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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

ROCK IS DEAD.........LONG LIVE ROCK

In 1999 I was working for a mp3 download site called CDuctive.com, don't look for it, it got eaten by E-music, who laid me off, and gave me dead stock - but that's another story. At CDuctive, there was a guy whose job it was to license Hip Hop, and one day he told me that Rock was dead. I was offended by his remark, but looking back, he was right. Not in the sense that he thought he was. He meant that it was dead as in 'over', a non-entity.

That is not true, and the success of bands that Fred will tell you all about have proven Hip Hop Guy wrong.

But he was right, or at least his statement is correct in the sense that Rock stopped growing, it is what it is. It has all been done. The culture that birthed it is gone, the culture that nurtured it is gone, the culture that propelled it into the stratosphere is gone, and the culture that popped the balloon and brought it back to it's basic essence is gone.

When did it die?

I believe that Rock died in 1994 by a self inflicted shotgun blast to the head, and was buried in a heart shaped box.

Since then there has been some great records, but no ground has been broken. Many have sought to revive it by breeding it's progeny with close relatives, such as Hip Hop and Country. Others have tried to revisit glorious moments of Rock's past that the masses may have missed. All of that is well and good, and as I am as guilty of living in denial of Rock's passing as anybody - but it is dead.

Long Live Rock.

Comments:
I can't totally disagree with you, but that is like saying rock died when buddy hollies plan crashed.
Nirvana was reviving old school, mixing the Beatles with the sex pistols. Be patient. It’s not dead yet.
 
Certainly Rock and Roll died in 1959, and in an effort to revive it, the Beatles gave birth to Rock in 1962. Maybe somebody is currently trying to revive Rock and may have given birth, or soon will, to a yet to be named child of Rock.
 
Rock & Roll dead in 1959??? Buddy Holly WAS Rock & Roll...But Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley ARE Rock & Roll & still alive & kickin...Gimme a break. The Beatles gave birth to Rock??? What planet are you on?
 
By 62 Chuck was in Jail, Little Richard had retired to the pulpit, and Bo Didley hasn't had a hit record in almost fifty years - it was over (Rock and Roll) and Soul/R&B was being born - Hell, even Elvis had forsaken Rock and Roll by then. The Beatles very much revived the music, but it wasn't Rock and Roll anymore, it was different, it was Rock.
 
I was just reading the stupid little Grammy Award preview booklet that came in the latest issue of Rolling Stone Magazine and was feeling the same thing. Your good buddy Bob Lefsetz might agree as well. Snow Patrol? Gnarls Barkley? Modest Mouse? The Shins? They're not BAD acts, but will anybody give two shits about anything they've recorded 5-10 years from now? I'm going to say no.

Ole Bob made a point recently in a post in which he specualated that perhaps one of the reasons heavy impact music has been hard to find is that there's so much out there now. Another downside of this new way of consuming music (one which Bob seems so hell bent on suopporting I might add). The failure of broadcast radio hasn't helped either.

You've heard me say it before: I think that despite the fact that corporations and labels have done their share to fuck things up in the past, the real reason better music (and films for that matter) don't get made is that there just ISN'T that much REALLY good stuff out there being made to begin with.

Now that everybody has a record label and film studio we must now weed through piles for dreck. Labels did provide a screed for which bad shit got skimmed off. Sometimes they missed and missed big, but they got it right a million times as well.

In the end the machine was their own worst enemy. The year Eric B. & Rakim released "Follow the Leader" was the same year DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince won a grammy for best new rap album for "Parents Just Don't Understand". Fucking sad...
 
Snarky post, Jackson. Dignifies a snarky response:

"Jackson's position isn't surprising or upsetting, considering he thinks that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are the best rock and roll band."

Oh, and Tony Alva did just use the grammy argument?
 
The Beatles "gave birth to Rock in 1962"???? Jackson, stop smokin' the yellow submarines man!!
 
as long as teenage boys spend hours in their basements jamming on guitars rock will be alive and well.

the four fellas played the coffee house last night and they certainly don't think rock is dead
 
I won't tell them if you won't.
 
Is rock dead, or am I old? During my lifetime, there have been just a few bands that (for me) made it exciting again.. The first two were discoveries after the fact.. Seems like it ended over 10 years ago...

Ramones "Rocket to Russia" 1977
Van Halen "Van Halen" 1978
Guns 'n Roses "Appetite for Destruction" 1987
Janes Addiction "Nothing's Shocking" 1987
Nirvana "Nevermind" 1991
Bjork "Post" 1995

Not that there wasnt great stuff in between (Angry Samoans, Chili Peppers, Gang of Four, Beasties, etc.)
 
I can’t remember who was talking about it, but Protools and the like are also responsible... I will try (my best) to explain..
If you listen to a song from the 40's, 50's, 60's.... they are all easily placed in their respective decades due to song style as well as the tech of the time. In other words you can easily identify a song from the 60's as being a song from the 60's, even if you have never heard it. If The Beatles recorded "Taxman" today, note-for-note on Protools, it wouldn’t (obviously) sound the same... (Insert tech-speak on compression algorithms, analog warmth, etc... all the things I don’t understand.. not to mention George and Johns availability issues here..)
Even songs from the 80's are immediately identifiable. This ability to differentiate seems to break down in the 90's with the increased use of digital workstations, sequencing, cut and paste, etc.... I cant easily pick a song from 1995 from one done in 2005.. There is no longer that huge difference in production quality and style... Perhaps this is a contributing factor to the "there is no good new music/everything sounds the same" thing going on. You guys are 1000x more experienced with this... what do you think?
 
Yeah... I said Bjork.
 
Bjork is awesome.

Yes, Digital Audio has had a 'blandening' effect on music - at S&M we try to use the new tools with an old school sensibility, but whne there isn't a live band in the other room to begin with, well, it ain't never gonna sound like the sixyies again.....
 
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