Former Record Label Exec Laments The Decline Of Risk-Taking In Rock

Tim Sommer is a great music journalist (he joined Trouser Press Mag when he was just 16), musician, record producer and former Atlantic Records A&R rep, and later became the bass player for the slowcore/dreampop band Hugo Largo. In his latest essay, he laments the decline of risk-taking in rock.

If you don’t start the revolution, it’s going to be started for you, and it will be started from the other side. It has already started. Someone is already building the gallows your freedoms of speech, movement, desire, and worship will hang from. See, the revolution, the one happening right now, was not just televised; it was everywhere, all at once, it became wallpaper, it became easy to ignore.

There will come a time, soon, after the neo-oligarchs take away your elections and stand under a cross while doing it, that you will wish that rock’n’roll had actually told the truth; you will desperately wish that the revolution you have been crowing about for fifty years hadn’t just been a painted backdrop at a high school production of Hair.

So many of us have been so lucky and known nothing but freedom.

But that is changing. And as we fight for our freedoms, if we fight for our freedoms, it will teach us to empathize with those who have always had to fight; and we will fight for them, too.

But we will need singers who sing the truth, and that truth can be full of melody and joy, that truth can even be sexy, but it can no longer be made of bandanas and slogans and held together by willful blindness. We will be at war, we will be fighting for real freedoms, not just for the freedom to piss off our parents.