Monday, November 6, 2017

Monkee Bidness


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'I disliked The Monkees from day one because at the time I was a serious teen who wanted to be Rolling Stone rock critic and considered "our music" done by "our artists" to be a new art for; following, I put together my own home made aesthetic criteria , actually a free floating borrowing of a half dozen other critics opinions and tastes, convinced that it was my duty to protect and preserve the one true and undiluted thing , the music. Let me beat to the punch regarding that last sentence: I was indeed full of myself, intoxicatingly so. Nonetheless, The Monkees were the antithesis of that; my friends and I howled and mocked and denounced the fellows as much as we could, but they sold records anyway. The synthesis of this dialectic, I suppose, was that counter-culture ideas, attitudes and styles, from fashion, music, politics and the like, had been absorbed by mainstream culture. I think Marcuse referred to the process as "repressive tolerance", the notion that the System can neutralize radical impulses in a restless and dissatisfied population merely by allowing their rebellion to express itself through institutional channels. What i do recall is that Frank Zappa, the maestro of rock avant garde and someone the pure of spirit thought was far above the temptation to sell out, appeared as himself in their one feature film "Head". It pays to remember that the Mothers of Invention were not a hippie collective in which everything was done collaboratively. The band, rather , was a business concern of Zappa's and the musicians were on salary to play his music the way he wanted to hear it. Zappa the entrepreneur appreciated , no doubt, the conceptualization and execution of the Monkees as a product created to fill an under served niche even as Zappa the serious artist dismissed their tunes.




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