Rock’n’roll was born from a mix of musical genres, among them blues, soul music and, in parallel, funk. That’s why it highlighted the black music to the world in an era of a openly segregationist society. Directly or indirectly, the new musical genre has collaborated with Martin Luther King’s fight, that was reaching its climax in the 60s. The Beatles even refused playing to a segregated audience in a concert in 1965, in USA.
No wonder why rock music became one of the most important forms of manifestation that time. As said the historian Eric Hobsbawm:
“The new 'autonomy' of youth as a separate social stratum was symbolized by a phenomenon which, on this scale, probably had no parallel since the romantic era of the early nineteenth century: the hero whose life and youth ended together. This figure, anticipated in the 1950s by the film star James Dean, was common, perhaps even ideal -typical, in what became the characteristic cultural expression of youth - rock music.” (HOBSBAWM, Eric. 1994, p. 324)
Along with drugs and deliberated sex (vide behind the scenes of Woodstock*), rock’n’roll was usually the identity of the young people who started taking a life of excesses, both among the public and among the artists themselves, finding on this triad a way of uprising against the oppression and the pressure they carried on their shoulders. It was when great stars of the rock music scenery have been born, such as Janis Joplin, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and so many others that have made history.
Not by chance, "Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" was the result of an explosion, of a social and cultural revolution. But in the following decades, it was not being seen as a way of uprising or running to “love and peace”, by the way, rock music was still playing its role and became an important tool for manifestations and critics, mainly the political ones.
The engagement of rock stars in political and social causes started increasing. As for example, the classic album The Wall (1979), from Pink Floyd, is an important work which made a straight reference to the Cold War. Nevertheless, after Berlin Wall torn down in 1989, Roger Waters, former leader of the extinguished band, performed a historical concert in Berlin in July of 1990, in a great representation of the construction and fall of the wall, both the content of the songs and the visual and theatrical representation of the spectacle. The trial is the high point of the show when the chorus “Tear down the wall” is sang for all the audience until the scenographic wall, which was being builded during the whole concert, falls.
Among the guest artists for that show, there were our Scorpions. The German artists who were born under strong influence of one of the precursors countries of the Second World War, a country divided into two republics. They were grown with that omnipresent and omnipotent monument, the wall which was the symbol of the strong difference between East and West, as Herman said himself in his book.
As you know, Wind of Change is one of the greatest hits from 90s. It was by influences of these winds of change, which were announcing the end of a bipolar world era, that Klaus wrote this song. Few months later, the berlin wall just fell down. It’s well known by all of you, of course. This song represented the feeling of what was happening not only to Germany and Russia, but also to the whole world. Crossfire is also all about this troubled era. That’s why when I interviewed Klaus in january this year I wanted to ask him about this issue. For me it was more important than trying to know about new albuns or other stuff. I wanted to know how it got to influence him as human being and as an artist, as child growing up in that bipolarized world, living inside a divided country. It’s part of what he is, of what the Scorpions is, it’s part of what we get from them, through their music.
So, music, as other forms of artistic representation, always had (and always will) a crucial role in history, and rock’n’roll found its place in this age of extremes. Back to Roger Waters, his last tour brought again the album The Wall, and it shows that even a work from decades ago can’t be less current than it really is. His presentations in Brazil (march and april 2012) highlighted current political subjects, as for example the Zionist-Palestinian one, showing his militancy in favor of the Palestinian state. All this can show that drugs is not the point for a rebellion today, it has no more the sampe context as it had in the past eras. But rock music is still a way of showing up, even if the genre isn’t living its glorious times.
Today, showing up ideas and consciousness through music is an art. But, currently, using drugs as a way of an uprising against oppression does not match with the historical process and evolution. Time has changed, drugs are out of the spotlights, there was just place for sex, rock’n’roll and a whole new social consciousness. Here is the point where I reach Humanity Hour I, it was not just one more album about rock rebel, ir was another way of protesting, the album was questioning our role in the world and what could we do not to be “just a number, not a name.”
When the album was released, I was just finding the Scorpions out, and that time I’ve made a video about the rainforest using the Humanity song. I remember when this idea came out, when they announced their first concert in Manaus. As a connection between the HHI concept and Amazon deforestation, Mônica came with the idea of doing something with their song and the environment subject. Then I started working on that amateur video, a slideshow actually, which seems terrible when I look with my eyes of today. I remember that lot of fans hate this video here in this forum. Well, I am not regret of doing that, it’s part of the maturing process of my ideas and consciousness, but I must say, I wouldn’t do it today, not the way I did, just broadcasting it, claiming for saving the rainforest and not concerning how the social problems can help to make such kind of thing happening.
I want to say that, even if my mind has changed since 2007, I am really thankful to the Scorpions for helping me to start a process of thinking and concerning about the world we live in. It’s part of the rock’n’roll role, after all.
About the interview I’ve made to publish on Scorpions Brazil and Whiplash.net, you can listen to it here, if you haven’t done it yet. http://www.scorpionsbrazil.net/br/notic ... 1358709163
The book I’ve mentioned on this text, if you’re interested in:
HOBSBAWN, Eric. The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991. London: Abacus, 1994.
* Watch Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life, a 2009 movie by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte.