Thursday, December 07, 2006

I went to my first country music concert earlier this week. I don't particularly like country music but I was with someone who likes it so I decided to go along...

The last song of the encore has some patriotic connotation (note: I'm guessing at this because (1) I don't pick up on lyrics right away and (2) the video screen in the back of the stage was flashing American flags). Towards the end of the song, three Marines, in their dress uniforms, marched onto the stage, faced the crowd and saluted.

And the crowd went wild, standing and cheering and clapping.

And that's when it hit me that in all the years I've gone to rock concerts, no such thing has ever ever ever happened. No American flags, no servicemen brought out to salute the crowd which would then show its appreciation to the servicemen.

Now... this may be something that is obvious to you all... but this showed me the difference between rock groups and their fans and country music performers and their fans. The latter actually likes America and celebrates its greatness... while the former lives to complain about America.

With the possible exception of John Mellancamp, who while he does sing songs celebrating aspects of America sings just as many bitching about how bad things are, I can't think of a rock group or singer who finds anything positive about America to sing about. Springsteen bitches... CSN and CSNY bitch... Green Day bitches. While there are an awful lot of rock groups who sing about other things - drugs, girlfriends, etc. - those who decide for one reason or another to sing about America usually do so in order to demonstrate their dissatisfaction.

Rock is definitely a blue state thing... and country is definitely red.

Which makes me think about how each reflects the opinions and views of their fans. I know it's a bit of a chicken and egg question: do rock performers start all pissed off or do they become so because their fans are such? But it sure seems to me that liberals seem to live to complain about how bad America is. While conservatives also complain, there seems to be a huge difference.

Conservatives complain about what they perceive to be attempts to change America from what made it so great. They seem to think - at least I do - that America is a pretty swell place... just so long as we can keep the crazies from screwing things up. Conservatives like things the way they are.

Liberals on the other hand don't seem to think much of America... they feel that it is in lousy shape and in desperate need of a major overhaul. They don't like the way the economy works, they think a whole lot of people in this country are bigoted selfish ignorant idiots. They identify more with people in other countries than they do with their (supposed) fellow Americans. They want to change.... everything.

I still like rock music more than I like country music. For one thing, rock is easier for me to play and I like the ways the instruments (often) become part of the total package, rather than merely accompanying the singing as it seems to be the case with country. And, as I said earlier, since I don't usually pick up on lyrics (did you know Lola was about a transvestite?), the anti-everything nature of rock music usually goes right over my head.

But I do like country performers more... and their fans.