Ugh. Blogger, Twitter, my own RSS feed, email, Facebook ... fuck! All I want to say is that my month of toil on After: A Post-Apocalyptic Rock Opera is complete, and you can download it directly from this post or from the big pink banner on the front page of www.musicintheevening.com. It's the reason I've been absent from this blog and things in general, and busier than any unemployed schlemiel should be.
I intended this to be a noisy, shoegazy indie concept album, but it turned into the six-armed bastard love child produced by an unholy orgy attended by Jesus Christ Superstar, Elf Power, The Who, T-Pain, and Elton John. Which would be quite a party indeed.
The story goes:
Society has collapsed. Why? It's not important. Whether it's somebody's finger slipping on the button and our demise is to the backdrop of thermonuclear fire-blossoms, or the ravaged environment at last turns her ragged claws on her thoughtless rapists and drowns us in a biblical deluge, or space aliens throw up their six-fingered hands and wipe this pollution named Man from the Earth, we are mere bedraggled remnants, and it's our fault.
In the wasteland, two dazed and bruised souls meet, uneasily, at the barrel of a gun. Every hard-fought step won during the difficult, determined advance of feminism has yielded to the brutal impulse yearning to be set free, and our heroine has had to live like a rat - fearing the light, and clutching a shotgun. But our hero - although no Olympian superman - has determined to cling to certain principles of behavior as tenaciously as Messrs. Paine and Jefferson ever clung to theirs, and the two agree to travel together. We people need companionship.
We need other things, too. The Techno Brigade has formed in the blasted wastes, dedicated to the proposition that the way of life at the turn of the 21st century - mass production, mass distribution, mass, mass, mass consumption - was the ideal way of life. Can you blame them? We could manage AIDS, for Christ's sake! We could banish such medieval evils as dysentery and polio. Our McMansions staved off the cold. Our Range Rovers staved off the mild discomfort of not having as much property as the rappers on MTV's Cribs! They sing about it. They want our heroes to join them, to labor to recover the rusted hulks of Chinese shipping containers full of Dora the Explorer dildos and Super ExXxtreme Lunchables. Our heroes, disgusted, move on.
The Society of God took the disaster as a sign. Modern ways were foul! And heavenly punishment was delivered. This has been the way of human thought for two hundred thousand years, has it not? To deal with the powers we don't understand as though they were other people. whom we do understand? Message received, God. We will grow plants with our green thumbs. We will accept our illnesses as Your judgment rendered upon us. And we will look to the Preacher to lead us. But what goes on in the Preacher's mind? When he realizes that the speeches he gives can move thousands? When he realizes he can have whatever he wants? When his mind drifts idly back to uninterested glimpses he caught of the reliefs of Ashurbanipal shooting lions from his stone chariot, his beard perfumed, his might unquestioned? What happens when the Preacher sees that he can become a god-king?
Our man and woman sing of their love, and its transformative power. They see that the Robot and the Preacher have built themselves three-walled castles, that one ignores the lessons of the recent past and one ignores the lessons of the ancient past. They will strike out on their own, find a patch of ground in the empty Earth to tend, to raise children upon, to live on and take the risks of life, to brave death with the formidable armor of love, the flinty weapons of sense.
But the Techno Brigade and Society of God are angry. How dare they be refused, repulsed? They chase. And when they meet, they must battle.
I love the '70's, and I don't mean that snarky nostalgia show on VH1. I mean Jesus Christ Superstar, Zardoz, Jethro Tull, The Omega Man, Silent Running, La Planete Sauvage. I mean experimentation, passion, authorship, hope. My more knowledgable cineaste readers can better extol '70's cinema, but we've lost something since then. Major labels and studios are so much more crass now. And whatever happened to rock operas? Personally, I think they're a great idea. Say something. Despite my incessant self-criticism, I have a CD and a cover I made myself with pastels and it says something and fuck it, that's good enough. Long live the amateur. Long live the desire to create and contribute in whatever its form. Long live love and decency and desire and hope, no matter what befalls us. Amen. Good night. Hallelujah. And mannyyyy moooooooore.