It’s ‘gay’ music dude

English is the biggest legacy left over by the British raj (after that other thing called cricket), it is perhaps the most abused. English is still a foreign language to most Indians, even the ones who studied it as a first language at school. And this post is addressed to some those who have been fortunate to have had a decent English based education. Folks, ever hear of the concept of adjectives? If you have, have you heard of the concept of ‘appropriate’ adjectives?

I was talking to an old acquaintance who claims to be a heavy metal connoisseur. And he asked me whom do I consider to be the top musician of the last 6-10 years (since I’m some sort of Lester Bangs type fellow… Google Lester Bangs…. And those of you who started giggling after reading the word ‘Bangs’, grow up). I named a couple of artists and said that my favourite would be John Mayer. The response to this was, “Dude, when did you start listening to gay music?”

I’m unsure what he meant by gay music. Is it the kind of music gay people make? Or is it something that only they are allowed to listen to? Is it something that makes you have homosexual inclinations after listening to it?  I understand that a lot of the rock purists don’t have a lot of respect for John Mayer because they heard ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ and judged him as being yet another ‘I will sing silly love songs’ musician. And I’ll be honest to say that I did not think much of John Mayer then. It was only when I heard ‘Gravity’ from the Continuum record that I started checking out what Mayer had done beyond the creepy-body-wonderland song. And I’m a fan. I’ll reserve further commentary about John Mayer’s talent for the music blog, but to me if Eric Clapton and B.B.King certify that you’re a great musician and are willing to go on tour with you and jam with you, I’m sold.

Anyway, coming back to the point, I still don’t understand what the hell is ‘gay music’? Is ‘gay’ being used in the Shakespearean sort of ‘happy and gay’ manner, which makes sense….. Because ‘homosexual music’ just baffles me. So is it that the folks who use this term, the so called Heavy Metal purists, mean that being gay is something bad, unnatural and should only be heard by men or women who have same-sex relations? There’s a word for that my friends….it’s called being a homophobe. And judging a person based on what music he listens to and calling him or her gay is narrow-minded and uncool.

Just to state some examples so that you bloody homophobes can stop thinking like cavemen, ever heard of Rob Halford? Of course you have… you started head banging to Judas Priest. FYI, he’s gay. So now you’re going to read this and burn all your Judas Priest CDs. Here is a short list of gay people…. Ian McKallen who plays Gandalf and Magneto is gay. Shall I continue? Zachary Quinto who played Sylar from ‘Heroes’ and the iconic Spock from the new Star Trek is gay. Dear acquaintance, you do watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’? I know you do… the dude who plays Sheldon Cooper (real name Jim Parsons) whom you think is hilarious is also gay. So you’re going to stop watching that TV series too right? Need more examples of gay people whom you clearly think are some sort of plague and you've decided to make your up your own derogatory adjective which you use with such disdain.

I too am not particularly enthusiastic about singers who spend their time perpetually singing songs that appeal mostly to women (I’m thinking ‘Backstreet Boys’ and ‘Boyzone’). But that does not make them gay. And even if they were, we’re only listening to their music. I won’t think any less of John Mayer as a guitar player even if he was gay. Look at Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, who are the most popular rock act among kids and early teens. He said in an interview that he is bisexual. So clearly, we must ensure kids stop listening to them right? I think kids should stop listening to Green Day, but that’s because I feel there’s better music out there. Armstrong’s personal choices are his own.

Still going to call it ‘gay’ music dear acquaintance? Just to mess you up, I wish some of the folks from the bands that you listen to come out of the closet….. then we’ll see whether you’ll continue to listen to them. Oh I’d love to see the look on your face if Tom Araya from Slayer comes out of the closet. So much for your ‘I worship Slayer maaaaan’ bullshit. It’s music. Evaluate people for the music they play. If you don’t enjoy, don’t label it. Being part of a heavy metal fraternity, where we are misunderstood by people, parents and friends, as to what drives us to listen to such music, which to them is purely noise and feel liberated, I’d have expected some more sensitivity from you.

Start behaving like someone who actually learnt something from school and stop discriminating against gay people. It’s their choice. And you shouldn't have a problem with it unless they ask you to have a relationship with them. So if you think John Mayer makes ‘gay’ music, so be it. And if you think I’m gay for listening to his music, so be it. Just going by your Neanderthal logic, Eric Clapton is gay and makes gay music because he toured with John Mayer, and so is B.B King. I didn't say it. You did.

I am going to stand my ground and still claim that John Mayer is one of the most talented musicians I've heard and I will be front and center if he plays in India, along with all the women and gay people who listen to such music. What do you have to say about that?