Monday, December 24, 2007

Belief.

"This is indeed a confrontation. But in order to confront them with our ideas we have to speak a little bit of their language otherwise our thoughts hard to be delivered and meaningless”.

As for the opening, yes, I do believe in god. There must be The Almighty. But it doesn’t restrict me to be someone that you and your momma called as Punk. Religion to me as some sort of spiritual tranquillity… and Punk, it saves my life. If it wasn't Punk that taught me, I could be someone else today.

Okay, go on… say anything that you want. Go spouting words of disdain or everything that suits the reflection of my previous statement. I don’t fucking care. True enough, I’ve been asked about this several times by people that close to me, but personally I won’t give any serious attention about it.

Let me explain... Punk has taught me how to walk since it first shook its hand with me and it’s still with me to this present day. The way I look may not be directly portray any kind of its subculture has offered and I’m not the one who walking around the mall spitting the wall of corporate bourgeoisie, also not the one who kicks the huge dustbin looking for garbage to eat behind the Mc Donald’s. No colourful mohawk, studded accessories, leather jacket, safety pins, dreadlocked, torn jeans, boots or even sloganeering patches stitched throughout my clothes. I used to be like that in my crucial phase; the good old days. Err… except eating garbage, of course. I have an ultra sensitive stomach by the way.

No, not that I said it was useless but to me it’s the learning process that everyone should experience in order to be a human. It’s the matter of what it really takes. I’m neither superhuman nor extraordinary one, but in being normal (well, not really) like everyone does, I do concern that as a human, we’re not perfect. But it also doesn’t mean that we can’t be the best. It’s the most important thing on which we often ignored.

So how about random sexual activities, drugs and booze that often told being associates within Punk, blatantly exaggerated by mainstream medias/tabloids? Those things would be always a personal choice and it’s up to individual him/herself either engage in it or not. And it’s not including in the principle or the ethical of Punk itself. The act of substance consuming is the matter of the willingness of the person themselves. Every human for him/herself and don’t judge it by the institutions or groups they’re in, because in the larger group of people on the certain institutions or groups it has always comprised by many persona of different backgrounds. The different backgrounds contributed to different characteristics, so it would be unfair to judge as the whole even though they’re living under the same sacred flags. Did I committed and practise those things? Well, I’m always keeping it personal and it’s not nice to talk in here even further. Thank you.

I’m neither detested nor support the acts but its all still depends on the individual themselves. Yes, Punk is promoting freedom and it’s also one of the fundamental elements in Punk itself, but please do have at least a little bit sense of rationality that every person has their own interpretation according to anything. And the degree of understanding of each person is always diverse from one another. Please take note that my understanding about freedom isn’t like yours and yours is not the same with the others. It will never be. But the mutual understanding is what always counts. Okay, go figure it out yourself.

”I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: 'He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any regime except the regime of liberty” - Gustave Courbet, a Realist painter/thinker.

One more important thing is moral. It’s usually pain in the ass while talking about this because morality always come as somewhat a package with moral majority (moral + majority = morality?) and collective agreement as a total. But in living in the so called Totalitarian and State-Democracy territory on which the law is on the hands of the few, the moral cases will be always depend on them. As usual the blindfolded nation will be always unconsciously followed without questions. Therefore the act of strengthening its power might no less to make the totalitarian democratic state even stronger.

However it takes, as on
the part of millions anti-establishment comrades out there I would rather disobey to those nonsense thus to stick with this quote; "Whoever lays a hand on me to govern me is a usurper and a tyrant. I declare him to be my enemy”, it makes me feel alive on every single day encounters. Thanks to J.P. Proudhon for the words of wisdom, in case you didn’t know where it’s actually come from.

Okay, here’s another quote, a good one; “If it is nothingness that awaits us, let us make an injustice of it; let us fight against destiny, even though without hope of victory”. Thanks to Miguel de Unamuno for this.


And on speaking about Punk or the musical term which is Punk Rock that being popularized within the culture itself; I’m not interested in Sex Pistols that has been said being the sole source of Punk to land its first root in the late of 70’s. I couldn’t agree with that because it was not even Punk when it’s just a shock slogan or even chaotic fashionistas statement that’s wanted an attention from the surrounding. It should be more than that, more thoughts, more agitate and most importantly more politically aware.

