Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The History of Black New Wave and Industrial Music

By Der Kosmonaut
  I've been a fan of New Wave and Industrial music since I was 5 years old. I first heard "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk on Halloween 1977 at a party at the Jackson Avenue Projects in The South Bronx. Grandmaster Flash was the DJ that night. Growing up Black in New York from the late 70s through the 80s, most of the music that I heard was considered to be Disco. By 1980 Disco simply connoted "Black" music. However there were many white groups that were considered "Disco" or at the very least were played on the Disco music stations. It would't be until the end of the 80s that I discovered many groups that were popular on the Black radio stations were white including Kraftwerk, Blondie, Queen and Tom Tom Club just to name a few.
  When I got seriously into New Wave music in 1987 many people thought it was strange. As a Black person I should've only have liked Rap/Hip Hop, Soul and RnB. This continued in the 90s when I got into Goth and Industrial music. People took me to task for rejecting "Black music" in favor of white music. When I started my DJ career in the 90s I used to mix New Wave, Industrial, Techno, Jungle music. One white person sharply questioned me. "Why play Industrial? Why would you want to play before an audience of suburban white kids?"
  It annoyed me beyond endurance that my skin color limited my choice of music. Of course there were hypocritical double standards. It was ok for whites to listen to Soul/RnB and Hip Hop but it was a cardinal sin for Blacks to like rock. Even when I was a member of the International Socialist Organization, the whites continuously criticized me for rejecting "my people's music and culture." As a Black person I should only like Jazz, Hip Hop and Soul/RNB. When I went to London for the first time, the white Marxists of the Socialist Workers Party found it odd that I preferred Goth/Industrial music. Most of the Marxist whites in London listened to "Black music". I was taken to task for liking Morrissey. At the time there was a national scandal in the British media accusing Morrissey of being racist and a Nazi sympathizer. This was because of his single "The National Front Disco" in which the protagonist out of social and political alienation is attracted to the British National Front.
  Where and how did this nonsense originate in the first place? Most of it came from the record industry itself which racially divided and segregated music. The most important charts were for Pop and Rock which mostly featured white artists. Then there was a separate music chart called Soul/RnB, which later became known as "Urban Music". Hence the record industry automatically classified white musicians as Rock and Black musicians as Soul.
  As I've noted many times, Rock had become a racist reactionary social and political movement by the end of the 70s. Nearly all white Americans only liked Rock and vehemently hated "Disco". In other words, any music composed or written by Blacks or even whites that added elements of Soul and Funk was disparaged. It cannot be overstated that Ronald Reagan's election as president in 1980 was in large part due to the racist backlash against Disco music. American culture had become too Black and the biggest manifestation of this was the popularity of Disco music.
  Over the past 4 years I've rediscovered many so-called Disco, Hip Hop and Soul/RnB records and realized that not only were they New Wave and Industrial music but they greatly influenced the development of New Wave and Industrial music. In other words, just as Rock music was invented by Blacks, so too was New Wave and Industrial. Perhaps that's too extreme so I will put it this way. New Wave and Industrial music wasn't exclusively invented and composed by whites. By the same token, Hip-Hop wasn't exclusively made by Blacks.
  This is the thing.....Black Americans live in the most technologically advanced civilization in history. Black Americans are front and center of the development of the United States as the premier industrial country in the world. New York is the most advanced industrialized city in the world. Until a decade ago had the third largest Black population in the world. Hip-Hop music was the result of industrialization. The New York City subway is the greatest industrial machine invention in human history. The only reason why Hip Hop developed and could've only developed in New York is the result of the subway. The Bronx River projects where Hip-Hop originated from stands between three major railway lines. Right in front of Bronx River to the West of the projects lies the Amtrak line that serves the route between New York and Boston. Less than a kilometer away also to the West and North lies the IRT White Plains Road elevated subway line. Barely a kilometer to the South lies the IRT Pelham elevated line. In essence the Hip Hop beat was the interpretation of the rail and subway lines. Hence the reason why "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk is not only the most popular song in The Bronx but also the reason why Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash played and sampled it.
  This will be a survey showing how the various so-called "Black" genres of music are landmarks of New Wave, Industrial and Techno. It's time for Blacks to reclaim our cultural heritage and also to stop reinforcing false consciousness. Many Blacks that like the music on this survey will vehemently deny that they like New Wave and Industrial music but in fact they do. I will list Disco, Soul/RNB, Hip Hop/Rap songs that are unmistakably New Wave and Industrial and most importantly shaped the latter.

