Posted by: docdenbow | February 9, 2013

Rock Is Dead They Say Long Live Rock!


“We were the first band to vomit in the bar and find the distance to the stage too far”

When I was a young ‘un music was important. It meant something. It brought people together. I’m not talking about tatty chart hits, I talking about proper music. I’ve watched a bit of a programme presented by Danny Baker where he and his guests discussed albums. Remember those? 12 inch slabs of black vinyl that contained music and lyrics that could transport spotty little kids into other worlds and dream of exotic far flung places and galaxies and eras that were conjured up in the lyrics.

When I was 13 or 14 there were a few albums that opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of the music that was rock. There was the Roxy Music debut, Robin Trower’s “For Earth Below,” Trapeze’s “You Are The Music….” Deep Purple’s “Machine Head,” any number of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin albums. Hendrix, Dylan, The Beatles and the Stones all belonged to our older brothers, though The Doors were one of the few that bridged the divide along with Pink Floyd.

I haven’t even mentioned Bowie and the hours I spent playing Ziggy over and over until the album seemed to be turning white with wear. Music mattered, it did to me at least. Everything I did had a soundtrack provided by albums from that early 1970’s era. My first real girlfriend and I would listen to Machine Head together in semi darkness in the back room of her house taking in every note and every nuance of every song. We could get out at the weekend (we were 16 or 17) and go to the Wolverhampton Poly disco on a Friday and Saturday night where a fresh newly pressed Smoke On The Water would be played, and Kashmir would thunder from the speakers. This music was collectively ours. It rarely got played on the radio so the way we got to find out about them was from friends and Melody Maker, Sounds and the NME.

It was so unlike today, music in the 70’s was organic, shared and recommended. You would become friends with people because they liked the same bands, went to the same gigs. Instinctively you knew these people would be your mates because they were like you; they liked the music. Relationships with girls were cemented and strengthened due to shared love of the same bands and you could go and see bands together becoming drawn into the shared experience of great music. Imagine that, holding hands at 18 with your girl watching spellbound as Rush played A Farewell To Kings and the whole of Side 1 of 2112. Your song would be Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” rather some syrupy saccarin nonsense.

That wouldn’t happen today. Much of today’s music is derivative or manufactured. The rest is tuneless hammerings or chanting by a tattooed ghetto boy chuntering on about how great he is and how he is the most sexually potent beast alive. It’s true to say that I’m knocking on a bit, but I really don’t understand music and the culture of music as it stands these days. Perhaps I’m like one of Monty Python’s 4 Yorkshiremen telling tales of “when I were t’lad…..” That maybe so, but I really feel that these days that “artists” are only in it for the money. There is no artistry, precious little attempt at artistry. Many of those who claim to be artistic in their musical efforts are nothing more than revisionists backpedalling through the back catalogues of the greats.

Like everything, sport especially, rock music has been crushed, corrupted and ultimately flattened by money. Big business buried their heads deep in the sand throughout the 1980’s as we all bought our existing collections again on those shiny new fangled CD’s and into the 1990’s, once we the music buying public began to ease back on our purchases, the record companies began to hit the skids. Napster, WinMx and suchlike came along and suddenly free digital music was available. The record companies thinking this competitor would end up as insignificant as home cassette taping, did very little and watched as their businesses crumbled and the record retail industry fell into a spectacular decline.

What’s left of the “music business” is for established monolithic bands and the short term crap that the reality TV of Simon Cowell gives us. There is no more artist development, CD sales have dried up and the music industry is on its’ arse as we have all seen with my old employer HMV finally succumbing to the inevitable death by its’ own hand through sheer vanity.

What’s need right now is…………. oh what’s the point, it’ll never come back.

Rock music is just a musty old irrelevance.

But, I’m still there – listening…..

“….Rock is dead they say……………..Long Live Rock!!!!!!!!!”

Ciao For Now

Denbow

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Responses

  1. […] Rock Is Dead They Say Long Live Rock!. […]

  2. I have blogged in the past about my being a bit of an old rocker and how my musical tastes were forged. I agree with you that today’s music is destined only for the shitter of history. Yes, there always has been rubbish music produced, jazz for example (I hate jazz, its just 5 musicians playing different tunes, on 5 different instruments all at the same time), but it was always counterbalanced by something epic.
    Nowadays we just have factory produced, autotuned tripe.
    There is nothing new, even the newest hope, Jake Bugg, just sounds like a cross between Bob Dylan & John Lennon, totally unoriginal.
    I still have “Dark Side”, “Day At The Races”, “Never Mind The Bollocks”, “Tommy”, “Paranoid” & “Number Of The Beast” etc all on vinyl and on CD (more convenient for the car!) And they all still give me pleasure beyond their years.
    I despair for the future of music. Computer generated excrement, produced to by downloaded to smartphones. Here today, gone later today acts (no longer can we call them artists or musicians) with no more talent than I have as a theoretical physicist.
    They kids today are destined never to know music that will stay with them all their lives.

    I pity them.

  3. I like bands that were around before I was born, and although I wasn’t around in the 70’s, the rock music of the time was the music of my childhood.
    I don’t agree about Jazz being just 5 different musicians playing different tunes, and if you think that is true, then you don’t understand the structure of music.
    Jazz and blues are interrelated, and as blues is the bedrock of heavy rock, I don’t understand your statement.
    To be truly free like Jazz musicians are, then you really do have to be good musicians. To have a loose band, you need tight musicianship.

    Rock bands have incorporated Jazz into rock, Tony Iommi plays Jazz riffs and was heavily influenced by Django Reinhardt, so if you like Sabbath, then you should realise the jinfluences Jazz has.

    Not all “kids” like pop music, and not all “kids” play pop music. Listen to Oli Brown or Orianthi Panagaris.

    There was crap music around in the 70’s too so I believe, I watch BBC4 on Fridays and 70’s Top of the Pops was full of pop crap. You need to dig beneath the surface, rock bands still exist.

    • I agree 100% with you about jazz, (I love Art Pepper, Tubby Hayes to name but 2) but just like any type of music there’s some we like, and some we don’t.

      (It wasn’t me who said jazz was pants!)

      I’m just old and I miss the days when music spread by word of mouth amongst mates….

      Nostalgia, eh, it’s a thing of the past…….

      My taste is strange (I think) If you look at my Albums Of The Day you’ll see what I mean

      Denbow

  4. I know it wasn’t you Doc… my Jazz comment was aimed at Bennyboy. But yes, some Jazz isn’t to my taste either, some rock isn’t to my taste. Everyone likes different bands, but to say a whole genre is crap, just makes me think Benny doesn’t understand music.


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