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Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 2:42 pm
by Adam Blake
Been mulling on this for a while. It seems that Rock with a capital R - as in RAWWRK! - is really over - except as nostalgia. I daresay this has been the case for some years now and I hadn't really noticed. The last time I heard something new and vital sounding in the genre was Nirvana and that was a quarter of a century ago. But it seems to have left so little of any real value behind. The whole leather trousers, boot heel on the monitor, Les Paul and Marshall turned up to 11 thing seems so quaint now. Is that because it has been lampooned so mercilessly over the years, or because it never really had any value in the first place? (By the way, I appreciate that Nirvana were, in their time, a massive rebuttal of all that.)

A couple of things that provide me with food for thought:

My daughter's festival Brainchild features no "white boys with guitars" - as she disdainfully calls them. But it's not as though there was ever any possibility of them being included. They just don't exist to that crowd. It would be as ridiculous as Victor Silvester playing at Woodstock. However... Errol and I have played to them and gone down well. They really like blues.

I have a 14 year old student. The youngest of five siblings. Her mother was an original punk - you know, Art School, Adam Ant, McLaren, Seditionaries - that crowd. The student and I were talking about punk one time and I said how ironic I thought it was that Sid Vicious should have become such a symbol of punk when he himself was such a fucked up, talentless, druggie loser. "The original punks were really interesting", I told her. "You should talk to your mum about it". Her eyes widened. The idea that her mother had once been cool was obviously cause for quite a serious re-adjustment of attitudes.

But Rock. Was it all a mistake? Just a silly indulgence brought about by amplifiers getting too big and drugs too plentiful? I know this is a brutally anti-rockist environment but equally everyone reading this will have an opinion on the subject. I would love to hear them.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 3:08 pm
by john poole
It all went wrong about 1969, but it's now known as "Metal" isn't it?

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 3:27 pm
by Adam Blake
Metal was Rock's hideous offspring. You could date it to the first Black Sabbath album which did indeed come out in 1969. But I LOVE the first two Sabbath albums as hilariously entertaining cartoons which also have absolute integrity on their own terms. You could just as easily blame Prog, which was Psychedelia's hideous offspring.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 12:13 am
by will vine
One instinctively knows where Rock begins and country, blues, and r'n'b leave the room, and it sort of feels that you can put a time on it - maybe, for me, mid/late seventies. Was it a big mistake? Not really. It was too much fun.

I remember someone saying of Ten Years After, Cream, and Led Zeppelin that they'd taken blues to the lowest common denominator and maybe that's true but it was wonderful, at the time, turning up the volume and playing real fast, same goes for punk I guess.

I still treasure tiny pieces of rock honed by clever young men who learned classical and jazz stuff at music college and decided to try different fusions. Some stuff worked.. some didn't...so what? Nothing much ever came of not breaking a few rules and people seems less inclined to do that now. Or is it that people are doing it but not getting the rewards and exposure for it any more?

Rock? Nothing can remain vital forever. How interesting that the likes of Clapton, McCartney and Bob "call me Frank" Dylan have returned to music from a bygone age?

I'm just back from a Fofoulah gig, a band that combines Gambian drums, spacey keyboards, sax, dub bass and funky guitar. The back line looked remarkably white and geeky, but, gratifyingly, twenty five years olds were throwing themselves around the pub in a serious fashion.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 12:33 am
by Adam Blake
"Smoke On The Water" by Deep Purple is probably the most ROCK record ever made - and I must admit it sounds fantastic when I hear it by accident. But I suspect it would mean virtually nothing at all to a great many young people. They'd know the riff (everyone knows the riff) but beyond that? I wonder.

Big amps and drugs. Was there more to it?

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 6:56 am
by NormanD
Rock rock RAWWK is alive and well, has put on a Stetson hat and is posing in the body of contemporary American country music.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 9:29 am
by Jamie Renton
will vine wrote: Fofoulah


There's more of a rock connection there than you might think Will. Drummer and leader of the group Dave Smith (part of that remarkably white and geeky looking back line) is a member of Robert Plant's band.

Rock's become the non-threatening faux-rebel soundtrack of white teenage boys (the ones who are too scared or racist to listen to rap) and middle aged Top Gear viewers.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 11:19 am
by AndyM
Was it a mistake ? No more than any other genre.

Is it where anything innovative/creative happens ? No.

Is it finished ? Not if you look at how many tickets Kings of Leon, Muse, Foo Fighters and Kasabian can shift (though personally I could happily never listen to the first three for the rest of my life, quite like Kasabian for my sins).