Stevie Wonder "Living For The City" (1973)
What?! Stevie Wonder recorded New Wave in 1973!?!? You better believe he did. It's one of the earliest recorded American songs played on a Moog synthesizer. I'd bet my bottom dollar that Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo was inspired by this song. Stevie Wonder introduced synthesizers into American music. He collaborated with Robert Margouleff who programmed the synthesizers. Margouleff himself became a key New Wave producer. He co-produced Devo's 1980 album Freedom of Choice including their hit "Whip It". Then in 1986 he produced Depeche Mode's beautiful 1986 song "But Not Tonight". The Black connection to New Wave music dates back nearly 45 years.


Donna Summer "I Feel Love" (1977)
  Donna Summer is known primarily as a Disco "diva". However she is the first New Wave and Techno music superstar. Many people try to deny it but nearly all the popular music over the past 40 years is the offspring of Disco. Hip-Hop/Rap was called "Disco" until 1983. "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk was considered to be Disco music. Indeed by 1989 Kraftwerk were described as a failed Disco band. Even the Yugoslav Slovenian group Laibach have admitted that their style and sound comes from Disco. One of the things that I've never been able to understand is how Talking Heads had become seen as the flag bearers of the Anti-Disco movement when their music in 1978-79 had an unmistakable Disco sound. One night when I was the headline DJ in Vienna, I did a brief set of Disco. One attendee was disenchanted because he hated Disco. However I know my music and put on "Miss You" by The Rolling Stones. The lad went from disenchantment to ecstasy as soon as he hard The Stones. "Miss You" is a Disco song. It's irrational for someone to hate Disco but love "Miss You". Most importantly Techno and Electronic music sprang from Disco. "I Feel Love" is the first Number 1 Techno and New Wave song ever. In the video Donna Summer's dance moves would set the template for New Wave dancing in the 80s. Indeed, David Byrne copied her dance moves in Stop Making Sense. 



Yarbrough and Peoples "Don't Stop The Music" (1980)
  As stated earlier Ronald Reagan's election victory was based on the backlash against Disco. Perhaps no song epitomizes both the extent that the country had become culturally Black and how the sound of 80s New Wave developed than "Don't Stop The Music." Cavin Leon Yarbrough and Alisa Delois Peoples were a duo from Dallas, Texas. Yarbrough composed most of the music using a Moog Analog synthesizers. "Don't Stop The Music" was so popular in New York that everyone in the city walked and strutted to the rhythm of this song. What I mean is that even when New Yorkers weren't listening to the song at the moment, they still walked and carried themselves bopping and strutting with funk and style as if this song was on their mind. Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Asians and whites all walked the same way. "Don't Stop The Music" was the cultural and social manifestation of the country, and New York in particular had become Black.
  Unbeknownst to many "Don't Stop The Music" is the most influential song in New Wave and Industrial. Al Jourgensen  of Ministry was deeply influenced by this song. Before Ministry became a hard core Industrial Metal band, they were New Wave synthpop. Ministry's first hit "Work For Love" was based on "Don't Stop The Music". Al Jourgensen is the Godfather of Industrial music. Without "Don't Stop The Music" there's a good chance that Industrial music wouldn't have developed as it did.
  Cavin Yarbrough is the Black Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus combined in one. His keyboard playing style is similar to Mark Mothersbaugh and in the video he looks like a vampire giving him a distinct Gothic appearance. I wouldn't be surprised if Yarbrough was inpsired by Devo's Duty Now For the Future album of 1979. Another example of how Blacks and whites influenced each other. 



