No Sell Out

 

Chapter 11 of Love and War includes: Victims of the In-House Drive By, Goodbye, Ruby Toozday, and Growing Pains.

Victims of the In-House Drive By

Even though musicians boil our lives down to their essence and then give them back to us in a way that allows us to keep on living, many music fans can’t wait to attack them for “selling out.” Abstract standards of purity are set--the punk obsession with commercial failure as a moral test, the rap mantra of “keeping it real”--and a perverse delight taken when artists fail to measure up.

 

In the case of Metallica, the cries of “sell-out” began with 1991’s “black album,” which featured hit singles, the band’s first videos, and a more song-oriented approach to music making. With the June release of Load, the question of treason has been raised by the rock press and a section of fans simply because Metallica now includes blues, country and classic rock elements in its head-pounding brew. Even worse, they are dissed because all four band members, famous for swinging their long hair in concert, have shorn their locks...

Goodbye, Ruby Toozday

John Matuszak, the 300 pound defensive end who helped lead the Raiders to two Super Bowl wins, died of a heart attack June 16 at age 38. Matuszak’s motto was “Everyday is Toozday.” He partied so hard his ex-fiancée said “he lived three lifetimes in one.” But there was still something missing. His friends chose the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as the music for the funeral procession...

Growing Pains

Former Dead Kennedys leader Jello Biafra was watching the Fixtures play at Berkeley’s Gilman Street club on May 7 when he was knocked down from behind. His leg shattered. Biafra struggled to his feet only to be pushed back down and repeatedly struck in the head by five thugs. His original attacker, a guy nicknamed Cretin, laughed at Biafra’s attempts to settle the incident without calling the cops, saying "Well, you’re such a rich rock star, you can deal with it yourself." As Cretin’s crew was wailing on Biafra, they repeatedly shouted: "Sellout rock star, kick him!"

 

"It may well have destroyed my chances of performing music live the way I want to," Biafra told Rolling Stone. "If I can’t get the knee to come back, I don’t just want to stand there and bore everyone to death."

 

But the meaning of this incident goes beyond Jello Biafra to the wrenching transformation punk is going through...