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As time catches up with rock's greats, can the genre survive?

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By Maggy Donaldson

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As an "old fart" (or kusojiji as might be said in Japanese) I certainly hope so. My Bell Curve for music is 50's through 90's; perhaps it is a generational thing. The death of rock would be an awful thing to witness.

I got my Netflix "fix" a couple of weekends ago and saw the move "The Dirt" about Motley Crue. Really, really well done movie in my opinion and fun to see the antics re-enacted (I to not "claim" to support such actions).

There was no internet back then....

......wow! imagine if there was one with all the stuff those guys were doing!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well what is will be. But what an era of culture and music to have lived and experienced. First small concerts in tiny clubs or even in the basement of churches but then huge concerts and so many great outdoor festivals. I attended so many but like so many the money overtakes the culture and music.

All great empires come to an end and the Rock Empire will be no exception.

There were so many great rock musicians who didn't last the course. Hendrix, Joplin, Lennon, the list is long.

If I had my time over again, I would still want more of the same.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Problem with rock music, is that it requires a minimum of music savviness (not as much as jazz or classical of course) but still need the ability to appreciate a nice guitar riff, bass line or drum solo and angry lyrics. Today R&B and mainstream hip hop are on top because it's not disturbing, no message, no soul, only bling and flexing pushed by the media to sell their stuff... But i'm hopeful there always be kids grabbing a guitar or drum stick and readying to rock in their parents' garage! Long live rock n' roll.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Of course rock's not going to die. As long as there are 16 year old boys with enough money for an electric guitar and an amp it'll keep going. Maybe what the article should have said is that rock won't occupy the same place in market share that it once had, but it's always going to be there.

Last time I saw headlines like this was back in 1976 when the Pistols were threatening to blow away everything bar 3-chord punk anthems. They said rock as we'd known it was dead back then, but here we are in 2019 and it's still dying. Apparently.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Oh - one improvement these days? Not just 16 year old boys. 16 year old girls, too.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Bands flying rock's banner still exist, of course, with 2000s era groups like The Black Keys and The Killers announcing new music after years of silence.

Never heard of these bands. Gave a listen to 3 songs by the black keys.....nothing special. 2 songs by the killers.....nothing special.

Today's rock band of the moment Greta Van Fleet -- has been widely panned by critics as Led Zeppelin copycats.

No doubt about the copycat label. It was scary listening to them. No way someone could sound THAT much like Robert Plant. Fake music!

The music/music video corps have much more influence on music trends then is let on. They want us to think it’s driven by popularity, but it’s not, it’s driven by $$$$, which will never make good music.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"Rock and roll is here to stay. It will never die." - David White (1939-2019)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But according to Danny Goldberg, Nirvana's former manager, by the mid-1990s, hip hop had begun occupying the innovative space formerly claimed by rock, galvanizing young people and reflecting contemporary times.

Hip-hop has gone downhill too. Talent levels have completely diminished from the mid-90s. An MC in the 90s could spit a freestyle on the spot once the beat plays. Nowadays rappers either have their freestyles pre-written or ask radio stations to not ask them to freestyle.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I hope not. I’d love to see a band at the level of The Stones or The Who come through.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Rock is dead

Yeah sure. You forgot to tell it to Adam Levine.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Seems like the genre is doing just fine!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rock is not dead, but mainstream rock is. Let's see if it comes back, but I'm not holding my breath for another Elvis or Beatles any time soon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I hate the equation underlying this proclamation that:

Commercial dominance = alive

Anything less than that = dead

I like rock, and rock fans like rock regardless of how much money it makes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When the self-appointed arbiters of taste in the world of pop culture speak, they are best ignored.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You're never too old to rock and roll.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Rock is not dead. It's not the novelty that it was in the late 40s - 50s. It has branched out into many different styles and genres. Hard rock, soft rock, folk rock, heavy metal, punk, reggae, soul, funk have all branched off into diverse genres within themselves, and there's been some 'combination' or fusion genres too. For instance, speed metal or thrash = heavy metal + punk. Grunge = punk + metal + glam. Reggae branched off from ska, which is descended from American soul music but also is mixed with Caribbean elements. The late great Dick Dale derived 'surf' from Arabian music and of course George Harrison of the Beatles added India elements to rock. Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon have also added non-Western elements to rock'n'roll. Advances in recording technology, audio, and the invention of newer electronic instruments (not the least the synthesizer) have also created new vistas and new rock styles. And the various cultures around the world have given their own imprint into the music too.

It's like Huey Lewis said, 'The heart of rock'n'roll is the beating'.

There are some newer rock acts today - male and female keeping the flame alive. Most of them fall under the category of 'indy' or 'underground' now. You just have to look harder but thanks to the internet you can find them.

Just last week I saw the psychedelic guitarist Modou Moctar. He's from Niger and he has a unique mid-African flavoring to his rock but he can still play very catchy trippy great music, Tuareg language not a true issue. I have seen some other bands from nations as diverse and far away as Russia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Denmark, Japan, Belgium, and of course from English speaking countries USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, NZ and Jamaica. As long as we have these acts playing music that can be traced back to the American mixture of 'white' + 'black' styles, rock'n'roll will last forever

2 ( +2 / -0 )

SerranoToday 12:34 pm JSTYou're never too old to rock and roll.

Correct. Chuck Berry kept at it until he died at age 91.

Of course the Rolling Stones keep rolling! Last saw them 4 years ago.

The Beach Boys still pack 'em in. In California they draw fans of the whole rock spectrum.

Bruce Springsteen still gives his legendary 4 hour shows. Last saw him still doing it 2 years ago, in fact he holds a record for the longest arena show! He's approaching 70.

I saw Phil Collins in concert last fall and his singing is still wonderful and robust, even if his spinal injuries prevent him from playing instruments and dancing, at least he can entertain us by singing his heart out.

I saw Nick Mason of Pink Floyd fame this past weekend and his drumming is still good.

Saw Cheap Trick last year, energetic just like it was still 1979.

And even when the first 2 times I saw Shonen Knife they drew a lot of Gen Y and millenials, when I saw them again last year the audience had mostly patrons 40-50s+ in age. And those lady punkers are older, Shonen Knife started out around 1981.

You're never too old to rock and roll.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Late 90s early 2000s were quality if you're into Indie: the strokes, Interpol, Arctic monkeys (before moving to the us), the killers, bloc party etc.

Those were the days.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is an illusional idea that the rock genre will die. One thing is certain that is nothing can last forever in this world. The influence of rock will decline but it will go on like other musical genres, such as classical, jazz, soul.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Late 90s early 2000s were quality if you're into Indie: the strokes, Interpol, Arctic monkeys (before moving to the us), the killers, bloc party etc.

Just goes to show that it is all subjective. When I was a teen in the mid-90s, labels would sign a load of small bands and put them on small venue tours together around the UK, in the hope that one or two would connect with an audience and become bigger. This was great for me as it meant you could see loads of interesting bands for cheap. It was also affordable to travel to see your favorites play in other towns, as the ticket prices weren't very high. Then, in a process that probably started with Oasis but really came to the fore with the bands you mention, indie really broke into the mainstream. Labels and the music press would then champion a handful of bands who would be pushed into bigger venues earlier, as there was now a bigger audience. The support slots were taken up by the next cherry-picked cars off the lot.

My cheap, variety-packed "scene" disappeared almost overnight. Although the kinds of bands I liked still existed, without label support they tended to only play in their local areas. This felt like the end of music for me for a while, but for you and others it was the start of something great.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

but for you and others it was the start of something great.

Huh? Wasn't the start of anything mate. Started listening to Indie/alternative when I was a teen in the late 80s. My point is/was, I haven't listened to anything 'good' since bloc party, Interpol etc (the mid 2000s).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Every major rock concert from Paul McCartney to the Who is sold out in minutes in Vancouver. Look at the Stones and Elton John sold out world wide with added dates. Rock will never die.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Rock music had a good long run, but most of what can be done was done a long time ago. The creative people who would have chosen rock music as their outlet are now choosing something else, a different type of music or a different medium altogether.

As someone who is fifty, I got to experience a lot of great rock music and it is special to me. However, that doesn't mean it has to be special to any younger person. During punk in 1977, the Beatles seemed an age away, but it was only seven years after they had broken up. Thirty years before punk was Glenn Miller and swing bands, several huge eras of popular music. Now 30 years ago (April 1989) is Doolittle by the Pixies, something that sounds like something any 2019 rock band would wish to produce if they had the originality, creativity and talent to do so. The whole genre has completely stagnated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

rap is laced with gangs and fans behaving like scary clowns. You'd think it would have improved by now

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As an "old fart" (or kusojiji as might be said in Japanese) I certainly hope so.

While other bands have come and gone, the Rolling Stones have kept on rolling. I hope that Sir Mick gets well soon, and keeps those stones rolling. Guess I'm beoming an "kusojiji" too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It changed from revolutionary firebrand to a historical period of listening.

Compare the choices before with what people produce these days. The diversity.....

rock will always be on the radio!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As a lifelong rock fan, I have to acknowledge that this article is generally correct. It's a genre that isn't doing very well these days. I think it's due to how the internet shifted society for the younger generation. Rock (and its offshoots like grunge and punk and heavy metal) has its roots as a counter-culture artform. It's about protest, it's about rejecting the norm, it's about expressing anger and frustration and isolation. (Is there mainstream rock? Sure, and some of it's OK. But the best rock has always had an element of shock.)

So why is it "dying"? Because the internet, with its dark corners and numerous communities, has made it easier than ever for people to find like-minded people, and to pursue obscure interests. People can join virtual communities around them to meet those needs and interests and social support. Everyone's more splintered. Everyone has more freedom to follow various paths. So in my impression, there's less pressure to conform to the norm than there was in past generations, and less pressure to conform has led to less of a need to rebel against it so expressively and fiercely. Hence, the lack of true passion and innovation in the rock scene.

Just one rocker's two cents.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Depends on how one defines rock. I define it by Bryan Adams, 80s Heart, Icehouse, and Genesis. Sure, that's over...or is it? Evanescence had a harder sound but I still got a Heart (80s again) vibe from it. Breaking Ben also was rocky.

Another music listener may call something else rock. I need not just a distortion or overdrive guitar, but keyboard (organ, "aahs", etc) for the chords, another keyboard (polysynth, etc) for the melody, a sax or English horn is nice, and usually drums. We all have our style of rock.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rock is alive and well in all of us and even in my 50's I am still discovering new music that I missed years ago i.e. Shonen Knife I just discovered them a month ago and its fresh (to me) and awesome and there is more to be discovered! I love the new (but maybe not so commercial stuff too) :-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rock genre - at least lots of the melodies are accessible. This assists endurability.

Hiphop - sorry, less accessible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

rock is no doubt dying, it completely lack of appeal to kids today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Music evolves and meanders, it takes tangents and cross-fertilises. It begs, borrows and steals. I wouldn't be sounding the death knell, just yet. There's always new music out there, you just have to look.

And if you don't "get" the new bands or sounds, that's fine, too. Same as it ever was.

I'm happy to alternate my listening habits between Little Richard, Elvis, Nirvana, Thin Lizzy, Horslips and the Drive-By Truckers or any other of the endless bands out there.

The great thing about music is that it can adapt or remain the same. Either way, there will always be an audience for it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rock dead? Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Opeth, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Radio Head, there are many many more where those came from. I don't need someone telling me that GVF or Imagine Dragons are saving rock music. Mainstream rock is dying right in front of us and if you appreciate quality rock in roll, it isn't hard to find. Long live rock n roll!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Was able to see Rush a few years ago and glad I did. But I wish I could’ve seen the final concert, that must’ve been something epic, but Neil can’t drum anymore, he’s got arthritis in his shoulders and is also suffering from tonight is, Geddy Lee has problems with his voice and Alex has early stages of arthritis in his hands. One of the greater bands for sure. Pink Floyd, Chicago, Queen, The Who etc. I saw Floyd at the Rosebowl back during their Division Bell tour, they played almost 3 hours, some of these bands moved on whether it’s because they’re getting older or having physical difficulties if you can ever get to see some of these legendary bands I highly recommend them, because once they shelved their instruments, that’s it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

bass4funkApr. 11 05:33 pm JSTWas able to see Rush a few years ago and glad I did. But I wish I could’ve seen the final concert, that must’ve been something epic, but Neil can’t drum anymore, he’s got arthritis in his shoulders and is also suffering from tonight is, Geddy Lee has problems with his voice and Alex has early stages of arthritis in his hands. One of the greater bands for sure. Pink Floyd, Chicago, Queen, The Who etc. I saw Floyd at the Rosebowl back during their Division Bell tour, they played almost 3 hours, some of these bands moved on whether it’s because they’re getting older or having physical difficulties if you can ever get to see some of these legendary bands I highly recommend them, because once they shelved their instruments, that’s it.