Grace Jones "Warm Leatherette" (1980)
Who's the first Black Punk Rock New Wave Goth/Industrial Black female artist? If you guessed Grace Jones then I tip my cap to you as you know your music. For everyone else, now you know. Grace Jones is largely forgotten. Again Grace Jones isn't considered to be Punk or New Wave in spite of her looking and playing the part. One moron on YouTube posted this song and called her the "Queen of Pop/Funk". She's actually the Queen of Punk New Wave Industrial. Oh wait. I forgot that's Siouxsie Sioux or perhaps it's Nina Simone. Grace Jones covers the first British New Wave synth song by Daniel Miller, who founded the biggest New Wave music label Mute Records. Once again, a Black person covers a New Wave song but the best she can get is "Pop". Laurie Anderson gets the label of New Wave but not Jones. Annie Lennox totally adopted her persona from Jones. If this isn't a New Wave Industrial performance than nothing else is. 



Afrika Bambaataa "Planet Rock" (1982) "World Destruction" with John Lydon (1984)

Afrika Bambaataa is the Godfather of Hip Hop. He was raised in the aforementioned Bronx River Projects. He was the one that made Kraftwerk famous and heroes in The Bronx. Hip-Hop has always had Techno and Industrial roots. "Planet Rock" is based on "Trans-Europe Express". Though The Clash were the first British punk band to embrace Hip-Hop and famously had Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five open up for them in 1982 in New York, the first time punk rock and Hip Hop came together was with the collaboration of Afrika and John Lydon of The Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. The former is a landmark in Techno/Industrial. The latter is a landmark of Punk/New Wave. Note the outrageous outfits and costumes. The white New Wavers didn't have a monopoly of extravagant appearance. Nor were the New Wave videos exclusively the most advanced technologically with intelligent concepts.






3 Fresh M.C's "Fresh" (1983)
  In my opinion this is the second best Hip-Hop song of all time. The best will follow. There's really nothing much to say except that this is pure Industrial music. Perhaps Laibach is the only white Industrial band to have harder beats.


Whodini "Five Minutes Of Funk" (1984)
  In my opinion this is the best Hip-Hop song of all time. Again one hears the obvious influence of Kraftwerk. 


The Bad Boys "Inspector Gadget" (1985)
  Beyond doubt Inspector Gadget was the most important animated series on American TV in the 80s. It was in reality the first 21st century cartoon even though it debuted in 1983. Like Kraftwerk's 1981 landmark album Computerwelt, Inspector Gadget was ahead of its time which its depiction of computer technology. Inspector Gadget's niece Penny was a computer programmer and hacker. She wrote code before every stupid motherfucker today could. Indeed, Penny sported the very first laptop. Her "Computer Book"and laptop carrier was more than a decade ahead of Mac's Powerbook laptop. Inspector Gadget also had an electronic music soundtrack. I may be wrong but Inspector Gadget might have been the world's first Techno music cartoon. A group of lads and lasses from various parts of the New York Tri-State area come together to make a rap song based on the Inspector Gadget theme song. In addition to the sound, the setting of the video is an industrial waste site. Kraftwerk took notice of this song in Düsseldorf and they sampled parts of this song in "Musique Non-Stop". Their 1986 album Electric Cafe was a shout out and appreciation to New York Hip-Hoppers and rappers.



Strafe "Set It Off" (1984)
  Arguably the most influential song of Industrial. The Brooklyn based artist was clearly a fan of New Wave music, Ministry in particular. Ministry's "Work For Love" single was played on the Black radio stations in New York and was especially popular in Brooklyn. Here's another example of mutual reception. Strafe was influenced by "Work For Love", as Ministry was influenced by "Set It Off" on the Goth anthem "Everyday Is Halloween" and most of the 1986 Twitch album. The Belgian Industrial/EBM group Front 242 sampled this song on their classic track "Headhunter". Indeed "Headhunter" and the 1988 album Front By Front would never have been made were it not for Strafe. "Set It Off" is the soul of Industrial/EBM. It must also be added that this song greatly influenced Pet Shop Boys and New Order.


