“And I can’t imagine what empty heads can achieve.
Leave me alone don’t want your promises no more
‘Cause rock’n’roll is my religion and my law
Won’t ever change, they think it’s strange
You can’t kill rock’n’roll it’s here to stay”.
You Can’t Kill Rock And Roll: Ozzy Osbourne
In my opinion, it is very much alive. In today’s day and age, you can’t base its popularity on record sales anymore. Because the outlets that control that, radio, print media and TV, don’t allow free thinkers like they used to do. Of course there are exceptions, like Classic Rock Magazine, Sirius/XM Radio and Palladia TV. You’re not going to find it like we used to, where a DJ would play a great track from a new band and you think, “I have to hear that again.” Can you remember when you first heard the needle drop on Welcome To The Jungle on radio? I can, like it was yesterday. Now, the stations and most media outlets are told what to play and only known commodities. But because they don’t make it known, doesn’t mean that it’s not out there.
Dave Grohl had said recently at the VMAs “I just want to say: Never lose faith in real rock and roll music, you know what I mean? Never lose faith in that,” Grohl said, “You might have to look a little harder, but it’s always going to be there.” I think he is right. No, I know he is. Every week I feature a blurb, video or something about a new band in my report. There is always something new out there that is refreshing and keeps the pulse of rock alive. Bands like Voodoo Six, Vintage Trouble, Saving Abel, Rival Sons, Airborne and countless supergroups as well. Of course you have bands like Alter Bridge, Machine Head and Black Stone Cherry, that have been around and have developed huge followings. Then of course are the bands we know and love, still making new music, so how can one think it’s dead?
When I do my radio show in the summer, I play songs from various bands, I pay homage to the past heroes, those who still carry the torch and those who are coming up to step in where they leave off. I have bands send me their material to check out like Seventrain, 68-75, and many others. They have a great sound, the whole package. The issue is that all of them have to do a grassroots campaign to get heard. In some cases, get lucky to open for a group or artist that is well known to get seen and heard.
Here is the thing, many people download music, in some cases for free. I won’t debate the rights and wrongs of that, etc. You can also listen to it free with services like Spotify and Pandora. Why pay for it, right? That seems to be the general attitude out there. Like I said, record sales should not be the determining factor. Let’s not forget that bands also have their music heard on their own sites, places like Reverbnation and Facebook. Whatever happened to Myspace? I guess Timberlake didn’t bring its groove back. So where can you discover the rock that I’m talking about? Well, there is social media and sites like mine. But the reality is going to a concert. Most cases people don’t even want to see the opening bands and that is too bad. That’s how I learned about one of my new faves, Monster Truck, they opened for Slash and I was hooked from that show on.
All that said, both the bands and artists don’t really make their money via record sales. Think about how many shows you go to now and the band does a meet and greet at the end of the show and sell their wares for them to sign on the spot. You need to go to live shows and concerts as it were and see the unfamiliar and you might be surprised at what you find out there. Of course, you can tune into my summer radio show or read my report, but you can get out there and show your support and rock your ass off. You have to use the internet as a resource today, since there aren’t many record stores left, not even a recording industry as we knew it, but it’s there. That’s what technology did for you. But, hey vinyl is coming back. They say history repeats itself, maybe we’ll be just that lucky. I can go on, but I won’t, but if you ever think rock is dead, just reach out to me and I will set you straight. It’s as strong as it ever was, just ask me!