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Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Music | 0 comments

A BAD DAY AND A GOOD DAY – Pussy Riot

This is a very bad day for rock and roll.  The members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot have just been sentenced by a Moscow court to two years in jail. Their  unspeakable crime was an uninvited five-minute performance at Moscow’s main cathedral, singing a song that called for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, the provably oppressive and corrupt president of their country.  “Hooliganism driven by religious hatred,” declared the judge. “Vladimir Putin is a miracle from God,” declared the church.

 

So these three young women – some of them mothers with young children, most of them vegans, all of them musicians using their art as a selfless plea for the improved lives of others –– sat in a courtroom cage for the last five months under armed guard. There’s only one real pussy here and that is Putin, who is intimidated by the power of the people and their music. As Nadezhda (Nadia) Tolokonnikova said from the cage before sentencing, “I am not afraid of you. You can take away my ‘so-called’ freedom, but you can never take my inner freedom.” Spanked that ass, Nadia.

This is a very good day for rock and roll. We can now be reminded of the reason that rock and roll exists and that it is not about tour grosses, boy bands and new streaming apps. It means something. It is the language of a culture, originally used to express the terrors and exhilarations of first freedoms; to confirm the questions and answers that belong to a  generation in its time of becoming; to identify who belongs to the culture and who doesn’t.

 

Chris Rock says that, “Your music is the music you first got laid to.” We may believe that our relationship with rock and roll has since matured, gone to a softer, more companionable place. But what Pussy Riot has reminded us is that if you don’t know what’s true for you, everyone else has unusual influence. If you’re not on your own agenda, you’re prey to everyone else’s. We each need to have a strong sense of what is right in the world that must be protected and what is wrong with the world that must be corrected and we need to use all of the opportunities and abilities given to us to help protect and correct in every way possible. You must know who you are, you must live your values, you must use whatever stage you have – including that of a manager – to extend your humanity to others.

 

“I don’t care what people say; rock and roll is here to stay,” once sang Danny and The Juniors. That’s true only if we protect it and translate it into what we do every day.

If you have a young son or daughter, this is a very good day to buy them a guitar. If you just listen to music when you work or work out, this is a very good day to turn it all the way up and remember why it reached you in the first place – rediscover the fire down below. And this is most definitely a very good day to thank Nadia, Maria and Katya and wish them the best. Hang tough: We’ll be waiting at the gates for you in 2014.


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