One can argue that rock and roll has never been pure – that it’s always been perverted by the record industry and the radio industry. The early years were marred by payola, and there has always been tension between the desires of management and the on-air staff, but when I was growing up, the on-air staff on rock stations – and typically, some of the management – always kept a certain edge, a certain rawness.
KISW was the premiere rock station for most of the past 25 years in the Seattle area. They competed early with KZOK, but KZOK decided to move to classic rock, and KISW was back on top. Until the mid-80s, when a bunch of staff defected to start up KXRX, which walked all over KISW for a few years, and then dissolved.
So, KISW has been part of my music experience for a long time. I don’t listen as much as I used to, but I still listen from time to time. On the way home from the club tonight, I switched on the radio just as American Idiot came on…
Don’t want to be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new mania.
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind “bleep” America.
Well maybe I’m the “bleep” America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia.
At that point I turned to a different station.
Rock stations have been pretending that songs don’t have dirty words in them for years. That’s part of that “edge” that I was talking about before. But apparently those days are gone. The second edit is particularly bothersome. First, the word isn’t on the classic list of words you can’t use. Second, it’s more than a little ironic that they chose this song to censor, given what the song is about.