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Know Your Rights

26 Apr

One of my favourite songs by the British punk band The Clash is ‘Know Your Rights.’ A fantastic song discussing the civil rights (and lack there of) of citizens. Rather punk!!

Know Your Rights
Songwriters: HEADON, TOPPER / JONES, MICK / SIMONON, PAUL / STRUMMER, JOE

This is a public service announcement
With guitar
Know your rights all 3 of them
I say
Number 1: You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a CRIME!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or aristocrat
Number 2: You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don’t mind a little
Humiliation, investigation
And if you cross your fingers
Rehabilitation
Wang! Young offenders! Know your rights
Number 3: You have the right to freeeee
Speech as long as you’re not
Dumb enough to actually try it.
Know your rights
These are your rights
All 3 of ’em
It has been suggested
In some quarters that this is not enough!
Well…………………………
Get off the streets
Get off the streets
Run
You don’t have a home to go to
Smush
Finally then I will readd you your rights
You have the right to remain silent
You are warned that anything you say
Can and will be taken down
And used as evidence against you
Listen to this
Run

Source –
http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/clash/know+your+rights_20031891.html

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At The Drive In

26 Apr

In the early 2000’s, my younger brother introduced me to post-hardcore Texan band At The Drive In and their album Relationship of Command. The music and style was different, powerful, energetic, chaotic, arty. I loved the energy and the political and societal commentary in their songs. It spoke to my punk leanings. There was a sense of frustration and aggressive opinion, and to me it seemed like dissatisfaction with American society (or perhaps not).

The album and the band’s music and philosophy spoke to me. If I was angry or frustrated and I would put on this album and let out my emotions. Video clips for some of the singles from the album, One Armed Scissor and Pattern Against User showed shots of New York City (a place I had wanted to visit for years), driving across the USA, subcultures, violence and societal issues; and the band performing at festivals. These clips spoke to me. And when I travelled to the USA (to New York, Washington, Chicago and Michigan) in 2003 I took this album with me. And I loved the artwork on the album and the bands stickers (I had a black, red and yellow sticker with the word ‘atencion’ on my CD case).

I haven’t listened to this album for a while. I am going to look it out and listen to it.

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Political / Protest Songs

23 Apr

When I was growing up in the early to mid 1990’s I listened to a diverse selection of music – mainstream rock, some pop (admittedly more when I was thirteen and fourteen), bands / musicians from the 1960’s, 1970’s and the 1980’s such as Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, The Clash, The Police, Australian Crawl, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Led Zeppelin etc; and a selection of movie soundtracks.I listened to a lot of mainstream commercial radio and did like a lot of mainstream bands and artists that I would be loathe to admit to now.

But combined with that, I also had a great love (taping songs and buying greatest hits albums) and affinity with bands / musicians from other eras. Something spoke to me and I imagined what it had been like to live in that era and what historical and societal changes were taking place at that time. I have had an interest in news, politics and history from an early age. And growing up in my family with its left wing, accepting, hippie-ish leanings, it was no wonder I developed a passion for bands that spoke out, in the form of songs or active protest, against injustice, war, environmental destruction, human and civil rights and conservative politics.

The most significant bands that sung political / protest songs for me were The Clash and Midnight Oil. Other bands such a The Police, Cold Chisel and Goanna sung songs that made reference to political struggles (such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland (Omegaman by The Police) and indigenous rights (Solid Rock by Goanna) or cultural / societal changes (such as returning Vietnam veterans (Khe San by Cold Chisel) and demolition of historic buildings (Astrid Goodbye by Cold Chisel).

So many of The Clash’s songs spoke to my left wing beliefs (and simple belief in civil rights) along with their punk and socialist philosophy. Songs that influenced me, shaped my beliefs, and spoke about political and societal topics include –
– Know Your Rights
– Guns of Brixton
– The Call Up
– Straight to Hell
– Remote Control
– Rock the Casbah

There were many Midnight Oil songs that spoke to me and my political and environmental beliefs. For those that don’t know the band, Midnight Oil was an Australian rock band active from the late 1970’s to the early 2000’s. The band wrote many songs that addressed topics as diverse as indigenous (Australian Aboriginal) rights and injustices, environmental destruction, support for anti-nuclear protest, the plight of asbestos workers, opposition to US military intervention in other country’s affairs, and many more. Songs include –
– Beds Are Burning
– Blue Sky Mining
– US Forces
– Truginini
– Forgotten Years
– Short Memory
– Dreamworld

For me, bands and singers performing songs that protest current political and societal issues speaks volumes to me. These bands and singers are voicing my opinion and shouting it loud and clear to thousands of people. They speak for the people who support these ideas.

