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Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"

Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 07, 2018 09:47PM
A brief history of the death of rock:

- 1960: the '50 pioneers all died, got drafted, got religion, and/or got caught up in scandals. Bobby Darin puts on a tux and starts crooning because he thought that rock had run its' course. By '62 the big wave (no pun intended) of surf bands, followed in short order by British Invasion and garage rockers, brings back rock.

- late '70s: the hippie attempt to kill off rock thwarted by punk

- 1990: I remember reading an article about how the Top 10 that week was, except for the latest AC-DC album, rock-free; 'twas all dance, electro, and hip-hop, and asking 'is rock dead?' After grunge/alt hit, anyone asking that question just shrugged "err, nevermind..."

- 2018:

Anyone betting on it dying for good this time?

Post Edited (05-07-18 20:58)
Re: Rock n Roll!
May 07, 2018 11:15PM
It's not dying. But jazz isn't dead either - it's just gone from pop culture, except in the very debased form of smooth jazz radio stations or as an object of nostalgia in the form of people mellowing out to Dave Brubeck and Billie Holiday (and ignoring Albert Ayler or '70s Miles Davis.)Worthwhile jazz artists like Mary Halvorson, Henry Threadgill, Sons of Kemet, Kamasi Washington, and Vijay Iyer are still at it, but apart from Washington, they're quite underground. I think rock is headed that way. On the other hand, a new band like the Strokes or White Stripes could be just around the corner, for all I know, and inspire a lot of young musicians to pick up guitars, although I hope they'd have more staying power and substance than the former. Also, it's changing: look at groups like Superorganism and Let's Eat Grandma, who are arguably playing a form of rock but who go for keyboards over guitars and are on indie labels but seem influenced by mainstream artists like Lorde.

Post Edited (05-07-18 20:18)
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 08, 2018 12:05AM
Yes, or perhaps it will get picked up on as a deliberately retro culture, like the tiki/lounge revival of the '90s. After all, styles like surf, garage, rockabilly, have all had retro revivals. Maybe now ALL rock will regarded as retro. Not kitschy or irrelevant, just an old genre that's fun to revive now and again. But as steevee said, that's an underground scene, not part of the mainstream any more.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 08, 2018 06:10AM
Don't forget the widespread late-'90s lament that Cobain had taken the hope for rock's rejuvenation to the grave with him, and that The Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and N'Sync had steamrolled over the whole grunge scene as if it never existed.

If I believed rock 'n' roll to be dead (or as good as dead), I wouldn't be up late every Monday night, hosting a radio show devoted to it.

Re: Rock n Roll!
May 08, 2018 09:59AM
Well certain things about it are dying - you can't have a band make a statement like "This Is America" by Childish Gambino and get anywhere near the attention - in Rock it's the sound of one hand clapping/if a tree falls and no one hears it, does it make a sound.

However, right now, there is a fairly mainstream release - Iceage's Beyondless that is to me anyway, a great record, a guitar based record, that could sell lots of copies too, where people could read the lyrics sheet and share in the sensibility of the album. You could talk about it in context with other bands great historical records from any other years when Rock was "alive".

It will get dismissed as derivative by some but the best Rock often is .......and as of right now, that already puts 2018 as better than the other more recent dead/dying years. You don't even have to go that far underground to find it, hear it, find people enthusiastic about it.

Post Edited (05-08-18 07:00)
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 08, 2018 11:52AM
I think Childish Gambino's video is better and more provocative than the song on its own. There are only a few rock bands in a position to make the kind of splash he did - I actually think Ghost's "Rats" video makes a similar point about people dancing/entertaining themselves to death in the face of an untenable present and future, and the group is fairly popular, but no one has taken it seriously as a political statement.

