A good friend recently sent me this link http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1655254/-rock-dead.jhtml written by Gil Kaufman wondering if rock was dead.
They, and by “they,” I mean naysayers and the media, have been saying rock is dead for 40 years now. They said rock was dead when Elvis died, when Lennon died, when the punk movement of the 70s swept across the Atlantic from England. Rock was dead when New Wave roared out of the alleys of New York City and boy bands of the 80s were a dime a dozen.
It seems like once a year, usually after the holidays, someone writes a piece about why rock is dead. Usually these pieces are spawned by looking back on a year that was (or wasn’t), and looking to a future of the unknown.
I knew Kaufman’s article didn’t hold much water when his opening sentence was, “There was a time not long ago when good, old-fashioned, meat-and-potatoes rockers like Nickelback, Hinder and Disturbed frequently landed albums in the Top 10 and reeled off solid chart singles.”
Sure those bands hit the lottery with their sophomoric paint-by-the-numbers rock, which catered to the average music fan who didn’t have an outlet to really dig deep into music. Calling Nickleback, Hinder and Disturbed “good, old-fashioned rock” was, well disturbing.
Furthermore, dubbing MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire “saviors” of any genre of music is just simply absurd. Do you really think people will be listening to these bands in 20 years like we do Led Zepplin, the Beatles, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Sex Pistols and The Stooges and saying that was a great time for music? Highly doubtful.
Kaufman’s article also quotes Elliott Wilson, founder and CEO of Rap Radar suggesting, “We’re due for the kind of musical flushing of the pipes we experienced back in 1991 with the rise of Nirvana.”
That’s a nice thought but, sorry to say, it will never happen. One of my major problems with the music industry, and by “industry,” I am looking at you, big corporate labels, is they are always sitting, waiting for the next big wave of music to come along like punk of the 70s, hair metal of the 80s, grunge of the 90s and breathe life into the industry so far gone it would take a miracle to get it back to its prime.
Let me reiterate this – It will never happen. The times have changed too much with digital downloads, the death of record stores and major labels spending too much money on one-hitters….and I am not talking pot or baseball.
So is rock dead? Well, it depends on how you look at it. In my opinion, rock music is alive and well, but in the opinion of the the corporate world, let’s just say you might want to get a shovel.
For decades now, there has been this underground called “do-it-yourself” and that is still going on today, but the big labels don’t want to get out of their cushy offices and tap into that. They are sitting back wondering when the next big thing will roll through their doors so they can squeeze every last dime out of their radio friendly cash cows. While they are waiting and not paying attention, the major record industry is crumbling and most are closing their doors forever.
I feel like this discussion of “is rock dead?” falls into the same category as when people say there is not any good music out there right now.
It’s out there, you just have to look. It goes back to that whole DIY thing again. There are tens of thousands of bands across the nation playing house parties, small clubs, putting out their own records and putting their music online. Sure there is also a saturation of crap because of this, but again you have to look for the good stuff.
Like they say, don’t believe everything you read, especially on the internet. Rock isn’t dead, at least not my kind of rock. It is imparitive that you, as a music fan, go out to live shows, buy the CDs and merchandise to support the band and the venue. If you do that, you will be supporting rock n’ roll to ensure it continues as a living, breathing entity.