The most compelling art form to emerge from the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, rock & roll stands in an edgy relationship with its own mythology, its own musicological history and the broader culture in which it plays a part. In Present Tense, Anthony DeCurtis brings together writers from a wide variety of fields to explore how rock & roll is made, consumed, and experienced in our time.
In this collection, Greil Marcus creates a collage of words and pictures that evokes and explores Elvis Presley’s grisly fate as an American cultural image, while Robert Palmer tells the gripping tale of the origins and meanings of the electric guitar. Rap music, MTV, and the issue of gender identity in the work of Bruce Springsteen all undergo thorough examination; rock & roll’s complex relationship with the forces of censorship gets a remarkably fresh reading; and the mainstreaming of rock & roll in the 1980s is detailed and analyzed. And, in an interview with Laurie Anderson and an essay by Atlanta musician Jeff Calder, the artists speak for themselves.
Contributors. Jeff Calder, Anthony DeCurtis, Mark Dery, Paul Evans, Glenn Gass, Trent Hill, Michael Jarrett, Alan Light, Greil Marcus, Robert Palmer, Robert B. Ray, Dan Rubey, David R. Shumway, Martha Nell Smith, Paul Smith