28 December 2009

The Invisible Bowie-Zeppelin Line

There's a theory among old school Rockists that an invisible line exists between David Bowie fans and Led Zeppelin fans. It is rare to meet an old school Rockist who puts BOTH Bowie and Led Zep on their short list of Greatest Rock Artists of all-time. Using myself as an example, I put Led Zep in my top 10 (roughly that is, I mean, I really don't have a list, but if I was forced to come up with one, they would definitely be in the top ten); but Bowie, on the other hand, although I admit he has recorded some good/interesting stuff -- there is no way I'd put him anywhere near my top Twenty.

Over the years I have seen/felt/heard/smelt and tasted this same sort of sentiment in other Rockists. They either lean toward Led Zep or they lean toward Bowie, but never both, and there are several reasons for this. One reason is that certain Rockists think if an artist is concentrating a lot on fashion like Bowie was (or Prince for instance), then it must distract that artist from concentrating on the actual music. Yet other Rockists argue that thinking a lot about one's image actually focuses an artist on what they are trying to achieve and makes their music better.

Another theory is based on the fact that many Rockists (old school rockists in particular) believe that your music collection is an extention of your manhood. A band like Led Zep personifies the kick you in the teeth, stick a squid up some chick's coochie, expose your chest-hair, cock rock attitude that male teens of the 70's thought they should emulate if they wanted to get laid.  Bowie, of course, has this sorta sensitive, space artist, overtly androgynous thing-a-ma-hooie that teen girls of the 80s thought their dream boyfriends should emulate. In other words, it is perfectly acceptable for a Rockist to become sexually aroused watching Robert Plant stick his wang in your face, or at Jimmy Page fingering his six string like a teenage boy uncovering the mysteries of masturbation for the first time, or watching John Bonham pound on the skins like a drunken sailor pounding on a 2-bit harbor whore after 3 months at sea.  However, getting aroused while watching David Bowie crawling about like a spider is just weird. Bowie fans, of course, will argue that Led Zep fans are simply headbanging hippy homophobic meatheads who are so close-minded that they can't even admit that they like two ABBA songs--and make no mistake about it, everyone likes at least two ABBA songs, even if you secretly have to listen to them on your car stereo with the windows rolled up (Led Zep fans are actually somewhat famous for getting caught with an ABBA album in their possession and blaming an ex-girlfriend for leaving it at their apartment).

So then, in true progressive Rockism fashion, now that we have identified the problem (and by the way, this line only exists to Americans) the next question becomes, what do we do about it? OR do we do anything at all? Is it just against the ways of Rock (unless you are a record store owner or some other kinda of audiophile freak of nature) to be Led Zep completeist AND a Bowie completeist?

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