RIO - Rock In Opposition
Rock In Opposition
Record companies put out an endless belch of commercial drivel. They are interested solely in cash, and show enthusiasm only when they can trick 'the punters' into parting with their wages for a lot of meaningless insults.
To control the market means to control 'taste' and this is not so difficult.It's done through advertising; getting their product into the air, onto the telly, the music press, supermarkets, airports, etc. ad NAUSEUM, and by stifling anything they don't own. When they do something good it invariably goes bad -- then it sells even better.
There are musicians who work, not for their careers but because they are actually interested in music. They do concerts, not to push their albums, but because they actually give a damn about what goes into peoples' ears.
Rock In Opposition is made up of a few such groups; each is from a different country, each independent of the music industry, and each with a radical and uncompromising approach to music. This is the only way any of these groups will come to Britain and the only chance British audiences will have to find out what is going on in Europe -- or indeed what progress is being made in Rock music -- which amounts to the same thing.
Each of these groups has one thing in common: they don't care about the kind of popularity that comes with brain-washing, they do care about being capable of communicating with people, that is not being deliberately obscure. They are well known and respected in their countries by that sector of the public which is concerned to find out whether there is anything other than that tray of commodities rammed down their throats by the music industry. They are all in the forefront of European music and their work is important.
Univers Zero: Belgium ... Belgium is even worse than Britain. In order to survive in that boorish morass of mediocrity they have to be serious. Only the most dedicated survive. They owe a little to Magma and a lot to 20th Century music. Their sound is unique and intense. They use drums, bass, violins, cello, bassoon, guitar and keyboards to create a music unclassifiable into any rock idiom. (1 LP)
Stormy Six: Italy ... There are seven of them and they've been together for nine years. They were once almost a pop group and once almost a folk group but not anymore, though they use a lot of folk melodies still and an intermediate instrumentation including three violins, mandolin and acoustic guitar. They also use bass, drums, electric guitars and three saxes, xylophone, flute and all sing. Their music is less avant-garde than Area and less boring. They are uncompromising and politically responsible. (5 LPs)
Samla Mammas Manna: Sweden ... Sweden has a highly developed non-commercial music scene and it has the biggest alternative distribution network in Europe. In our opinion the Samlas are the most progressive and interesting group in that country. Their instrumentation is that of a conventional rock group - bass, drums, guitars, organ. Their music is complex and very melodic. They are in the clearest tradition of Rock music, only they have advanced beyond the limits imposed by the industry. (5 LPs)
Etron Fou Leloublan: France ... Their name means Mad Shit which says a lot about how they approach music. Their songs are bizarre. Their only close connection is with Captain Beefheart and like the Magic Band their music is unpredictable and intelligent, played with fantastic energy. They've been in Britain once before and were very well received. All that they do is their own and extraordinary. (2 LPs)
Henry Cow: England ... By now Henry Cow's reputation is pretty well established. They are the only politically and musically progressive group in Britain who have managed to surface and survive (for nine years now). They consider themselves international and work for the most part abroad. They only person who has covered the same kind of ground as they have is Frank Zappa and he was finished long ago. Henry Cow are still at it. Bass, drums, guitar, violin, viola, organ, xylophone, saxes, clarinet, flute, bassoon, oboe, cello, piano and singing. (5 LPs)
The goal of Rock In Opposition is to form a music network MUSICNET, to open independent, alternative channels for concerts and record distribution on an international basis. The project was kicked off by The Festival Of Progressive Rock Music held at the New London Theatre on Sunday, March 12, 1978 featuring the five bands. In addition a month long series of dates was coordinated with the Festival.
This series of alternative rock music concerts is meant to stimulate interest to make possible the beginnings of an alternative circuit in Britain, so that alternative rock music can been seen and heard and have the same subversive role that it has in the rest of Europe.
This is a first action in the old battle which progressive music of all kinds has always had with the concert and record industries. These industries have operated internationally for many years and so it is long overdue that musicians and fans should organize likewise. The major record companies only put the full weight of their promotion behind commercial music. It's simply a matter of business and money; cultural exchange means nothing to them. They want to sell their stuff.
Even if R.I.O. folds up tomorrow, the inevitability of international cooperation and solidarity is a certainty in the modern world. Facts force us to unite in order to survive, but more than that we are conscious that there is work to do. We recognise that Rock music is a legitimate and powerful medium and one in which criticism and hope can be carried. "Now is the time we are in love with." You are a part of this reality whichever side you are on..if you do not take a side the battle will be fought anyway. This is only a thread of a life and death struggle which wracks the world now - itself will change nothing, but the battle must be fought on all fronts however small - everything must be called into question examined, experimented with, changed - even the concepts of "enjoyment" and "entertainment."
Rock In Opposition
5 Silverthorne Road
London SW8. England