I've seen Rush 5 times between 1990 - 2015 and I am glad glad GLAD. The final concert (in Toronto of course) is captured on the 3-CD/1-DVD set called 'RUSH R40 TOUR'. I have a copy and you can find it in good music stores. It shows the band with that huge disco ball above them on the cover. I saw them on that tour too and I was thinking, 'Please don't tell us this is the end of the road. Just don't'. I met an older man that night sporting a denim jacket with a huge patch stating that he saw Rush over 2000X (!) from a date in Canada in 1974 to (now). I kid you not.

I saw Pink Floyd at Ohio State University stadium in 1994, the gig was nearly 3 hours and Mary Jane was everyone's date ; ) Last time I saw Springsteen he still gives 4 hour + shows but as he sings he wraps his playing hand and his elbow before resuming his guitar playing. He turns 70 this year. When I last saw the Stones I noticed the years are catching up even on Mick - he didn't jump around or use much 'body language' until the last 2 songs, and he didn't even take his shirt off in the hot late May heat. He wore a peacoat and a beret! Still, if you've never seen the Stones I highly recommend it. Phil Collins' US tour sold out in minutes and all his ailments allow him to do is sing his heart out. Saw him last fall, and his 2.5 hour show was fun. Bryan Ferry is 73 and he's well worth the effort to see. Your GF or wife will thank you for taking her to his show.  I caught X at their 40th anniversary tour and guitarist Billy Zoom had to sit the whole time. Def Leppard plays better than ever. Heart, Little River Band and Joan Jett are still good live. Cheap Trick still can put on a party! Dinosaur Jr. live is better than ever. As for newer acts the Internet is a BIG help for discovering. Turn off that stupid radio and that stupid TV.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

fogettiApr. 10 10:26 am JSTRock is dead

Yeah sure. You forgot to tell it to Adam Levine.

2 members of Queen don't make it 'Queen' w/ or w/o Adam Levine. Nonetheless, I've heard some of his solo stuff and I think he's pretty good. A Bowie disciple. Not a Freddie Mercury but he's still good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

juminRheeApr. 10 08:18 pm JSTDepends on how one defines rock. I define it by Bryan Adams, 80s Heart, Icehouse, and Genesis. Sure, that's over...or is it? Evanescence had a harder sound but I still got a Heart (80s again) vibe from it. Breaking Ben also was rocky.

Another music listener may call something else rock. I need not just a distortion or overdrive guitar, but keyboard (organ, "aahs", etc) for the chords, another keyboard (polysynth, etc) for the melody, a sax or English horn is nice, and usually drums. We all have our style of rock.

Kraftwerk showed us long ago that rock doesn't have to have guitars, bass or drums. They revolutionized rock'n'roll. And Genesis has always been synth-heavy (or organ at first) during their long career. Sammy Hagar knows by now that there is more than one way to rock.

Chiseled451Apr. 10 08:25 pm JSTRock is alive and well in all of us and even in my 50's I am still discovering new music that I missed years ago i.e. Shonen Knife I just discovered them a month ago and its fresh (to me) and awesome and there is more to be discovered! I love the new (but maybe not so commercial stuff too) :-)

I check out a lot of these 'indy' and 'cult' bands out there. I discovered Shonen Knife around 2011 and have seen (and met) them 3 times. They're a J-punk band, based on the Ramones, Beach Boys and 60s 'girl groups'. The French band Phoenix sounds like they've been inspired by Duran Duran (who are inspired by Bowie and Roxy Music). France also has the all woman band Plastiscenes. I recently discovered (and saw) the instrumental metal band Pelican from the US, psychedelic guitarist Modou Moctar from Niger, exiled Russian punkers the Svetlanas, Britain's Vaccines, Le Butcherettes from Mexico and more. Some of these newer acts are openers for older acts and are worth checking out. Bandcamp and npr are good sources on the net. Listening is FREE.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The music/music video corps have much more influence on music trends then is let on. They want us to think it’s driven by popularity, but it’s not, it’s driven by $$, which will never make good music.

B7 4ever!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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