Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Status Back Baby"
"I'm losing status at the high school
I used to think that it was my school"
They say it's the greatest time of your life.
If you were a cheerleader, captain of the football team...if you were popular in high school chances are you were not part of the rock revolution. No, I'm not talking about the Beatles, but what came after, the FM revolution, the Mothers Of Invention.
This was back when the length of your hair meant something. Before even the nerds grew it long and made us all indistinguishable.
It would be hard for youngsters to understand, how we all weren't part of a cohesive group, how we all didn't text each other and have friends with benefits. The sixties were completely different. There were winners and losers. And the hard core music fans were the latter, music was all they had. They weren't good-looking enough... Talk about bullying? Today's not in the league of yesteryear, when your parents just told you to take it, that it was part of growing up, and there were hoods who pushed you around physically...now you can't even touch anybody!
And then you'd discover something like the Mothers Of Invention and your whole life made sense, you felt like there was someone on your side. That's why these rock stars were our heroes. Because they weren't like the establishment, they were outsiders, just like us. You say you want to sell out? That's what I hate about you. I don't want in, in sucks, I was never accepted there, screw them.
That's what we all said back then, screw you! We let our freak flags fly high!
"The other night we painted posters
We played some records by the Coasters
Wah wah wah wah
A bunch of pom-pom girls looked down their nose at me
They had painted tons of posters, I had painted three
I hear those secret whispers everywhere I go
My school spirit is at an all time low"
Ha! They'd rope us into the activities, but we just didn't do them right, and then they snickered behind our backs. But then we discovered the alternative culture and we didn't care anymore.
It was so different from today. Alternative wasn't a format on MTV. FM was a vast wasteland the radio companies ignored, they only let deejays play this stuff because the government said they couldn't simulcast the same signal they were using on AM. Ratings were abysmal. But then they grew. This was where honesty lived. Scott Muni talked at light speed on AM, but on FM he was a cool cat.
They want to make you a monkey. It's no different today. You think you're winning by going into finance, but the joke's on you, you've got to do that job. And during the days of yore you had an option, you could play in a band. But only the most dedicated and out there could make it. You think Bruce Springsteen is just like you but nothing could be further from the truth, in high school you wouldn't even talk to him!
"Status Back Baby" emerges on side two of "Absolutely Free" and it's a complete surprise, it sounds not a whit like what came before. That was part of Zappa's genius, he could play in multiple styles, he could mix it up, he could dazzle you.
And the joke of this sing-songy number was the last thing you wanted was your status back.
And as the years wore on, more and more people crossed the line to the renegade side.
You'll either hear this and it will resonate or it won't.
If it doesn't, stay on that mouse wheel, think you're getting ahead, but you're really not. And if you can't question authority, if you can't challenge institutions, you're never gonna make it in art.
Which is why music sucks today. Being proficient on your instrument is only part of it... WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM?