Oligarchy!

Taylor Hawkins said something interesting in an article a few months back.  To paraphrase, he said there were very few great democracies in rock.  At the time, he was rolling through town (Boston!) as the leader of the Coattail Riders, and he was referring to the Foo Fighters and how that outfit runs on Grohl power.  And it got me thinking, because if you’ve been reading the posts here, you know that we don’t function top-down like that.  But somehow, “democracy” doesn’t seem to be exactly right either, or you would all be voting on everything we did.  That’s sort of like the whole Rivers Cuomo thing where he posts songs and lets the fan base vote on them, but I’m sure that even he doesn’t let the body politic decide what ultimately makes the record that comes out.  The voters might inform the choices, but that’s about it.  So let me go one better on Mr. Hawkins and say that there are NO great democracies in rock.  At all.  The closest anyone has ever gotten has been a benevolent oligarchy.  A few in power (the band) disseminate the edicts (songs) out to the populace (the populace).  Hey, I’m talking about us again!

 

If I had to guess, I’d say that Weezer is more of a parliamentary monarchy, with Rivers calling all the shots, but taking advice from the rest of the band and also a little from the fans.  Prince is most likely an absolute monarchy.  I wonder if he picked the name with that in mind?  And the Sex Pistols were anarchy in the UK, which was a great illustration of why anarchy never works in the long run.  Then Johhny Rotten went and became some kind of monarch after all with PIL, and had a longer career doing that than his former, greater band could ever have given him.  See, we’re all little despots in our own little musical frontiers, which brings to mind something Tears for Fears said:  Everybody wants to rule the world.

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