Talking Heads and Black Musicians
  David Byrne is probably one of the few white Western men that has felt the sting of anti-Black racism. It was patently absurd that Anglo-Saxon whites saw Talking Heads as the representation of cultural white supremacy. Talking Heads wouldn't have existed in the first place with Black music. Talking Heads made no secret of their admiration of Blues, Funk, Rhythm and Blues and Soul. Talking Heads owe their musical existence to Otis Redding. Few people realize that "Psycho Killer" was a tribute to Otis Redding. The famous "fa fa fa" line in the chorus was not Byrne's invention. That was invented by Otis Redding. Tina Weymouth learnt to play bass by listening to Otis Redding. Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth were huge fans of James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic just to name a few. Chris and Tina's side project Tom Tom Club made a song paying tribute to all of the most important Black musicians from the 50s up until 1981. When Talking Heads released their Remain In Light LP in 1980, they lost half of their fan base. Their white fan base was enraged and incensed that the band was playing "Jigaboo Jungle" music. From 1980 through 1983 Talking Heads' live band consisted of 4-5 Black musicians. On their tours between 1980 and 1983 half their live band was Black. David Byrne received hateful and blistering racist attacks on stage in London from audience members who resented seeing Black musicians. Bryne was called a "nigger lover" and denounced for making "nigger music".
  The truth be told Talking Heads could've been a Black band. A Black band could've created the same sound and lyrics. Though it's likely the lead singer's style would sound quite different from Byrne's but nonetheless it would've been the same or arguably better. Talking Heads have a substantial Black fan base, which makes sense considering the infusion of Funk and Soul. 
  Below is a trio of Black musicians that covered and performed Talking Heads songs.

Pops Staples and The Staple Singers "Slippery People" (1984) "Papa Legba" (1986)

  The landmark live Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense directed by the late Jonathan Demme, made a strong impact on Black Americans. Soon after the film was released the famous Soul group The Staple Singers recorded a cover of "Slippery People" by Talking Heads. I must say their cover blows the original Talking Heads rendition out of the water. On the call and response chorus the guitarist Pops Staples sings lead. Talking Heads fans out there will love it. I'm compelled to comment that when Talking Heads record the song, it's called New Wave. When Blacks make the same exact song it mysteriously gets labeled "RnB".




The Staple Singers, "Slippery People," from LBJ on Vimeo.

In 1986 David Byrne made his debut as film director is his classic 1986 satire of American life in the 80s True Stories. At the same time the band released a studio album by the same name. Impressed by Pops Staples guitar and lead vocal rendition of "Slippery People", Byrne invited Pops Staples to act in the film. Pops sings "Papa Legba". The instrumentation is played by Talking Heads but with Byrne  and other members sing backing vocals. Pops Staples rendition is an interesting interpretation. 



Living Colour "Memories Can't Wait"
  In 1988 the New York City based Black punk and New Wave band In Living Colour became the first all Black "rock" band to break through. The members, like many Black New Yorkers, grew up listening to Punk and New Wave. They had to overcome much resistance by the music industry to obtain a recording contract. Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones dug their music and pulled strings for the band to get a record deal. Jagger produced their successful single "Glamour Girls". Talking Heads were one of the groups that influenced Living Colour who made a cover of their 1979 song "Memories Can't Wait"



