From the moment I started writing songs which people could recognise a certain quality in they would encourage me to go into the music industry. "Just write a hit, make money and then you can do what you want", "Look at Coldplay... you have to get big first and then you can do your 'indie' thing"... and so on.
Look around today at what's happening in the world and which artists are speaking out about it...
All the artists I admired growing up, whether that was Travis, Neil Finn/Crowded House, Oasis, they've all kept quiet about this year's events. Sure, Noel Gallagher made a few comments about masks but he hardly went far enough. You can't tell me they are not looking at the world and seeing something very wrong. So why won't they speak out?
The idea of freedom in rock'n'roll and the music industry is an illusion. Its a projected image but it really means nothing at the end of the day. These artists know their success was built on giving people what they wanted to hear. Rebellion is ok as long as its still within the system, as long as it doesn't upset the status quo fundamentally. So you can sing about doing lines of cocaine or getting drunk and partying but to really question the world and reality? They wouldn't have a career.
If any of these artists were to come out and say anything truly rebellious they would lose their fanbase overnight and probably their record deal. Some of those artists may have signed to a major, made their fortune and then set up their own label and will talk of independence and how they can do what they like, they are their own boss. Yet they still built their audience through that music industry system and its still holding them in ways they perhaps don't even recognise. Its still filtering what they can and can't do or say no matter how much it appears like they have a kind of freedom to do what they like.
The only example this year of one speaking out has been Ian Brown. But why now? From what I understand, Ian Brown has been aware of conspiracies and spirituality for some time, there have been subtle clues in his music all along. But that's all they were. He certainly never spoke out like he has been doing this year. Look at the reaction from most of those Stone Roses fans... in many cases, utter disappointment that their hero has "lost the plot". So many of those people, who once thought he was the coolest guy on Earth... would they have bought into that image back in 80s if he'd been speaking out like he is now?
Ian Brown has made his fortune, done his thing, and so now he can afford to speak out. But the point is, the "doing his thing" couldn't have been the real thing because there would be no difference between what people perceived of him then and what he appears to become now. Either he is now jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon (that's not what I think) or he was keeping his mouth shut before so as not to upset anyone and jeopardise any potential for success in the music industry.
My point is the music industry, like all industries, compromises you. Just like the doctors and nurses who know what is going on now is a lie but can't speak out cos they have too much to lose, it is no different for these so-called 'artists'. But isn't the job of an artist to truthfully express what they see in the world?
The truth is there is no way to succeed in that world other than to be fake in some way. Even the 'rebels' have a carefully constructed image of some kind in order to sell them. When people pointed out to the spiritual teacher U.G. Krishnamurti why wasn't he as big and famous as J. Krishnamurti he replied that you have to compromise for that level of fame and notoriety. There is no other way. One of those who came to spend time with U.G. said this about him:
"I am acutely aware of how few people are interested in the severity of UG’s message. His unwillingness to compromise and sell himself by softening what he had to say limits the audience."
As long as this is the case, whether its artists in the music industry unable to express themselves totally honestly, or doctors, nurses and scientists having to keep quiet, we will never have freedom and people are just kidding themselves on, playing a game with themselves.