The Iceage album is very good, but how mainstream is it? Will it debut in the Billboard top 40 or get airplay on any commercial radio format or much streaming? To me, it is more important that music makes a big impact on a relatively small number of people who keep listening to it for years or form bands influenced by it than it reach large numbers of people who buy it and listen to an album 4 times. But I don't think the current distance between rock music and the zeitgeist is healthy.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 08, 2018 02:41PM
So then maybe Guitar Center's bankruptcy is similiar to what happened to the big record stores chains a decade or so ago - the little mom n pop music shops will be the places to go to buy your ax. The article I linked to above made it seem like no-one's playing guitar anymore, which seems far-fetched. The one guy was quoted as saying that there haven't been any new guitar heroes, any 'new Claptons.' Fine by me!
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 09, 2018 03:01AM
Glad to see Iceage getting some love. They've been the best punk band in the world since Fucked up went soft.

Yeah, as a guitarist, makes me sad to contemplate life without guitars. But fuck Guitar Center. I've got the same gear I had when it was 14: Fender Strat, Marshall head and cabinet. No need to go to the Home Depot of musical instruments to upgrade.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 13, 2018 12:26AM

One big box music store is a million in debt ... and rock is dead?

Maybe we should be mourning the death of quality retail management?


And if jazz (a musical form that's light years more demanding on a technical level than rock ever was) is still being played, then we ought not to worry too much about rock going away.

Anyway ... it's only rock 'n roll.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 13, 2018 07:03PM
In the liner notes to GIRLYSOUND TO GUYVILLE, Liz Phair says "women are keeping the electric guitar alive." It does seem notable how much music evoking '90s indie rock with prominent guitars made by solo women or female-fronted bands has come out so far this year. With bands like Soccer Mommy and Camp Cope gaining popularity, it makes sense that Phair's box set was released this year and Belly and the Breeders put out new albums.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 08, 2018 02:15PM
If anything about rock is dead, it's the likelihood of rock musicians making the leap to being rock stars. In pop and in hip-hop, that still happens with some regularity. Not so much in rock anymore. But speaking only for myself, I don't see that as a bad thing. It just means the shows I want to see are less likely to end up in the big arenas. From what I've seen, the devotion of fans at those shows is no less intense than it ever was.

Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 08, 2018 10:21PM
I blame the advent of Pro-Tools and the 1996 communications act which allowed massive consolidation of radio stations by two large corporations which led to the homogenization of popular music making it more difficult for anything creative or non-mainstream to break through.

Rock and Roll isn't dead but neither is Opera. 200 years ago Opera was mainstream music. Now it is only popular with rich music nerds. That is the future of Rock and Roll unfortunately.

Although, my 14 year daughter just got rid of her Taylor Swift CD's and has taken The Regrettes as her favorite band which for the life of me sound like a 1979 CDGB's band so that gives me hope. She discovered them on You Tube. I am taking her to see them in concert in June. It will be her first ever rock show. Gotta train the next generation:

Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 09, 2018 12:57PM
Is it possible that a lot of the reason for the "rock'n'roll is dying" discourse is that most of the best rock music being made now comes from solo women or bands including women? Billboard recently ran an article pointing out that the disparity between the rave reviews for female rockers and the fact that only 5 of the top 40 songs on alternative rock radio are sung by women and they tended to be clustered in the bottom half of the chart. St. Vincent's MASSEDUCTION got to the top 5 of most music critics' polls for 2017, but her single "Los Ageless" peaked at #23 on alternative radio. (And while she's an excellent guitarist, her current sound is basically dance-pop with the occasional lead guitar solo.) However good bands like Big Thief, Heron Oblivion, Downtown Boys, or U.S. Girls are, they don't seem likely to go gold any time soon. In the '90s, Liz Phair, Hole or even Alanis Morrissette (as bad as her music was) had a cultural impact; hell, the riot grrrl scene did, as much as its participants tried to stay underground, their slogans and ideas (in watered-down form) made their way into mainstream groups like the Spice Girls. I can't picture U.S. Girls making the kind of splash "This Is America" , TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY or "Formation" did, even though Meg Remy is making very accessible music with feminist lyrics that clearly wants to get airplay: look at their "Velvet 4 Sale" video where she plays a cop who gets an abusive man to throw himself off a cliff.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 09, 2018 01:00PM
> 200 years ago Opera was mainstream music. Now it is only popular with rich music nerds.
> That is the future of Rock and Roll unfortunately.

