A recent post on this board asked, "WHAT HAPPENED TO GUY
Obviously a rhetorical question, thus the lack
of a question mark.
Though I was loathe to
weigh in on a subject I know nothing about, not being a guy and all,
I find that I have no interest in sitting silently by on this
question, because, despite disclaimers to the contrary, the
implication of the question is, "There is something terribly wrong
with music that appeals to females, and with musicians that appeal
A bit of rock and roll history:
roll has NEVER just been about the music. Not ever. Not once. And
because of this, every attempt to constrain it, to lock it down, to
push it into the music box only, has FAILED.
Rock and roll's
power is not derived from the music alone. If it were, genres like
punk would never have enjoyed any success at all. "Punk musician" is
an oxymoron, as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols would have quickly
pointed out in their day. To call a punk-rocker a "musician" was
considered a GRAVE insult. They believed music, like medicine, to be
a discipline, and had no interest at all in conforming to anything
But I digress. History -- we were talking about
Rock and roll music, like all good art, isn't just
about the product. It is about psychology, politics, philosophy,
sociology... And yes, OH YES, it is, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN, about
There, I said it. Anybody want to dissent? Good
The simple irrefutable fact is that rock music began as
sexual subversion. It was a cultural reaction to sexual repression
in the same way Strauss' waltzes were centuries ago.
Boomers, that massive generation of American's born between 1946 and
1964 (who are now in their late 30's to mid-50's) were, and still
are, the masters of all they survey(ed) at every point in their
Why? Because of the power, economically, of their
Is it any surprise then that, as they hit
their teens, rock and roll exploded onto the national stage... that
their America was the birthplace of rock and roll? And what, do
tell, were these teenagers looking for, precisely? High art? Musical
excellence? A transcendent auditory experience?
They were looking, as every generation before or since them has, to
get laid and to rebel against authority -- particularly that of
It has ever been thus.
Puberty (what an
odd word for such an intense experience) is all about hormones. And
for guys, the "house wine" is testosterone, which exists for two
purposes only: to fuck and to fight. Sex and aggression.
that is the duty of rock and roll, and the reason for its
Seduction, subversion, aggression, rebellion,
provocation... Are there any higher complimentary adjectives when it
comes to describing rock music?
Here's a conundrum for ya...
If Elvis had sung about fixing cars, instead of about Hound
Dogs, would he have been as successful?
If the Stones had
sung about the parliamentary system of governance in Britain,
instead of about Brown Sugar, would they have been as
If The Beatles had sung about how much they liked
pizza, instead of about how much they wanted to hold a girl's hand,
would they have been as successful?
And here's an even BIGGER
conundrum for ya...
If Elvis had looked like Rush Limbaugh,
would he have been successful?
If The Stones had looked like
The Three Stooges, would they have been successful?
Beatles had looked like the House Un-American Activities Committee,
would they have been successful?
Successful rock stars have
had two things going for them: guys wanted to BE them, and girls
wanted to BE WITH them. I hate to disappoint the purists among you,
but it is really just as simple as that.
If the music were
the only issue... Well, you get my point.
And my point is
this: rock has never been content-neutral, or
It started out being about a handful of
things lyrically -- about the things baby boomer teens wanted to
hear about -- the best of these being sex (or love) and aggression
The life drive, and the death drive. Creation
and destruction. Libido and Thanatos.
Rock stars are SUPPOSED
to be larger-than-life, and they are SUPPOSED to symbolize more than
the music they make. They are SUPPOSED to be cultural touchstones,
and cultural icons.
That is why rock stars stride the public
stage like gods -- BECAUSE THEY ARE.
(I call myself Pope Diva
I for a reason, and only with a very slight wink.)
believe, and always have, that rock stars (and I really don't care
for people who decry that label) are the modern equivalent of Pagan
Take Aerosmith, for example...
Wait. That is a
little tricky, since everyone here (like me) is irrational where
they are concerned.
First, take instead, The
Have you ever heard someone say that you can tell a
lot about a person by whether they like McCartney or Lennon
Well, if you haven't, check out TBPT (The Beatle
Personality Test) at:
am no expert on The Beatles, but even I know that there is something
"there" other than the music -- something fundamental about the
opposing images of the two central characters in that archetypal
play. Some fundamental bedrock thing.
Now, let's take a look
at OUR boys.
Many people on the boards are pissed that Steven
and Joe are the center of attention, to the detriment of the other
band members. I can explain why this is: People are
That's right. Most people see everything in
dualities. Hot-cold, up-down, good-bad, on-off, mind-body,
happy-sad, etc., etc.
