With the arts, “respectability” always seems to be tied to having a huge hateful aversion to the pleasure-center of our brain. This entails anything that makes you giggle, chortle, moan or even shriek out of fright. If you feel these emotions and all of their fun based kin, then it is NOT art. Which you know what? Is total, foaming-at-its-fetid-mouth-bullshit. It's this kind of elitism that I rally against, especially since it denies so many really good and even brilliant artists the respect and examination they deserve.
Now this rant is nothing new from me, but with the recent passing of GWAR front man and founder, Dave Brockie, it feels more important than ever. Especially after seeing someone online act like they couldn't or shouldn't mourn because basically GWAR didn't make “serious” art. Which is really sad. First of all, Brockie died way too young at age 50 and was, by all accounts, an incredibly sweet, funny and smart guy. I never knew him personally but always was impressed with him in interviews, loved GWAR in general and even made sure to note his badass turn as a sleazy cook in the independent film “Hackjob” when I had to review it a few years ago. (Seriously, while the film itself had some issues, Brockie singing an R-rated version of the Kiss disco-mutated song, “I Was Made for Loving You” is heart warming.)
Whenever things can turn weird and dark in your real life, sometimes it is bands like GWAR that help you get through it. We all love Leonard Cohen but you gotta have the light hearted yin to the melancholy yang. Laughing, rocking out and getting in touch with your inner Beavis can be tremendously healing. It's also important to keep in mind that no one in that band was or is dumb and provided the crude and Grand Guignol with a cheeky sense of knowing. The world is a little less bright without Dave Brockie in it, but the man has left behind a legacy of one of the most colorful bands to have emerged out of the punk/metal scene that, despite what some may have you think, actually did make some really good music.
The beauty of this world is that there is plenty of room for every stripe of creative expression. Remember kids, Marcel Duchamp once said that you can point at anything and call it art. And if it was good enough for a genius like Duchamp, then it should be good enough for all.
In others news, keep an eye out for upcoming articles, both here and abroad, covering artists ranging from Alejandro Jodorowsky to Actually Huizenga to Duke Mitchell and many, many more.
In the meantime, feel free to indulge in some of my recent article and podcast madness. Enjoy!
The Projection Booth Episode 158: SMOKER (Guest hostess duties with the always great Mike White & Rob Mary. Guests include David Christopher, Sharon Mitchell, Susie Bright, Ron Jeremy.)
The Cotolo Chronicles: Generating Godzilla Episode (Frank Cotolo & I discuss all things bright and Kaiju.)