07 September 2008

Open Letter to Jack Johnson

I originally posted this a long time ago. I took it down as I felt bad about the harsh content. Now, I don't.

Dear Jack

Let’s get straight down to it. You are propagating complacency in a sick system. Ipods and sponsored world tours, surfing and beach fires. We don’t need lullabies in 20078, we need a brutal fucking wake up call. If you can’t see that, you need to take a peek out from under your hemp-woven beach blanket.

Jack, one day, I think you and I can be friends. I long for a world where that is possible. I long for bonfires and blankets, communal bottles of wine on the sand and skinny dipping. But that day is a long way off. I don’t know if we’ll even see that day, during this life time. There is a fucking war on Jack. Can’t you see?

Now, I know you project some eco/socially conscious vibes once in awhile and I appreciate that. Maybe it will tune some people in to the detrimental affects of this sick and twisted machine. But that doesn’t get away from the fact that you are a significant cog in this machine in the first place. I want you to be a spanner not lubricant, Jack.

Again, It is great you are a champion of the environment.
Maybe you'll encourage a few white frat boys to car pool out to your show... but the environment needs a war cry. Someone with a throat-ripping scream, tear-jerking tenor saxophone, or rib-cracking turntable. The environment needs music that takes its listeners to dark lows and ecstatic highs. Music you can't sit still to. Music that inspires the listener to run out into the streets or retreat into a dark basement to create something of their own. Music that inspires a twelve year old to research obscure poets and revolutionaries. Music that blows the roof off a crowded tribalesque basement show, instigating a communal frenzy. Music that sends thousands of lunatic ravers in a field into trance.

You ever listen to Transmission by JD. Man, I feel that baseline in my smashing inside my skull, the guitar piercing my gut, Ian’s vocals just ripping through me. I feel like a two year old on meth, when I listen to that song. And I have to find a target or implode.

I’m not sure where you came from Jack but Crass came out of Thatcher’s Britain. They came out of month long garbage strikes, decaying housing estates, the Falkland War, No Hope, Brinkmanship, the Poll Tax. Its obvious punk was a fabricated social movement and The Sex pistols were as intentionally manufactured as In’Sync, but when Johnny Rotten screamed ‘No Future’ some people took it seriously Jack. They used their art to fight back. Joy Division did it also on a more introverted, less political level. But the angst was real, the emotion genuine. You can still feel it. I don’t feel shit when I hear you call. But let’s be clear it is not about loud guitars and macho screaming. It is about real passion. It is about convincing me, you’d die if you couldn’t sing or play, like Coltrane’s Alabama does, aurally haunting our dreams.

I want music to really move me, Jack. I want it to make me cry, make me bleed. I want to be a sobbing mess on the bathroom floor after listening to your song. I want your song to make me want to punch myself in the face. I want to clench my fists, grit my teeth and punch holes in the wall when you scream, like Iggy. Kill City! I want to grab my skateboard and pound the pavement, push as fast as I can for dozens of blocks on end. I want to bull fight with oncoming cars. Shoot hills at stupid speeds and run red lights. Going and going, on and on, until I’m physically incapable of going on or until the city explodes.
I'm trying to work out what your music achieves and where it takes the listener. It is like soma or something. Lulling the listener into an apathetic marijuana-like daze. Beach blankets, gentle strumming, drifting by, chillin' out, sleeping through the static. Exactly.

You are trying to make us all Sleep Through The Static...

...please tell me its irony.

Jack, you and I might one day find paradise, but it has to be built out of the ruins of this shit we are in now. Maybe when there are no more taxes, no more mortgage payments, no more people dying on the street, no more hourly wages, no more war in Iraq. Maybe after civilization crumbles, which it will Jack. Maybe then I will join you for a post-surf bonfire on the beach. Maybe then we can watch the girl’s skinny dip in the moonlight while we share a joint and a bottle of wine. Maybe, then you can strum me a song and I’ll take a deep breath, relax and finally tune in. Until then, kindly fuck off.

I've got three surfboards and two wetsuits to give away. First come, first serve. When Jack Johnson screams a relevant scream, I will ask for them back.

Best Regards,

Your Foulweather Friend.