YOKO-ANTHEM


So okay, I want to write about anthem…one time when I was sitting in the smithfield giant henry boys vern and justin came up to me and asked if I wanted to go play drums with them in their practice space and so, thinking that maybe the cute one (chris jordan, naturally) would stop by, I agreed. After a while of practicing at an incredible volume and trying to figure out which songs were Black Flag covers and which covers were Giant Henry songs I started to feel classic dork girl symptoms coming over me. I mean, think about it…what if they were playing a Black Flag song and I was playing drums that were totally else?!!! Then I would be a complete jerk…and I kept psyching myself out over this and then when we finally switched instruments I was relieved and decided to sing into the microphone. The words that came into my head=anthem:

anthem
justin likes surf music
justin likes surf music
justin likes surf music
justin likes surf music
it killed my friends
it killed my friends
it killed my friends
it’s happening again
REPEAT
in the trailer when chris is gone
turn on the radio to hear his
favorite song
turn on the radio to hear his
favorite song
hardcore generation
hardcore generation
hardcore generation
hardcore generation
teenage boy generation
teenage boy generation
not my generation
not my generation
not this generation not this generation
it doesn’t speak to me
no not at all
I don’t see anything
there’s something wrong
I can’t understand
your favorite song
‘you will never hear surf music again’

But one thing I want to make clear is that the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Which means only just that the words are more about what happened to me as a teenage punk rocker in love hanging out with my boyfriend’s crowd and it’s a true story and it all has to do with….YOKO.
um…so if you have ever gone out with anybody in a band then you have been most likely been made to feel unimportant or excluded at least once or twice .I know when I was in high school I spent way too much time trying to figure out how to fit into the guy scene instead of realizing that my whole thing was just as cool, just as interesting, just as valid, just as important as theirs. And maybe it did just so happen to be that way and maybe that’s just the way it is and maybe nobody was trying to make me feel left out but all of that doesn’t really count because, in effect, I was paralyzed. And the more I think about it the more it tells me about how underground music can be really just as oppressive, and in a lot of the same ways even, as anything else. I mean if you look at the fact that most bands are mostly or all guys and then look at how if you are a girl hanging out with a band you have less say then they do because everything is totally based on what their band is doing then you start to see how the whole thing is structured to make girls feel dumb. From band practice schedules to various band projects to shows to tours to recording to everything revolves around the band…boys. And I think most girls know what it feels like to sit around in your boyfriend’s bedroom, talking about records with all of his friends and having a lot of what you say (that is if you even bother to say anything) either dismissed or misunderstood.
And a lot of guys give their girlfriends rock lessons so that they can learn and memorize the important details for future reference. Don’t get me wrong, talking about bands is one of my favorite pass times. I just think that a lot of times it is done in a way that makes other people feel left out and that all too often it’s us girls who feel like we don’t know anything worthy of mention *** REMEMBER *** there’s nothing wrong with being a dork unless you don’t have other dorks to bond with and all too often us dork girls live in isolation, like donna says: misfits unite! um…and it all comes down to YOKO ONO. You see, part of the revolution (GIRL STYLE NOW) is about rescuing our true heroines from obscurity, or in Yoko’s case, from disgrace.
So part of what your boyfriend teaches you is that Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles. And as his girlfriend, according to this, you could very easily do the same thing to him and he has to be careful that this doesn’t happen. In essence, besides being completely unfair to both you and Yoko this works in a way that makes you into the opposite of his band and it’s that whole western duality thing about women and also forbidden fruit and all that bullshit and when you are being made into the opposite of his band you are sort of being relegated to the audience and it takes that much longer for it to become a real idea that you could participate instead of just watch. One way this is evident is in the movies. Name one movie about a band in which the girlfriend is not made into the evil diversion. There are two that I can think of off the top of my head (and they always want to know why I hate the movies). But besides being the victim of the girlfriend-is-distraction thing Yoko was so fucking ahead of her time. I mean in a lot of ways she is the first punk rock girl singer ever. What she was doing was so completely unheard of and she needs to be recognized for what she did, provide a true alternative to the corporate bullshit john lennon was faced with in the Beatles at that time. Not to mention that the Plastic Ono Band was totally subversive in both form and content…those early records are absolutely incredible and name another asian woman in rock…I can’t think of any….um so let it be known, from now on, that Yoko Ono paved the way, in more ways than one for us angry grrl rockers and maybe in the future girls will learn to question the motives behind the need in music for so many standards. I for one refuse to be the opposite of any band and encourage others to do the same.
So I guess anthem is just about me sitting on my boyfriend’s bed in high school and having an argument with his friend about jimi hendrix ‘you will never hear surf music again’ and how hardcore had become just as stupid and tame as surf music was in the ‘60s and that it was time for something new. I think maybe Bikini Kill is going to write your favorite song. --Tobi Vail, winter 1991

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