It has always been hard for the priests of RockThink to deal with punk in any manner other than ideological; this is why the Sex Pistols go down in history as somehow more valuable than the Buzzcocks.) An almost unlistenable triple LP dedicated to a communist revolutionary government (The Clash’s Sandinista!) means more to those who write the histories than an unspeakably gorgeous #1 pop song like [the Bee Gees’] ‘Too Much Heaven.’
– Brian Doherty, Death Before Disco, Reason Magazine, 2003
[For the record, I’ll take Sandinista! over “Too Much Heaven,” but the point is nevertheless well-taken.]
5 thoughts on “The Priests of RockThink”
Doherty is 100 percent right.
Alternate title: We Are the Priests of the Temple of RockThink
Well, here we go again — this is why I was looking for an Ayn Rand in the woodpile on the Rush thread the other day. “Reason” Magazine is a libertarian journal dedicated to the late Ms. Rand’s philosophy, and much more rigidly “ideological” than anything the Clash ever essayed. Thus Doherty might have a built-in bias against the Sex Pistols and Clash, since they’ve always been esteemed by most rock critics, who tend to be liberal in their politics. Personally, this lib likes the Pistols, Clash, and Buzzcocks equally, for their varied punk sounds, whatever their politics.
What’s weird is, I didn’t even catch the libertarian slant–clueless me. Does shade the guy’s sentiment a tad, but I can’t say I haven’t made similar arguments through the years (re: disco/punk) regardless. As I said, I prefer Sandinista! to “Too Much Heaven.” But I also prefer “Night Fever” to Combat Rock.
One thing I do think is dumb, though (and I feel silly for not catching this first time around), is attributing a particular ideology to the Sex Pistols. The Clash are undeniably as left as they come, but the Pistols? Hardly–the question just seems irrelevant to a group responsible for “Holidays in the Sun” and “Bodies” and “Anarchy in the UK,”