Boneyard Media

Joe Jackson on musical scorn


Years ago I’d read Joe Jackson’s Cure for Gravity and mentioned it here. Certain words of his that I didn’t write about then have stuck in my head:

“…It still amazes me how much scorn some people can muster for musicians – or the wrong kind of musicians. The biggest fights are not necessarily between, say, jazzers and folkies, or rockers and baroquers. The greater the distance between two genres or subcultures, the more likely they are to be irrelevant, even invisible, to each other. It’s ironic, but this is the way that grudges and rivalries seem to work. Poor people don’t envy the rich nearly as much as they envy the poor person who gets a break… The history of rock ‘n’ roll teems with such wars of attrition…

“Of course music per se is not always the issue, and it’s impossible to completely separate any kind of art – or any kind of product – from the preoccupations of its time. I like to say that I have no agenda. I say it because I don’t run with any particular gang, and because agendas are often no more than defensive postures we take up against other people’s agendas. But I do have an agenda of sorts, or a guiding conviction, and I may as well be honest about it. Music is either an art form or it isn’t, and I say that it is: the greatest of the arts, and one of the closest approaches we mortals have to the divine. And try as I might, I can’t seem to reduce it to the level of the matching handbag that goes with this year’s jacket. Nor can I inflate it to the level of tribal warfare.”

Leave a Reply