Friday, August 5, 2011

Billie Joe Explains It All For You

I really like this guy and his band and much (not all) of their music and the show they had on Broadway for a while (it was workshopped and premiered at Berkeley Rep). Watching the video of his talk at the 92nd St Y with Jordan Roth and Michael Mayer somewhat explains why.

Of course, I'm much older than these guys -- Mayer laughably claims to have "grown up in the '60's"; Horse. Shit. He was born in 1960 -- but my own sense and sensibility (such as it is) is closely aligned with theirs, and of course the Show Business aspect of my life is little different from theirs, except in scale and emphasis. We do (or in my case, did) the same things, with some of the same purposes in mind, on behalf of art forms that can touch people deeply and can sometimes change lives. Whether it goes any farther than that, I can't say.

These are the kind of people I feel closest to, as odd as it may seem since I don't "practice" in my field any more *Ha!* and yet... it's something like riding a bicycle. You never forget how. No matter how long it's been.

I watch this conversation on stage in New York, and all the time, I'm thinking, "These are my homies."

There is so much of the N. California performance geek vibe in Billy Joe -- nothing to do with Punk or music genre of any kind, it's a way performers in general have around here. It's cultural. It's not at all the same as SoCal performance geekery, which I was long more attuned to and comfortable with, but then found myself pushing farther and farther away from it in a search for something else again. It's not New York, either. Billie Joe is an outlander there, clearly. Oh my yes. But still, they can see what he has to offer, and they are... quick to pounce.

Which is not an indictment. It is just the way things are in the Business.

I've been posting Green Day's "Wake Me When September Ends" annually during September -- you know, during the Post Labor Day funk time -- in part because of the sheer power of the emotion of pain and loss that infuses it.

So many of us feel it now, especially, as what little we've been able to hold on to through the Clinton/Bush/Obama Era is taken away, bit by bit. Many of us just want to say, "Wake me when it's all over. Or not."

And "American Idiot" is the pivot around which all of the crap we're constantly exposed to spins.

It's a long interview, some of which is completely insufferable (count how many times Billie Joe says "You know?"), but it's far from a total loss.

I guess that's the best we can hope for in this Post-Modern Age.

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