February 03, 2004



Franklin Bruno:

"Since you asked, here's what I wrote to Jordan Davis on the subject, plus a bit more.


Your classic : indie :: Catholic : Protestant analogy is very rich, though I don't know about all your specific spinoffs, and 'indie' probably has a narrower connotation for me. (Tracy Chapman?) What it made me think is that the underlying beliefs and goals of both denominations are the same, but that indie wants to get at whatever transcendence is available without (a) high ritual (b) the permission of Church (i.e. music industry) authority, the aim being to put the means of salvation into the hands of the people. Also:

massive tour = Papal visit
LA/NY record company = Vatican
arena = cathedral
vocal/instrumental chops = Latin
rock stars = priests
studio gloss = illustrated manuscripts
bad contracts = tithing

get-in-the-van = itinerant preaching
indie label = storefont church
basement/crappy club = Quaker meeting room
lack of vocal/instrumental chops = vernacular
band indistinguishable from audience = lay ministry
4-tracking = cheaply printed Bibles (for home study)
support-your-local-scene = community service

So maybe Sasha's right, and the difference between punk and indie-rock is the difference between Protestanism in general and its Puritan strain. This is hardly a new charge, but it's usually just meant as a comment on sexual repression. (And maybe attitude toward 'selling out': I saw Goody Westerberg with the Devil!) Of course, each term of both binaries are concerned with sexual frustration, but the first term channels it into other forms of sensuality, while the other attempts complete denial. All this makes grunge (Soundgarden/STP, not Nirvana) = the Counter-Reformation. (And this whole parlor game is totally rockist.)

Me, I'm either some sort of Unitarian, or a liberation theologist -- The Mekons are the latter, explicitly so on "The Olde Trip To Jerusalem." But I'd rather be a Gnostic, or a Neo-Platonist heretic like my forbearer Giordano Bruno. And Sasha, as I already told him, is an apostate, secretly sneaking back on occasion to say the rosary = play "How The West Was Won."

Posted by Sasha at February 3, 2004 08:27 AM | TrackBack