“Provocation is weird. It’s impossible to get past the name on this record. Sure, it’s been over two decades since it appeared on the world’s radar but memory didn’t used to fade so quickly and The Rodney Kings may have gotten their stab at kinship-by-namesake in just under the buzzer. And there’s probably hundreds of cheap, buffoonish metaphors a body could conjure when playing association tag but there’s a few similarities.
But let’s back up: In no way is anyone saying that a ballistic and trashy group of young men blasting their way through three chords and a gin headache is in any way equal to the person hood of the single most famous victim of police man-pulping. So let’s just cut that accusation off at the knees right now. And, for hells bells, let’s get on with it, too…
One: Rock-N-Roll–the kind that rots your skin and sweats your teeth out–is always the underdog. It’s unkind, impolite and not housebroken. Two: In its most honest moments it admits its flaws and acknowledges its own role in its oppression but gives less than two fucks about any of that. Power struggles only happen when there’s an imbalance–the equally matched always collude into fatty laziness and chummy sportsmanship–and Rock-N-Roll feeds on struggle like a starving wombat. Three: It exists more in each moment than it ever did or will in any imagined past or fantasy future. There is no there, there is only now. Which is pretty damn convenient, too, because Rock-N-Roll has only ever been as good as it is young and the world is damn happy with keeping those things that made Rock-N-Roll a societal problem way back in some dusty memory box. The Rodney Kings flip the lid and let Pandora do her dirty work.
Beyond that, it’s tasteless. And unreasonable and smirky. A dirty-faced smugness that’s inconceivable as an expression of rank in the outside world but speaks volumes in its own language of fuzz and feedback. It’ll paste explosive cultural baggage onto itself without reservation or foresight. Its brotherhood is taken as birthright; its self-naming as much an act of thievery as it is art.
All art is theft, anyway.
Ain’t that America?
“The Rodney Kings might be the loudest and most obnoxious band to come from the land of REM” – GET BENT