01 May Sex, Drugs + No Musical Merit
Recently a reporter asked me how it felt to be returning to the original ground of Woodstock for Mysteryland festival. It caught me off guard a bit and I had to take a moment to think about it.
Electronic Music is having a moment. And we are living in it.
THIS is why it’s so exciting to be headed to Bethel, New York to be headlining Mysteryland at Woodstock in May. The timing could not be more appropriate. Woodstock is part of everyone’s vocabulary. I’m convinced children are just born with the image of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar on fire seared into their brains. We all know the stories and the iconic musicians who changed Rock Music over those storied three days in 1969.
During the original Woodstock, Rock was still cutting its teeth on Pop Culture. Like Electronic Music now, it was mired in tales of rampant drug use and accused of having little musical merit. It terrified the Moral Authority, with its sexuality and racial mixing. And music critics went crazy describing the act of plugging in an electric guitar as simple and crude, a violation of the heritage of the past.
Now Electronic Music is poised to be able to mirror what our predecessors did. This summer more than 500,000 people will attend EDC over 3 days in Las Vegas. Our goal isn’t to violate taboos, for the sake of shock value, but to push things forward.
The parallels between where we are now and what was happening back in the late 60’s can’t be ignored. At a time when the fusion of technology and artistry are absorbed into our everyday lives, it’s stupefying that comments still exist from people like The Arcade Fire, who should actually know better (“Shout out to all the bands still playing actual instruments at this festival,”) And an entire article could be written on the irony – or is it just plain stupidity – of the video Rolling Stone embarrassingly made called “Rocker vs. DJ” with the choice quote: “[DJ’s are] low quality mp3 pushers. Third-class whores ready to give it away to the first bidder. No audience will ever chant your name, or know your songs by heart, because you are anonymity.” (Clearly Rolling Stone wasn’t one of the two-million viewers that watched my Ultra set on YouTube. There was an audience. They were chanting my name. They knew my songs by heart. But perhaps I’m not the Third-class whore they’re talking about? More First-class? I dare to dream big.)
The Arcade Fire and Rolling Stone Magazine have replaced the Moral Authority of the 60’s. Ohhhhhh the irony… these are interesting days.
The honor is mine. To be involved with pushing music forward, changing the conversations about it and setting fire to arguments that it’s not “real” music, in the shadow of The Who and Sly & the Family Stone is hugely inspiring. There was a cultural shift with the original Woodstock. People figured out that Janis Joplin was more than a singer. Santana is more than a guitarist. There’s more to Electronic Music than guys pressing play on their iPods, repetitive beats and ravers wearing fuzzy boots. This is the right moment and the proper real estate to bring this truth to the forefront. I look forward to being part of this new history and bringing my sound along for the ride. Our time is now.