Ramones are okay, but the enjoyable anthem equally songs and with a little bit tinge of Bubblegum Pop/Rock plus the faster version alike of The Beatles; it's often failed to tickle my sensitive tentacle to think even further.

But thanks to Napalm Death, I’ve discovered about their existence at the age of 12 in the year of 1990. Blame it to my uncle… he gave me the ‘Scum’ tape without any hesitation because at the first beginning he thought the tape that he bought was a Hair Metal, Heavy Metal or at least Thrash Metal ala Metallica of the late 80’s. He was wrong. It was actually a hellish Grindcore from UK with a Stenchcore/Crust Punk attitude added to it. So he gave me the tape right after listening to the intro of Nicholas Bullen sang “Multinational corporations, genocide of the starving nations” repeatedly with a ripping sore throat vocal.

Okay, I’ve got ‘Scum’ in my hand 3 years after it was released in 1987, then the fact that I was just only 12 years old at the time and being able to hear a nearly noise music at the early age while my other friends mostly were into Glam Rock; I can be considered cool. Am I? After listening to Napalm Death my ears likely was bleeding and even melting to death. Haha!

But the complete result always doesn’t come in a split second, so does the progression… I’ve began searching the records/tapes of the most names (whose caught my attention) listed in the thank list of the tape sleeve. Names such as Heresy, Amebix, Larm, Doom, Discharge etc running out loud from my mouth and none of my friends knew about them. So I decided to bury my goal to hunt those names and try to let myself into the norm of mainstream serenades.

But the kick that I’ve got from ‘Scum’ can’t be compared with others at the time even though I’ve been shoved into mouth by thousands of bands with crystal clear sound; Napalm Death’s ‘Scum’ still cannot be beaten down easily. The rage is there, agitations are everywhere, thought provoking and hell yes, politically charged lyrics that’s what most important to me. Awareness is the main key that has been injected into ‘Scum’ as a whole. Even the shortest song, “You Suffer” has its deep meaning and can be more subjective if we take a full glance of its whole lyrical and musical content/structure. I owe those geniuses so much.

To some extents, it’s surprising that the album still being able to inspire me to this present day. Not many of the records or bands can do like what Napalm Death (and ‘Scum’) did to me. As for the homage of ‘Scum’ I’ve covered the “Instinct of Survival” song (included with the intro of “
Multinational Corporations” as well) twice while performing with Opprobrium Adornment (RIP), if I’m not mistaken circa 2001/2002. Okay, that would be another story… the bands phase of mine that I’ll tell later in this rambling.

Personally I grew up with Rock music from the late 70’s to the late 80’s before knowing about Napalm Death in 1990. In my daily life, I listened to Heavy Metal, Glam Rock, Hard Rock or even Thrash Metal, but of course it’s the mainstream ones. My eldest sister was a fan of Glam/Ballad/Hard Rock (and I bet that she still is until nowadays) and she was about sharing every single records at each times she bought the newly one. Local bands such as Search, Wings, Burnmarks, Bloodshed, Junction, Rusty Blade, Bumiputera Rockers and even the international ones such as Whitesnake, Scorpions, Poison, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Queen etc were her favourites back then. I’m grateful for that because she had no bad taste in choosing the right ones. But somehow the overly melodic of those Glam/Ballad Rock bands sounded alike made me wanting something new, something fresh and something that’s harder. Despite Hard Rock, it seems fine to me until today, seriously.

I’ve only had a chance to hear the ‘extreme’ ones from my uncle who lived in Kuala Lumpur; quite far from our house at the time. Each times when we visited my uncle, I’d be the one who happier than others. There in his room I could hear loud music from Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, Black Sabbath, Overkill,
Nuclear Assault, Destruction, Kreator, Sepultura etc and it was shitloads of them which I can’t remember each one of it. But one thing of sure, he was a huge fan of Loudness on which I don’t give a fuck that much. I admit for some Japanese Rock/Metal fans, Loudness is a god. Well, I don’t care about your god really; my god is not your god by the way. My uncle tried to get me to listen to Loudness, but he was just fairly failed several times. Sorry Uncle Zainal, if Loudness were as good as Iron Maiden, then I would be excited to give it a try.

