Friday, July 16, 2004


Rock 'n' roll on life support

Has there ever been a time as bad as this for new rock music? Rock 'n' roll seems to be on life support. Yes, I know I could be listening to wonderful sounds from around the world, and sometimes I do, but this post is about good old rock 'n' roll. The Glastonbury highlights brought this home to me. Bloody Keane, Jet, Starsailor etc. I can't think of a decent new band. Some of them are OK (Franz Ferdinand, Libertines, Ordinary Boys), but not truly great, but most are dull, dull, dull. I was making this point to some friends on Saturday in the Juggler (listening to the OKish retro dj - bit too mainstream for my tastes).  I was conscious that it makes me sound like an old git.  Hell I am an old git. But I'm an old git who has always been very passionate about music and I cannot remember being less enthused about new bands than I am now.We were also discussing eighties music on Saturday.  The general perception seems to be that the eighties was a bad time for music.  Now, looking back it seems like a golden age. Really, there were so many great, diverse bands - AND we still had real pop stars and real pop music - life was good. Where are today's Smiths, Bunnymen, Madness, New Order, Bauhaus, Wonderstuff, Def Jam stuff, Reggae + Dancehall + Ragga, New Romantics, Public Enemy etc. etc.? (I know this isn't exclusively a rock 'n' roll list but I'm trying to convey the diversity that was prevalent in those supposedly dire times).  Part of the problem seems to be the lack of originality and ideas.  In 1976/77 bands that took their inspiration from the Pistols generally didn't try to slavishly copy their sound.  Many bands had their own unique sound.  These days, for example, Travis have a modicum of success, before you know it we've got  Coldplay and Keane who to my ears sounds very similar. AmI wrong? If so, why? And what should I be getting excited about? What was the last new band or artist that got you really juiced up?

There's brilliant bands all over the place, Nigey, but the one place you'll never see them is Glastonbury! Did we expect to find anything decent at Wembley or wherever in 1977? Course not! Did we expect to pay more than £1.50 (50p if you wanted something really good)? Course not! Shimmy Rivers & And Canal, Wet Dog, Big Joan, Hands on Heads, Xerox Teens - now there's exciting, and best of all none of them will fill a 200-capacity venue. The music lives on, but only where it belongs, at street level.
Nice blog, btw, and hi!
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