rock’n’roll, they say, is about rebellion. and rebellion is always associated with youth and anti-establishment. to some extent in my life, it’s definitely right.
historically, rock’n’roll is a musical style that evolved in the united states in the late 1940s and became popular in the early 1950s, and went on to quickly spread to the rest of the world. it later spawned the various sub-genres of what is now called simply “rock”. technically, the beat is essentially a boogie woogie blues rhythm with an accentuated backbeat. (boogie woogie is a style of piano-based blues, usually associated with dancing; while backbeat, in music, is a term applied to the beats 2 and 4 in a 4/4 bar or a 12/8 bar.) classic rock’n’roll is played with one electric guitar or two electric guitars (one lead, one rhythm), an electric bass guitar, and a drum kit.
but from its inception, rock’n’roll, which blended black influences, suggestive lyrics and wild response by the younger, has made itself appalling and threatening to the older generation. the ability to shock the elders in turn became part of the appeal of the music to young generation. the influence was massive. there were attempts to control it, but often turned comical. in the case of elvis presley, for instance. after several previous television appearances became controversial, the mississippi-born singer was famously shown from the waist up only to avoid offending viewers with his suggestive hip swivels on the ed sullivan show in 1956.
as the orginal generation of rock’n’roll fans matured, the music became an accepted and deeply interwoven thread in popular culture. (beginning in the early 1970s, rock songs and acts began to be used in a few television commercials, and within a decade this practice became widespread; starting in the 1980s rock music was often featured in film and television program soundtracks.) but rock’n’roll evolved (and still is and always will). over the years, there’s been mainstream part, most of its styles were no longer able to shock or offend. and there’s always new forms of music that emerge to fill the rebellion, anti-establishment, and youth-appealing role.
when i was introduced for the first time to rock’n’roll –starting from the point of one of its evolved forms, i.e. hard rock –i didn’t intend to be a rebel or whatever; i didn’t know either about anti-establishment movement or whatsoever. but there might be what they usually call catharsis, with which i could released my emotional tension, while from the point of view of older people it was a rebellion.
the year was 1976. i was just trying to adapt to a newly enviroment during my junior as i found myself thrown into a so-called special class. it was my second grade. i might be bright back then. (did i hear cheering crowd? thank you, thank you.). but i knew i wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the class. the pressure to compete with each other was too much. besides, there also was a fear factor: teachers who always acted like… well, sort of investigators. they always asked me why i didn’t perform well and all. they terrorized me.
i found my spirit somehow boosted when i first listen to deep purple’s made in japan. i never heard the kind of music the english band played. their songs blew me away. they played loud, hard, and with an attitude of go-to-hell-with-your-aid kind of thing. it was cool. i felt like i just came out from a theater watching a hero or kungfu movie….
my record collection grew fast, thanks to aktuil magazine. it was a poisonous reading stuff. i bought the album(s) of almost every band praised by the bandung-based magazine. and with its various musical styles, my collection was like a huge arsenal for me to wage my rebellion.
the new discovery wasn’t without cost: my father became the nearest, well, ruthless critic. it was an unfortunate situation, because there was only one stereo set to play my music –meaning i couldn’t listen to, say, child in time without my father hearing it (and the less rude comment he’d make was like, “what kind of music is this?”). but i decided to get on with it. hence my rebellion at home started.