Red hats we hate: Fred Durst and Donald Trump

Red hats we hate: Fred Durst and Donald Trump

The outcome of the U.S.A elections this year has left not only America in utter shock, but it has also left the entire world in shock, as we all saw former reality-tv star and entrepreneur Donald Trump elected as the president of the U.S. His red hat with ‘Make America Great Again’  written on it will be hard to forget, because it’s left some people in America and even around the world questioning whether he will actually make it great again. Another red hat that we simply cannot forget is frontman of Limp Bizkit, Fred Durst’s red hat. Both of these public figures are entirely different and irrelevant to one another (not even worth the comparison), but people have polar reactions towards them, and they both have red hats.

 

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Fred Durst with his ‘iconic’ red hat

Fred Durst has been pretty controversial, I mean, just listen to a couple of Limp Bizkit songs. Limp Bizkit’s song ‘Nookie’ from their 1999 album ‘Significant Other’ left some people rather offended due to its sexist lyrics (he did it all for the nookie). But this was no surprise, as Fred Durst is no stranger to such extreme opinions in his lyrics. Although you’ve got to admit ‘Nookie’ has a catchy hook, the lyrics are just plain wrong. The music video is rather iconic, and it is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Limp Bizkit. Fred Durst can be seen in this music video with his iconic red hat as women walk behind him. The music video just ends with him getting arrested by the police; total badass, right? Ah, this was Nu Metal at its finest, and you either loved it or hated it. The lyrics were usually edging on being sexist and fairly violent, but Fred Durst took that far. Nu Metal was cringy and it felt like a bunch of kids trying to seem cool and edgy, but they just ended up making a fool of themselves.

 

 

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Trump with his own red hat. Could he be doing it for the nookie too?

Trump, a controversial figure, is also somebody doing something that a lot of people feel uneasy about (becoming president of the U.S). He’s getting a lot of hate for it, mostly because he did say ‘Grab ’em by the pussy’ and made fun of disabled people (just to name the minimum amount of things he’s actually said that are plain wrong). People either love or hate Trump, and also his red hat. Nobody knows what he’s going to actually do, and nobody likes change. This is a new era of politics, and you’ve ought to brace yourselves, but always remember to be kind to one another and never invade somebody else’s human rights. Maybe the Donald will surprise his nation and when January comes he’ll be more presidential, only time will tell.

 

Although both of these celebrities are not comparable, people have strong point of views surrounding them. Meanwhile Nu Metal is probably dead, we still remember the slight cringe and wrongness of Fred Durst singing ‘did it all for the nookie’. Despite the fact that people hope for Trump to come out of the other side as a more presidential leader and not undo the progress that has been established in the U.S lately (LGBT, Transgender community, etc), we will always remember his hurtful words throughout his campaign. These words are what has sparked the anger from the people, and here’s hoping that he at least buries that in the past and leads the country in favour of everyone.

Living Fast and Dying Young With Germs

Living Fast and Dying Young With Germs

There’s clear debate surrounding the roots of punk, although from my point of view it certainly began in England, but we can never be too sure. However, the L.A punk scene is certainly a scene that deserves it’s own recognition, and this is most definitely due to Germs and their lead singer Darby Crash.

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Every Germs gig was a hellacious one where things were bound to get super rowdy. Crash was absolutely out of this world with his performances as lead singer, something like a cross-over between Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Crash would dive into the crowd and keep his clothing to some sort of minimum. He would step on stage obviously drugged out of his mind and singing into everything except into the microphone as he would roll on the ground from time to time and provoke the audience into further conflict. It’s safe to say that in order to really get yourself into the spirit of things, you’d have to witness the band performing live. Joan Jett actually got pretty close to bottling this absolute madness into a record called GI, which features legendary punk anthems such as Lexicon Devil, Sex Boy, and Communist Eyes in their utmost prime beauty. 

Back in the earlier days of Germs, there were not many hopes for the band’s future. Their first single Formation came back with a note from the pressing plant saying that this record will give you ear cancer. Probably the only musically experienced member in the band was guitarist Pat Smear who would later on go join Nirvana and Foo Fighters. It was not long until heroin practically consumed frontman Darby Crash at the age of 22, and that’s when Germs were practically over. Even though the band later reformed, it wasn’t the same without having Crash around.