I think your daughter and her mates are an unusually flexible and open-eared crowd, Adam. there are lots of not-so-bright, unreconstructed-blokey, hip-hop-never-happened, excited-that-Top-Gear-is-back lads out there in North Dakota and Nottinghamshire who still see rock as the ur-template.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 1:03 pm
by Hugh Weldon
For some reason I listened to an old Derek and the Dominoes track last night and recalled Peel had an all inclusive label called 'boogie' into which he shoehorned that sort of thing and Little Feat and Status Quo and the Faces and a few others. I was a little too young for its heyday but it was inescapably there and I liked a lot of it. But the whole getting your hair cut and not wearing flares anymore thing which went with punk meant we of a certain generation could own something different now, and a lot of the hairy stuff, good as some of it was, was somewhat unfairly dismissed. And paradoxically, a lot of the new stuff (eg Patti Smith, U2) was squarely rock with no apology.

I don't feel it matters so much. Free, Faces, Family, to choose a few random examples, are still very much worth listening to occasionally. Metal and things that happen in stadiums are of no interest. I will take Andy's word on the popularity and appeal of those modern rock groups as I know little about them. Once rock was central, now it's just part of the fragmented smorgasbord that is modern culture.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 1:32 pm
by Adam Blake
Hugh Weldon wrote: Once rock was central, now it's just part of the fragmented smorgasbord that is modern culture.



I think that's it, Hugh. I have been trying to sort out my own thoughts on the subject and trying to separate nostalgia from facts. There was a time when it seemed Rock was central and everything else was judged and assessed in relation to it. Things like Reggae were seen strictly from a white Rock fan's perspective - the guitar solos added (beautifully, I might add) to Bob Marley records being a perfect example.

Still mulling. I still think big amps and drugs were the reason Rock caught on in the first place. I am still wondering if it actually produced any music of lasting value. And if so, what? I love The Faces with a passion, for example, but I see them in the Mod tradition of British r'n'b mixing with British folk - played very loud. I don't see them as a Rock band.

Thank you all for your contributions. SOTW is still the best music forum on the internet as far as I know.

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 6:12 pm
by alister prince
First a footnote on Dave Smith of Foofoolah, he, prior to touring with Robert Plant, was with JuJu. Justin and Juldeh are both also with RP. Whilst good for the musicians, (at least financially, and touring is more comfortable), it means we don't get to see JuJu. Now there's a band who could rock! The mix of Justin's r & b influenced guitar, Juldeh's Ritti and a very solid rhythm section was a joy to behold! Andy's points on various current rock bands ring true with me. Lots of lesser known bands such as Zac Brown, seem to want to carry on that tradition. The current crop of (various sub genres) of metal bands have an avid youthful following and I reckon there's a few more bob to made in death metal than roots! I think rock is adapting to the musical zeitgeist of the current generation. It's how lot's of genres survive. If they don't adapt they wither on the vine and only appeal to the nostalgia market. Is it that as each generation ages, it hangs on to it's own perception of what is rock whilst the youth see their 'new' performers as the model. I'll shut up before I start rambling.
Aly

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 7:46 pm
by Chris P
The day that Iggy's Raw Power, or Jefferson Airplane's albums couldn't elicit pleasure in a new listener, would be unthinkable. And Andy's on the money & the pulse with the bands he mentions for today, amongst many others that are more recent and contemporary. It is a bit marginal though, but boogie will never die. When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake
http://youtu.be/n-Tk5nDm0F4

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 6:33 pm
by will vine
Hugh Weldon wrote:For some reason I listened to an old Derek and the Dominoes track last night and recalled Peel had an all inclusive label called 'boogie' into which he shoehorned that sort of thing


Small point, but I think it was much funnier that he called it "Rock-a-boogie".

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:51 am
by will vine
To put the question "Was it a mistake?" seems to imply that it no longer stands up to scrutiny, that it didn't move the world just one step on (to quote a favorite line from the formidable Rock-a-boogie jazz aggregation If), that is was frankly, simplistic and silly. Yet there's a sense that this stuff was evolutionary. There was no choice. It had to happen, and it was some sort of fun.

The audience in this clip portrays the fact that sometimes we didn't know any more at the time than we do now how to react to some of it.

I'd still rather cop for this than Coldplay. The guitarist on this is, I think, James Litherland who, I read, is father to some now famous writer/performer/producer called James Blake. So it's all been passed down.

https://youtu.be/bKdjcar9fr0

Re: Rock: Was it a mistake?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:10 pm
by MartinOwen
On Jules every week there are 4 white boys striking the same pose and playing the same music. They are usually the least interesting thing in the show. And yet... Some of my fondest (I deleted best) musical moments have usually been outdoors, somewhere/time warm, tuned into rock.... I do have a whole lotta love.