Canadians love paying taxes. It’s not hard to see why, either—the country’s first three punk bands got their start at a publicly funded club in Toronto. The Viletones, Teenage Head, and the Diodes all played at Crash‘N’Burn, a punk club the Diodes and their manager ran out of the basement of the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication (CEAC). The anti-capitalist artists’ collective that ran CEAC received government funding from 1975 until 1978, when the news media learned that CEAC’s journal had endorsed the violent tactics of Italy’s Marxist-Leninist Red Brigades. It’s not clear how long Crash‘N’Burn operated—one account says it ran between May and August 1977, and another says it “only existed for about a month and a half.” In any case, the lesson of Crash‘N’Burn is clear: we must immediately nationalize the music industry.
Think of the immediate rewards to the record-buying public. Prices would be brought under control, accounts would be strictly audited, debts forgiven, artists’ and engineers’ royalties fairly paid. Tens of thousands of the unemployed could be immediately put to work in state-run vinyl pressing plants, recording studios, record stores, and concert venues. All would get benefits and a living wage. But the mighty would be laid low, humbled in the ruins of their empires and the shadows of their former slaves.
Such a move would deal a fatal blow to the global music monopolies; England would be next to fall. Picture Richard Branson, his pockets turned out, his thumb in his mouth, weeping, in a forced march down the middle of the Kings Road, at the tip of a thousand bayonets, and you will understand why Virgin has a space travel company. Richard is fucking off to Mars at the first sign of state intervention.
Teenage Head “Picture My Face” live
Best of all, think of the quality control. Once again, musicians would have to apply for licenses to play live, so you could end the careers of bands you didn’t like just by narking on them. Sooner or later, no one in town would be able to get a license, and there would be a thriving underground once again, officially prohibited but unofficially tolerated. In terms of records, millions of titles would be permanently deleted from the state’s catalog, in the name of the government’s stewardship of public funds and moral standards; in a sane world, this process would start with Operation: Mindcrime, but in our sad reality, Speak English or Die is a more likely candidate. Soon, the entire recorded output of hundreds of boring subcultures would be consigned to living death in the form of illegal, 128kbps MP3s posted on Brazilian blogs.
Diodes “Tired Of Waking Up Tired”
Plainly, the only alternative to nationalization is a large-scale bailout, which would only further disgust and enrage the big boys and girls of our flabby republic. If such a bailout is inevitable, why shouldn’t we get something in return for our tax dollars, like a ton of free shit?
Nationalization would be favorable for issues such as squatters’ rights. Shortly after the liquidation of existing corporate entities, Occupy Capitol Records could set up a cooperative in the famous tower at Hollywood and Vine and start a radio broadcast through the spire. True, they’d just put out a lot of those whiny acoustic folk and “conscious” hip-hop records that leftists usually like, but then you’d nark on them and they’d be evicted. Then you and your buddies could take over and broadcast Burzum 24 hours a day, until someone narked on you. By that time, however, hordes of 11-year-old Burzum fans would have burned Los Angeles to the ground, and what remained of the city would have been nuked by our nation’s leaders in a desperate act of mercy. Let’s do this!
Viletones “Screaming Fist”
Previously - In Praise of Laibach