American music is dying a withering, morose death. The last bastion for rebellious, obnoxious lyrics and bombastic thundering tunes is on life support, maintaining a mostly vegetative state, barely hanging on by a guitar string.
There have been flashes of resurrection of what once brought fear and loathing into the hearts of our swine parents; alas, those days are gone. We must now scour the intertubes and compilation CDs for music that makes us care again.
What happened to the days when real bands played in packed stadiums and amphitheaters? The days when you went to a show to see the band play actual music and not some gaudy architectural stage gimmick.
I’m so tired of seeing those bands that have been meticulously pieced together by rapacious record labels or greedy producers and given the limelight without so much as playing one live show — one show where they had to stand on their own two feet and prove their worth with chords, octaves, and harmonies.
It’s rare that they lend their blood, sweat and tears to numerous dive bars and stinky venues that will only accept bands to play for a $20 bar tab and stale peanuts. I think that gives the band a little grit and the passion that’s necessary to compete in the music business.
And to those who don’t know, it’s just that: a business. Winners are rare and losers run rampant, whining about missed opportunities.
I recall the first concert I ever went to. It was AC/DC at the San Diego Sports Arena. Now that was a show — the Razor’s Edge tour. I remember that it scared my parents and I had to beg and plead for them to let me go. AC/DC played all the songs I wanted to hear, drank heavily throughout the performance, kept me entranced and left the captivated audience wanting more. What else can you ask for my friend? Nothing.
Nowadays, we’re left with Linkin Park and Soulja Boy. Despite their obvious inability to use spell-check and seemingly prolific inaptitude to write anything original, they still sell a nauseating amount or records. It boggles my mind.
Even the once mighty Metallica has sunk to the boorish levels of rock mediocrity. Spinal Tap was more original than those clowns from San Francisco. At least when I laughed at Spinal Tap, it was intentional. It’s become increasingly depressing for me to listen to one of the bands that peaked my interest in playing guitar because it’s obvious they’re just shining for the paycheck now.
Moving on, the current state of punk rock (if that even exists anymore) is convoluted to say the least. I came along later, missing the Sex Pistols and The Ramones. I discovered this lightning fast, politically charged music later with bands like Black Flag, The Descendents, Bad Religion, NOFX and Minor Threat. At least these were great rock bands. Who do we have today? Simple Plan, Sum 41, and Good Charlotte? WTF Mate?
Don’t get me wrong. If some huge record label told me they’d pay me millions if I’d cover Milli Vanilli songs while I wear a mauve leisure suit, I’d simply ask where I sign my name.
I guess I just wonder where all the danger went. It seems so homogenized and user-friendly now. I won’t even get started on the boy-band craze that took America by storm a few years ago. Five or six foppish, teeny-bop dancers with marginal vocal skills and squeaky-clean images, stealing the harmonies and dance moves that Motown cranked out 40 years ago. Thank Yahweh most of that pointless boy-band drivel ran itself into the ground.
Then there’s rap and hip hop, which I guess took the danger level to the opposite side of the spectrum. Scaring your parents is one thing. It’s entirely different when you spook federal authorities.
I guess I’m just starting to get old, because I’m reminiscing about the days when I actually looked forward to seeing live music. Now I usually only go to local shows to support friends and other bands that I played with.
I suppose it all comes down to music that moves you. I’m talking about material that makes you sing aloud in your car, or dance alone in your home. This ranges anywhere from Frank Sinatra to GG Allin. Whatever floats your boat. No one can tell you what’s wrong or right, just what feels right at the time.
Follow your own drummer, and usually that’ll take you down the appropriate path.
Filed Under: Doorman Diaries