HOW WE EAT OUR YOUNG
By Mike Patton
If music is dying, musicians are killing it. Composers are the ones decomposing it. We are as responsible as anyone–although we’d love not to admit it. We lash out at “The Industry”, blaming things like corporate structure for our shitty music–but we are the ones making it. We open the box they’ve given us and jump in, wrap ourselves up, and even lick the stamp. Why? Insecurity–the need for acceptance–maybe even money. We’re not thinking about our music, just how it looks. One would rather have the warm tongue of a critic licking his asshole than the tongue of his spouse. It gives him a sense of validity and power. He seems to defy gravity.
Maybe it is because he doesn’t know what the hell else to do. He sees it coming–but freezes with panic like a deer in the headlights. Don’t laugh–I’ve done it and you probably have too. And it has undoubtedly effected out music. (But have we learned anything form it?) We know that we are mostly a lot of slobbering babies who need constant stroking. We realize also in the moral order of society, we occupy positions similar to the thief, pimp, or peeping tom. We know that even if one has the pride of a bull, it is hard enough just to remain focused in this world. It gives us milliona upon millions of images–distractions–all saying the same thing at the same time: DO NOT THINK. If your fantasy and desire give you migraines, how easy it is to forget them when there is so much to look at.
Our creations die quickly when abandoned like this. Do we realize that we are eating our young? It seems the passion that moves us is accompanied by an incredible urge to squash it. It is as quick as a fucking reflex–a conditioned response. It it a sexual problem? A puritanical one? The most intense and convincing music achieves a sexual level of expression, but what we normally feel is frigidity and limpness. It is just too easy for an artist to ‘socialize’ his desires when life tells him cardboard is OK. You should be ashamed of yourself! What is your fucking problem? If you don’t come out, sooner or later you will die in there. Use chunks of yourself. Bodily fluids. Look left and right. Sift through others’ belongings. Borrow. Steal. And try to achieve some sort of pleasure while doing it.
This excitement should increase and intensify when you visualize it being shared by a number of people. Think about it. If it comes from inside you, it is automatically valid–it just may or may not be good. Because if it is not communicating in some way, its pleasure is as short-lived as a quick fuck in the back room. It doesn’t mean shit. The labor of many composers is to construct elaborate walls of sound–but we often forget to leave a window or door to crawl out of. How can we survive in these clever little rooms? We must eat our creation or we will starve. At this point, we have heard what we wanted to hear–our ears have shut down. We’ve resigned as slaves to our own gluttony.
But if we have boarded up our learning environment, our only way out is to teach what we know. Will they listen? Why should they? Because they need you as much as you need them. You can save them from being swallowed up by the world–they can save you from being swallowed up by the world. Young and old players should be seeking each other out and using each other. They should develope a healthy exchange of smut–and learn to wear each other’s masks. In this kind of environment, incredible things can happen. Music can emerge that is athletic and personal. Music that is riddled with contradictions–impossibilities. And that is the shit that can defy gravity.