Now ain’t the time for…

Now ain’t the time for your tears

From Mick Farren, founder of the legendary Brit band, The Deviants, novelist, and seriously pissed off social critic, comes this polemic, titled Now ain’t the time for your tears, which comes from an long ago Bob Dylan song, sadly applicable again. 

“Long ago, I saw Bob Dylan perform ‘Masters of War’. Ol’ Bob was in a nasty mood that night, and had the band tuned to a wrathful howl. “And I’ll stand over your grave ‘til I’m sure that you’re dead.” That was closer to the noise in my head, because, as of now, I am nobody’s pacifist. A repressive horror bears down. The stench of the new McCarthyism streams from Fox and CNN at short attention-span speed, and accompanied by the theme from Gladiator. And damn me if all the night-vision pride and blitzkrieg glory isn’t punctuated by an older Bob, in new mode, singing how he’s sick of love in a Victoria’s Secret commercial.

Better look to the less compromised Hunter S. Thompson to confirm my fears. “This country has been having a nationwide nervous breakdown since 9/11. A nation of people suddenly broke, the market economy goes to shit, and they’re threatened on every side by an unknown, sinister enemy. These are not philosopher-kings we’re talking about. These are politicians.”

And where is fighting talk of rock and roll in this terrible 21st century? Well muffled, brothers and sisters, coming as it does by courtesy of the mighty Clear Channel and the like, who have seemingly warned the too-malleable tour talent about how they’ll pull the plugs on any anti-war talk.

Hell, I’ve had the plugs pulled on me more times than I can remember. The drummer refuses to stop and a riot starts. Did poor Jim Morrison die in vain? So far it has been the movie stars manning barricades; Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, and Janine Garafolo have putting their futures on the line, being told by TV pundits to shut their ignorant mouths, as though an actor is not entitled to an opinion, and everyone has forgotten the resume of that old right wing cowboy Ronald Reagan.

It takes Michael Moore to “disgrace” the Oscars while Bono stands mute. Elvis Costello (God bless him) snarls his way through ‘Peace, Love, and Understanding’ while guest-hosting the Letterman show. A Dixie Chick blurts her Texas shame for having Bush as a homeboy, but is then forced to recant like some 12th century nun faced with the instruments and the fire. I hear Eddie Vedder has been sticking it to Bush on Pearl Jam’s Bush League tour, and this has resulted in everything from rousing cheers to mass walkouts depending on which managed news channel you’re watching, or what web page you’re reading. Thurston Moore has his website, and Steve Earle stands tall, but why is Bruce so damned quiet when the shot-and-beer boys from New Jersey, in the Motorhead t-shirts, are baying for the blood of towel-heads and peace-fags — “America, love it or leave it, motherfucker!” — and gung-ho for a crack at Syria or Iran.

But watch out, it moves too fast, the aftermath will be on us before we know it. JFK understood, and so did Khrushchev, but the Crusaders of this New Order are too aggressively dumb to comprehend that the Beast of War takes on a life of its own, shrugs off all control, and the only power that remains in their hands — if they’re lucky — is the choice of striking or not striking the match in the room full of gasoline.

I feel like a fool, regurgitating the clichés of my youth, to actually ask if rock ‘n’ roll is going to be part of the problem or part of the solution, but much more is at stake here than me appearing foolish, or risking any cultivated cynicism. One of the few perks of not dying before you grow old is that you don’t have to fear being mocked as a fool. I no longer give a damn. I know the music I love is at its very pinnacle when it’s played with a no-prisoners passion, and bellows the battle cry of freedom directly into the mouth of Hell. That is a law immutable.

So c’mon, everybody. You’ve taken the drugs, and you’ve taken the cures, you’ve fucked and forgotten the names of the lovers, and you’ve all made far too much money. Like it or not, the time to hesitate is once more through. There’s even a rumour that Bush is back on the bottle. Gotta save the bloody world again.

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