I laughed when I first read that. "Rich music nerds" being the ones who continue to play and appreciate rock 'n' roll? Really?

Then I thought of the kids I've met, and the music they pay attention to ... and I thought, "Maybe he has a point."

Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 09, 2018 04:46PM
There are almost literally no equivalents of Journey, Styx or Foreigner. Coldplay are the best example I can think of. The one rock album on the list of last year's 10 best-selling albums was the last Metallica album. While they long ago reached their sell-by date, I have the feeling most of the people who bought it are longtime fans hoping for a return to the black album, if not MASTER OF PUPPETS, not kids. There are a few relatively young rock bands that are popular and accessible to kids: Imagine Dragons, Portugal. The Man, Twentyone Pilots. The current #1 song on commercial alternative radio is Lovelytheband's "Broken." I happen to think it's a pretty good song, but it's basically dance-pop, and the fact that it's getting so much airplay has not led to Lovelytheband crossing over to top 40 radio, making it to Spotify's popular playlists (their U.S. top 50 rarely features a single rock song) or selling many albums. If I was a 15-year-old, and I were told that Imagine Dragons, Twentyone Pilots and Portugal. The Man represented current rock music, I would listen to classic rock or hip-hop, pop and EDM. It genuinely is better than those artists.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 10, 2018 11:41AM
I don't miss Rock. It was always the sound of white millionaires. The only "Rock" band I've enjoyed in the last 20 years has been Franz Ferdinand. I saw them last Summer and was amazed at the "Rockness" of it all, but still managed to enjoy it; while not deeply engaging with it. The music I've deeply engaged with has never been Rock.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 10, 2018 01:05PM
I'd describe artists like OMD, Gary Numan, Heaven 17 and Cabaret Voltaire, whom you seem to be fascinated by judging from your blog, as playing a form of rock. In any case, you should be pleased by the recent turn towards indie pop rather than indie rock.
Can't resist topics like this.

First, we can't blame hip-hop or teen-pop for any of this. Kids like it. Kids are what make any music vital. Picture your 50plus-year-old self lecturing a kid that the music they listen to isn't right....ugh.

If your local radio market is like mine, you'll have a "rock" station but it only plays zep, Boston, Aerosmith etc. You'll have another station that plays the rock of late 90s/early 2000's (korn, etc) but nothing past that. The only source of new rock is the 'alternative rock' station, which will play the latest releases and new-ish acts.

What's frustrating to me is the absence of what I'll call new "standard issue rock" acts. If rolling stone puts a rock act on the cover it's Bruce or grohl or Metallica, but never some new exciting rock act. Where is the loverboy, the journey, the foreigner of today? I used to eschew these acts, but with passage of time has come empathy and even appreciation of the 'mainstream rock act'. Certainly AOR (popular or not) doesn't HAVE to be a 70s-80s phenomenon.

I don't want kids to 'appreciate classic rock'. I want their to be new acts; not just the 18th Judas priest album or whatever. Whew. Sorry to pontificate.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 09, 2018 07:47PM
Really, there's no more mainstream rock?! Then what is 'alternative' the alternative to? Oi, this is doing my head in...
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 10, 2018 12:10AM
Here's the current mainstream rock top 40 from Billboard this week: [www.billboard.com] I think it says something about how "alternative" won that the #1 song is a Cranberries cover (and this is one of tthree rock songs on the top 100 singles chart, along with Foster the People's "Sit Next To Me" and Imagine Dragons' "Whatever It Takes")! I'm enthusiastic about Ghost, whose new single "Rats" is #7, but much of this is either metalcore or artists who were considered "alternative" by radio in the nü-metal days, like Godsmack or Korn singer Jonathan Davis. I have the feeling that if you asked the average 21-year-old if they've heard of either Bad Wolves or Lonelytheband, the answer would be no, but they're probably very familiar with Drake, Cardi B and Post Malone. It's not so much that "alternative" won, but that the game it took over suddenly become irrelevant to most people under 40 who probably would've been listening to Soundgarden, Nirvana and Hole if they were in their 20s in the 1990s.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 09, 2018 08:45PM
> There are almost literally no equivalents of Journey, Styx or Foreigner.

