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for September 10, 2004

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Alice Cooper For President!
by Stiffy Biceptz

I mention Alice Cooper in an article, and he lets it go to his head.
The other day he was quoted as saying something like any rock/pop stars who get involved with politics are treasonous. He was referring to the sponsored concert tour featuring Bruce, R.E.M., etc.
After some dismay, he clarified his statement (ironically, just like a politician would...) by saying they weren't being treasonous towards the nation, but to the rock world. His point was that the whole reason to being a rock/pop/music personality was that you didn't want to be part of the ordinary world, and by getting involved in the political scene, you betray your alternative way of life, thereby tarnishing your artistic credentials.
I, Stiffy Biceptz gives a muscley thumbs up to Mr. Cooper. I believe being an effective artist is about creating and maintaining an illusion, a fantasy of sorts, be it aural or visual. Its that magic that turns 3 instruments and otherwise mediocre skill into the most amazing art, with the real power to move people. These beings are at their best when they keep bit of a distance between themselves and the ordinary world, especially partisan politics.
Musical artists must be extra careful. Part of what made the alternative music scene so powerful was its indirectness, its subtley, its way of transmitting its message in a far more subliminal way. It was the antithesis of modern politics. In the end, minds were molded, lives were changed, but no one was hurt or left out.
Ultimately, artists who sign up for one side or the other are unlikely to do anything except piss off half their fans and compromise their own artistic integrity. R.E.M. was far more powerful in moving minds with their music in the mid 80's, even when you couldn't understand what Stipe was saying.
My advice for artists is, take a lesson in the way Bono has carefully interjected himself into world causes without being political. Focus on universally human problems (mass starvation, AIDS) that transcend silly partisan politics. Be wise to understand that if you show yourself to be neutral towards politics, and only interested in the issue, you'll likely be respected by all. Bono, almost a mythical being in the alternative world, uncompromised artistically or in any other way, found Senator Jesse Helms to be one of the nicest, most sincere people he had ever met. If Bono says it, I absolutely believe it. And I'd bet most of you do to, even if hurts just a little bit.
So take Stiffy's counsel. Encourage people to vote, and to feed the starving, and leave it at that. We know who you're voting for, and so are most of your fans. And if you think no one cool could ever vote for that other guy, just remember one thing. Johnny Ramone is a Republican, and he's definitely cooler than you.

©2004 Stiffy Biceptz

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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