But all of these bands had been easily beaten down by Napalm Death with their ultimate weapon called ‘Scum’ which has been changing my life ever since. So, it’s clear that my uncle which is now an old rocker, still unmarried (okay girls, now it’s your chance to date a really cool uncle at least once in a lifetime: Highly recommended!) and lonesome who’s actually accidentally opened a door for what has made me as I am as you can see today.

After that I’ve tried to look after any bands that come across in the same vein of what Napalm Death does. I still failed not until I found Youth Of Today’s ‘Break Down The Walls’ tape and decided to steal instead of buying it from a record store located somewhere nearby the small town of Kota Tinggi, Johor. At that time, I don’t even know that shoplifting is an act of political awareness, minimizing consumerism, reclaiming the space or somewhat ethical conduct whatsoever. And I don’t even know that The Smiths have one song dedicated to shoplifting culture which given title as “
Shoplifters of the World Unite”, or else I’d be just taking the tape, singing that catchphrase and just leave as if there’s nothing ever happens instead of sweating all over my face and looking completely suspicious.

Back at home I was quickly put the tape on the player and suddenly dumbfounded to hear such fast songs; realized it was even harsher and straightforward comparing to ‘Scum’. As 14 years old kid with thin ears, I admitted that ‘Scum’ is much noisier, but comparing to ‘Break Down The Walls’, Napalm Death undoubtedly were more melodic than Youth Of Today itself. By the way, it was the lyrics that caught my attention for the most part of it. They have full blast positive messages and somewhat a little bit preachy at a time which is fine to me. Youth Of Today rules my day since then and I’ve been always playing it nearly everyday.

It’s weird that my parents didn’t say anything about it even though I’ve played it loud and my appearance was about to change bit by bit; I shaved my head bald, wearing tight pants/jeans (Skinhead alike), started wearing sweat wristband and other ‘weird’ accessories. Yes, blame that to Ray Cappo and John Porcelly. I’m started being a bit contrast than most of my colleagues in 1992.

One might wonders what has happened in 1991… hmm, this would be another story too but still I’d like to point out that within that year until the middle of 1992 I was quite a die hard fan of Rap/Hip Hop/Techno music. Well, Napalm Death was still my favourite though but as I told you that would be another story. Haha! Kris Kross, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Vanilla Ice, Public Enemy, Mc Hammer, EMF, Beastie Boys, Snap, NWA etc were in my pocket. For local, Rap/Hip Hop groups such as Krash Kozz, 4U2C and Nico were among my favourites. KRU? Feminin? Never! Because KRU have one song dedicated to Dr. M. Err, what a jerk ass they were singing about that ‘M’? I just couldn’t understand… plus their appearance was into boy band type made me hates them even more. So, KRU wasn’t for me and it’ll stay never be. As for the Feminin, they were too soft kind of rappers for those who love Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and NWA like me in case when it comes to Rap/Hip Hop/Techno genre. But were they really rappers or just jokesters anyway?

And either you believe it or not I was even entered, and then won the 3rd place of a break dance competition in group category during that year. It was “The Power” by Snap and “Jump” by Kris Kross; those two songs we choose to dance to. During the competition I was wearing huge baggy pants, white/black Reebok Pump (borrowed from a friend) and Metallica’s ‘
…And Justice For All’ black t-shirt. Heh!

To be continued…

6 comments:

Mohamad Yusof said...

Hehe..Nice story..

zeezam said...

aku pun suka baca sleeve kaset. hehe

Anonymous said...

great shit zaki ...soon to be hubby ...macamana hp boleh hilang dawg ...selamat bertunang my dear friend.....see you around might be back in kl this januari ...xull khesom

Zach Van Alley said...

Mohamad Yusof: Hehe. Thanks.

Zeezam: Dulu mana ada banyak source. Nak tak nak, thanklist jugak jadi panduan. Nak harap kawan², dua kali lima je. Tak macam sekarang. Semua maklumat di hujung hari. Tapi tetap malas. Betullah mak aku cakap dulu, teknologi moden ni menjadikan orang lebih malas. Hehe.

Xull: Yo, bro! Terima kasih. Macam mana tah hp aku boleh hilang. Aku pun tak tau kat mana dia lesap. Haha. Sampai KL jangan lupa call sama aku. Cheers!~

zeezam said...

hehe.
betul tu
:)

Zach Van Alley said...

Yeah!