Black British Dub New Wave in 1984
I would be remiss if I neglected the Brothers and Sisters across the pond in London. Dub music developed in London in parallel with the development of Hip-Hop/Rap in New York. The original Hip-Hop DJs in The Bronx were West Indian. Kool Herc who is the father of Hip-Hop was from Jamaica. Afrika Bambaataa is the child of Jamaican immigrants. Grandmaster Flash was born in Barbados. The West Indians imported the West Indian "sound system " with them. Turntabling, Scratching is a Jamaican invention. The divergence between New York Hip-Hop from London Dub was due strictly to demographics. When the West Indians migrated to the UK in mass numbers they were the first Black community in the country. There have been Blacks in the UK since the Roman Empire. In the West of England is a Black community that dates back to the Middle Ages. Still prior to 1948 the Black population of Britain was negligible. Hence the Black West Indian immigrants had a clean slate. Dub is the musical and poetical expression of Black West Indian youth in inner city London. 
Things were quite different in New York. There was already an established 2 million strong Black community in New York that had developed cultural autonomy since the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. New York Blacks had developed their own music in the form of Jazz. Black Americans weren't particularly keen on the West Indian immigrants. They found their language strange and their customs very different. Black Americans were extremely hostile to West Indian music such as Calypso and Reggae. Rastafarians were feared and loathed by American Blacks. Dreadlocks were considered to be a disgrace. American Blacks have strict cultural mores regarding hair. Having uncombed hair was a cardinal sin. A common epithet among Blacks was "nappy headed". This was particularly so in the Northeast of the country. Uncombed hair was viewed as a lack of decency, hygiene and dignity. No self-respecting Black person would appear in public with nappy hair. Moreover it carried connotations of being "country". Within my grandparents generation there was hatred and resentment against the Black newcomers from The South. The arrived in Philadelphia, New York and Boston in dirty clothes, unkempt appearance, uncombed hair and uneducated. Many spoke a dialect of broken Southern American English. My grandparents who were born and raised respectively in New York and Philadelphia would repeat a constant refrain: "Things were fine in Philly until the Southern niggers arrived." "Harlem was nice until the Southerners moved in." So having uncombed nappy hair was bad enough but to appear with dreadlocks was an abomination. American Blacks refused to talk to anyone wearing dreads and if they did it was only to insult them: "Get a comb and take a bath!" Bob Marley was rejected out of hand by Black Americans. Not only did he appear dirty and disgusting but he had the nerve to say that Blacks were from Africa and were Africans. Up until 1988 if was considered the ultimate insult to be called an African. Indeed, those were fighting words. One could get shot and stabbed for saying such a thing. As children the most common put down was to call another kid an "African booty scratcher". Ironically enough it was only American whites that embraced Bob Marley. When Marley played at Madison Square Garden in 1979 there was only one black person in attendance. (I know this because it was my friend and he told me so many times.) How paradoxical and nonsensical race plays out. While many whites in 1979 were railing against Disco, many others were embracing Reggae.
It was in this context that the West Indian immigrants were placed. Unable to play Caribbean music they had to play traditional American Soul and Funk. Whereas in London, the Blacks were able to carry over their Caribbean culture in a British urban context. Another difference is that London had degrees of more racial integration residentially and socially. Hence they were exposed to Punk and early New Wave. By 1979 the fusion of reggae and punk was born and named the Two-Tone sound made famous by The Specials. 
  Despite the lack of social and residential segregation as found in New York, there was still a great deal of racism Blacks had faced. Unlike in New York Blacks were frequent targets of violent racial attacks which often resulted in death. The New Cross massacre where scores of Blacks were burnt alive when skinheads committed arson against a Sound System. With the rise of the Neo-Nazi National Front, the attacks became more frequent and deadlier. On top of this was the official racism of the state and the police.
  Dub music had lots of social and political commentary about racism and police violence. Being in London surrounded by their white punk new wavers, friends and neighbors, they fused Dub with Punk and New Wave.

Ranking Ann "Kill The Police Bill" (1984)
Ranking Ann is one of the few female Dub musicians. She recorded this protest record about police racism and harassment. The record is also a call to arms to stop Margaret Thatcher's pending bill which was eventually passed as Criminal Justice Act of 1984 which was deliberately written to both terrorize the Black and South Asian immigrant population but most importantly to deal with working class opposition to her agenda of Totalitarian Capitalism. The title of the song "Kill The Police Bill" is a double entendre. Not only is Ranking Ann talking about killing the pending police state legislation. "Bill" is British colloquialism for police officer. So in a tongue in cheek way Ranking Ann is saying kill the police officer. This song inspired Annie Lennon of Eurythmics. She copied the singing style of Ranking Ann in their song "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)"


 LKJ is the best living English language poet. He was born in Jamaica but migrated to London when he was 11. By the 1970s he had joined the British Black Panther Party and was an activist against police oppression and racism. By 1980 he served notice to the Metropolitan Police, the Nazis and the Thatcher government that Blacks were getting angry and were about to start an insurrection. Sure enough it occurred in 1981 and then again in 1984. Here LJK combines Dub and New Wave with punk rage. He basically says: "See I told you so. I warned you but you didn't listen. Now we're coming for you!" 



Prince "When Doves Cry" (1984)
The most famous Black New Wave musician in the world is of course Prince. His first band The Revolution were originally a New Wave band before he recruited them for his music. The very first radio station to play this song was the great Long Island New Wave station WLIR 92.7. Each Tuesday the radio station would feature 10 brand new songs and have the listeners vote which one should be "Screamer of the Week". In 1984 "When Doves Cry" was voted "Screamer of the Week". Hence the first radio station to play the song was a New Wave station.