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Crash was certainly a mysterious character to say the least, and an absolute tragedy due to how short his life was cut. A lot of his lifestyle was fuelled by girls who would drive him to places and get him drugs, although his relationship with them was usually rather platonic. In fact, there’s growing speculation that Crash was a closeted homosexual and feared coming out of the closet due to the hatred that he probably thought he would receive as a result, especially at the moment in time during the 70s. When Crash committed suicide in 1980, John Lennon’s death stole the headlines, but there were rumours that Darby Crash was attempting to write “Here lies Darby Crash” on the wall moments before his death. However, in reality he wrote a note to the bassist of Germs, Bosco, “My life, my leather, my love goes to Bosco”. Although Crash lived a very short life, he and Germs have influenced many other punk bands to this day. There are some split views regarding Darby Crash’s talent, as he was usually drugged out of his mind during performances and at times performing with a piece of paper in his hand (he would forget some of the words to the songs). Despite his highly troubled exterior, I’m pretty sure that deep inside him there was a shy boy who was lost, confused and maybe even feeling out of place. However, the songs that he had written during the time he lived are songs that are pure poetry and honesty.

Robert Johnson: The man who sold his soul to the Devil

Robert Johnson: The man who sold his soul to the Devil

One of the greatest Blues musicians to walk the face of this earth, he was a true pioneer, but we know very little of the King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson. His death remains a mystery and his songs such as, ‘Me And The Devil Blues’ feel eerie in their lyrical essence, making us question whether Johnson truly sold his soul to the Devil.

Robert Johnson was born in Mississippi on May 8th, 1911, and some recall he was relatively well educated, considering his background. He often moved between cities and performed his music to crowds, but he never achieved much fame, most of it was achieved posthumously. As far as we know, Johnson could’ve been a ladies man with his apparent charismatic charm, which could justify his death. Some have claimed that he could’ve been poisoned by a jealous husband/boyfriend of a woman that he had flirted with earlier, others believe that he could’ve died of syphilis.

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There may be certain things we will never know about this young man that suddenly died only at the age of 27. But there is a theory, which is that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil. His music certainly does make us lean towards this theory, although we can only lean on to it to a limited extent, because they are just lyrics after all. The myth goes that Johnson was so determined to become a successful Blues musician, that he took his guitar to a crossroads near Dockery Plantation at midnight. At these crossroads he met a big black man (the Devil) who tuned the guitar and played a couple of songs on it before he gave it back to Robert Johnson.

In the song ‘Me And The Devil Blues’ he says:

“And I said hello Satan

I believe it’s time to go.”

There is a lot of space for interpretation here, and he might’ve not literally sold his soul to the Devil as some might like to believe. Blues historians have argued that perhaps he was referring to himself as the child of Satan, since he was a Blues musicians and the Blues were the work of the Devil. Others have argued that this was due to his roots as an African- American, where ‘selling’ your soul to the Devil, was actually making some sort of pact with trickster African God Legba, who just like the Devil is also associated with crossroads. The fact that Johnson mastered the guitar in such a short amount of time with scarce resources to do so, indicates us towards this theory, however, it is a weak one.

“Me and the Devil 

Was walkin’ side by side” 

Perhaps the most believable theory that I stand by (although the theory of him literally selling his soul to the Devil sounds the most interesting) is the fact that when he mentions the ‘Devil’ he is actually talking about white people. Evidently there was racial segregation in the 1930s, and Johnson would not be allowed to directly say that he doesn’t like white people, therefore they were the ‘Devil’. It makes the most sense to go with this theory.In fact, it is probably safe to say that the reason he didn’t reach much fame during his lifetime was because he was black.

We will never know the true circumstances regarding Robert Johnson’s sudden death. Could it have been poison? Syphilis? Legba? Or… the Devil himself coming to claim Johnson and send him for an eternity to the promised land, Hell?

“It must-a be that old evil spirit

So deep down in the ground

You may bury my body

Down by the highway side

Baby, I don’t care where you bury my body

when I’m dead and gone”

What it’s like being an all-girl punk band in conservative Spain

Up until the year 1975 Spain was ruled by Fascist dictator, Franco. This transition period that soon followed was coined as La Movida in Madrid, and it resembled the British new wave with its outrageous aesthetic that made you think of the New Romantics in the U.K. This was a time of freedom, rebellion, and most of all, loads of punk rock! Meanwhile La Movida was happening in Madrid, the Basques started their own thing, and it was more hardcore than the stuff they were doing in Madrid.

Within the arrival of punk as a definitive form of expression for the youth, we had the first all-girl punk bands emerging. Of course, you were already bound to get into trouble as a punk, because Spain still had a conservative mentality and continued to mourn Franco’s death. Bands like Eskorbuto, La Polla Records, and Cicatriz grew in popularity. Eskorbuto were certainly one of the most controversial, as they sang songs such as the legendary ‘Ya no quedan más cojones, Eskorbuto a las elecciones’, which translates to, ‘there’s no more balls, Eskorbuto to the elections’ (a very rough translation). That song literally criticised the Spanish government and how it has no balls, stating that Eskorbuto should run for president instead, because they’d make some changes for sure. Despite its sexist connotations (one of the lyrics in the song basically says that he’d like to find a female cop and “fuck” her all the time- using it as a metaphor to go against the hand of authority, but in my opinion it’s an unnecessary metaphor), it’s a brilliant song, but there was a lot of political trouble that soon followed the band due to this song and a couple of other ones. With these dominating male punk bands that were getting crowds super hyped up and ready for anarchy, it was a tough panorama if you were an all-girl punk band.

