Friday, October 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

I am still black and still rockin’

tony wade column sig

By
From page A2 | January 06, 2014 |

I have written before about how in the past I was kind of embarrassed and even a little ashamed of the fact that I was a black guy who liked hard rock ‘n’ roll music. I got over that years ago. Life is way too short to worry about things you cannot control – namely what other people think about you.

I recently saw a wonderful documentary on Netflix called “A Band Called Death.” It was about three black brothers from Detroit who in the early 1970s made a rock ‘n’ roll band called, well, Death. The protopunk music they created was unique and visionary. It is truly an inspirational and compelling story.

In the 1980s, when I was listening to heavy metal bands like Dio and Judas Priest, there were very few people who looked like me making that kind of music, much less fans attending concerts. I didn’t care. I liked what I liked.

Then in 1988, Living Colour exploded. I remember seeing the video for their song “Cult of Personality” and being blown away. Here were four guys, black like me, who got off on the same thing I did: intelligent lyrics, inventive musicianship and blaring music. I was home.

I went through a phase in the 1980s where I wore a T-shirt with the words “Rockin’ Negro” on it to concerts. It was partly to embrace who I was and partly to assure other concertgoers that the big black guy in the crowd was not a security guard, but there to enjoy the show as well.

I used to feel . . . I don’t know, less than black or something for my musical tastes. In fact, my late brother Ken would sometimes derisively call me “white boy.” I later had a friend from Oakland, who was half-black and who loved the Doobie Brothers and Elton John and other rock artists, but referred to them as, believe it or not, “forbidden music.”

Who do people think invented rock ‘n’ roll? Elvis Presley? Please.

Vernon Reid, the guitarist for Living Colour, once said that the roots of rock ‘n’ roll are undeniably black, so why shouldn’t some of the branches be? In 1985, Reid founded the Black Rock Coalition, a nonprofit with the stated purpose of creating an atmosphere conducive to the maximum development, exposure and acceptance of black alternative music. Part of the organization’s manifesto reads as follows:

“Rock and roll, like practically every form of popular music across the globe, is black music and we are its heirs. We, too, claim the right of creative freedom and access to American and international airwaves, audiences, markets, resources and compensations, irrespective of genre.”

Last year, through Facebook, I learned about Unlocking the Truth, a band from Brooklyn, N.Y., made up of three African-American seventh-grade boys. As I watched them on YouTube blaring chunky guitar-laden rhythms and loving it, my soul was touched.

According to their website (www.unlockingthetruthband.com) their goal is to become one of the world’s best heavy metal bands and encourage their fans to be themselves and not be intimidated by what people say.

In interviews, they have talked about being bullied for their musical choices, but instead of reacting, they channel that negativity into musical creativity.

It used to anger me that white people could embrace hip-hop or soul and that was OK, but I was looked at like I was a Martian because I liked Metallica. Now, I do like many different kinds of music – funk, pop, soul, folk, hip-hop, country – but my first choice will always be music with a cranking guitar.

I still listen to bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, the Scorpions and Deep Purple, but you probably won’t pull up next to me at a stoplight and hear me blasting them. That’s not because I’m ashamed, it’s because I want to preserve my hearing to be able to rock on for years to come.

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at kelvinsbrother@sbcglobal.net.

Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 12 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • LoveleeJanuary 06, 2014 - 5:41 am

    My favorite artist is Tech9, he has some "out there" music, but alot of great songs and he often talks about his treatment of being a black artist with a different taste for music. He makes rap, rock, r&b.. its good stuff. They told him he would never fit mainstream music and he always said mainstream music would adjust to fit him.. he is now the top selling independent artist. I grew up in the modern day "emo" rock scene and I have met EVERY race out there enjoying the music..I also enjoy reggae and at first I felt out of place being a white female in that scene but that quickly faded. I can't wait to take my daughter to reggae festivals. Props to Tony! Another great article!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tony WadeJanuary 06, 2014 - 11:42 am

    Thanks so much, Lovelee!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensJanuary 06, 2014 - 6:57 am

