The true maverick isn't dead; it's just that you'll almost surely never get to hear him or her sing. By the very nature of their circumstance, a contemporary mainstream pop star (whether they label themselves "alternative" or not) is a person willing and eager to conciliate, be molded and sell himself as something he or she is told to be rather than what they truly are. Giants such as Patton, Waters, Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and John Coltrane would not be able to get a major record deal today. Their refusal to compromise their music—so essential to their genius—would have consigned them to tiny labels; all would have died in obscurity.
The next time you think you're too punk for Seals & Crofts or too mellow to deal with the Damned, give them a try anyway. You might be surprised to find yourself appreciating something you never thought you'd understand: reality and honesty of a type the corporate labels will no longer allow you to experience, as they preside Ayatollah-like over what you're allowed to hear, view, read, wear, think and even how you speak. Dewd.
For a nicely schizo sampling of pre-corporate-holocaust acts performing live in OC this week, catch first-line punks THE DICKIES on Friday night at the soon-to-be-toast Foothill and DIONNE WARWICK at the Cerritos Center on Friday and Saturday nights. Aggressive, shitty rock & roll and lightweight pop fluff both have pleasures to offer the open-minded.
THE DICKIES WITH THE ADZ AND THE STREETWALKIN' CHEETAHS PERFORM AT THE FOOTHILL, 1922 CHERRY AVE., SIGNAL HILL, (562) 494-5196. FRI., 9 P.M. $12. 18+; DIONNE WARWICK PERFORMS WITH NEIL SEDAKA AT THE CERRITOS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 12700 CENTER COURT DR., CERRITOS, (562) 916-8510. FRI.-SAT., 8 P.M. $50-$65.