Links / References –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Oil

20130424-072742.jpg Single Artwork (Source – Wikipedia entry on Know Your Rights)

Joe Strummer – An Inspiration & Idol

23 Apr

While writing some of my recent posts on songs by The Clash – Know Your Rights,Career Opportunities, protest songs – Political / Protest Songs and Margaret Thatcher – Margaret Thatcher’s Death and a bit of Punk Music, I was thinking about Joe Strummer, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for The Clash. For me he is a great inspiration and an idol. His political beliefs (socialism, anti-racism, anti-war, environmentalism etc) speaks to me in volumes. And the lyrics of The Clash songs resonate with me. He sounds like a great guy who is not afraid to talk / sing / actively protest for things he believes in or disapproves of. Well enough of that gushing……. I am just totally inspired.

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(Source – The Legend Joe Strummer Facebook page – http://www.facebook/TLJOESTRUMMER)

Chrissy Amphlett – Sassy Woman of Rock

23 Apr

I was saddened to find out last night that Chrissy Amphlett, the lead singer for the Australian rock band, Divinyls, had passed away. My girl mentioned it to me as soon as I walked in the door.

She was such a sassy lady, a woman with a certain toughness and female sexuality, who stood her own amongst the Australian rock scene in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I loved her look – long bright red hair and provocative (and subversive) short dress (i.e. school uniform) with suspenders and high heels, her distinctive gutsy voice and her wild performance style.

I’ve never actually owned any of the band’s albums, but I had songs such as ‘Pleasure and Pain’ and ‘I Touch Myself’ on cassette tape which I had taped off the radio. In 1991, as twelve year old girl I heard ‘I Touch Myself.’ I loved the song, not specifically because it was a song about masturbation, it just seemed like a cool song, and Chrissy’s voice sounded so cool. But I was no fool, I did know what it was about, it is was kind of naughty and yet empowering. Now days I actually like ‘Pleasure and Pain’ and ‘Science Fiction’ are my favourite songs.

Reading some of the articles and statements from people who knew Chrissy reinforces her presence, female toughness, rock and roll swagger, outspokenness, originality and being a true performer. She was a great Australian rock performer, female role model and an inspiration to me (and I am sure many more Australian women growing up in the early 1990’s).

Links & References –
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-22/divinyls-singer-chrissy-amphlett-dies/4644172

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20130423-072611.jpg (Source – Divinyls’ Facebook page)

The Buzzcocks – Punk & Sexuality

19 Apr

Last week with the death of Margaret Thatcher, I found myself contemplating the punk movement and their opposition to the Thatcher government and its policies. See posts – and ___________. With this I was listening a lot to The Clash (my favourite punk band). One afternoon after work I stopped off in the city and picked up some local street press (free newspapers discussing music, movies and queer topics). I picked up Queensland Pride (a local Queer Street press publication) and I saw an articles about the British punk band, The Buzzcocks. It was an enlightening article!!

I had no idea about the band’s queer ness / support for the queer community and that the lead singer, Pete Shelley is bisexual. I had never listened to their music. I had seen references and articles to the band over the years, but I thought they were a macho (given that the term ‘cock’ is in the band’s name) male orientated punk band. I was rather wrong. The ‘cock’ in the band’s name in fact refers to the Manchester slang for mates/friends. And to discover that in their songs there were references to sexuality and bisexuality, was fascinating. Peter Shelley had also been “involved in student politics at college and campaigning for rights of women and gays and lesbians and bisexuals.” A marriage of campaigning for LGBTI rights, equality for women and punk politics. I loved this. I was inspired.

I mentioned this to my girl over the weekend and said I wanted to listen to some of their music. And low and behold, my girl bought me two of their albums yesterday! She is awesome. So I had a chance to listen to their music this morning on my drive to the train station. I like it. And there were a few songs that I liked straight away – great guitar, beat and lyrics. I will be listening to more over the weekend I suspect.

I am also going to try and listen to some female punk bands such as X-Ray Specs and some Queercore (punk that rejects the disapproval of LGBTQI people) bands.

Links –
http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/entertainment/music-2/10842-ever-fallen-in-love-with-a-buzzcock.html

The Call Up

11 Apr

The lyrics to the awesome song, the Call Up by the Clash

The Call Up by The Clash

It’s up to you not to heed the call-up
‘N’ you must not act the way you were brought up
Who knows the reasons why you have grown up?
Who knows the plans or why they were drawn up?

It’s up to you not to heed the call-up
I don’t wanna die!
It’s up to you not to hear the call-up
I don’t wanna kill!

For he who will die
Is he who will kill

Maybe I wanna see the wheatfields
Over Kiev and down to the sea

All the young people down the ages
They gladly marched off to die
Proud city fathers used to watch them
Tears in their eyes

There is a rose that I want to live for
Although, God knows, I may not have met her
There is a dance an’ I should be with her
There is a town – unlike any other

It’s up to you not to hear the call-up
‘N’ you must not act the way you were brought up
Who give you work an’ why should you do it?
At fifty five minutes past eleven
There is a rose…
Yeah!

I love this song and the anti-war sentiment.