Sunday, May 19, 2013
When I think of Michelle Shocked, I think of the liberal, anti-establishment singer-songwriter who has penned many songs that are permanently tattoed in my musical DNA. Songs like "Anchorage," "When I Grow Up" and especially "Come A Long Way."
I think of the performer I've had the pleasure of interviewing and seeing live. Heck I even got an autograph on a promotional Michelle Shocked cereal box that I've had for years. So yeah, I'm a fan.
What I don't think of is a radical homophobe. So it came as a horrifyingly huge shock to the system when the news broke a few days ago that during a March 17 show in San Francisco, Shocked went on an anti-gay rant that left audience members stunned and heading for the door.
The news of this has since spread like wildfire all over the place including here: tinyurl.com/d4jpgn3
Several future shows have been cancelled and many of us are scratching our heads, caught half-way between outrage and concern.
It's old news that Shocked has been a devout Christian for many years. Heck to each their own right? But what happened in San Francisco was something entirely different.
I have many questions and no answers.
Can I separate my love for her music from the hurt in my heart over what she said?
Should musicians keep their opinions to themselves or do we, as consumers, have a right to know what we're supporting through ticket and CD sales?
Will I ever be able to listen to Michelle Shocked again?
Should I be worried? Is she unwell? Did something happen?
So far, Shocked hasn't responded to the media with any sort of explanation though many eyes are on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Mostly what I've seen on both is a combination or scathing commentary from her fans, some of which is laced with concern.
I need to give this some time. I'm not ready to toss out my Michelle Shocked CDs and can anyone really "unlike" a song?
Right now I can't bring myself to post a photo of Shocked or a clip of one her songs.
Right now I can barely wrap my head around any of this.
I'll leave you with a line from her song "Silent Ways" because it seems fitting.
"Silence is golden/Words are made of lead/And in the alchemy of love, you know/Some things are better left unsaid"
Aimsel Ponti has been obsessed with - and inspired by- music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She's a huge fan of the local music scene and interviews an act every week for "Making Noise" which runs in the Press Herald GO section. You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets.