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Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

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Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:38 am

I'm not in the least bit surprised by the outcry over Michelle Shocked's recent anti-gay rant but I am fascinated by all the Facebook posts and other comments I've seen where folks say they will be purging her music from their collection. I totally get why fans would not want to financially support a current tour of someone who, it turns out, is hateful and bigoted (and on the wrong side of history, to boot.) But I've always been fascinated by people who reject music they already own when they learn that the artist who recorded it has some ugly views which have nothing to do with the particular music they've loved for years.

Are there Forons who will be purging Shocked from their collections?
And if so, what's the reasoning?
Are there other artists whose recordings you will not listen to solely because of their personal beliefs or actions which have nothing to do with their music?

Whenever this kind of discussion comes up, I always first cite the recorded works of Chuck Berry, which are easily some of the greatest rock and roll records ever recorded. Yet Berry, as a person, is a complete asshole and, near as I can tell, always has been. I find the notion that I should purge "Johnny B. Goode" from my collection because Berry liked to surreptiously record women in the bathroom of his club pretty ludicrous. Other examples are easy to come by, from the truly sinister (Jerry Lee Lewis probably murdered at least one of his wives) to simple philosophical disagreement (Joan Jett is a national treasure, but she is a longtime supporter of PETA, who I despise.)
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby wack wack » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:46 am

I'm fortunate in that I've never liked or owned Shocked's music.

I guess it works both ways for me, but I am much more likely to be drawn to an artist I didn't previously enjoy based on their positive beliefs, than I am to be turned off a favorite artist due to their negative beliefs.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby jjoyce » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:32 am

I guess it might be more meaningful if the musician were relevant and not washed up. Seriously, who gives a crap about Michelle Shocked? Who would cross the street to hear her play for free? I always felt sorry for Max Johnston (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Freakwater, the Gourds) because everyone always referred to him as Michelle Shocked's brother.

Back on topic: A good many performers are self-obsessed, inconsiderate a-holes, their political beliefs notwithstanding. I certainly wouldn't check out a musician because of his/her political beliefs.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby massimo » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:34 am

Not any huge fan of Nugent's music, but there are certain tracks that I like and have no qualms in liking them. That said, there is absolutely NO FUCKING WAY I'd ever attend one of his shows.

Yeah, remind me, who the fuck is this Shocked gal?
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby rrnate » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:38 am

Yeah, it doesn't ever really make a difference for me, unless the songs themselves are really unavoidably message-bad. (Like, say, a white supremacist band or some stupid shit like that.)

I can think of all sorts of examples of musicians I love that have either done or said something that I think of as stupid or awful:

* MIA
* Mo Tucker
* Michael Jackson
* Modest Mouse (well, the singer guy)
* Mariah Carey
* Merle Haggard
* MF Doom

Hell, see? I can do it just with the "M" part of my list (I, uh, don't organize my music library-style). Note Michelle Shocked is not on that list - she has always been terrible, IMO.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby Kyle Motor » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:28 am

I don't think there's any musician who's personality/actions/views/etc have prevented me from listening to their music (if I like said music to begin with). I'm sure there's a point that could be crossed, but thusfar hasn't. I don't hear a Chuck Berry song and think of him secretly videotaping the lady's room. I think "Cool, Chuck's gonna play guitar and tell me a good story."

Conversely, disagreeing viewpoints on things give me more ammo to hate on musicians I didn't like to begin with.

And why anybody would ever give much credence to most musicians about their political views is beyond me. Many musicians are complete dipshits, just like any other average person. Mr. Hairdo strumming the acoustic guitar over there is probably not the most enlightened person around, despite what he may sing at you.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:48 am

I don't let it affect my appreciation of any artist or entertainer's work. I guarantee there are artists I admire who were probably so fucked up or at the opposite end of my ideological spectrum that I couldn't stand to be with them for a minute, yet I may never know about these beliefs.

I generally feel the same way about any boycotting to be honest. If someone makes a product that I really, really like, then fuck it, I'm gonna buy it. I feel it's the same with music and the arts.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby gargantua » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:12 pm

I wouldn't purge anything I already owned, but I think it would affect my enjoyment of it.

I'd rather listen to Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson have a farting contest than to anything by Ted Nugent.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby scratch » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:19 pm

The musician I'd be most tempted to purge from my collection would probably be Ted Nugent, but when I started listening to him, he was just another skinny hippy with really nice guitar technique. I'd never go to one of his shows, and haven't bought any of his stuff in well over 20 years, but I still need to hear Great White Buffalo, Dog Eat Dog, and Papa's Will every so often.

Besides, if I were to purge Nugent for crappy political and social views, what do I do with David Bowie? Selectively purge the Thin White Duke stuff? I guess it's a false dichotomy though, since I suspect Bowie never fully means what he appears to be saying at any one time and Ted-boy just doesn't seem to me to be that clever or deep.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby minicat » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:32 pm

jjoyce wrote:I guess it might be more meaningful if the musician were relevant and not washed up. Seriously, who gives a crap about Michelle Shocked? Who would cross the street to hear her play for free?


Probably at least some people who saw her play at the Walker administration protests a couple years ago.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby bdog » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:50 pm

Made me think of this:

Aside from Stevens' original recording, a cover version of "Peace Train" was recorded by the American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. The song originally appeared on the band's 1987 album, In My Tribe, but it failed to chart. After Stevens' comment which some interpreted as calling for the death of Salman Rushdie, 10,000 Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant had "Peace Train" removed from all copies of the album in the U.S.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby Donald » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:24 pm

Sure. Let's talk about Merle Haggard. I couldn't stand his political stands back in the 1960s and early 70s. Probably because I hated his stands, I liked "Okie from Muskogee" and "Fight'n Side of Me" because it was anti-everything that I believed in, but it also encapsulated everything I believed the people I was protesting against believed. We hippie commie freaks loved those sonsg and we loved to sign them tongue-in-cheek with all the dripping disgust that we could. We took pride in being the anti-Okies from Muskogee. It also nudged me to listen to other music from him, just to see what other disgust I could mine. In the process I came to love his love songs and prison songs. What I learned from this is people are multi-faceted, and you can appreciate some facets and hate others.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:35 pm

...10,000 Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant had "Peace Train" removed from all copies of the album in the U.S.

I assume that means she will never again watch Harold and Maude.
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:04 pm

Donald wrote:Sure. Let's talk about Merle Haggard.
I'm by no means a Merle Haggard expert, but wasn't "Okie" originally meant by Haggard to be satire?
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Re: Do personal beliefs of musicians affect your enjoyment?

Postby Igor » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:33 pm

I don't think I would ever not listen to an artist based on political viewpoints. My views are all over the board anyway, so I have a hard enough time finding a politician I agree with politically, much less a musician.

There are certainly some songs that tend toward skipping because of lyrics, mostly ones that are bitching about religion, or whose lyrics are of the non-clever single entendre variety. Clever single-entendre, or actual double-entendre ones, are usually fine.

As to Nugent - I don't agree with most of what he says, but I also think some people don't realize the depth to which anything he says is part of the "Deadly Tedly" schtick. However, Great White Buffalo is an awesome riff/song. In my home town, the local AM country station essentially turned the station over to some high school DJs every night from 7-10. (since nobody was probably listening after evening milking anyway) The live version of Great White Buffalo was always the signoff song.
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