I love the term "ROCKER." The word is imbued with a ton of imagery and romance. But I don't think a rocker needs to have AC/DC and Metallica and the Black Keys rumbling through their car speakers speeding headlong into the night.
Words and titles can be used as dictums and guides for all of us. A certain word can suddenly snap us back to a good place. "Rocker" works for me.
Prince is a rocker.
Upton Sinclair is a rocker. He exposed all kinds of wrong in the American workplace 100 years ago.
That person who stops a blind person from crossing the street into traffic is a rocker.
That single mother of a child with special needs who works hard to make ends meet is a fucking rocker.
Yes, for sure, rockers like Jack White and the Refused embody more of the pigeon-holed idea of what we think rockers are. But after living and observing this rock world, I think the ethos of rock is so much more far-reaching than guitars and Marshall stacks.
Have you ever observed those people who seem to strive to be truthful and honest more often than the norm? Or someone who seems to be searching for the "truth" in life? Those people who are more calm, and are not racing to some sort of nonexistent finish line?
Henry Rollins is a rocker.
Lemmy Kilmeister is most certainly a rocker.
We can talk about politics and Second Amendment rights and illegal downloading and bad TV and "provocative" entertainment news all we want, but as long as we just want to spell out what is wrong with other people or how they feel about certain subjects—without first making sure "our side of the street" is as clean as possible—we cannot be rockers.
Being a rocker, to me, is equal to living as much of the truth as possible.
When you don't fight with your loved ones, you are a rocker.
I don't think all this traffic-revision crap in Seattle is very rock.
Crack in Belltown is not rock.
John Cage was a rocker, as was his partner Merce Cunningham. Being openly gay way before it was condoned like it is somewhat now in 2012: THAT is a rock-and-roll lifestyle.
Blind hate does not rock.
Read Duff's full column at seattleweekly.com/reverb.