Five is too many for them. Two is all
they can handle.
So, from the beginning, most great rock
bands have revolved around two central characters, and their
opposing images: Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Axl and
Aerosmith is just following that proud tradition.
And in Aerosmith's case, the central characters are Steven and
And who are these central archetypes, these gods, in the
grand drama that is Aerosmith?
Well, that's actually pretty
Steven is Pan:
Protector of Goatherds and
"Usually depicted as goat-like in appearance, Pan
prances through the fertile countryside playing his seven-reed pipe
in wild abandon. His piping can be as soft and seductive as the
breeze, but when heís angered, his bellow and howl can be heard for
He fought with the Olympians against the Titans of
Kronos and for his terrifying war cry, his name is still associated
with PANic fear.
His lust for the nymphs, naiads and dryads
is legendary. The nymph, Syrnix, was the name sake for Panís
reed-pipe because she was turned into a reed to escape the amorous
advances of the Goat God (Iím not sure where this story originates).
Also, the nymphs Pitys and Echo, were made famous when they fled
from Pan. For their insolence Pitys was turned into a pine tree and
Echo was transformed into a voice that could only repeat that last
word spoken to it."
Joe is Hades:
"Hades was the ruler of the underworld, which
he ruled with his bride Persephone. Three judges decided the fate of
souls; heroes went to the Elysian Fields, evildoers to Tartarus. The
Underworld itself was sometimes called Hades, and it still is today.
Hades was one of the children of Cronus and Rhea, and was
assigned the Underworld after the division of power among himself,
Zeus, and Poseidon. Since Hades was always in the Underworld, he did
not sit with the other gods in Olympus. He ruled the Underworld with
Persephone and the goddess Hecate, the actual overseer of the dead.
Hades represented the finality of death, and as a result was little
seen among mortals, or other gods. In fact, Hades was not allowed to
The best known legend concerning Hades is the
story of him and his wife, Persephone. Hades greatly wanted
Persephone as his wife, but her mother, Demeter, was extremely
protective of her daughter and would not allow it. Hades kidnapped
her when she was picking flowers in the fields accompanied by her
maidens. She wandered aside noticing a new, glorious flower, the
Narcissus. Hades took advantage of the separation and quickly came
up from the Underworld, snatched her up into his chariot, and with
his wild steeds quickly descended to his gloomy abode."
what do we have here?
Steven: lusty (fun), expressive, vocal,
extroverted, mercurial, physical, humorous, energetic, earthy,
natural, sunny, social
Joe: lustful (serious), reserved,
quiet, introverted, volcanic, moody, serious, powerful,
other-wordly, dark, solitary
Sound about right?
onto another subject.
There has been a lot of talk about how,
in the beginning, the Blue Army was all (or mostly all) guys, and
how NOW, everything has been ruined by all these horny women
Aerosmith is making music for.
First of all, there is a world
of difference between Aerosmith's early days, and now. For instance,
I know that when I lived under my parents' roof, if I had asked them
to let me go see Aerosmith in concert, they would have said "no." If
I had asked them to let me go see Lionel Ritchie, on the other hand,
they would have said "yes." If I was a boy, I don't think they would
have minded me going to see either concert. My parents weren't
stupid. I think they knew that Aerosmith oozed sex, and thought it
was just as well that they kept their baby away from such dangerous
characters, and away from the kind of guys that would go to an
So, I am not at all certain that the
gender makeup of concert-goers in Aerosmith's early history
indicates ANYTHING about who did or did not love their music at the
...Well, I see I've run on here, and for a lot longer
than I had intended, so I'm gonna wrap this up, though I have a TON
more to say on this subject. But before I do, I just want to say one
The original post that inspired this rant -- the
one where somebody is getting their boxers in a twist over the gals
on this board and our lusty conversations about, and physical
infatuation with, Aerosmith -- is just conservative crap.
a conservative, there is nothing more subversive than women treating
men as sex/love objects, rather than as success/power
And the reason this is so, is that it represents a
role-reversal -- standing the traditional "places" of the sexes on
their heads. WOMEN are supposed to stay in their place as sex/love
objects, and MEN are supposed to stay in their place as
Well, for all you guys out there who
are bothered and bummed by the women on this board, and our healthy
sexual interest in the bounty that Aerosmith lays willingly before
GET OVER IT.
Aerosmith didn't write "Lord of the
Thighs" for you. The "you" Steven is singing to is a
And that song, by the way, isn't even ON the new
Pope Diva I of
"Screamin' and a hummin' like an old tube