I Love Rock and Roll
(But I Ain’t Got No Dime For the Jukebox, Baby)
With Valentine’s Day approaching, ponder for a moment the eternal questions: What is love? Where can I find it? How will I recognize it when it occurs?
Good questions, all. It is impossible to determine how love occurs between people — it is far too subjective and personal for anyone but the participants to understand. Love is different to everyone, but certain things hold true. You can’t force yourself (or anyone else) to love; it just occurs. Love does not coat life with a rosy sheen, making everything Technicolor and perfect. In fact, it might just cause you pain. But love does underlie all else, and provides the best (and oft times, only) reason to keep plugging along.
I have loved often in my life; some ended well, others not. Such is the nature of love. But the relationship I’ve held the longest, the one that never seems to leave me, is not with a person at all.
I love rock and roll.
Now to most equating mere enjoyment of a musical form with romantic love is belittling to the most people’s notions of love. So be it. When I was a youth, rock and roll inspired me, as I grew older, it challenged me, enraged me, and gave solace in troubled times. For rock and roll is not mere music — any genre that can encompass both Can and The Beatles is more than just chords and rhythms — it is an attitude. An attitude that can’t be defined.
Oh yes, rock and roll has disappointed me, much like a lover. In fact, MOST rock and roll is found lacking — just like anything else. But when it is good, it is sublime. From The 13th Floor Elevators on “Easter Everywhere” to the simple power of The Ramones, it has filled my empty spaces all my life. It still challenges me, 30 years after I met it — of how many other relationships can I say the same?
It is this love that causes me to write about music in an attempt to share the wonder that certain works make me feel, or to share my disappointment when something is found lacking. I do it for the love, not the money, for there is none. I have another job for the money, and I enjoy it well enough, but if it were to all go away tomorrow, it would be only the financial aspect I would miss. Lose my hearing, and I would go mad. To no longer hear Johnny Rotten’s yelp, or Ry Cooder’s seductive slide? My heart would break.