History is an indicator of where music and other art are heading based on who is controlling the social narrative. Forcing artists into altering their music and their lyrics because of someone being offended is a great utility in enforcing an excessively totalitarian social hierarchy. Of course, while music might be intended to inform or incite, it is also designed to entertain. It looks like the “Illuminati” is no match for the “Cancel Culture” and the victim attitude that seems to be influencing everything we do. Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks with musician and author, Ged Duffy about BACK TO THE FACTORY.
So, I was surprised the other day when I was watching CNN. January 6th was interrupted by a story dealing with a music star that has been forced to change the lyrics in her songs because someone said they were offended.
Social media was going absolutely nuts about Beyoncé’s use of the word “spaz” in the song “Heated” – a title co-written with Drake and forming part of the multi-award-Beyonce’s latest album, Renaissance which dropped to critical acclaim on July 29.
The song was released with the lyrics, “Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass.”
That is very tame when you compare it with the controversy over the song WAP sang by Cardi B.
Shockingly, it is the second title in just a few weeks to face criticism for the use of the word, which is slang derived from the word spastic or spasticity which has its origins in medical terminology to describe conditions in which the muscles of the body cannot be controlled leading to uncoordinated movements.
But many people are taking offense as if it is a pejorative especially tp those with cerebral palsy.
Back in June, female popstar Lizzo came under fire for using the lyrics: “Hold my bag, bi**h, hold my bag/ Do you see this sh*t? I’m a spaz” in the track “Grrrls” from her album Special.
Following an outcry from the disability community supported by charities and advocacy groups and led by Sydney-based disability rights campaigner Hannah Diviney, who has cerebral palsy, Lizzo removed the word from the song.
Beyoncé has now done the same for all digital versions of Heated with the lyric changed to “Blastin’ on that ass, blast on that ass.”
Announcing the alteration, Beyoncé’s team simply said, “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced.”
The community is looking for an apology — Beyonce so far has not apologized.
Forcing artists into altering their music and their lyrics because of someone being offended is a great utility in enforcing an excessively totalitarian social hierarchy.
In a healthy democratic society, a free discussion between individuals, minority groups, groups with special needs and classes reign and shapes a sustainable distribution of power and status.
In a defective society, totalitarian encroachment is enabled by class divisions and by suppression of free expression. And there can be runaway encroachment when there are feedback pathologies that are interpreted as racist misogynist or unkind to a minority or protected class.
Excessive and widespread correctness policing is a recipe for disaster.
Some say that it all depends on a high degree of physical and status discrimination. This discrimination is a higher priority to them than identity-tied system-ideology maintenance via personal investments in language policing.
it precludes needed frank discussions and arguments about actual hierarchical dominance. It also contributes to creating a class divide between those manipulated to adopt the identity politics of language purity and those who have less to gain from self-censorship and who require it.
Now you may not care about Beyonce as an artist and you may not know who Lizzo or Cardi B is but there have been many times in history where music and its origins fall under the microscope of the security state.
What we are experiencing now can get worse before it gets better.
History is an indicator of where music and other art are heading as it now needs the blessing from Deep State actors.
Lately, I have really been concerned about the FBI and the CIA having their hand in shaping the narrative, by fact-checking us online and taking over the propaganda arm of Hollywood. The more I learn the more bizarre it becomes.
I had a listener from Portland that says that the FBI was very interested in a lot of rock and roll songs that J. Edgar Hoover claimed were immoral.
Back in 1963 a team of FBI agents spent their days hunched over portable record players, struggling to decode a message that they claimed threatened the morality of America’s youth.
It wasn’t from the Russians or Castro, but a band of Portland teenagers called The Kingsmen. And the song was Louie Louie.
The song was first written in the 1950s.
The song was revived in 1961 by Seattle’s Rockin’ Robin Roberts & the Wailers, in a more raucous version. While it failed to chart, it introduced the tune’s possibilities to The Kingsmen.
They cut a version, which became a local hit. Then, in one of those moments that only happened in the early ‘60s, a DJ in Boston named “Woo Woo” Ginsburg locked himself in a studio and spun The Kingsmen’s Louie Louie for three hours straight on the air. The phones lit up. 20,000 copies were sold in a week.
At the same time it started breaking out as a national hit, the rumors began. As with any urban legend, it’s impossible to trace the origin. But the story was that The Kingsmen concealed “dirty” words that could be deciphered only by playing the 45 rpm single at 33 1/3. Soon, kids across the country were comparing notes on who was doing what to who in the song.
The lyrics were hard to make out.
