Minggu, 16 Juni 2013

The 10 Greatest Rock & Roll Rebels

David Bowie

A huge part of being a rock rebel is the willingness to defy audience expectations, even when such moves threaten your career. David Bowie has spent the last 45 years doing that. He killed off his Ziggy Stardust character at the height of his glam fame. He released a Philly soul LP when most of his followers were diehard rock fans. He made weird, noncommercial music in Berlin, and then toured as Iggy Pop's keyboardist in clubs when he could have been packing arenas on his own. But his most recent move was his most rebellious: a decade of silence and seclusion, followed by a surprise album he refused to promote with a single interview or live performance. The move meant that his album The Next Day went tumbling down the charts not long after it came out, but it's hard to imagine that Bowie cared that much.

Axl Rose

A lot of rock stars pose as rebels, then do whatever they can to maximize their income. Axl Rose is the real deal. He put Guns N' Roses on a long hiatus after a huge stadium tour in 1993, then parted ways with every original member of the band. He could have spent the entire 1990s playing alongside Slash and Duff, earning enough money to buy a medium-sized country. Instead, he went into seclusion and emerged with a new Guns N' Roses. It had a member of the Replacements on bass and a dude who wears a KFC bucket on his head.

The fans wanted Slash onstage. Axl instructed the club to not even let him inside. The fans want a reunion. Axl called Slash "a cancer" and wouldn't even show up at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. He's also fast to take a swing at anyone who pisses him off, from the paparazzi to Tommy Hilfiger. He has no problem taking the stage after midnight, and when the press asks about this, he gets upset and blames Slash. In all likelihood, he'll go to his grave without ever playing with the old lineup again, regardless of how much money that costs him. He might be in need of serious therapy and medication, but he's definitely a rebel. 

Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa absolutely loved making music, but he never cared much about selling records. The only song in his catalog that even resembles a hit is "Valley Girl," a 1982 duet with his 14-year-old daughter Moon Unit Zappa. The rest of his career was spent recording songs like "Don't Eat Yellow Snow," "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus" and other songs that would never be enjoyed outside of his massive cult.

He wasn't even afraid to speak out against religion or censorship, even sparring with Tipper Gore and the other members of the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985. "What if the next bunch of Washington wives demands a large yellow 'J' on all material written or performed by Jews?" he said. "In order to save helpless children from exposure to concealed Zionist doctrine?" He died of prostate cancer in 1993, but he recorded countless hours of music that his growing cult will pour over for decades to come.

John Lennon

He was the Beatle who caused a firestorm when he said the group was "bigger than Jesus." He insisted that Yoko Ono sit alongside him in the recording studio, even when a car accident forced her to bring in a bed. They later posed naked together on an album cover. He fought the Vietnam War to the point that the Nixon administration actually tried to deport him. He then totally walked away from his music career for five years to raise his newborn son. John Lennon could have played by the rules in the 1970s by releasing regular albums and launching big-money tours where he played old Beatle hits, but he had absolutely no interest in doing that. He played by his own rules until the very, very end.


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