1986: Black New Wave erupts on the scene!

Timex Social Club "Rumors" (1986)
Timex Social Club were an all Black New Wave group from Berkeley California. Again they were labelled a Soul/RnB act but they were for the most part a synth-pop group. They were noted for their social commentary. The creator and host of the legendary Black music show Soul Train, Don Cornelius told the lead singer that he was "a very profound young man." The most defining characteristics of New Wave music was its intellectualism, followed by its poignant social and political commentary and last but certainly not least, it's sense of humor. At the time Timex Social Club were considered to be an "intellectual' Black Soul group. Hence that's the essence of the segregation of music. Whites are always considered "intellectual" whereas Blacks are considered "emotional". Soul music evokes strong emotions. It's predecessor Blues was known for lamentation and disenchantment. Though the beep bop Jazz of the 50s was considered to be intellectual, mostly in Europe, the lack of lyrics and overt social and political commentary made white think that Blacks couldn't articulate their intellect verbally. All they could do was blow into a sax or horn or tap on piano keys and drums. This is the essence of intellectual racism, which is the most prominent manifestation of it today.


Club Nouveau "Promises, Promises" (1986)
Club Nouveau was formed after the members of Timex Social Club had a falling out. By most accounts it was an acrimonious split. The members that split left the Bay Area for Sacramento. Club Nouveau continued making New Wave synthesizer music. They had a big hit with their cover of "Lean On Me". They had two number 1 hits on the "Soul/RnB" chart with "Situation Number 9" and what would become the most influential song of 90s and 2000s Hip-Hop "Why You Treat Me So Bad". Club Nouveau continued to make poignant critiques of social issues and politics. "Promises, Promises" is about how politicians, government agencies, banks and even one's best friends make promises that they don't intend to keep. Conversely how others make people promise to do things.


Oran "Juice" Jones "The Rain" (1986)
This is probably the funniest song and video ever recorded and made. I may be wrong but I know of no other song where the singer does an A Capella rant insulting the lover that betrayed them. Human history is littered with ballads, blues, rock and pop songs lamenting love betrayed and love lost. Annie Lennox of Eurythmics was notoriously vicious when the men of her lyrical life mistreated her. But nothing, absolutely nothing surpasses Oran "Juice" Jones catching his lover holding hands with another man. Another characteristic of New Wave music where the funny videos and good acting of the musicians. 



Cameo "Candy" (1986)
This is personally my favorite Black New Wave song and video. This was the follow up single and video to their famous hit "Word Up". Though "Word Up" is in many respects a better video and song, "Candy" contains all of the elements of New Wave music. Cameo's lead singer Larry Blackmon is the biggest Black freak musician from New York City. Only Prince tops Blackmon for eccentricity and extravagance. Still, I think that Blackmon had better style than Prince. Prince tended to go for the androgynous look in order to come off as a freak. Prince was definitely in touch with his feminine side. However, Blackmon was a Black man through and through. He oozed with masculine sexuality and was quite horny. His bandmates are a collection of freaks. I particularly like the Black punk bassist who enjoys every minute playing bass and being a Superfreak! It's also notable the blatant interracial sexuality. Blackmon is the closest to David Byrne's stage persona. I would say that Blackmon is the Black cross of David Byrne and Thomas Dolby. If Talking Heads were Black, Blackmon would be the front man. Cameo in appearance, fashion and style were 100% New Wave. It must be added that the song and video influenced Love and Rockets, the successor band of Bauhaus. Their 1989 hit "So Alive" was based on the song and video of "Candy".


