[F]or half-a-century now rock has very successfully been “both establishment and anti-establishment”. In fact, “a rebellious underdog distributed by the status quo” is the very definition of rock: All those fellows calling for revolution while contracted to Capitol, Columbia, EMI., Warner Bros – the exact same companies running the music biz back in the days when Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby were where the big bucks were. A few years ago the Warner Megabehemoth Globocorp launched a rap label called “Maverick”, and nobody laughed.
Rockers attending the Obama inauguration are like visiting royalty at a Bourbon or Habsburg wedding. By the way, over the years I’ve met kings, princesses, dukes and all the rest, and none of ’em were as hung up on precedence as the aristorockracy. A decade or so back, Sting had to issue a formal apology because at one of his big save-the-rainforest banquets at his country pile he committed the ghastly social faux pas of seating Jools Holland (of the band Squeeze) next to some no-name session musician. In Britain, these guys all live in stately homes, and any of their number who makes it to 50 without choking on his own vomit or being found face down in the swimming pool gets knighted – Sir Elton John, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Paul McCartney, etc. Obama’s pal Bono has a knighthood. You say you want a revolution? Sorry I’m having tea with the Prince of Wales that day.
All that’s happened is that the pseudo-revolution of the corporate rockers has now spread to the political sphere. It’s the exact same formula: Millions of doting flower children hold hands and singalong with “This Is The Hoping Of The Change Of The Hopeychange…” and then Tom Daschle jets off in the Gulfstream worrying only that the couple hundred extra grand in non-declarable income he tossed in the hold might impact the weight balance.