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Down with the sickness

August 28, 2013

You know what a Power Song is right? It’s a particular song that, given some of its characteristics such as beat, rhythm, lyrics, etc. gives you that something to push extra harder. Get two additional repetitions (reps), run the extra mile, harder, better, faster, stronger. Wow, and all that from just a song. Well let me tell you one thing, it works. I don’t have any scientific proof that it does, nor am I going to investigate the subject, however my personal experience with power songs is one of success.

At this point you may be wondering why I brought up this topic on power songs. Last week I was hitting the weights and a song started to play over my headphones: Down with the sickness by Disturbed. I’m no stranger to Disturbed’s first record (aptly titled The Sickness). In its heyday I was an 18 years old metalhead and I thought it was the best thing since Ritchie Blackmore came up with the riff to Man on the silver mountain. So Down with the sickness is playing, and you know the intro to the song is heavy on percussions with a funky rhythm and spoken vocals in a low growl:

Do you feel that? Oh shit Ooh ah ah ah ah

It may seem ridiculous if you just read it, so try to imagine the whole thing with the drums and the guitars. Better yet, try to picture yourself lifting weights, in your last set you are past the middle point in your reps. You want to push harder but your whole body seems to be against it. Your muscles tell you they can’t take another one and your mind is telling you there’s no way you can make the last four reps. You think ok maybe one more and you do it, then there’s 3 more to go. Your mind again tells you ok ok I know you did it and I said no way last time, but hear me out now, there’s no way you can do the last three. So it’s on and on and on. And then the song comes on and suddenly you have what it takes to complete those three to go. Your mind changes from “Fuck this shit I can’t do it” to “Let’s do this shit, come on fuck yeah! Let’s rock!” and there’s the secret to it.

So there I was very happy with my power song pumping iron, then I remembered the last few articles I read about Disturbed’s frontman and a few other Rockstars, and the power song effect banished. What happened? I’ll get to it later.

Back at home I fancied some more Disturbed, thinking man that guy is so bad ass. David Draiman is his name, and he is Jewish. I wouldn’t bring it up, in fact I wouldn’t even know he’s Jewish if not for David Draiman’s infamous declarations about Nazi symbolism. Paraphrasing:

I fucking hate Nazi symbolism. If you like it, You and I have a problem

Slayer LogoHe’s entitled to his opinion. I think Nazi symbolism looks cool, so cool in fact that the greatest band in the whole wide world based their logo on it. I think it looks cool in the same way I think skulls look cool, inverted crosses look cool, actually everted crosses look cool also, but inverted are cooler. Now I don’t support some of the ideology in Nazism, specially the whole race purity thing, but that doesn’t mean I need to shun from Slayer just because their logo resembles the coat of arms of Nazi Germany.

Back to David Draiman. He’s a Rockstar. Ever seen him getting up to stage with the whole Hannibal Lecter thing going on? Cool. I don’t know about you, but I want my Rockstars to Rock. I don’t want them getting all moral and sentimental. They are entitled to their opinion, of course they are. But how come you have a problem with someone branding Nazi symbolism and not have a problem singing those lyrics about murder:

Why don’t you, why don’t you fuck off and die?
Why can’t you just fuck off and die?
Why can’t you just leave here and die?
Never stick your hand in my face again bitch
Fuck you

I don’t need this shit
You stupid sadistic abusive fucking whore
Would you like to see how it feels mommy?
Here it comes, get ready to die

I know, I know. It’s not about killing your mother actually. It’s about mother society molesting people that are different, the misfits. And how they finally build courage to do something about it. Or is it?

This is the reason why Rockstars should stick to do what they do best: Rock. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but my Rockstar’s pool is getting smaller, while more and more diverge from Rocking and preach their particular brand of hypocritical gospel. They seem to forget that we are not stupid, we know when something is purely entertainment. In the album Peace Sells, Dave Mustaine sings about summoning demons and lighting candles and witches and black cats:

Come join me in my infernal depths,
Mephisto’s hall of fame.
I’ve got your soul, I’ve got your soul.
The conjuring. Obey!!!

The song comes with one killer riff, one of Mustaine’s best. But will he play the song live? No, because he says the song is a very powerful spell that can cause real damage to people. I mean, really? Do you expect me to believe that? I’m glad you found God and you’re not out of your mind with heroin all day, that’s great. But don’t try to push that bullshit to others. If you don’t want to play it anymore you might as well say: “I won’t play it because I don’t fucking want to” and more power to you. I can live with that. In fact I would be writing about how Dave Mustaine is one hell of a Rockstar if he made that statement. What do we get instead? a lame ass excuse. Forgive me if never once occurred to me that banging my head to the thrash masterpiece that is The Conjuring I would be summoning the devil, even if I kept my devil horns way up.

Recently Scott Ian (the guy with the beard from Anthrax) jumped on the bandwagon and felt like society’s moral compass and, along with David Draiman, got all worked up with the Rolling Stone’s cover of the Boston Marathon Bomber. Personally? I think the cover was made specifically to sell more magazines (a shitty tactic by the way, but common and effective), and the fact that Scott Ian and David Draiman were getting jiggy with it actually served their purpose. Hey Scott, how about a followup to Worship Music instead of helping sell more magazines?

This is the same reason why I don’t care about the racist opinions of Varg Vikernes. The story behind the man is fascinating. So much in fact that I bought a book about the music genre and movement he spearheaded (Lords of Chaos), and tried to grok his band Burzum but not my cup of tea. But the whole Ancestral Cult thing? I couldn’t care less.

Please stop. Do keep on Rocking, but stop with the whining. I’m running out of power songs.