Big Pieces II (Soup of the Day)

Continuing our conversation about an interesting speech by Karl Paulnack to the Boston Conservatory Freshman Class about the nature of music. I highly recommend you read the speech, as it’s pretty deep. The gist is that music is under-rated, as it is a necessary force allowing us to remain human, even in horrible conditions such as 9-11 and The Holocaust. He expect artists, if anyone, to save the world and bring us peace. He talks about how the Greeks saw music as unlocking big pieces in our hearts and souls. This inspired a response from Soup, the drummer for The Ks.

There is a lot here and some of it needs to be challenged. He is correct on how the ancient Greeks saw the inner workings of music, but he misses the point in neglecting Socrates’ great caveat when he stated in very clear terms music is the most dangerous force in The Republic. Who could argue with that? War drums, battle hymns, songs of resistance to The Man..all people, all culture, all time.

But how dangerous is music? Let no one ever forget The Beatles were not allowed to play in Israel back in 1965. The leaders in Israel proclaimed that The Beatles were lacking in artistic merit and were a bad influence on the youth there. 1965. This was one full year before The Beatles rebelled against everything. And they were almost killed in Japan and the Philippines, not out of love, but out of political hatred. Who can blame them for never leaving their castles again.

So much for music holding a candle, even a flickering one, in The Republic. The Man wins, always.

I agree that music prevents us from being bored and sick of life. Classical music calms me down, jazz music inspires me, pop music either makes me wish I had never been born, or it’s real, real, nice. There is no in between when it comes to pop.

So far as a song that can bring about world peace, I have heard only one in my entire life – Schiller’s Ode to Joy, musical score by Beethoven. Number of people on earth who are familiar with this song? Your guess is as good as mine.

p.s. around noon on 9/11/01 a buddy walked into a record store in NYC to pick up a copy of Dylan’s new record. The clerk cursed at him and then said: “Don’t you know what happened?” He said “yes.” And then walked away with Dylan’s new record. My friend did not miss a beat. Most everybody else did, including the author of this piece. The Man wins.

p.p.s. now that mp3 technology has destroyed the listening experience for recorded music by compressing all frequencies to the point of feeling crushed by two walls closing in on you, and nobody cares, can musicians be far behind? A world without musicians. Socrates would be elated.

–Dave “Soup” Campbell

Regarding the Events off of Mayburn Key, July 23rd, 1964

The Swarm

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