinion has kept his mouth shut. Maybe the lyrics for the upcoming Megadeth album, might reference the current social situation in a cryptic way.
Nikki Sixx is all over Twitter in his anti-Trump tweets. He’s getting told off and told to stick to music, but he doesn’t care. He’s got skin in the game and he’s shouting at the devil. Meanwhile, a lot of other artists from the 80’s are keeping their opinions to themselves. Jon Bon Jovi said something negative about Trump and he got some backlash from Jovi fans that voted for Trump. So he stopped talking about politics.
Kiss’s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley don’t care if the world is going to hell, as they continue their stand against piracy and streaming payments. At least they have an issue they are taking a stand on and they are sticking with it.
Dee Snider has always taking a stand on issues in the past and even today, he’s still taking a stand. He’s anti bullies and anti crap talkers and anti-oppressors. Even though he’s not writing the lyrics for his recent solo albums, he’s the voice who is delivering the middle finger salute message to the rest of the world.
Maynard Keenan from Tool and A Perfect Circle fame has always shared his views in songs. Sometimes he’s been very cryptic about it, but on the recent APC album “Eat The Elephant”, he’s not holding back at the Government and as usual, religion.
If you want to hear truth and people taking a stand, go watch a comedy show. Comedians are always commenting on government officials, products, companies/business people and commercials. And by taking a stand, they are selling their show and routine in the process. Comedians tour in clubs and theatres to great success. Meanwhile the majority of musicians are buying up space in the suburb of conformity, too scared to be true to themselves because of the blowback. Remember, you can’t be liked by everyone.
Take a stand.