So many rock stars have fallen to suicide lately, and it gets you thinking. But all you have to do is look at the musical landscape right now and it makes sense. You would probably hang yourself too if you saw the very music you made, lived for, and the music that ended up defining you being buried alive and made obsolete in front of your eyes. That is like the death of a child to them. And make no mistakes, rock is dead, it really is. You can respond to this article about how some band named “Midnight Critters” out in Texas still “rock the fuck out” but guess what? If NO ONE HEARS THEM BUT YOU, and radio and pop culture and mass media won’t take to it, it is the musical equivalent of a tree falling in the woods with no one around. It does make sound, but what does that matter if no one fucking hears it?
Sad, I know, and that is why I wanna talk about it.
You know what we have left, honestly? Foo Fighters (who have gone pop but who can blame them when that’s where the money's at) and Queens of the Stone Age (both of which are more based of 70’s stoner and arena rock than actual crunchy, hard music) and some “here and there's” (meaning some awesome badass rock bands from here and there that no one but people from here or there will ever know about). That is it. That is all we have left. And even they lack that kick of shit like Pantera and old Nine Inch Nails (I can call industrial music rock if I want). But the point is, that percentage of modern rock is so little in the big picture (even if they are fantastic bands) it is like nothing at all. A blip on an otherwise massive radar.
Make no mistakes, any reader to this site can tell you, I love all music. I play all genres and and am a fan of all genres (except country, I can’t lie, I hate that shit), but that also means I love me some rock n’ roll, and to see a genre that helped me be confident when I felt weak as a kid vanish kills me. To see a genre of music that helped me find girls like me to date when I was young and homely become nothing more than a distant memory is painful. Rock n’ roll music, helped me deal with my family issues, issues of self-hatred and made me feel less alone as a kid. When I see something that was (natch, IS) that essential to my life (and the lives of many) going extinct, you bet your balls or vulva I am gonna do all I can to prevent that, and words are all I have, so let’s do this. And remember, denial isn’t going to help solve this issue.
Maybe If enough of us raise our collective voices, we can keep rock music from falling silent, and help future generations of malcontents realize they have a place, too, just like rock music did for me.
The Memories of REAL Rock Music
I remember lumbering men on stages, larger than life.
Sonic riffs being played so hard you thought you were going to blow out your eardrums AND speakers just by listening to that shit cranked to ten.
Drummers in the backgrounds, hammering away like metalsmiths, forging swords.
I remember songs about fucking and drugs and often, anthems about doing both at the same time.
Though we may still get songs about that stuff, where did the sonic resonance go? Where did the larger-than-life frontmen with mesmerizing presences all go? Why do all songs have drum machines on them now instead of drummers? Hell, name me one rock song with a memorable bass line in the last five years. Oh, you can’t? I know, and it kills me.
It is like watching some animal that was hit by a car but not killed slowly dragging itself off the road and into the woods to die. You don’t want to ever kill an animal, but you also don’t want it to suffer so what do you do? Run it down and sob a little that you killed an animal for the sake of mercy, or don’t and sob a little that it is sitting on the edge of the highway, bleeding out?
Get my point, no one wins, and rock n’ roll, metal, music with an edge, is that proverbial animal, limping, bleeding, as Chester Bennington (from Linkin Park) would have screamed, crawling to the side of the road to die.
Yeah, I know, too soon, that is the point. This is all happening too fast, and it IS happening.
Did the Nu-Metal Backlash Kill All Rock?
I need help understanding this, and this is coming from a ‘music guy’ who generally understands the evolution of musical scenes and genres and such. When Grunge died out in the late nineties (the TRUE end of rock if we are being honest here) it birthed nu-metal. For those who don’t know, that is what bands like Korn and Deftones and Limp Bizkit were called. It was a type of hard rock-metal influenced music that sometimes used hip hop influences and fed off of band members who played their instruments with extra strings and tuned WAY THE FUCK DOWN. It was a different sound than the feedback heavy crunch of grunge, and though some say it lacked the depth of grunge and even the 70’s stoner rock that came before it, nu-metal had its place. When and why did nu-metal suffer such a HUGE and sudden backlash? Bands like Deftones (from the So-Cal scene, more 90’s than Nu-Metal) STILL make amazing music and sell out tours. Bands like System of a Down were fucking phenomenal musicians who wrote fantastic, politically driven music. Hell, even later in their career people would make fun of fans of Linkin Park saying they were pop metal, but don’t forget, JAY-Z HIT THEM UP TO MAKE A RECORD, so please don’t act like you’re all high and mighty and have better taste than the richest fucking man in music right now because I will slap your face.
Truth is, no one really knows why.
Everyone had that second Limp Bizkit album (Significant Other), yet, five years later, Fred Durst became the name to drop when you were mocking the scene. Huh?
