Bring the noise Last week, Arts DEVO watched Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge, the four-hour HBO documentary on the history of Rolling Stone magazine, and I thoroughly enjoyed what is an excellent look at the magazine’s groundbreaking work in telling the story of rock and the counterculture movement of the late-1960s and ’70s. I always get pumped reliving rock history, and hearing about the journalistic daring of the magazine’s early years—especially the gonzo (and smart and thoughtful) exploits of Hunter S. Thompson—was inspiring as well.
To their credit, filmmakers Alex Gibney and Blair Fosterthey didn’t shy away from shining a light on the magazine’s less exemplary moments. For me, something that stood out was Rolling Stone’s initial reluctance to allow subsequent musical/counterculture movements of late-1970s and the 1980s—the early punk and rap scenes—to share space with the by-then established forerunners (Dylan, the Stones, etc.).
Even now, decades after the fact, I often find that baby boomers plug their ears to much of the music (“You call that singing?!”) that came after that of the founding classic rockers. Despite the fact that The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who and many others made plenty of racket, there is a persistent stigma that what the kids of the generations X, M and Z listened to is just noise.
Actually, some of it is noise—by design. Like Hendrix’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” many of the best examples from genres like punk, rap, hard rock, metal and electronic music are purposefully constructed to grate against the status quo. Personally, I don’t know how all humans with souls and beating hearts in 2017 America aren’t slamming their heads into a wall in time with the nastiest, loudest, most explosive riffs they can get their ears on. In a very real way, the noise keeps me sane. My usual go-tos are anything by Andrew W.K. or now-defunct Seattle post-punkers The Blood Brothers. As Henry Rollins said, “The Blood Brothers make music that will save us all. What a great fuckin’ racket these guys make.” I agree.
Lately, I’ve also been super into the nasty noise of rap duo Run the Jewels (“Blockbuster Night Part 1” will get you through a brick wall). But for one of my all-time faves, I go back to the ’90s and English indie punk band Huggy Bear’s playfully disjointed call to fighting the man, “Pansy Twist”: “Does it make you more a kid if you wanna off a pig? Does it make you more a pig if you wanna off a kid?”
While writing this column, I reached out to a handful of my favorite music nerds to get their top loud jams, and they didn’t disappoint in supplying a cathartic YouTube playlist. Start with KARP (anything by KARP), and turn it up:
“Pie” (or “We Ate Sand” or “Lorch-Miller”)—KARP
“Malpractice”—Faith No More
“Please Don’t Wait for Me”—Yak
“Plagues” (or “No Heroes”)—Converge
Now on tap What!? This is really for realz happening? Yes, Chico is officially getting its second brewery/taproom this weekend, as Secret Trail Brewing Co. opens its doors at 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, to the public this Saturday, Nov. 18. Find Secret Trail on Facebook for info.