U. Massachusetts prof publishes '60s rock 'n' roll book <http://news.excite.com:80/news/uw/001208/university-education-102> December 8, 2000 By Karen Madsen Massachusetts Daily Collegian U. Massachusetts-Amherst (U-WIRE) AMHERST, Mass.Nick Bromell, a University of Massachusetts English professor, defines his new book, Tomorrow Never Knows, as an attempt to explain the importance of rock and roll, and an exploration of a 60s that many people know about, but very few have written about. The work discusses the experience of rock and roll and psychedelics, and what it meant to the youth of the 60s. "There really is no such thing as the 60s," said Bromell. "My book is about a 60s: what it was like to be young, white, middle class, in college and confused, and excited about the world you were coming of age in." He began writing the book in 1993 as a counter to some of the images he saw in the scholarly histories and popular cultural accounts of the decade. "I think our culture is very undecided about the about the 60s. Some people completely hate it. Some will defend it to the dying end," explained Bromell. "As they fight it out, their messages get simpler. In reality, there's truth to both sides. It was an extraordinarily complex moment." Bromell believes that these different images come out of the tumultuous social and political climates of the decade. "I think the 60's were an earthquake," he said, "and they force us to rethink what history is, what truth is, what youth is and what music can do." With regard to academics in America, Bromell thinks that the envisioned revolution of the 60s experienced some degree of success. "The pressure of political events on academic curriculum at most schools forced students and professors to think again about what was important to learn and think about," he said. "The revaluation that most colleges and universities were deeply tied into the military-industrial complex forced students and professors to ask hard questions about academic freedom." The influence of this era is still very much felt today, according to Bromell, as indicated by the Nader movement. He sees the potential for two generations of progressives to join together. "This is symbolized by the new Santana album. It's got the 60s love message, but it also has young voices singing their message," Bromell explained. A significant difference that Bromell sees between his generation's attitude toward music and the attitude held by students today is in the diversity of tastes. "When I was young, the question was 'Do you like Folk or Rock?' and if you liked rock the question was 'Do you like the Stones or the Beatles?'" said Bromell. "One of the consequences is that it will be harder for this generation to unite around a shared musical sensibility, for better or worse." Bromell hopes that students will share his appreciations for the historical importance of the 60s. "I'm teaching a course in contemporary poetry," said Bromell. "As we read poets who are writing today, I'm suddenly more aware than ever of the profound ways the 60's changed the way we think about life."
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