I couldn't agree more. No band is as thoroughly horrible as Styx or Journey.
Ah, exactly. Being a fan of new wave meant that you lonely loathed those bands all your friends liked. The point? There is no mainstream, standard-issue rock act to rally against! Hate those groups, but they serve a purpose...most kids need that junk (said in my best Wally cleaver). And the oddball kids can shun it and like Gang of 4 or st Vincent or whatever.

I'm afraid alternative IS no longer an alternative to other forms of rock...there are none! Alternative to probably just hip hop, pop, top 40. When's the last time a new rock band reached the top 40? And was straight-ahead rock, not 'alternative' like Portugal the man? Long time ago I think!

We probably all hated the journeys, foreigners, Styxs of our youth but now I'm sad to see no bands filling THAT void. Does it mean new wave now alternative rock won? It's a bittersweet victory if you ask me. And I know you didn't!
Re: Rock n Roll!
May 10, 2018 03:39PM
Yep, it's all rock, even if synths are featured: same attitude/culture, same vocal style, chords, rhythms...I mean, it ain't country!

Post Edited (05-10-18 17:16)
Re: Rock n Roll!
May 10, 2018 06:00PM
> Being a fan of new wave meant that you lonely loathed those bands all your friends liked.

That was the story of my life, back in the day. As a senior in high school, I came to despise Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Supertramp and their ilk largely because my classmates in school all liked them. When I first encountered Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Devo and the B-52's -- not to mention M's "Pop Muzik" -- I was drawn to them quickly, largely because my classmates didn't like them. And when I first heard Rush, a big part of the draw to me was the fact that none of my classmates seemed to be familiar with the band.

But this thread brings up something very important: for as much of a factor as this exclusivity/exclusion was -- not just to my musical tastes and sensibilities, but to my personality development, becoming an adult -- it's something I haven't considered in modern terms since. Who are the fake-rock bands of today? I haven't a clue.

The big rock bands who are often seen as having devalued "alternative rock" as if it were the Reichsmark -- U2, Green Day, Coldplay -- don't bother me at all. (Granted, U2's last two albums managed to finally push me off the wagon, but so much of the music they released before the 2010s still has value to me.) And bands like Portugal the Man (I refuse to include that stupid period), Fun (ditto), Foster the People or Imagine Dragons don't reach my awareness frequently enough for me to even think about them, let alone consider whether I like them or not. I still do hate those same fake-rock bands I hated in high school ... and when one of them gets inducted into the RRHoF (Bon Jovi this year, or Journey last year), well, it does cause my attitude to flare up a bit.

I will say, the few times I've spent any time listening to Top 40 music in the past 20 years or so, I've been pretty appalled by what I've heard. But not enough to hate the artists I've heard. Mostly, my responses to it have been to just consider such artists as something I'd rather ignore.

Post Edited (05-10-18 17:56)
Re: Rock n Roll! edited
May 14, 2018 12:23PM
There are some great thoughts above.

Like steevee said, the Gambino video is far better than the song itself. The timing of the release also gave it threshold eyes. Rap has ALWAYS been a message medium, ever since, well The Message. [There was also room for Fresh Prince to have nothing to say!] And even though as an artform it hasn't moved since Public Enemy! It has an extremely short shelf-life. This causes people like Kanye to be labeled genius.