What happened in between and why did this scene get a bigger fallout than fucking disco?
I understand it wasn’t for everyone, but riddle me this:
Since Nu-metal ended, what has happened to rock music? Do you hear it anymore, anywhere, at all?
No, you don’t.
Not outside of the few kids who still have the balls to start garage bands and the cities that still have some cool venues that support shows like that, but outside of that, rock really is dead, and somehow, we allowed it.
Fuck, why can’t we just blame emo? Because they will write whiny songs about it and get rich again and we can’t allow that twice in the same lifetime. Shame on you, men with bangs. Shame on YOU!
So Indie Hipsters Are the New Rock Bands Now?
Don’t get me wrong, I love The Shins, but you kinda see the passive point I am making, right? Just because a band plays their instruments doesn’t make them ROCK! Pop music is not rock music. Lines NEED to be drawn in the sand, people.
This is the real dick kick. Bands that are being passed off as rock on rock radio and on rock streams online are all the same. Indie bands, two word names, five guys in band all with ironic facial hair and fairly tight fitting, hipster-clothing. Rappers can wear red jeans, it’s cool. But when a band full of skinny dudes in red jeans playing acoustic music is being passed off as rock n’ roll, this scene is a eunuch. A man of wasted potential.
Oh, keep in mind, I know I keep saying all these gender specific analogies like “balls”, but female rockers used to make me wet and I am not even legally supposed to be able to get wet in that way. To me, there is NOTHING sexier than a woman rocking the fuck out, commanding the stage and her instrument and taking my ears to all sorts of sonic landscapes while taking my mind to all sorts of dirty places because I am a pig.
I will give one example. A band lead by two women I would have sold my soul to even take a nap between:
That is a PERFECTLY constructed rock song, a perfect video by two perfect humans. From the opening bass riff to the melodious bridge in between each crunchy chorus, don’t think when I say rock has lost its balls I mean this is a boy’s club, because it isn’t.
Hell, some quintessential rock bands of the 90’s had female members (looking at you D’arcy from Smashing Pumpkins) so I know it is not a gender thing. Hell, I still think Joan Jett is the hottest, most badass woman alive. I’d let her spit into my mouth. That is how divine I find her.
But show me the Joan Jett of today (Troi Irons is my new Joan Jett, but she can be just very melodious or genre bending so I wouldn’t stick her under just the rock banner, though my god can she rock). Show me the Veruca Salt and Smashing Pumpkins of Today (get it, Smashing Pumpkins, Today). Oh wait, we have already concluded that you cannot because real rock, arena rock, the shit that pissed parents off and kids lost their virginity to and got into fights to, that shit is dead, and maybe that is half the reason this nation is SO FUCKED UP RIGHT NOW. We used to rage and headbang and vent that way. We used that music as an outlet. What do we do now? We take to Twitter and get outraged about all the wrong things. Fucking TRUTH, and you know it. We have gone from rock gods to whiny, self-entitled babies in ten years time. What the fuck is THAT shit.
Oh, and speaking of what the fuck...time to face facts….
Rappers are the New Rock Stars
I’m sorry, but the above performance? That is some rock-star shit.
Oh, so many people are gonna hate me for this, but Kanye was fucking right. He is the new rock star. You gotta understand, I come from a time when rock stars meant more than just music they made. They were larger-than-life presences that loomed over audiences. They played a role. A part pre-written for them, with music to match. They ate the fucking heads off bats that were thrown on stage (Okay, so Ozzie thought it was a toy, but regardless, he did it, and as fucked up as it was, it was metal as fuck) and also, they said and did stupid shit like that and got away with it.
Remind you of anyone (*Coughs* Kanye).
They tore up hotel rooms and drove cars into pools. They got fucked up in public and acted like fucking tasteless rock stars. Well, someone needs to fill that void now that personalities like Kurt Cobain can’t and modern bands just don’t seem capable.
The idea of a rock star is a concept, a brand, and it does NOT apply to genres. Anthony Bourdain is a fucking rock star and the guy has never played an instrument or sang a note in his life. It is about being bigger than something, and you only find that kind of bravado in hip hop now.
There is nothing wrong with that, but it cements the point of this tragic article.
Rock n’ Roll is dead (for now, 2017).
I really pray some young kids with instruments read this article and immediately go out to their garage and form the best, loudest, most riotous rock band of all time and bring that shit back!
Here, use these two as inspiration, kids. One of the last bands that really packed a sonic punch. If you never saw the White Stripes live, you missed out on something otherworldly.
Let’s bring it back, motherf*ckers. The world has never been angrier or more unsettled. Therefore, there has never been a better time for that shit to rise back up to become our soundtrack to present day.
I do hate everyone and so do you, proving this song (and genre) is perfect and still pertinent, 17 years later.