Fishbone "When Problems Arise" (1986)
  I was first introduced to Fishbone during American Thanksgiving weekend in 1987. My maternal side of the family comes from Philadelphia. So my grandmother and I went to Philly to spend the holiday weekend. The husband of my aunt was a music producer and managed a dance club. He had the best selection of music videos I've seen since and after. He too liked New Wave music. He was delighted that I was an Eurythmics fan. He showed all their early videos and concerts to me. We watched the film Purple Rain. He then put on a video tape documentary of Fishbone. I had never heard of them. In fact, I doubt many people had heard of them in New York City. The documentary featured music videos by the band as well as interviews win which they talk about the entrenched racism of the music industry. They were a Punk Rock band but no label wanted to sign them. The band was repeatedly told that there was no audience and hence no music for Black rockers. They were told to record traditional Soul/RnB songs or try their hat at Hip-Hop. The band members expressed their frustration and bitterness. Fishbone was actually the first Black American group which considered itself to be Punk/New Wave. Eventually they made their big breakthrough but at a cost to their dignity and integrity. This song and video is from before they sold their soul to Charlie.


Gwen Guthrie "Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent" (1986)
Unfortunately some of the Black artists became capitalistically degenerated as did most of the Anglo-Saxon countries in the 80s. It was the era of Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney in the UK, US and Canada respectively. It was all about the money. The peace and love era of the 60s and 70s was finished. As David Byrne put it there was no time for "lovey dovey". With that said this track by Gwen Guthrie falls within the genre of New Wave with some elements of Industrial beats.


E.U. Da Butt (1988)
Beck sampled this in his 90s single "Where's It At". Once again the influence of unacknowledged Black New Wave in Alternative Rock.



The New Wave of Hip-Hop 1989-1992
I find it amusing how people today consider Hip-Hop from the late 80s to early 90s "old school". In point of fact what many mistaken for old school is actually middle school. Hip-Hop can be broken into three early stages: Disco (1978-81) Techno/Industrial (1982-88) and Industrial New Wave (1989-93). The latter includes EPMD, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Black Sheep. Hip-Hop was quickly evolving beyond turn tables, scratching and break dancing. It had also spread out from beyond the New York Tri-State area. More specifically it moved beyond the 5 Boroughs of New York City and most importantly moving out of the poor and working class ghettos. The Black middle class suburban youth out in Long Island were developing their own style.  Apart from this Hip-Hop musically was moving beyond drum machines and samples. There was a reason why it was called the "New Wave of Rap". Many of the artists were composing songs in a manner not dissimilar to the white New Wave groups. Public Enemy and EPMD hailed from the racially segregated Black enclave of Roosevelt, NY. Naturally they listened to the NYC Black radio stations such as WBLS and KISS-FM. But they also listened to WLIR/WDRE radio based in Garden City, Long Island. At the same time WLIR/WDRE starting adding Hip-Hop on its rotation.

EPMD "So Wat Cha Saying" (1989)
This is probably the most refined of the Hip-Hop New Wave. It has a distinct New Wave production.

  
Public Enemy "Can't Truss It" (1991)
By 1991 the official Industrial/EBM scene was merging with Hip-Hop. In New York the Goth/Industrial clubs started playing Public Enemy and Black Sheep. In the video for "Can't Truss It" Public Enemy highlights how 20th century Blacks were part of the industrial proletariat. During The Great Migration between the two world wars millions of Blacks fled from the terror and pain of the American South up to the Northern industrial metropolises such as New York, Chicago and Detroit. Not only did they flee from legally sanctioned discrimination and terror but also from agricultural drudgery working on plantations and as sharecroppers. Unfortunately many jumped out of the frying pan of slavery into the fire of the factory furnaces. While they escaped lynching they had to deal with legally sanctioned police violence and murder as well as discrimination from the wider society.
For the most part the Punk/New Wave and Industrial music scene was anti-racist. Many of those bands wrote songs condemning racism and discrimination. Many bands had Black musicians recording and playing with them live. The video of "Can't Truss It" struck a chord with the young whites of the Industrial/EBM scene. The video showing the L.A. Police beating of Rodney King along with the subsequent riots after their acquittal a year later was the defining events of that generation of American youth. The 1991 Public Enemy LP Apocalypse 91: The Empire Strikes Black reveals how Terminator X was influenced by New Wave and Industrial, in particular the London based Renegade Soundwave.


