Sunday, March 14, 2021

Accompanying the Villain

 Song 555: This week the playlist features Runnin' With the Devil by Van Halen, written by Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen, and you can find a YouTube video of it by clicking on the title. When this rumbler came along in the late spring of 1978, I was getting ready to make a major move from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area, and so, when I jumped out on that road that summer, standing next to the pavement with my thumb pointed westward, I could have felt like I was Runnin' With the Devil, especially since, as an adult, I had embraced the devil's music that my parents and grandparents disparaged and condemned. I would at times parody their POV that evil Commies/Russians crafted the rock backbeat as a way to control the minds of America's youth, and supposedly got musicians from the lower levels of our society (a sly reference to those dark-skinned soul performers) to act as useful idiot puppets. I might sometimes playfully pretend to go evil in the name of RnR, but in reality, early on, I had concluded that the basic rock values of peace and love that enliven the form align more closely to that Jesus fellow than to the Lucifer guy. These days, we all know that the simple life ain't so simple, but we also don't hear much about folks living at a pace that kills.

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