Where Have All the Rock n' Rollers Gone?
Hello??? Rock n Roll? Where Are You?
I was born in the 70's. My mum listened to main stream music and I was exposed to pop and rock n' roll from the very beginning. My father wasn't interested in mainstream music. However, his love of he Blues and Jazz infiltrated our home on hot summer days. Music was a constant companion and background noise in our home. I love all music. Music became a language and memory maker for me. Name any artist or song from the 1930's to now and I could probably relate it to a memory, person, time and place. Stevie Wonder: days on my back porch as a youngin' with all of my extended family having a cookout. Madonna "Borderline": Sitting in the back of my mother's navy blue Ford LTD with orange pleather seats that your butt stuck to on steamy days. Michael Jackson "Billie Jean": My first cassette tape and boom box because having the record just didn't cut it anymore. Bon Jovi "Bad Name": The first video I became addicted to on MTV and the first time I fell for a rocker (and not the last). I could go on and on...
Despite all of this exposure to different genres, one took over my soul. It seeped into my brain, heart and veins and brought out all of the places in me I knew existed. It was rock n' roll. The first rock album I ever chose to buy was Blondie "AutoAmerican". After Blondie and punk, came 80's glam rock. This is when my obsession started. I couldn't get enough of MTV. I had posters all over my room. The ceiling was even covered. This generation of rock was the soundtrack to my youth. It was carefree and wild. During this era, three things happened. First, I found the band that is still my favorite: Motley Crue. The second was that I went to my first concert: Bon Jovi's New Jersey tour. Motley Crue was everything bad. The videos were unreal! They pushed every envelope in rock and I couldn't wait to watch. My parents threatened to get rid of MTV because I watched the "Girls, Girls, Girls" video. I had to watch it in secret. The louder they got, the better. Thirdly, "Appetite for Destruction" by Guns N Roses was released. The first album to have a parental advisory sticker. I stood behind my mum questioning the man at Sam Goody asking, "How bad is it?" with a pleading look in my eyes. Luckily, the kid was paying attention and answered, "Not that bad..." Thank you Sam goody guy! You rock! I was 100% hooked on rock n' roll.
In the 1990's something terrible happened, or so I thought at first, grunge. Bands from Seattle were lamenting about their tortured souls. I was wild and carefree. i couldn't relate to having a tortured soul. So what was I to do? Then two terrible events changed my life. My good friend tragically passed away and my mother also passed from a brain tumor. I was 13. Want to talk about tortured soul? I became one. Suddenly Pearl Jam and Nirvana weren't so foreign anymore. Motley stopped putting out music for a stint. So I moved on. This era opened up Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hole (Yes, I love Courtney. No, she did not kill Kurt.) and Stone Temple Pilots. These bands are still my favorites from that era. They were the fast and loud of my teen years, just with darker lyrics.
In the 1990's I also met a group of people who were big into classic rock. Also, one of rock's biggest acts put out a new album - Aerosmith. As I listened to "Livin' On the Edge" I delved into Aerosmith's past. Are you serious? This stuff is pure genius! This group of people also introduced me to Led Zeppelin and the Doors. At this point I felt I was starting to really understand rock - its roots, its rhythms and its people.
In the 2000's rock started to fade a bit, but still had a presence. All my old favorites were touring and occasionally putting out new songs. However, this was the beginning of the end. There weren't any new artists that you could truly call rock. The tried-and-true bands of the 70's through 90's were keeping it relevant with new music. Rap and Pop took over the airwaves. Anyone new fit into one of these categories. Sure people try to say Coldplay is rock. Sure. I guess? They do play their own instruments and write their own songs ? Paramore? Maybe their first album. Nothing original is out there anymore. Nothing fast, wild or whatever. Maybe you're now thinking, "You're too old for fast and wild lady!" My answer to you is. "Age is a state of mind."
This October I will sadly go to my last Motley Crue show, and I am starting to feel it may be the last rock show I ever see. I am sure Crue will rock my pants off. I have never seen a pop show that even holds a candle to a rock show. They are mas- produced, theatrical productions. Sure, they are enjoyable. I have seen many and had a good time. I even call myself a fan. However, none of them offer loud guitars, fire and spontanaeity.
The point is this: What happened to the genre that was founded in Blues and rebellion? Are today's youth not interested in rebellion? Is it because rebellion comes from cyberspace now that our music is so computer generated? I have a lot of respect for some of today's artists. Lady Gaga, and even Justin Bieber, are at least writing their own stuff. Someone needs to pick up an electric guitar, plug it into an amp and write something that will be the voice of my daughters' generation. Bieber and Iggy Azaelia just aren't cutting it. To the teens of today: Get off of your computers, learn an instrument and go for it. What can you lose? It's the chance to bring rock n' roll back to life. He's flat lining.