“I come from a generation whose soundtrack helped empower the listener, helped people to be all they could be and revelled in individuality. I’m living proof that music has that potential. Today many of these ideas have been lost as we increasingly become passive consumers, slaves to the rhythm who are emotionally detached from the planet. There used to be an element of manipulation on the part of the record companies and the media, but nowadays it seems like there’s a strange complicity. When I was starting out, music was an anti-establishment thing. Now people get into music to be part of the establishment. I mean how radical can you be if you want what the man’s offering? It’s all about new values.
The current cultural climate feels as if punk never happened. Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame has become a nightmare of people that can’t justify three. During the punk days we used to say never trust anyone over thirty, nowadays I sometimes think never trust anyone under thirty! For the most part Western culture has become increasingly conservative, if not darn right stagnant.
Nevertheless I remain optimistic. The punk spirit is like the force in Star Wars - you can’t stop it. There’s always something going on, you just got to look in new places and like Strummer said, ‘Make sure your bullshit detector is finely tuned’. Look to the amateur and the naïve for the new ideas in the future, everyone else is reading from the same book. Punk attitude still serves me on a day-to-day basis. As I’ve said all along, a good idea attempted is still better than a bad idea perfected and I’m still turning my problems into my assets.”
- Don Letts, “Culture Clash: Dread Meets Punk Rockers”