In the summer of 1982 Las Vulpess formed, and they were bound to shock Spain out of its misogyny and conservative politics. Hailing from Barakaldo in the Basque Country, they roared onto the TV programme Caja De Ritmos with their ‘Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra’ (Which translates to: I like to be a bitch/whore/slut). The song was a cover of The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, and they pulled it off spectacularly. As you would expect, there was a huge uproar following their performance, which actually lead to a court case. Their short but sweet career really made a jolt of a start since then. They released ‘Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra’ straight after that scandal. In the documentary Rock Radikal Vasco: La Gran Martxa de Los 80 one of the girls from Las Vulpess recalls their experience in gigs and touring. She recalls how people used to call them ‘whores’, ‘bitches’,’sluts’, and even spit at them. It got to the point where they couldn’t bring their partners to their gigs because they couldn’t stand seeing them being treated in that manner and lack of respect. Some would say they were asking for it by releasing such ‘outrageous’ songs, but I think they weren’t asking for it, they were just expressing themselves as young women, and as human beings. They had the ‘cojones’ to actually tell everyone what they really thought, and I find that aspect most inspiring. If it weren’t for girl bands such as Las Vulpess (who in hindsight remind me a bit of L7, another band I completely worship) I think I’d still be in my shell and continue being that shy girl I used to be when I was younger. I’m glad I discovered these Riot Grrrls, and I’m happy to be one too.

Here is the ‘outrageous’ performance from 1983.

Sadly they only have one album out there, but it’s a memorable one for sure. Their fierce approach to the lyrics is something that is worth admiring, even to this day, they were really ahead of their time, and extremely underrated.

Have a listen to the whole album over here:

 

CLICK HERE FOR DRUGS! Check out Formation’s latest interactive music video

CLICK HERE FOR DRUGS! Check out Formation’s latest interactive music video

In this tech-savvy society that we live in we are constantly bombarded by advertisements and information, to the extent where it becomes second nature to find some kind of sponsored ad whilst you’re surfing the net at some point. Something stood out in my social media feed today, and that was a curious link telling me to click there for drugs. Now I know what you’re thinking, but it didn’t look sketchy, I mean it was being sponsored by Facebook. Curiosity crept onto me before I could even rationalise my choice to click (I mean, there obviously weren’t going to be any drugs- the description of the video made it sound so broad, I knew that it was bound to be some artsy project). That little rational choice allowed me to discover this band ‘Formation’, who make music that is definitely worth tuning yourself into.

The video was a compilation of VCR taped videos that you had to click through to apparently get these so-called “drugs”. It showed various images that captured the mood and emotions, which crept in with drugs, it also obviously showed drugs. This concept of drugs extended itself in such a philosophical manner throughout this experience of clicking through all that VCR footage whilst the band’s song ‘Drugs’ played. You can call it whatever, but that’s smart advertising. This interactive music video could possibly broaden the horizons of marketing and evidently the making of music videos, especially for the millennial and upcoming generations that are raised on electronics.

The song shines a light on London’s cocaine scene, but it also shines a light on today’s consumer society, with drugs or no drugs. It’s a relevant choice of subject and of visual art, because we live in a society fuelled by drugs (including legal drugs), we’ve got a remedy for loads of things. The millennial generation does not only have the empowering desire to know it all and solve everything, but they also like to dig back to the old stuff and give it a revamp (thus the VCR footage). This can be observed in the rapidly emerging trends of the 2010s, all of which millennial parents may sit there wondering why their children are wearing their old high waist jeans, sweaters, sneakers, and dresses from when they were younger in the 80s-90s. Not only do we see this happening in fashion, we also see this happening in music, for example, vinyls have become largely popular again. Isn’t it strange how you’d expect such a tech-savvy generation like that of the millennial generation to advance in such things, but they don’t really seem to care for that stuff? Some may wonder it’s strange, but it is quite understandable. This music video somehow corresponds to that, and makes you wonder such things, that’s what makes it so relevant.