And Delvin is right about the rock STAR being dead. But so is the beautiful starlet actress. Those were n part the result of label hegemony/studio contract system. [wow what high school back then didn't have a Rush club? I've said before that my "in" was Bowie, but the other day I remembered how far my attitude was shifted by "Moods for Moderns". Just totally right song/right time. I walked up to the kid with the Costello T and said "let's trade some LPs". Still friends.]

Mr Fab nails Guitar Center. They overbuilt and used a model they sure as fuck aren't teaching anymore in Business School. [+ hollowbodykay]

I take jothma's point about radio, but disagree somewhat, because I held that opinion 30 years ago about it's uselessness in breaking acts and pushing corporate rock.

Bip: yes but who cares? Rolling Stone hasn't been relevant in decades. When we were subscribing to Spin, TP, CMJ, MaximumRnR, or Flipside did we care about a magazine devoted to Bruce and Neil that hated Zep, then hated punk, then hated college rock and then hated shoegaze and now desperately claws to be relevant and pretend it did not do all that? Nobody under 35 is even aware RS exists. (Wait, does it, in print?) Remember how Hefner was treated harshly in obits? That might be Wenner. RS is to music what People mag is to indie movie reviews. I know none of my friends were subscribers after about 1982.

Everything on the country chart is twang Rawwkkk! Rock band structure. Rock arrangements. Rock soundscapes. Example: Check Kacey Musgraves and imagine if she didn't twang as she sang. That's Rock. There is almost no country on the country chart. There's more on the indie side.

"women are keeping the electric guitar alive."
definitely not true, but more power to her nonetheless

devlin-"I came to despise Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Supertramp and their ilk largely because my classmates in school all liked them."
Are you sure it wasn't because they largely sucked??
I have a lot to say about this ... maybe later today

Post Edited (05-17-18 15:27)
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
May 23, 2018 06:48PM
> Delvin is right about the rock STAR being dead. But so is the beautiful starlet actress.
> Those were n part the result of label hegemony/studio contract system.

Partially, but thinking about this later, it occurred to me that perhaps the biggest culprit in the death of the "rock star" is the rock star himself.

Look at the listings on ticketmaster.com -- go on, try it, maybe you'll grow as a person -- and look at some of the VIP packages available. There was a time that fans imagined what it might be like to meet their favorite rock star. The rock star, after all, had a mystique. A meeting like that (for nerds like us) was quite often a stroke of luck. And if it did happen, it somehow provided a sense of validation -- or at the very least, a momentary feeling that fate had smiled upon you. Now, it can be had for a price. Mystique seldom lasts under the harsh glare of commerce.

Sorry (well, not really) to bring up a dead thread but i'm reading the book "twilight of the gods" by Steven Hyden and there's a nice discussion on this very topic. Nothing is resolved, of course, but it makes for better reading than anything currently on your cellphone.
Re: Rock n Roll! "Dying Since 1960"
July 06, 2018 02:11PM
Threads here are never dead, Bip. Ask the Standells and the Munsters.

> devlin-"I came to despise Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Supertramp and their ilk
> largely because my classmates in school all liked them."
> Are you sure it wasn't because they largely sucked??

Yes, the sheer suckitude of those bands certainly was a factor. But in my case ... well, it's hard to overstate the impact of moving to a new state during high school. God knows I wasn't the most squared-away kid to begin with, but by junior year, I'd found my place, and my circle of friends, and was on a path that I knew would work well for me. Moving before senior year meant I had to find my circle and my place all over again. That was hard enough the first time around; by the time I graduated, it proved to be largely a lost cause.

If I'd never moved to Louisiana -- if I'd remained in Colorado, and finished high school there -- I'm sure I wouldn't like those fake-rock bands. But I've often suspected I wouldn't despise them as badly as I do. I associate those bands with bad times, as well as with bad music.

On the other hand, if I'd remained in CO during high school, I'd never have applied to colleges in the South ... and consequently, never would've met my future wife.

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