When I was a little kid I purchased an amazing David Bowie album, ‘Changes One’, at Kleins. I would play it all the time. One of the songs had lyrics that went like this, and I’m paraphrasing here, “turn and face the strange changes, look out you rock and rollers!”
What could it mean? Why would anybody want to change rock’n roll? It didn’t make much sense to me.
Flash forward years into the future. I sat down with the president of the record company. He motioned to me that it was my time to listen.
He said, “Todd, look at this chart, Rock sales are down—way down. Rap sales are up—way up.”
I knew what he was getting at. In the back of my mind I was thinking about the David Bowie song ‘Changes’. Luckily I had had almost twenty years to prepare myself for the fading away of the preeminence of rock’n roll. Still it was difficult to adjust. The company brought in a myriad of consultants to help me with my transition. So compressed and petrified was rock culture, in my mind, that I had to be shocked out of it.
My rap training began with Rap slang terms, just to get me in the mood. The training didn’t last long though, the first rap album I recorded and mixed sold pretty good. However, the most important thing I learned was to roll with the changes. Rap isn’t that different from Rock but there had been a cultural shift.
Flash-back to the Battle of Hastings 1066(A.D.)—William the Conqueror massed 700 ships in Normandy and sailed across th English Channel to wage war against King Harold’s native Saxon army. The battle only lasted one day and within a short time William1 was crowned King of England.
One of the first things he did was to build castles all over England. There were no castles in England before this time. William built the Tower of London–the first stone castle in England. The castles served many purposes, one of which was to make a statement—’we are not going away’.
To your average Saxon, hanging out in Sherwood Forest, this was horrible–to have French knights riding around running things but Britain thrived under this new order. William ordered up a copy of the Doomsday Book which basically listed all the owners of property throughout the land. There was a cultural shift. The Norman rulers had to learn English and the native Saxons had to learn Norman ways. In the end they had the best of both worlds. Power was shifted away from the monarchy to the local leaders, the beginnings of modern democracy.
Westport is undergoing a similar cultural shift. The new mcmansions make a statement. The new developments downtown and in Saugatuck make a statement. I look at Westport just like I look at rock’n roll. Westport used to be an artist colony, I loved that town. But I know that change is inevitable and I don’t want to be marginalized or caught off guard. Hopefully we’ll create the best of both worlds in Westport—a sort of artsy hyper-commercialism.
I still think a Westport sponsored artist in residency program should be the top priority for the town. We could have a few hundred artists roaming around downtown. Just a few big buildings at the Baron’s North for the writers, painters and musicians. Real people with dreams—not just shoppers. imhop