Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Goodbye Paul Kantner - he was a driving force of the 1960s music

By SJ Otto
One of my favorite rock bands of my past life was the Jefferson Airplane. A major writer for that group was Paul Kantner. He died recently and that leaves me with a hollow feeling. He came out with the album "Blows Against the Empire, which had a positive message about the 1960s country culture. He took the counter-culture seriously and he encompassed the spirit of rebellion and revolution. He was responsible for the launching of the band Jefferson Starship or just Starship, after the Jefferson Airplane broke up.
As with John Lennon I see him as a musician who liked to shake things up. His "Blows Against the Empire" was classics:
The album is a narrative concept album that tells the story of a counter-culture revolution against the oppressions of "Uncle Samuel" and a plan to steal a starship from orbit and journey into space in search of a new home. The original vinyl release is divided into two album sides. "Mau Mau (Amerikon)" launched Side One, a counter-culture manifesto and call to arms. In the context of the narrative, this is the free music being performed in the park, drawing everyone together.
"Put your old ladies back into bed,
Put your old men into their graves,
Cover their ears so they can't hear us sing,
Cover their eyes so they can't see us play."
"Get out of the way, let the people play,
We gotta get down on you,
Come alive all over you,
Dancing down, into your town."
It celebrates late-sixties counter-culture, depicting people celebrating mind expansion and free love, "We'll ball in your parks, insane with the flash of living...calling for acid, cocaine and grass." They've had enough of the military, domestic and abroad, and make one of the earliest references to Ronald Reagan in popular music in the line, "You unleash the dogs of a grade-B movie star Governor's drop your fuckin' bombs, burn your demon babies, I will live again!" They condemn the divisive strictures of conservative society, and dream of finding a Utopia.

Perhaps drug use is not really revolutionary, but rebellion is. I like to think that Kantner contributed to the rebelliousness of the 1960s and 1970s.

Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers

1 comment:

Stanley Workman said...

Trilby's Svengali was a character of fiction. Conversely, Marc Breed, has captivated a generation with such a unique and engaging personality that we've allowed him the ultimately luxury of a true freedom. The Art he has created, as a result of this, only seems odd; in that we view it while tinged with envy. That we in Cleveland possess such a close-up look, should be a source of extreme pride. For we may live vicariously through his artistic rampage among us.
-Dr. Stanley Workman,
Art History, Professor Emeritus