The uproar over Louie Louie reached fever pitch in the spring of 1964. First, the song was banned from the airwaves in the entire state of Indiana. And then, stoked by a wave of complaints from parents, teachers, and clergymen, the FBI began an investigation into the supposed obscene lyrical content. The thought of Hoover’s G-Men bent over hi-fis, struggling to decode a half-speed version of the song, is risible.
Though they would abandon their inquiry a year later, many of the transcriptions of what they thought they heard in the lyric are now declassified documents. Couplets like “And on that chair, I lay her there / I felt my boner in her hair” perhaps say more about the overworked FBI agents than The Kingsmen.
The song’s original chart run was only the beginning. The single was re-released for three consecutive years, charting again in 1966. Over the next 10 years, it became the unofficial anthem for garage bands around the world. By 1978, when John Belushi belted it out in Animal House, it had been recorded in over 800 versions and translated into 20 different languages.
Back when I worked in Classic Rock radio I was one of the first DeJays to support the Louie Louie parades where bands and people with kazoos would do their own versions while raising money to wipe out Leukemia.
It felt like I was a part of some magical historic moment where a harmless song thought to be dirty and lascivious gets a reprieve.
It was like seeing a band for the first time and hoping that they will make it big — because you were there way back when.
Whenever you watch a documentary on music or you listen to a music historian they always say that the magic of seeing a band that has a bright future and fate has a lot to do with being at the right place at the right time in history.
It is always cool to hear from people who were lucky to catch Hendrix at Woodstock or the Beatles at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. But those people are fading into history and the excitement is lost in the process.
Everyone has a music story in them — a story where they were initiated into either a country music show or a punk or rock show.
I remember sneaking out on the bus going to see KISS when I was barely out of the 6th grade–My parents thought I was kidnapped or missing and I was met with the county sheriff who took me home to tell my parents that I was okay.
When you are young you feel that you have the right to enjoy the rebellious times you are living in… it was liberating and fun to go to a concert when you were a kid.
It just goes to show you that back when I was a kid rock stars were superheroes and they are all pretty amazing to be rocking for as long as they have and still can sell out arenas.
The reason I believe this is that back when we were kids, Rock and Roll was not only amazing and loud – it was also mysterious and with that mystery came a lot of urban legends and rumors that music certainly had its connections both real and unreal with the devil himself.
When I was a kid, music was made by superheroes. Many of them only appeared as stick figures in an arena but it was the music and the performance that made them larger than life. Albums were pressed on vinyl back then and there were usually added bonuses with the records – like full pull-out posters, unreleased singles, liner notes from the band, and lyrics so that you could sing along.
To my parents, the rock stars were more than men, they were far more sinister. They were devil worshippers, blood-spitting antichrists and evil incarnate.
How many of us remember the special meetings that were set up by the PTA or by our local pastors where we were told that bands like Black Sabbath, RUSH, AC/DC, STYX, RUSH, and KISS were all part of the Devil’s plan to drive us away from God.
I listened to all of those bands growing up and I still believe in God.
I evolved musically in my senior year of High school from listening to Pink Floyd and Kiss and most of those so-called devil bands to Adam and the Ants, The Police, Devo, the Clash, The Ramones, and the Sex Pistols.
I was one of the lucky ones to have experienced the years of classic rock. corporate rock and punk. Eurorock and post-punk music came later in my years as a club Dejay — it was there that I was turned on to bands like the Stranglers, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, and The Cult.
The Post Punk seen churned out many well-known dance bands that were heard in the clubs.
The city of Manchester is known for its music life and post-punk movement including bands such as Buzzcocks, the Smiths, the Stone Roses, and Joy Division. Before then Manchester also was famous for the Hollies, the Bee Gees and Herman’s Hermits.
After the punk rock era, Manchester produced popular bands including Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths and Simply Red. In the late 1980s, the ecstasy-fueled dance club scene played a part in the rise of Manchester with bands like the Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, and Happy Mondays. In the 1990s, Manchester saw the rise of Britpop bands, most notably Oasis.
Factory Records was a Manchester-based British independent record label that was responsible for the success of these bands.. but the raw support from the people was the catalyst for many of the bands that eventually became less underground and more mainstream,
The Stockholm Monsters were a post-punk band from Burnage in Manchester who recorded for Factory Records between 1981 and 1987. Their music has been said t inspire Oasis among other bands.
In 2002, Noel Gallagher of Oasis revealed that “I started to get into music early on because all the older guys that lived round our way were in a band from Burnage called the Stockholm Monsters. They were the first band ever to come from Burnage and I think they had a hit with a song called Fairy Tales. From that, you get into Joy Division, New Order and then it was the Smiths and then the Roses and then the Mondays – and then you start your own band.”
