There are too many nameless crossroads intersecting throughout the Information Delta. You can’t just hunker in a ditch, waiting for The Prince to show up. Sure, in the old days, you’d get some songs together, do some travelin’, and eventually The Man (or his boys) would contact you. You’d know where to go, and the deal would go down as such. The idea was, sell your soul to the devil, and you might not be saved from eternal damnation, but you’d at least avoid earthly poverty and sell a few records in the process. The electric mud flowed, the kids danced, and the parents were angry.

But the devil has diversified.

And we’ve already lost. Remember the song’s warning: “if you lose, the devil gets your soul.” If it’s a conscious decision, fine. Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Screamin’ Jay, Ritchie Valens; those guys dealt directly with The Man in The Horns. Sure, he still screwed ’em. But at least he bought them a drink first. Nowadays, The Prince has got himself a board of directors (a band of demons?). And poor you, waiting out by the crossroads, you don’t even know what’s coming at you out of that darkness down the road. And that’s the way he likes it.

Keep their heads ringin’.

If the funk of 40,000 media outlets just keeps on truckin’, pumping its high-octane mix of jury-rigged Claymore entertainment into the porous, inviting frontal lobes of the TRL nation, then The Man and his peeps’ll just keep on raking in the dirty cash. And it’ll get darker before it gets light. Because things just aren’t that simple anymore. It’s like that 50s futureworld of a tangled mass of cables and circuitry, all buzzing with bleeps and blips has finally manifested itself in the form of a 24/365 media T-1000 that never quits in its Quest to Sell. Everybody knows that the gun is loaded, but no one’s going to give a shit until Stone Phillips’ faceplate comes loose and he looks like Yul Brenner in “Westworld.”

I guess you could say that media killed the radio star, but that wouldn’t be true. If you’ve got talent, you can still make it to the top, baby. Just look at the skyrocketing careers of our baby popstars: Britney, Christina, and Justin all got their start as gleeful cherubs on Mickey Mouse Club. Somehow, their respective parents/managers dropped those kids off at the right crossroads, at the right time, and the little dynamos didn’t even scream when The Prince came looking for a soul to steal. Fast forward 10 years, and that shiny fiddle made of gold is still the holy grail. Unfortunately, Mr Daniels was wrong in that song: The Devil wouldn’t give you that fiddle even if you DID play “Fire on the Mountain” and “Run, Boys Run.” I mean, this is The Man we’re talking about. He’s going to keep that fiddle hanging just out of reach, and everyone – including the popstars, talking heads, newsmen, actors, actresses, and TV presenters themselves – are going to keep on dancing ’til their feet fall off. We can’t blame anyone, and we’re not innocent, either. Because Axl was right. That old Man, he’s a mean motherfucker, and he’s going kick us right down the line.

Old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be.


Leave a Reply