    Tony, if I had anything to say to the young if would be ''the secret to future greatness is to rediscover the glorious past.'' We must rediscover the roots of the classic rock era. I love watching Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey because it explains and tells it all in Dawn of the blues and Day of the blues. Without Robert Johnson, T-Bone Walker, Howlin Wolf, Chuck Berry and even the stride piano and jazz greats there would be no Beatles, Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Who Wrote the Book?..............Maybe Tony !January 06, 2014 - 8:15 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIfuNPbBaaA

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jason KnowlesJanuary 06, 2014 - 9:12 am

    T-Dub, check out a band called King's X. Hard rock power trio with Beatle-esque harmonies. Their lead singer/bass player is black with a voice that is Jimi Hendrix blues mixed with Paul McCartney.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tony WadeJanuary 06, 2014 - 9:20 am

    Doug Pinnick. I am aware of King's X. Not my particular cuppa tea, but I listened to them way back when.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • We should all like what we like and Enjoy! (within limits) because We all BJanuary 06, 2014 - 9:30 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d01smJlHhQA

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Deep Purple - im a lover .1981January 06, 2014 - 9:34 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ezJfxjs1M

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Flamethrower by The J.Geils BandJanuary 06, 2014 - 10:35 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7Hc_6tCJvc

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Now 4 Something Different.....But slowly, slowlyJanuary 06, 2014 - 10:08 am

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hw6ZZfGdzM

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Shhhhh ( 1 more ) learn something new everyday! Gandharba musical instruments NepalJanuary 06, 2014 - 8:31 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5_9ROVozUw

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Still Report #158 - Trans-Pacific Partnership Really People this is VERY IMPORTANTJanuary 06, 2014 - 10:45 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7niymKV91U

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Real estate agent pens, produces movie

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Dad finds passion creating set pieces for son’s shows

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Neighborhood candy hunts of the past

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Vintage Fair on tap at McBride Senior Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Candy from sky highlights North Texas Street event

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

California eyes $500 billion in water spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Judge approves Stockton’s bankruptcy plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Marine wants new charges in Iraq war crime tossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Roseville officer accused of criminal threats

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Poll: Democrats leading in all statewide races

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Man charged with murder in SWAT officer shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Teen arrested in threat at Sacramento school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Police make arrest in slaying of Oakland mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Retrial in assault case over stray cat feeding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Missing California hunter roasted bugs, lizards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Pilot identified in California jet crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Lawsuit: Surgical gowns let diseases pass through

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fearing Ebola? Doctors say get a flu shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Questions, answers about California’s Ebola policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Maine in standoff with nurse over Ebola safeguards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Relatives suspected poisoning in family’s deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pair convicted in secret $1.6 M Navy silencer deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Guard troops sent to site of Hawaii lava flow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Terminally ill woman may postpone taking her life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Man’s own dog helps police bust him on drug charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Fearing uprising, Iraq militants hunt ex-police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Vatican admits Sistine Chapel frescoes ‘whitened’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Death penalty sought for trooper ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
 
Man’s prosecution unwarranted

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 4 Comments

Are we safe now?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 18 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My husband sends texts filled with ‘dirty talk’ to an old flame

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Jorge Garcia makes the most of ‘Hawaii Five-O’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Week in preview Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Monica Potter wants to save her show ‘Parenthood’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, tightly coiled and creepy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Exhibit on Paul Simon’s life to debut at Rock Hall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
PBS touts 2013-14 ratings growth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reality TV show ‘Big Brother’ to debut in China

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘The View’ now under ABC News as further revamping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Sleep’ a decidedly average psych thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Oct. 31, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

Winter’s wife has blues listening to his new album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
 
Benicia fends off Vanden, 35-21

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B7 | Gallery

New dynasty: Giants capture 3rd title in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Sonoma Raceway to host IndyCar Series finale in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Warriors exercise options on Barnes, Ezeli

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Mack making impact for Raiders even without sacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Bye week helps 49ers Vernon Davis’ recovery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Prep football capsules: Week 9

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Not so sweet: Chocolate prices are set to rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he’s gay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment | Gallery

FTC accuses Gerber of false claim on baby formula

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Robert Louis Wright

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Oscar Lee Vezeau

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9