Black Sheep "The Choice Is Yours (1991)
This was the second Hip-Hop song that was popular in the New York Goth/Industrial scene. Often the dance floor would go wild with everyone singing the refrain: "Engine engine number 9 on the New York transit line if my train goes off the track, pick it up, pick it up, put it back on track." The video shows footage of the Rodney King beating and of George H.W. Bush who was president at the time. What united the Hip-Hop Blacks and Goth/Industrial whites was the shared antipathy, disdain and hatred of then President Bush. Ministry famously made an anti George H.W. Bush song and video. If Ronald Reagan was elected 1980 on an racist anti-Disco backlash, George H.W. Bush was booted out on an anti-racist Hip-Hop, New Wave/Industrial backlash in 1992.




The Rise of Contemporary Black Techno
There's been a raging debate for the past 25 years about the origins of modern Techno music. Some say it was West Germany. Others insist that it was Belgium. The Netherlands gets thrown in. Finally there are those that insist it's Detroit. There's a bit of truth to all of that. It's likely that the Europeans were able to get their music pressed and released first but there's no denying that Detroit has a long history of Techno. However Detroit Techno didn't really appear outside of that city until 1991. There's long been Techno musicians in Detroit but there's not a scene. Due to the Detroit riots 50 years ago this week, the city doesn't have a social nightlife. Detroit is simply too dangerous to venture out at night. There are very few clubs or music venues in Detroit. Moreover very few people travel to Detroit to visit. It's not a city where Americans or others from around the world want to take in their holiday. Unlike Chicago or even Boston that city simply doesn't attract visitors. Hence it's impossible to say when exactly Techno emerged from Detroit.

Jeff Mills "Inner Sanctum" (1992)
In my expert opinion Jeff Mills is the greatest Techno producer and DJ period. Only the original four members of Kraftwerk are better than he is. Of course without Kraftwerk there would be no modern Techno and its now innumerable sub-divisions today. New Wave music pretty much died for good in 1992. This is probably the last New Wave style techno music that was released and recorded. Jeff Mills is my final exhibit placing Black artists in the New Wave genre of music.
Conclusion

  This selection of music from 1973 to 1992 is to show a 20 year period in which Black artists were front and center of New Wave, Industrial and Electronic music. Officially none of them except for Jeff Mills are considered to be those genres of music. It's clear that capitalists use every sphere of life to divide and separate people on false racial lines. The music industry has been at the forefront of racism and white supremacy. How could it be any other way under a capitalist economy. Jazz was invented by Blacks but then it was stolen and/or used exploitatively to make profits. Rock music was started by Blacks but Elvis Presley came along, stole the music and became crowned the "King of Rock". Prince was the greatest musician in a century but he had to fight for control over his music and to get his due share of money. No matter what style of music Blacks make, it will always fall under the rigidly segregated genres of "Hip-Hop", "Soul/RnB", Blues, Jazz, Urban, et al. The best that Blacks can ever be entitled to is "King of Pop". Pop music is probably the least serious and challenging music.
  20 years ago me and another Black friend of mine in New York talked about starting an Industrial band but he scotched the idea. We wouldn't be accepted. It's interesting how Nine Inch Nails recently went on tour with an all-Black band but because the singer and songwriter is white, it's ok. But should those musicians playing back up to Trent Reznor form their own Industrial band, they would go nowhere fast. 
  Personally I go through the same stupidity. Even though I don't Rap (I can't rap because I'm not that quick and clever rhyming) and my style isn't Hip-Hop, I'm constantly considered to be a rapper. A white Austrian poet in Vienna pulled a superiority trip on me. "I'm not a rapper. I'm a poet." He was so threatened by my success that he had to deny that I was a poet. Again the intellectual racism underpins this. Rapping is considered to be non-literary. Poetry is literary. A rapper isn't an intellectual. A poet is. At best I would be considered an "Hip-Hop intellectual". The Hip-Hop moniker is to paint me with the tar bush. I can be an "intellectual" only if I stay within the racial confines of "Hip-Hop". Yet whites are freely able to move in and out of Hip-Hop, Soul, Funk, Reggae, Ska, Jazz and Blues and always be considered an intellectual. This is not only reactionary but it's a completely false presentation of reality.
Hopefully this puts to rest the ignorant notion that Blacks shouldn't like New Wave and Industrial music. We've been making it for nearly 45 years.


  


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