Something wicked this way comes

By Cyrus Moussavi 2005

Another sign of the Apocalypse: creepy shots of mustachioed Bob Dylan are intercut with a frolicking underwear model in the latest Victoria’s Secret commercial. Yeah, yeah. The baby boomers are crushed, their man went from free-thinking rebel to capitalist tool. “Maybe it’s a conspiracy,” they say. “It’s Donald Rumsfeld’s way to keep Bob’s mind off of protest songs.” But unfortunately this is not a conspiracy or a sign of the apocalypse. It’s just reality.

It’s tough to deal with the fact that integrity has slowly been phased out of popular music. But it’s also naive to hold our favorite artists to the standards they set in their lyrics. Fortunately, not all is lost. While bob has turned to selling women’s undergarments on daytime TV, something much more inspiring is brewing right in our own backyards. What many people don’t know is that Cedar Falls has a music scene that’s very unique for a town of its size.

Almost every week (and more often in the summer), bands from all over the country stop through Cedar Falls to play in a little mattress-lined garage formerly known as the FSU House. (Don’t ask what the acronym stands for. Even City High’s paper can’t print it.) Up to five bands will play for no more than $5. But when you multiply that by the average FSU House attendance of about 50 people, you come to the realization that this isn’t much of a money-making proposition. The fact that these aren’t some random traveling gypsy caravans but pretty big bands (in an underground sort of way) only makes the story weirder. We has Cat on Form from England play a week before … The Plot to Destroy the Eiffel Tower from San Diego and Ricky Fitts from Kansas came and destroyed. these are signs of a thriving underground to which the FSU House (and in turn, Cedar Falls) are well connected.

But what’s the point of all of this? It’s the story of nature homes. It’s like babies and the elderly or just sea turtles. Whenever an aging rocker finally caves in, hundreds of young and impressionable bands are waiting to take over his place. It’s a beautiful thing, and the fact that we get to see this first hand in Cedar Falls is just a testament that it can go on in the most unsuspecting places.

Of course, these young fellows will probably never have Bob’s hefty cultural impact (and the pressure that must come with it), but it just goes to show that there’s an alternative when your favorite artists destroy all of your hopes and dreams.

One can forgive Moby for selling his entire record to different commercials (even vegans have to eat something), but popular music has gotten so commercial that even Bob Dylan, the voice of a counterculture generation, is pushing something. It’s reassuring to know that people still follow the footsteps of the young Bob and there is still a place for people who play music for more than just the cash. And there’s still a bright side in this Bob situation; at least he wasn’t the one displaying the bras an underwear.

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