Thursday, January 31, 2008

There's a trapdoor in the sun...


In light of the events of the past week I felt that this post might have some relevance.

Through death, many of the world's great music has come to an end. Many a great musician has had his day, meeting an untimely, unceremonious end, leaving the world with a legacy as a eulogy.

Names like Jim Morrison, Layne Staley, John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix, Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain spring instantly to mind.

Where others have survived, prospered and challenged musical stereotypes, such as Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page and Pete Townsend, their musical peers have lost their life at the peak of their powers - leaving their fans and followers to ask why?

I remember when Jeff Buckley died. Two days after my 18th birthday, on May 29 1997. I heard the news on the radio early the next morning. I remember feeling selfishly about it all. Remorseful that I was never able to see him play live - missing my one opportunity to see him when he visited Perth a year earlier, plying his trade as an up-and-coming superstar.

I have read through alot of musical debate about Jeff Buckley. There are two sides of the coin - those that proclaim his musical greatness, praising Grace as one of the finest albums of all time. others claiming that his passing has brought him matyrdom, with fans exaggerating his skill, offering him divinity in death. I myself am firmly in favour of the former.

I still listen to Grace once a fortnight.

In other instances death has brought new life. Would we have ever experienced the brilliance of the Foo Fighters, had Kurt not ended his life on that fateful day? His death allowed Dave Grohl to shine, bringing a new era of stadium rock to the world. I am grateful for that. Selfish I know, but hey I was never big a fan of Nirvana, my allegiance was always with Pearl Jam, they were my Seattle rock gods. And nowadays the Foos can slot in to my playlist any time.

Hendrix and Morrison - unquestionable members of the rock 'n' roll monarchy, now immortalised in death. Both victims of alcohol, both dead before their time. If they were alive today would they still be creating innovative new music? I don't hear the Rolling Stones bringing out anything original these days, or Bob Dylan. I'll bet money that the loudest cheers of the night at any concert they are playing will be reserved for the likes of "Start me up" or "Times they are a changin". Don't get me wrong, I respect both of these artists greatly, Bob Dylan especially. But I love Bob Dylan 30 years ago - not Bob Dylan today.

My conclusion is... sometimes it's your time. Sometimes you are revered more in death, than you would have been had you survived. Those passed are all great losses - but hey, most of them left more on this earth than the rest of us combined, you have to be grateful for that.

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