The song ‘Drugs’ by Formation is a pretty good song with a catchy chorus that features lyrics relevant to the individual, and a rhythm section that is bound to hook you onto the rest of the song. CLICK HERE FOR DRUGS… who knows, you might find just what you’ve been looking for all this time…

 

The Day The Music Died: The Death of Ritchie Valens

February 3, 1959 is marked as the day that music died due to the death of musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P “The Big Bopper” Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson in an airplane crash that occurred near Clear Lake, Iowa. The event was referred to as ‘The Day The Music Died’ after Don McLean’s widely known song ‘American Pie’ mentioned it. It was a dark day, because these men who were legends and still with a great portion of their lives and careers remaining, had their lives snatched away in such an instant moment. Ritchie Valens was the youngest in the accident to die, being only 17 years old, he had an entire career literally just setting off.

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This came about the other day when I was figuring out some chords from Ritchie’s rock’n’roll version of the Mexican folk song ‘La Bamba’. I’ve always somehow come across Ritchie Valens’ music one way or another, whether it was this song, or his extremely catchy and charismatic song ‘Come On, Let’s Go’ or the romantic hit ‘Donna’ that was dedicated to his girlfriend. They were all songs that certainly did give birth to a new side of music that we hadn’t seen much of before, Chicano rock and Latino rock, all due to Ritchie’s unique blend between his ancestral Mexican roots and his love for rock’n’roll that is clearly reflected in his music. However, as I was figuring out the magic behind ‘La Bamba’ I grew in curiosity about the artist behind this masterpiece. There really isn’t much out there about Ritchie Valens, he had a very short career and life. All that is left are these extremely successful songs that catapulted him into instant fame, making him a total pop genius in his own right at a very young age. It’s sad how there’s only just that, he wasn’t given the chance to make anything more…

There’s a film out there starring Lou Diamond Phillips as Ritchie Valens called ‘La Bamba’, which was released in 1987 depicting the life of Ritchie Valens from ages 16-17 leading up to his death. After watching this film I learnt more about what Ritchie would’ve been like, his personality, talents, and views on life. Ritchie loved music since he was 5 years old growing up listening to a lot of traditional Mexican Mariachi music, R&B, and flamenco guitar, he certainly had a good range of music to take inspiration from. He was actually left-handed but taught himself how to play the guitar the traditional right-handed way, he practically went everywhere with his guitar, he even took it to school with him. Unfortunately Ritchie had a fear of flying, which later on in his life would result to be a bittersweet irony. This was due to the fact that on January 31, 1957, an airplane crashed right into the Pacoima Junior High School yard resulting in some of Ritchie’s friends getting killed. Although Ritchie Valens was not in school on that day, he suffered with the painful consequences of losing his friends at the age of 15 in such a tragic accident, which led him to develop a fear of flying. He got over this fear when he was becoming a successful musician as he had to fly to places like Hawaii quite often, but the damages still remained deep inside.

He was a special guy, one of a kind, a clear indicator that you can do anything if you try hard enough. We remember him through many songs, ‘La Bamba’ being a very popular one that seems to never get old due to Ritchie’s uniquely redeeming approach towards this  song. It’s hard to notice this in this song, but Ritchie didn’t know any Spanish, so he’s practically singing this song in the biggest effort to make his Spanish sound good, probably unsure of the meaning behind the lyrics. He’s giving us hope that you too can sound like a native Spanish speaker if you try hard enough. There’s not denying that music has its own language and ways of communicating itself to people, and Ritchie has shown us this through his means of blending the American culture he was raised in with his Mexican lifestyle and antics that his family brought him up with. As a person who was brought up within different cultures, that at times I find myself in total confusion where I’m from and where I belong, I relate to this a lot, and I think a lot of people can relate to this too. Ritchie Valens was the beginning of a new generation of Americans, of teenagers, those who came from Mexican parents but knew no Spanish whatsoever, even thought they identified with the Mexican culture. He inspired many artists and pioneered Latino rock and Chicano rock, his legacy will eternally live on along with his incredible music.

 

 

 

Album Review: The Getaway – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Pepper’s career has been extremely long and successful, so when this album was released there was the clear assumption that it’d be another great album. However, this time things are different. The band is no longer working with their long-time producer Rick Rubin who produced the band’s largely successful 1991 album ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’, on this album they’re working with Danger Mouse instead. So this is certainly an album that take Red Hot Chili Peppers outside of their comfort zone, both in a positive and negative manner.

It’s a really different album from what you’d expect from them, it’s more mature and lacks a lot of the punk side that the band tends to show in balance to their funkier side. As a major fan of their albums ‘Mother’s Milk’, ‘The Uplift Mofo Party Plan’, ‘What Hits?!’, and the legendary ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ release, I was expecting the craziness that the band tends to depict in their music, it’s what makes them so cool. Instead, in this album I feel them ageing. Although in some respects that may be a positive thing, one side of me just wants that late 80s-early-90s RHCPs era back again! Putting all of that aside, I still believe this is a good album that grows on you with its charisma and eagerness to be heard on the radio.