Call me cynical, but when I first heard about the almost two thousand strong mob of white folks* gathered in Kansas City a couple of days ago (all at their own expense) to play "Smoke On The Water" on their guitars for five minutes and then leave, the first thing that popped into my mind was that recurring line from some of my favorite Jim Jarmusch films. You know, the one uttered in both Dead Man and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai that goes "stupid fuckin' white people."
Okay, so I admit, I am cynical and you might even accuse me of being self-hating, since I, too, am white. No matter. I still think what I think. And I think that if this same level of commitment and focus were directed at, say, getting Bush out of office right now, that the country might be in a better position to gather en masse to collectively strum 'dah, dah, dah.....dah, dah, dahdah....dah, dah, dah...dah dahdah!'
In case you didn't already hear this story: on Sunday exactly 1683 guitarists all converged at the Community America Ballpark in Kansas City to collectively beat a Guinness Book of World Records record set in Vancouver in 1994 when 1323 similarly minded guitar pickers gathered to be the largest gathering of individuals to simultaneously play on guitar the familiar riff of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" (from their 1972 album Machine Head).
And on Sunday, June 3rd, as part of a stunt organized by local radio station KYYS, the gathering of 1683 guitarists* (acoustic and electric), who traveled to Kansas City from all over the globe and who ranged in age from toddlers to senior citizens, did successfully accomplish what they set out to, collectively play that famous classic-rock riff for five minutes, and consequently made a new Guinness World Record.