That's so true. People always love back to basics. It always makes people so happy. "Oh, I hear AC/DC's next album is going to be ‘back to basics,' thank fucking god!" And you think "Oh, that sounds rad!" But in a sense, is getting what you want, or promising people what they want, a conservative thing?
Well, I think that this is what it really is: what it really comes down to is the initial idea of rock and roll, the thing that people are always looking for, that they're nostalgic for, is this kind of ur-expression. When you see Jonathan Richman throw his guitar or whatever, that's the kind moment that everyone is looking for, as corny as it sounds. That's what people want, that spontaneity or that sense of spontaneity even if it's been done a thousand times. That's what people find so thrilling. Whenever people say "back to basics" they don't mean "back to the original thing", they mean back to primitivism. The cave painting thing, like when people discovered it in America it was so powerful. I think it is this exploding American culture, or really capitalist culture, all over the world. And it has its nefarious uses but at it's root it's really universal, and the reason it's so freeing is that before rock and roll, there was a thousand years of honing the craft and showing off sophistication, and then rock and roll happened.
But who know, maybe that's not it and maybe it's just really all repressed sex. I mean, people can't stand the idea of parents or grandparents having had sex before, everyone wants to think that they actually discovered sex. It's painful for people to think about historical sex. Rock and roll is just another way of people convincing themselves that they discovered sex, when in fact it's this really repressed pantomime. Now, sex is also so codified and regimented, and everyone's got their sex identity that's so incredibly strict. It's this thing we're going through right now, it's bizarre.
In your book, you write "When the young attain some agedness, their favorite group from their youth is a nostalgic memory central to their identity, and considered with a kind of irrational devotion, like Catholicism to a Catholic." This description of rock as an "irrational devotion" seems apt; a lot of '70s rock, for example, expressed rock as a past movement that they were adhering to, like Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll".
Oh right, it was all nostalgia for the '50s. And '70s glam was doing this incredibly camp - and that was what punk was, when punk arose it was just another version of this glam thing but because back then things were more apt to name things. . . . I mean, punk was the last movement that could be named, right? Except maybe hip-hop. But you can't really call anything anything anymore, mostly because Americans hate pretense and are so hung up. I mean, like Americans don't really have nicknames, or at least white Americans. Why is that? I think they're just fucking hung up, nothing can have a name because it's like "Oh, that's goofy." It's incredibly repressed, and then you end up with these stupid terms like "indie rock". It's this all encompassing term that represents like thirty years of music...