The guitarist, vocalist and lyricist for Against Me!, Tom Gabel — who once declared that (unlike all those awfully “spineless liberals”) Baby, I’m An Anarchist — now innocently claims that adverse reactions to the band’s signing with a major label (Sire/Warner Bros.) — still considered a cardinal sin among some — is because he doesn’t “necessarily want to be limited to just being [in] a punk band” and “[m]aybe people get upset about that — I don’t know.” Which makes about as much sense as claiming that the “endless accessibility of MP3s is helping turn music into more of a product that is being consumed and less of an art to be appreciated by fans” (‘Some punks are against Against Me!: Success mistaken for sellout’, Kevin W. Smith, The Arizona Daily Star, March 15, 2007).
As for The Controversial Artist Banksy™, I didn’t know, and I’m not even sure I care all that much (you gotta pay the rent somehow), but his art is now selling for lots and lots of money to people like Angelina Jolie. She bought some of his stuff what she saw at a Barely Legal & Yet Extremely Lucrative exhibition of his in LA in September, 2006 for US$360,000. (Fecal Face has pictures.) Hello! Magazine reports that in October 2006 there was “frenzied bidding” for a series of Banksy’s portraits of Kate Moss, which sold for £50,400; while his “stencil of a green Mona Lisa with paint dripping from her eyes sold for £57,600”.
Christina Aguilera has also invested her money in a Banksy; three actually. But probably the best news for investors is the fact that in February 2007 some more of his stuff sold for lots more money:
Record price for Banksy bomb art
February 8, 2007
A picture of pensioners bowling with bombs by graffiti artist Banksy has sold in London for £102,000, breaking a record for his work. Bombing Middle England, which is made from acrylic and spray-paint on canvas, reached double its highest estimated price of £50,000 at Sotheby’s. The artist’s Balloon Girl also sold for £37,200, while another piece called Bomb Hugger fetched £31,200…
The previous highest price paid for one of the artist’s distinctive spray paintings was £62,400 in October 2006, when the image of a couple embracing clad in deep sea diving gear – which was used for the cover of Blur‘s Think Tank album – went for 10 times its estimated value at Bonhams. “It’s a sensational result,” said Elli Varnavides, head of the impressionist, modern and contemporary art department at Sotheby’s Olympia branch. “It’s a record for any Banksy sold at international auction.”
And while some dead Frenchmen may have postulated that:
The relation between authors and spectators is only a transposition of the fundamental relation between directors and executants… The spectacle-spectator relation is in itself a staunch bearer of the capitalist order. The ambiguity of all “revolutionary art” lies in the fact that the revolutionary aspect of any particular spectacle is always contradicted and offset by the reactionary element present in all spectacles.
The bottom line doesn’t lie… does it?
- How do you define working-class? What does it mean to be a working-class rock band?
[Ken Casey, August 2003] I don’t know, it’s just how I was raised. I don’t offer a fancy definition of working class. But it’s something you’re born into. I have friends who have gone on to college and got great white collar jobs, but they’ll always be working class kids. By the same token, there are kids from rich families who move to a new city where nobody knows them, shave their head, get a job at a factory and go around talking about working class this and that; but they’ll never be. As far as we go as a band, working class rock band just signifies that we came from nothing.
The working class rock band that came from nothing (to be precise: Boston) will be sharing the stage with one of my (er) favourite local bands, Bulldog Spirit. What’s a little bit odd about this arrangement (made by Sydney-based touring company Blue Murder) is that the Dropkicks are not only “working class” but Irish-American working class and… well… while I’m conscious of legal threats, fact is, according to Doug’s ‘Bulldog Spirit Melbourne Tour Diary’ for Saturday, April 27, 2002: “When we played Dirty Ol’ Town, Adam says, in the height of good humour, ‘this one’s for Ulster’ as I’m doing the harmonica intro…”.
Apparently, some bloke then asked Doug what Adam meant by dedicating a song to Ulster, to which Doug — not Adam — replied: “I told him there was nothing to it”; we are obviously expected to believe that dedicating a song — a song written by Shane McGowan of The Pogues — to Ulster, was a remark made at complete random.
- [Al Barr, February, 2001] If Barr looks at his band mates with a little respect, it’s nothing compared to the regard he gives former Pogues front man Shane MacGowan. With the spot of respect the Pogues hold as icons of Irish rock in the Dropkick Murphys’ collective heart, it’s not surprising the band would dream of collaborating with MacGowan. The dream was finally realized on the band’s latest album Sing Loud, Sing Proud (2001, Epitaph), where [McGowan] stepped in to do guest vocals for one track, “Good Rats”.
Angry and upset, presumably (and with good reason), this same bloke, according to Doug, then asked ‘Why do you have to be such a fucking girl?’:
I asked him ‘Did you just call me a girl?’ He said ‘yes’, so I responded accordingly with a quick headbutt to the nose… The sad thing about it is, someone said that the Ulster bloke’s mate was the guitarist from Vicious Circle. Along with Depression and Civil Dissident, they are one of my favourite Aussie bands and I was looking forward to playing with them at the picnic. No hard feelings there I hope.
Dunno. But you’d reckon Blue Murder would be more careful regarding which bands Dropkick Murphys want to associate themselves with; especially a band like Bulldog Spirit, that flirts with right-wing elements and supports neo-Nazi venues. “Ironically enough, [Dropkick Murphys] has done tours to benefit the Anti-Racist Action group and participated in the Unity Festival to promote racial harmony.”
NB. ARA emerged in 1988 as a result of the efforts of skinheads in Minneapolis — in particular a group known as The Baldies — to combat the presence of boneheads in that city and in the neighbouring city of St. Paul in 1986. The first SHARP — Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice — group formed in New York a year later, in 1987. And the rest, as they say, is history…