G.L.O.S.S and the Importance of Politics In Music
By Jay Armstrong
As someone who has spent a lifetime being offended by the lack of substance in our daily conversations, even my desire for real human connections doesn’t compensate for noticing how often outspoken disgust has become in the recent conversations we become caught up in as our disenfranchisement from the general populous is directed towards hate merchants such as Donald Trump and the corrupt biased system he represents. We’re not just talking politics here either, we live in a very strange moment in time where acute awareness of elemental flaws in universal justice become heightened by each atrocious act we see carried out go without legitimate accountability.
Certainly I’m stoked to take part in those around us getting turned on to social awareness, that alone could be the most important accomplishment we as a generation have done. Unfortunately for every questioning mind of sought understanding there is more and more often some inevitable Fox News subscriber who bombards the conversation by jumping on their soapbox to loudly explain these vile beliefs in someone’s athletic abilities justly overshadowing the most evil action a human can commit (or that systemic racism/sexism/homophobia is non-existent, global warming is a myth created by liberals, Edward Snowden is traitor,.. et cetera ad infinitum). The most wicked chasms of thought gain traction and ominously saturate our environment until we begin questioning whether our own reason and logic remains reflective of the majority or if in fact things are much worse than we had optimistically believed for so long. It seems most days the world is accelerating in a dark direction, our break rooms becoming platforms for close-minded backwoods sermonizing, a stench drifts arrogantly from the conversation a group over while waiting in line at the bar, our blood boiling as another stranger mansplains the factors of fault that reside on the victim, bourgeoisie upper class words rain down on us about how the poor are parasitic opportunists rather than the tragic result of an oppressive class system. Where has all of this racist, sexist, homophobic bigotry been hiding? There has been progress, I believe this with my entire being, the backlash though is far more brutal than we ever could have prepared ourselves for.
Despite my own existential nihilistic tendencies I am trying harder than ever to remain positive, constantly running over what Beethoven said on his death bed, “I’ve learned to look at the world in all its darkness and evil and still love it,” words which have become as important to the ethos of my life as has been his creative influence leading to my carnal salvation found in music. I want to wrap everyone I love in my arms and read Bukowski’s The Laughing Heart to them over and over until we both cry. The path ahead of us is undoubtedly going to be difficult, we need to remain strong for one another as we each struggle to affect reality in whatever minimal positive way a simple human in a world of destructive iniquitous evil could hope to accomplish. We can never change the atrocities, we can only hope that through them we may find ways to once more shape our compassion and sadness into beautiful reflections of art worthy enough to stand as beacons in time marking the eternal place where our hearts bore the burden of complete sadness or that our anger and frustration will be channeled into collective rallying cries for our intelligent like-minded peers to stand behind.
The latter is what has me quick to speak up when the tone of disappointment saturates our souls behind Barracuda. Rock ‘n’ roll has always risen to the occasion in those periods of history where the oppressor seemingly marginalized the oppressed and through the music those conscientious objectors of the imbalances seem to have found the strength to level out the scales and move once more towards tipping them. Look at who was in office each time rock n’ roll has challenged the social mores enough to fuel entire movements; Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. People’s Park and the Chicago police riots are two firm examples of abominations which at the time were publicly defended by media and politicians in a way that made the average suburbanite seem to be supportive of the suppression. In hindsight we see the motivation each situation created to form a movement in the fullest sense of the term, a movement figure-headed by our gods of rock ‘n’ roll to forever remain romanticized in the annals of social justice. We are once more seeing it occur around us… this slight realization is one of the rare lights I’ve found to walk towards in this dark foul year of our lord two thousand and sixteen.
There is nothing more disgusting than artists who intentionally avoid reflection of serious problems, to be one of the few voices being heard in the world and to not stand for something is despicable. I’m not saying we are looking for preachers, the days of getting stoked by some dude just spouting off discontent between songs have long since set sail, the last thing we need in music is another Rob Tyner with his jellyfish spine and self-righteous disposition based on regurgitated anti-propaganda pretending to give a shit about genuine issues in attempts to capitalize from them. What we do need though are more bands willing to sacrifice making every song in their set about getting fucked up and wanting the coolest babe on the block to believe they are equally as cool, to instead sacrifice the need to stroke their own ego for a few minutes to speak up for those whispered issues in our heartbroken communities. We need the poets to make our crazy rambling thoughts intelligible, we need a beautiful voice to sing our raging souls into a moment of peace, neither can be accomplished by never acknowledging the problems at all.
This is where G.L.O.S.S comes in, the band out of Olympia,Washington who over the last few years have spent every passing day earning the respect of all those still seeping enough in youth to need the sort of escape only found on the distorted frantic sweat-or-die side of life. Their latest 7,” Trans Day of Revenge, is five heated arguments with the status quo; one song after the other dealing with police brutality, repressed trauma, standing up to the asshole in our social circle who has committed some atrocious disrespectful act toward a kinder soul but remains allowed to enjoy their life as if nothing happened while through our collective silence the victim is left to feel betrayed by those who were before believed to be their friends. The album closes with the title track “Trans Day of Revenge” which gives a “we’re not gonna take it” voice to a scapegoated minority who instead of being treated humanely are being slated as rapist pedophiles feeding on the souls of our children. Compare the number of cops charged last year alone with upsetting immoral acts versus the total number of transgendered people having done the same over the last fifteen years, then explain to me why one is a hero while the other is forced to watch as battery eating robots attempt to get elected into public office by vomiting disgust and hatred directly at them.
G.L.O.S.S. are brave for sacrificing the calm “lets get ripped and care not for tomorrow” quasi sort of rock ‘n’ roll we digest and support regularly. It is an unbelievable risk after all the effort they have collectively put into their band to gamble on the long shot of people hearing these songs and actually giving a productive shit towards substantial non-complacent change, especially when the logical likely response will be people choosing to go on parroting the latest talking points and pretending as if they care for two minutes over a cigarette before going back inside the show to continue propping up the great facade our peers spend most of their waking lives trying to convince the rest of the world is real.
Trans Day of Revenge will be out on July 25th; the presale stateside (Total Negativity Records) and Canadian (Pansy Twist) are already sold out, you can still preorder it via Europe (Sabotage Records) here.