Some of the mainstream music news’s recent output would garner one to think that we were on the verge of a cultural world devoid of hard riffs, banging drums and searing vocals. Nuts, hey?
I would have thought that it’s never been a better time for rock music. We have had a resurgent of older genres (like prog, thrash and nu-metal too) freshened up ready to take our ears by storm. And lately gigs have been full, plentiful and best of all, enjoyable. But where’s it all going wrong?
Personally, I believe that rock music is the largest sufferer of the modern music industry. Let’s admit that the sales just don’t cut it. Do you really see rock climbing into current top 10? Woudl you want it to? That new poppy dubstep sound risks sounding stale as quickly as it is being hyped up and exploding (sorry Chase & Status & Rusko!) Remember when Timbaland’s tracks occupied everything in the charts? Rock music is beautifully segmented and a fun treasure hunt for any music lover. You want to search and find out artists by yourself, or be tipped off on an emerging act by your friends. You want to reference who the new band sounds like and maybe look further into their influences for more music. This is all part of the experience.
The profit earning sector of music industry is stale of ideas, innovation and change. Rock may not be earning it’s stars a sizeable wage that would allow them to live the height of 80’s debauchery, but it is starting to provide sustainable business models giving bands and business types the space to make something that works for them. I can only see this flourishing over time.
Rock is dead? Fantastic! Because we are left with some sort of un-dead monster, chowing down on feeble pop artists when it comes to quality, passion and guts. This unpredictable immortal can chop and change with the times to constantly thrill us and keep its edge. You don’t buy into rock, it consumes you as its more than a trend or sound. It’s an understanding and ethos against a multi-cultural backdrop of variety.
I’m glad to see Rock Sound and other publications waving the flag for rock. I think we should all feel slightly smug in the fact that everyone is getting this wrong. Rock is dead, Long live rock’n’roll!
‘So I sold my soul to rock and roll again’
- Monsters In The Attic, ‘I’ll Be Damned’
Keith Lowde was a great teacher, mentor, inspiration and friend. We have all been fortunate to know and work with such an esteemed person. I’ll always remember the incredible warm welcome he gave me at the ACM Awards last year. Most people would have settled for a handshake, but he gave us a hug and as usual enquired as to how the others from my ACM class had been. The thing that got me was that he was so interested and foremost proud of everyone’s progress. This down to earth appreciation & encouragement, coming from a man that knew and had seen so much in the industry, shows his calibre.
My condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues and students past & present. You’ll be missed.