One of the founding members of that band is Ged Duffy who just so happens to be my stepson Liam’s father.
He recently penned an autobiography called Factory Fairytales.
The book gives an eyewitness account by a man who observed and even participated in one of the turning points in music history, as the post-punk sound paved the way for yet another powerhouse style that literally competed against the rough edge of grunge and what eventually became the Seattle sound.
The 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People, is centered on Factory Records, the club called the Hacienda — it features actor Steve Coogan.
The bands with the most numerous releases on Factory Records include Joy Division/New Order, Happy Mondays, Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio.
I guess the point in all this is that while music today is self-censoring there seems to be a renaissance of post-punk music with the return of artists like Kate Bush.
Today, pop culture seems to be disposable and art is now being altered for the sake of political correctness… the spirit of going back to the factory is very telling that there is a section of music that needs to be revived and that it is long overdue.
Rock, Punk, Grunge and post-punk has always reflected is working class angst and anger. But that demographic is changing, becoming more conservative and not as powerful a force in urban areas anymore.
Music is more accessible to the young and while arena rock bands are still packing in the fans — we can blame the demise of good rock and roll on the demographic. It is fading just like Elvis or the Beatles.
Angry metal kids have now grown up and no longer have the angst necessary to keep it alive– it is difficult to realize that this music as before its time as it may be is considered a dinosaur when most of the angry rebellious teenager listens to rap and hip hop.
It remains either almost like comical metal or a shadow of its former self.
Some may say it is vital that we hang on to this music for dear life and keep it alive.
The reason is that while all of the so-called devil in the details rock was said to be the devil’s music, the new hip hop and rap bands have a more blatant connection to organized crime and some even say it is controlled by the Illuminati.
Jay Z has often been seen putting his hands and fingers together to look like a pyramid. A lot of musicians have been covering one eye when posing for photos.
The Illuminati wants my mind, soul, and my body / Secret society trying to keep they eye on me,” rapped Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, in a 1995 remix of LL Cool J’s “I Shot Ya.” The same year, “Cell Therapy” by Goodie Mob painted a bleak picture of what society will look like under the coming New World Order, invoking conspiracy tropes like martial law, concentration camps, and black helicopters: “Time is getting shorter / If we don’t get prepared, people, it’s gonna be a slaughter.” Also released in 1995, “We Can’t Win” by AZ begins with a monologue explaining how society is really structured: “This world is ruled and controlled by societies that exist within societies, that exist within societies, you understand? These secret societies is maneuvering within society to control society. That’s why society is outta control. Thirty-third and one-third, I heard, the Illuminated ones.”
Over the next year or so, Ras Kass, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Dr. Dre all mentioned the Illuminati or the New World Order. Canibus went even further down the rabbit hole with his 1998 single “Channel Zero,” which begins by claiming the government is covering up visits by super-intelligent aliens and explains that Roswell, cattle mutilations, and even astronomer Carl Sagan were part of the plot.
After a while, hip-hop’s paranoia turned in on itself. Rumors emerged suggesting that certain artists might be part of the conspiracy. The first to come under suspicion was Jay Z. His immense success, the conspiracists theorized, couldn’t have been earned through talent, hard work, or luck. He must have sold his soul to the Illuminati.
This brings us back to Beyonce, JZ’s wife, and how she was forced to alter her art – for the sake of a few people that see the word spaz as offensive.
It looks like the Illuminati is no match for the cancel culture and the victim attitude that seems to be influencing everything we do.
Of course, while music might be intended to inform or incite, it is also designed to entertain. And as a glance at bestsellers lists can attest, conspiracy sells. The search for hidden meaning and coded symbols adds another level on which a product can be analyzed.
As much as people want to say that the whole Illuminati theory is bogus — it isn’t, those who participate in the symbolism and the lyric content acknowledge that it sells CDs and generates more downloads.
SHOW GUEST: GED DUFFY
Ged Duffy might be considered to be the unluckiest man in Manchester music. He could have managed New Order; he could have been the bass player in The Cult; he could have seen his band, Stockholm Monsters, take the mantle of the Happy Mondays and become the breakout scally-band on the coolest record label in the world… but of course, none of this happened.
Ged’s book titled, FACTORY FAIRY-TALES, is told with wit and a photographic memory for gigs and dates, He recalls his years as a stagehand at the Russell Club and later The Hacienda, touring with New Order and then turning down the chance to tour America with them, leaving Stockholm Monsters when they were about to hit it big, life in the colony of artists, oddballs and dropouts in Hulme and how he managed to successfully avoid fame and fortune.