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Woodstock in North Korea
Early last year South Korea produced a halfway-decent punk rock tune on behalf of North Korea. The catchy anti-American tune “Fuck’n USA“was released into cyberspace. The ploy to stir up American resentment towards their commie half unwillingly gave the DRNK temporary punk rock clout until the song and subsequent video was exposed as a hoax. Yes I was had. I though for sure it was possible to have a punk rock scene in the “Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea“just as long as it was anti-American but it now seems a more improbable musical situation is taking place in the hermit kingdom. Instead of punk rock the DPRK is opening up its boarders this summer to what they call “western capitalist popular music.“What is being described as the North Korean Woodstock is in the works for May and all bands including the yanks are invited. That’s right if you’re in band and willing to withstand screaming newscasters, daily military high kick marches, kissing in public and a possible nuclear war you could be playing for a brand new market. It’s unknown if their wacko leader has anything to do with the “rock for peace“festival but it wouldn’t be surprising. Kim Jong II seems to be scarier as an unwavering crack addict for America’s pop culture nightmares including the likes of Liz Taylor and Michael Jackson then he is as a nuclear-ideled irate dictator. The news tells me he’s dangerous, erratic, dishonest, half-drunk and a sex crazed pervert. Christ, it’s a wonder why he hasn’t started making records yet. He could win a Grammy. Maybe that’s his game. Kim is known to kidnap worldly filmmakers to make monster movies it’s not a stretch that rockers might to have endure reeducation classes and daily meals of grass and cornmeal during their prolonged stay. The only restrictions are there can be no mention of war, sex, violence, murder, drugs, rape, anarchy, imperialism, colonialism, racism, anti-DPRK and anti-socialism during their act. With that laundry list of disclaimers Kim may not be able to quite capture the spirt of the hippie era but it could be a way of offloading some really shity jam bands. I sent a list of suggestions to festival organizer Jean-Baptiste Kim. Hopefully the string cheese incident can make time in their schedual although without readily available psychadelic drugs the audience might not be as receptive. Unless they’re under gun point. Better yet maybe we can have a nuclear exchange program where industry stars are traded for Kim’s nuclear arsenal and Bono can finally get his damn peace prize. Still, it’s a hell of an opportunity for any artist who wants to be able to say they rocked out in Pyongyang – they just couldn’t take any pictures of it. If you want to know more about the festival or look at some lovely DPNK propaganda including creepy photos of Norwegians and NK school boys the website here.