Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rock and Roll Morality

I must have written on this before (but I can't find it in the archives); and I'll do so in a better forum and just link back to this as an example. Anyhoo, in brief, Rock n'Roll has never been considered a 'high' musical form and the heavier the metallic sound, and the more sexualized the veneer of the band, the less respect the artists will receive. On the lowest end of all of these lists would be the band 'KISS.' I remember these bozos back in the 70s and while I thought they looked interesting, even back then I though they were more hype than talent. And I was 7 years old. It was only into the 80s that I learned the lead singer, Gene Simmons, was Jewish; which only served to embarrass me, not give me ethnic pride in 'one of our boys doing good.'

But in recent, and more mature, years I understand the shades of morality that make easy determinations suspect. This story from Haaretz in 2006 is a good case in point (alas, the story is no longer at the link): Israeli-born 'KISS' rocker Gene Simmons sends get-well video to wounded soldier.

Basically, Simmons heard that one of the soldiers wounded in Lebanon was a KISS fan, so he sent him a personally made video to cheer him up.

So, for the morality scale, does this act of righteousness - selflessly given and in defiance of world opinion on Israel and the Lebanon War - out balance Simmons's many sins against decency? Kinda.

I still don't wish to hold Simmons, or KISS, up as examples of good taste, good music, or good morals. But Simmons has complicated those computations. Someone who is an over-sexed freak - whose major crimes/sins are carnal - also knows who is a good person, good nation, and will do good acts.

And, to further the point, I've been trying to compile a list of which artists/bands support Israel and which ones don't. Support, for my list, can just mean playing in Israel (e.g. Deep Purple played in Tel Aviv back in the 90s, so they're on the good list). When I finish the list, I'll post it. And I'm sure we will have further complications on the good-sinful calibration scale.

Backpost finished 4/12/08, I had just the link. Background: This is another Lebanon II era post, but it combines with another issue I have about morality and art.

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