Thursday, September 26, 2002

Russ Fischer in Blogcritics references this excellent article by John Densmore of the Doors and this stellar response by Tom Waits regarding the use of rock songs in commercials. I can only cheer after a summer in which the only TV show I watch with any regularity -- Big Brother 3 -- was interrupted ad nauseam by a Citrona ad that used The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" to hawk booze to upwardly mobile drones. The Clash, I thought sadly, of all people. Twenty-five years ago they were pure leftists -- horribly naive, sure, but at least they were committed to ideas, principles, a certain standard of political morality, thumbing their nose at the idea of selling out. Money, alas, gets to almost everyone in the end, it seems. Densmore is not the greedhead that most other rock stars are, thankfully, but what if the situation were reversed and he was in the shoes of the members of the Clash, who haven't been heard from in years?

As soon as I saw the Citrona ad, the first thing that came to mind was "Take a good hard look, Rage Against the Machine. That's your future you're staring at."

It's always such a bother, such a letdown when you're listening to the radio and a great song starts up -- only to sell cars or clothes. Waits said it best:

Corporations are hoping to hijack a culture's memories for their product. They want an artist's audience, credibility, good will and all the energy the songs have gathered as well as given over the years. They suck the life and meaning from the songs and impregnate them with promises of a better life with their product.

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