The music of peace and freedom

“No rock, no dreams. Without dreams, no courage. Without courage, no actions” (Wim Wenders)

Rock is art, rock is freedom. As Kurt Cobain said, rock is “a total rejection of sacredness”. For many it was a way of life. For some it is seen as an art, for others as the closest way to talk to ordinary people.

Rock was born in America in the 1950s with its “new generation” seeking new ways of expressing itself. The music was influenced by the advent of Elvis Presley, then called the “king of rock and roll” and the audience was open to new fashion and trends in the late 1950s. In the early ’60s we began to hear the first distorted guitars and the first screamers. The new music immediately had a great impact all over the world and especially in the UK. Lots of young British listening to rhythm and blues and rock pioneers began to form their own groups. Great Britain quickly became a new rock and roll center, leading to the British Invasion phenomenon. British groups dominated the world rock scene already in the early sixties. Among all the British bands there were “The Beatles”, the most celebrated and discussed band of contemporary music history. Soon it was a proliferation of war-torn artists who talked of freedom and the evils of their time: Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Tim Buckely, Pink Floyd , Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, The Doors and many more … People often ignore the important role that music had in the history of the West. Rock with blues, pop, and country contributed to drop that horrible wall dividing Berlin and the world. During the Cold War, the wall demarcated not only the different ideology or different policies, but above all demarcated a different lifestyle. On the West hand, led by the state that then dictated the time, the US; On the other hand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which censured the “music of evil”, the Western one, because it attracted young people and induced them to escape from East Berlin. We know that it is possible to stem a crowd with a wall, but it is certainly not possible to cage music. In a short time, using clandestine radios, the East could also enjoy western music. Many young people driven by the dream of freedom tried in vain to flee to the West. Some were imprisoned, others went worse. This was also the role of rock in history. A role often ignored because rock is seen as a product of the mass-consumer industry and not as the symbol of some social classes that want to claim their needs and denounce injustices. A strong dualism: the demands of freedom accompanied by the consumerism of the capitalist world. We all heard at least one time about the famous Woodstock festival of 1969. The festival, which is the most important rock concert in history that gathered the scream of an entire generation and the reins of the 1968 cultural revolution. A three days of transgression and extravagance but also days of joy and great humanity. That’s what music does. It unites, it does not divide. Music is for me a universal language of peace and brotherhood; it is perhaps the only way to unite the world, as it was imagined by John Lennon in his famous “Imagine”. Music is like magic, it generates inexplicable emotions. It may often change your day, maybe it can make you grow or feel new feelings.

Guns n'Roses - foto tratta da
Guns n’Roses – foto tratta da

Music is certainly a great means to create membership and I feel part of the rock people. My favorite group is “Guns n ‘Roses”, so I’ll tell you my little experience during the Italian stop in their recent tour “Not in this lifetime” that ended a few days ago in Tel Aviv, Israel. We are in Imola, June 10th. At the Enzo and Dino Ferrari racecourse there are 90,000 unlucky fans (including a Scialuppa’s member and me). It’s still 13:00 and the most faithful fans have already set themselves in front of the stage where Guns n’Roses will perform, after 25 years from their first tour in Italy at the Stadium of the Alps in Turin. The event is moderated and sponsored by Virgin Radio that from 18:00 onwards presents the groups that perform before the arrival of the famous US band. The delay stops around 20:45 when the Guns enter with their first single “It’s So Easy” of the album “Appetite for Destruction”. The band perform for more than two hours playing her great hits, such as “Welcome to the jungle”, “Estranged”, “Sweet child o’ mine”, “November rain”, “Knockin on heaven’s door”, “Don’t cry”. There were also some fantastic covers, including “Wish you were here” by Pink Floyd. The Guns left the stage on the notes of “Paradise City”, accompanied by fireworks and light games that let loose the fans. It was the first time I participated in such a big concert. It was a really magical experience and I would do it again and again.

Antonino Zampaglione



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