The New York Times reported that Tom Morello, of the metal rap band Rage Against the Machine, described Romney's pit bull, Paul Ryan thus, " He is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lot of rage in him; a rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically, the only thing he is not raging against is the privileged elite he is grovelling in front of for campaign contributions." And metal is not the only type of music to offer meaningful social comment...
Jowe Head and the Demi-Monde (featuring singer and multi-percussionist Catherine Gerbrands) played a short set in July at Club Integral at 'The Grosvenor' in Brixton in London. Jowe, resplendent in an exploding psychedelic tie-dye shirt and a top hat with feather performed a Kevin Coyne song with Gerbrands on theremin, a 12th century ballad beautifully sung by Gerbrands, and a cover of Oscar Brown's 'Rags and Old Iron'. Jowe Head played in the bands Swell Maps, Palookas, TV Personalities, and was one of the pioneers of low-fi DIY music production which represented punk's swipe at corporate and monopoly capitalism.
Punk was proletarian at musician level but the capitalist manufacturers of music were major labels like EMI who also had commercial interests in the defence industry. Punk was critical of capitalism, consumerism and commodity fetishism (X-Ray Spex's 'Oh Bondage Up Yours!'), alienation, and the selling of oneself in wage slavery (The Pop Group 'We Are All Prostitutes' and Vic Godard sang “Everyone is a Prostitute”). Punk was also concerned with a sense of existential authenticity in life criticising “poseurs”, and The Clash sang of “bullshit detectors” to identify inauthenticity.
The first low-fi DIY production was the Buzzcocks 'Spiral Scratch' EP in 1976 whose cover detailed the means of production; recording process, takes, overdubs, and the catalogue number ORG 1 (ORG ONE) was a playful reference to Wilhelm Reich.
Green, a member of the British Young Communist League playing as Scritti Politti also 'appropriated the means of production' for the pressing of the single 'Skank Bloc Bologna' in 1978. The single cover demystified the process of production by listing the complete costs of studio hire, recording, mastering, pressing, and printing. Green made reference to Leninist thinker Gramsci idea of a 'bloc' of classes in opposition to capitalist hegemony. Green was inspired by 'il movimento' in 'la rossa' city of Bologna in 1977 where a cultural revolt and political uprising of autonomists (Marxists and Anarchists) and counter culture radicals took control. There were clashes with the police, protesters killed and eventually the Italian Army went in to suppress the revolt.
The Desperate Bicycles pressed 500 copies of their single 'Smokescreen' in 1977 on their own label Refill Records. The cost of production was £153 (studios, pressing, sleeves), and a profit of £210 was made in 4 months which went to a second pressing of 1,000 and with profit from these sales a further 2,500 copies pressed and capital investment in equipment made.
Jowe Head and the Swell Maps booked Spaceward Studios in Cambridge and pressed 2,000 copies of their single 'Read About Seymour' in 1977. Jowe Head recalled “the thrill of feeling empowered by our realisation that we could seize the means of production”. Low-fi DIY music production was about making your own entertainment and selling it to other creative, autonomous and like-minded souls. It represented authenticity and a purity of intent, and was an exercise in anarcho-capitalism.