Everything I ever needed to know in life, I learned from Rock and Roll
You go to the theater and sit in the dark. A projector pushes light through film and out onto the screen. You open your mind to the power of imagination and pretense momentarily suspending all disbelief. Actors expound on delicate dramatic details. You are washed with an intense certainty that they are speaking directly to you. As if a folded horn grows directly from their heart, out through the screen ending at yr face, amplifying and translating the deepest meanings of their words.
Whatever they are talking about, they’re really talking about Rock and Roll. Everything I ever needed to know in life I learned from Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll is the beginning and the end of the world. It’s everything. Remember in Apocalypse Now when Marlon Brando says that he “… has seen Horrors.” ? Rock and Roll has seen those Horrors. Or Citizen Kane’s “Rosebud.” Rock and Roll has a Rosebud.
But those are films. I’m talking about movies. Consider this a master class in Rock and Roll.
1. Tears in Rain (Blade Runner) - Rutger Hauer
Rock and Roll should always go for the jugular. The emotional response. You want the audience ripping off their panties and throwing them at the stage with mindless abandon. Even if your audience includes that ripped, sweaty, fantastically mustachioed grip who winks at you during scene breaks. No matter what, you want them all to be lost in the moment.
Legend has it that the film crew was brought to tears and erupted into spontaneous applause after Mr. Hauer delivered this impromptu soliloquy. He ditched the script and went with his gut, abbreviating and adjusting what the director and screen-writer had given him. His gutsy move reminds us that great performance is also about spontaneity. Plus nothing says Rock and Roll more than having platinum blond hair and holding a dove in one hand while talking about death.
2. Don’t Ever Get Married (Purple Rain) – Clarence Williams III
Prince’s dad beat his ass, just beat his Mom’s ass and is now sitting at a piano in the basement crying while playing a beautiful melody that Prince later turns into Purple Rain. His dad grills the Kid about whether or not he has a girlfriend and what their future plans are.
“I never meant to cause you any sorrow/I never meant to cause you any pain”
Q: What do we learn from this growling monologue? A: Rock and roll is wrong. You should do it in a basement. You might get yr ass kicked. And most importantly, making plans for the future is a bad idea because that bitch will just break yr heart.
3. I’m A Wolf (Moonstruck) – Nicolas Cage
Ronny and Loretta have fire. Ronny has fallen crazy in love with Loretta. He wants her to come upstairs with him and get in his bed. But Loretta is fighting against her heart. Loretta is trying to be reasonable, she’s trying to make “good decisions”. What does this scene tell us about the dogma of Rock and Roll? It tells us that playing it safe is a loser’s game. The past and the future are a joke. Nothing matters but right now. Why? Because fucking. Because recklessness. Because it doesn’t matter how and it doesn’t matter why. Love breaks yr heart, love ruins everything, love is a mess. And when yr on fire, everything seems like nothing against -I want you in my bed.
Nick Cage speaks for Rock and Roll. And Rock and Roll says - Don’t play it safe. Listen to the Wolf.
4. Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope (Star Wars) – Carrie Fisher
Editing is Rock and Roll’s masterstroke. You must have impact. And it’s all in that last line. That one sentence has so much power. The wanting in her voice. Because everything depends upon this. This is a call. This is the power ballad. This is top notch Rock and Roll. Because it’s a fucking hologram, so cool. Also, Carrie Fisher is fine. Because metal bikini. And because it’s fucking STAR WARS and I still want a Landspeeder.
5. Bruce Lee Kicks Everyone’s Ass (Enter The Dragon) – Bruce Lee
It doesn’t matter that this isn’t a monologue. Rock and Roll is about breaking the rules. When Bruce Lee fights, he makes the coolest fucking sounds EVER. Specifically the moment in the scene in the underground drug lair when he fights off 7 henchmen and then after he beats the last guy’s ass, he stomps on his chest, grimaces, makes an alien-cat noise and prowls away to a soundtrack of spooky synthesizers. Bruce Lee is a BAD ASS, people. He then goes on to gloriously beat the shit out of another 47 dudes (I counted). That is seriously Rock and Roll. Because nunchucks. Because you can do anything. Even against insurmountable odds. Especially against insurmountable odds. Rock and Roll feeds on the glory of the underdog. And because it doesn’t matter if you’ve reached the end of the set. Go farther. Who cares what the club owner or the sound-man says. They may throw up the house lights and try to kill yr vibe, or pull the plug on yr guitar amp and try to shut you down. But God gave you a voice and made you a human amplifier. And he did that so you can say “I think we’ve got time for one more.”
You cannot be stopped.
“You must constantly exceed your level. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you.” – Bruce Lee
Well said, Bruce.
Rock and Roll always says -"Bring it on". Because Rock and Roll is all about stepping up yr game.
- Lizard McGee
Lizard McGee is a guest contributor for Pencilstorm and one hell of a talented guy. Follow him on Twitter or Learn more about his band Earwig and all things Lizard by clicking here