A couple of weeks ago, I had what my wife calls one of my old man moments. “You fucking know what’s wrong with the world? Especially with the younger generation?”
She’s nearly blind and used to these outbursts. So she tilted her head, knowing my rant would continue without prompting, “Where’s the willingness to burn it all down and build something better? Where’s the middle finger raised to useless institutions? We’re drowning under a sea of fucking groups that all claim the ethical high ground, but it’s not so they can make it better for everyone. No they want to chain you with their particular moral and material obligations. Police your thoughts. They’re an army of Ralph Wiggums, no skin in the game, just a willingness to judge while shouting, I HELPED! It’s missing the rock and roll spirit, man! Fucking do gooders suck.”
Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about Mick Farren – fitting I supposed since he died five years ago on July 27.
They say you should never met your heroes. While I never got to meet Mick in person, we talked quite a bit (especially about Gene Vincent), he kindly wrote an introduction to a book I edited (he never got his $50), and I spoke to him literally two days before he died on stage. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t speak to him more. The only thing I wish I could change would be to see more people talking about him still…
Michael Anthony Farren was an English author, editor, poet, critic, musician, activist, counter-culture icon, and provocateur. He fronted the anarchic pre-punk band The Deviants and his lyrics have been recorded by Metallica, Motörhead, Hawkwind, Brother Wayne Kramer, and the Pink Fairies. His twenty-two novels range from the psychedelic fantasy of The DNA Cowboys Trilogy to the neo-gothic The Renquist Quartet. He published more than a dozen non-fiction works on drugs, conspiracy theory, popular culture, and Elvis Presley.
I could go on, but then you probably wouldn’t read it as his accomplishes span pages.
However, let me zero in on a couple things:
His legendary “The Titanic Sails At Dawn” is a classic essay of music journalism. Mick smacked rock in the face and heralded the coming of punk.
Do you like vampire series? Then read The Renquist Quartet. Do you hate vampire series? Then read The Renquist Quartet, it’s perfectly unlike any other vampire series ever thanks to aliens, Merlin, Cthulhu, The Hollow Earth, Space Nazis, and a rock ethos.
Are you still talking about The Illuminatus Trilogy? Then go read The DNA Cowboys Sequence immediately because it’s better.
They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. Well, they say a lot of things, so fuck ’em. Meet your heroes. Be disappointed in their flaws if you’re that unrealistic about other real-life human beings, then let that shit go, and just learn from them. That’s the true immortality, because, you see, the thing you really don’t want to do with your heroes is let them die.