Where Did All the ROCK Bands Go?


Hey what’s up you guys! Marty Schwartz
here with Marty music thanks so much for watching this video now I’ve been in the
music industry quite a while now, and there’s one thing I can say with
certainty, and that is: Rock. Is. Dead. How do I know this?
Well artists and critics alike have been pronouncing the genre dead for as long
as I can remember. In the 70s disco killed rock. In the 80s it was the hair
bands. The early 90s saw the rise of hip hop, thus killing rock then I was told
rock music died with Kurt Cobain. It then died again when NSYNC and the
Backstreet Boys came on the scene. At the turn of the century there was a glimmer
of hope with bands like The Strokes and the White Stripes and the Arctic Monkeys,
but sadly these groups were all just meagre imitations of rocks past proving
that rock is in fact, dead. Even today it’s hard not to buy into the notion of
Rock’s death. If you’re looking for a solid rock tune from a kickass rock band
on Billboard’s Top 40, you’ll be disappointed. Plus the band gaining the
most traction right now is a group from Michigan called Greta Van Fleet, and
they’re pretty good, but if you think The Strokes are derivative, just wait until
you hear this group’s debut single, but does this really mean Rock is dead? And
if so why? Why aren’t there any unique and original rock groups climbing the
Billboard charts right now? Do you know the answer, and you’re yelling it at your
computer screen right now? Well please stop. YouTube doesn’t work that way. Now I
might not have the answer, but I certainly have some ideas. The general
assumption presently is that technology is the latest killer of rock bands. One
might submit that because of new tech, the environment to create rock music
isn’t as prevalent as it once was. Back In my day, if you wanted to be musically creative your only option was to grab three friends,
figure out who had the biggest garage, and chillest parents start making noise! And it’s true! This formula is what allowed many of the greatest rock bands
of the mid 20th century to come into existence. But because every rebellious
teenager today has a laptop, it’s easier to create music on your own in your
bedroom using a host of sounds that would otherwise not be accessible
without a computer. Uptight parents everywhere should thank Apple for
causing creatively minded kids to retreat to their bedrooms and experiment
with multitrack recording, musical typing, and every over-the-top effect that came
free loaded on that iconic polycarbonate clamshell. Never fully understanding the
irony of the preloaded programs name sake. But that’s not to say that rock
music isn’t still happening in car ports and bonus rooms all over the world. As
many of the youngsters that helped me put this channel together will tell you
they had friends they swear. So inevitably they get together and jam. But
because rock music is so evolved at this point, there are tons of consuming little
nooks and crannies to experiment with. Even the subgenres have subgenres. The
name metal alone cannot define the range of this style. Same with punk, grunge, or
even glam. There’s so many different ways to find the lane in rock, it’s almost
impossible to fit neatly into one category. But that hasn’t kept 21st
century bands from trying and in some instances succeeding. However, success in
rock music doesn’t look like it did 50 years ago. You’ll be hard-pressed to find
a band riding in stretch limos, and packing Madison Square Garden to the
brim. Back in the 70s. Labels promoted the sale
of a band’s LP, and marketed the daylights out of big tours and merch. The edgy
innovative groups of today don’t need an infrastructure like that to find
success. That same technology I mentioned earlier has allowed bands to record
their own tunes, and distribute those songs on the web! Can they do a whole
album? Sure! Might they rather record their three best songs and put those out
there, so they can play a few shows and see what sticks?
Probably. The culture around rock music doesn’t really lend itself to needing a
huge record deal anymore. Most bands, if they’re good can create a cult following,
partner with a smaller independent label if they want, and remain underground. All
while still living a comfortable life. In a lot of ways rock is settling in
similarly to jazz. At the turn of the 20th century, jazz was
all the rage its evolution was front and center in the American ethos. From Ella
Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong, all the way to Bill Evans Miles Davis. People
used to pack into venues and dance halls to see these folks, but as other hipper
styles of music gained traction in the 50s and 60s, jazz continued to thrive but
became more of a specialized artform inspiring musicians in and out of the
mainstream. This allowed jazz to experiment on the edges, and try things
that it might not try otherwise. All while the mainstream rock musicians, many
of which were jazz fans would take a few of these elements, and infuse them into
the popular music of the time. I think the same trajectory is destined for rock
itself and that’s not a bad thing. Freeing it from the big music label
think tanks may be the greatest thing to ever happen to this genre. Now these
musicians can be free to experiment without execs worrying about
marketability. So to answer the question: Where did the rock bands go? They didn’t
go anywhere, and rock certainly isn’t dead, it’s just adjacent to the
mainstream. Occasionally popping up in the form of Arcade Fire winning album of
the year, and Use Somebody by Kings of Leon getting to the number four spot on
the Hot 100. As a society, we need not measure the success of a genre by its
ability to sell millions of records and climb to the top of the charts. This
actually may allow rock to become more diverse and more influential. It can push
boundaries and inspire popular artists, and who knows? This freedom may lead to a new resurgence. And when I hop on to my preferred streaming service to listen to
Rock on Tours, Joy Wave, Big Spring, Demob Happy, Dr. Dog, or Manchester Orchestra
I’ll know the rock can never die, because in the 21st century, it’s right where it
needs to be. Expanding outward on the musical edge, and because of today’s
technology, it’s easier to find artists creating the style of music than ever
before.

48 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *