Hedonism in Rock Culture

 

"In my life, I was always floating around the edge of the darks side & saying what if I take it a little bit too far, & who says you have to stop there, & whats behind the next door. Maybe you gain a wisdom from examining those things. But after a while, you get too far down in the quicksand."  

-Trent Reznor

 

          Since rock exploded into American culture in the mid 50’s, it has been the centre of controversy and pegged as some agent of moral and civil corruption. We’re taking a look at where the ‘get loud’ and ‘be careless’ behaviour of rock was born and why it was, and is, so misunderstood by older generations. We ask, where did the disapproval begin? 

           It is in our belief that the wild and nihilistic behaviour spawning from rock culture is a product of the Second World War ending and a younger generation adapting to a new economic, cultural and social reality. There was a lot of pressure on young couples that were facing hard times as they were forced to grow up quickly. Men came back from the war as changed characters and overall were quite serious. Many of them missed out on their youth and were prone to feeling misunderstood by future generations who did not experience war the way they had. And how could they? These were teenagers who hadn't lived through war, even if they had done national service. There was a tension between their reality and that of their parents. A lot of young people began turning to unconventional art forms and more aggressive music for self-expression. It’s all been a lot of hedonism and fuck-you’s since then. It was the youth searching for meaning and fulfillment through the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. A common belief system held by the youth ever since.

Photo taken by Charles Peterson, who captured the evolution of grunge and the spirit of hedonism with his black and white photographs. 

Photo taken by Charles Peterson, who captured the evolution of grunge and the spirit of hedonism with his black and white photographs. 

Photo taken by Charles Peterson. 

Photo taken by Charles Peterson. 

ArtThe Nile| culture