Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"The first one through the wall usually gets bloody"

I heard this quote in the Movie "Moneyball" with Brad Pitt not long ago. "Moneyball" is a very good movie, one of the best I've shelled out 10 bucks for recently (which does not happen often these days) but I recommend this movie particularly for Baseball fans.

The above quote has stuck with me for a few weeks now and since I can't get it out of my head I decided to blog about it and see if that works.
"The first one through the wall usually gets bloody" is a truism, it's accurate in real life and many of some famous over used quotes aren't necessarily true in real life.
I say it's true in real life because I've seen it at work in people close to me, people I've worked with or performed in music groups with over the years.

Folks that have vision and the drive to make that vision happen I've watched personally get bloodied some. Not just by criticism from others that can't understand (or don't want to) the vision of the visionary, but, literally bloodied in a real sense.
If you think this is just nonsense by a nutty musician, I'll give a few examples of what I speak of.
The obvious examples of this are talked about a lot so I won't dwell on them...names like Martin Luther King, Dietrich Boenhoffer, Martin Luther, Ghandi, and The Lord Jesus Christ.
But, some other lesser known examples of people that broke through the glass wall first and got severely cut up in the process you may or may not have heard of like "Tank Man" in Tianenmen Square in 1989. No one knows what happened to Tank Man who boldly and bravely stood in front of a Chinese Tank in 1989 when the democracy protests in Beijing broke out. He just disappeared, but, many have a strong feeling he was hidden away in a Chinese Gulag most likely never to be seen again. I was in China in 2009 myself, and "Tank man" today would have not gotten any TV coverage whatsoever. Any Videos of his bravery would have never been seen by the Chinese people because there's no YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook in China...it's all banned.

Another example I like to bring up is my friend Steve Taylor, who I played in a Band with for 7 years, specifically a Christian Rock Band. Many of my musician friends back in the day (1980's) would look at me with a puzzled look when I said "I play in a Christian Rock Band." Some of my friends would even go so far as to say there's no such thing as a Christian Rock Band, because Rock and Roll is by it's nature rebellious. On that point my friends were right, (sort of) but they were less visionary than the guy that started the Christian Rock Band whom I drank coffee with in the 70s.

You see, Christian Rock was born from a response to a lot of rock bands in he 70's and 80's that took the rebellious nature of rock music to an extreme, bands that trashed hotels just for fun, or bragged about their heroin and LSD use. Many of the originators of Christian Rock were themselves members of the counterculture of the 1960's. People that once embraced drugs, sex, and Rock and Roll, much like their heroes Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin (both whom we know died from their excesses of Drugs, and alcohol.)
These musicians suddenly, and radically turned to God and his son Jesus to become "Jesus Freaks." They rejected the Hedonistic and Nihilistic philosophies of Timothy Leary for a relationship with God, and many of these Jesus Freaks were super gifted Musicians like Larry Norman, Glenn Kaiser, Keith Green, and Phil Keaggy. These new "Jesus Freak" Musicians began writing and performing songs about their radically changed lifestyles from drugs and sex to living a clean and drug and alcohol free path for the Lord.

I was in a Band at the tail end of the "Jesus Freak" music scene with a former H.S. classmate Steve Taylor, that became quite well known in the 80's as "Steve Taylor and Some Band" and we did several TV shows, large Christian Music Festivals, and several European, American, and Australian tours. A video STASB made for the Christian Label "Sparrow" was one of the first featured Videos by A Christian Rock Band on MTV, which was unheard of at that time. That was back when MTV actually played Videos. STASB had broken through the wall at a time when it was very hard to do so.

I put my friend in the "First through the wall" category because as a close associate I saw first hand how in the secular mainstream media like Newsweek and the L.A. times, Steve was perceived as a Christian Rocker with an attitude, who had a penchant for writing and performing songs from a Right Wing, Conservative viewpoint. Few Artists had gotten national attention from Newsweek, Time, or Television that wrote songs from a conservative Christian perspective until STASB. They also criticized him as being too Christian and "Preachy." But that wasn't the only criticism Steve got, because some of the harshest and most bitter attacks came from the Church, or at least well known TV preachers like Jimmy Swaggart. This criticism was strange (I thought) because here's a Christian guy that writes songs from a Christian perspective and is getting blistered and attacked publicly by well known TV preachers.
With time and the truth eventually coming to light, some of Steve Taylor's critics ironically ended up having affairs, or were raiding the temple money just like the Pharisees in Jesus' day so, Steve was exonerated because what he was saying in the songs was true and accurate.

I feel strongly that some of today's modern "Wall Breakers" are people like Dr. Thomas Sowell,Dr. Alveida King (Niece of MLK),and Mychal Massie, all African American Conservatives that go against the grain of most of Black sociologists, theologists, and Politicians to define a new Paradigm of what it means to be Black in America. They are extremely misunderstood and villified (even by their own race) for thinking and acting outside of the box on issues like Abortion,Black Liberation Theology, and Economic theory. Like MLK, many of these paradigm changers I'm sure have taken much heat, a lot of it from their own race, but something drives them to see things clearly, to speak and write the truth, and forge the new way of thinking that changes people's minds, societies, and nations even if it costs some blood of their own.

That's my view and I'm the Sax Player...