off, a few quick thoughts about the painting. This piece was created,
like most of my computer-generated artwork, on Paint Shop Pro, using
a various mix of nips, tucks, tweaks, and alterations. Much of it
involves combining various graphical effects, while trying to keep
a 'painterly' style. I don't want anything that looks pixelated;
partially out of a sense of style, and party because I'd want these
to look nice when blown up on paper of canvas.
second "Conformity is Cowardice" simply the first one
with the colors inverted. It just so happened to be yellow and black,
so that's where the title comes from.
Stryper, the poster child for everything that was wrong about 1980s
corporate pop. You see, it was a difficult time, when all common
sense was thrown out the window, and America embraced one rediculously
phony pose after another. Reality gave way to fantasy, the fat cats
called all the shots, and the little people got the shaft.
was, very simply, the Reagan Era.
though, pop music in the '80s was pretty bad, but the worst of the
worst was the fearsome plague known as (dramatic pause)...Hair Metal.
Metal was its own parody, a bizarre concoction of '70s glam rock,
comic books, spandex, loads of hairspray, and every stupid cliche
you could possibly think. High-screeching "singers," overly-flashy
guitarists, drummers who spent more time twirling their drumsticks
and winking at the cameras than actually drumming.
song fell into the same stupid categories: hey, look, everyone,
we're rocking out! We're all dating models and actresses! I drive
my flashy sports car down Hollywood Blvd. every night! Hey, kids,
we're dangerous and rebellious, even though we wear more more mascara
than Tammy Faye! And, yes, everything has an exclamation mark at
the end; every photo was some phony, macho pose. Every video seemed
to involve models being tied to cars or tent poles or cages; every
song drowned in echo and reverb and way too many backup vocals.
Metal brought out the Holden Caufield in anyone with half a brain,
and it was torture to live through. Much like the Bush II Presidency,
but with overpriced sound-and-light shows.
in this tragic mix of Motley Crew and Poison and Whitesnake and
Warrant and the Scorpions and Twisted Sister and Cinderella and
Tesla, and too many other wannabees to mention, was Stryper. Now,
this was an especially bad band, for all the above reasons, but
they had a gimmick: religion.
posed as the "Christian" holy rockers in rediculous bumblebee
suits. The yellow-and-black-attack is back! We're here to rock you!
Yeah!! Ouch, somebody get me outta here.
gave us such great ideas as throwing small Bibles into the audience
during their show. You know, that obscure work of Middle-Eastern
literature; you may have heard of it. Stryper gave us such immortal
anthems as, "To Hell With the Devil;" "Soldiers Under
Command," "The Rock That Makes Me Wanna Roll."
these are the songs that made the cut.
you love it when Stryper brought out their album, "In God We
Trust"? Were they trying to be political with the dollar bill
on the cover? You just feel sorry for them, because they couldn't
possibly be trying to follow after the Dead Kennedy's and Metallica.
That's like watching Tiny Tim play like Johnny Cash.
Stryper sucks. Bunch of phony corporate pretty-boy wanna-bees. Trying
to turn religion into a corporate commodity just sealed the deal.
You'd think someone would've pointed them towards Elvis, or Johnny
Cash, or Aretha Franklin, or Bob Marley, or albums like Pet
Sounds, A Love Supreme or John Wesley Harding.
Heck, U2 was big in the '80s, and they've dealt with religion genuinely.
let's take a moment to remember Stryper, and remember that's what
the punks and speed metal kids were rebelling against back then.
Without Hair Metal and the Reagan Era, would we have had Husker
Du, The Replacements, Dead Kennedy's? Socially concious protest
music ala Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax? Don't forget rappers like
Public Enemy, Run DMC, Sugar Hill Gang. All the real music was underground,
plotting the overthrow, waiting for Saint Cobain to topple the whole
fraudulant farce once and for all.
fall of the Berlin Wall, the election of Bill Clinton, the death
of Hair Metal. In the end, every story has its happy ending.