I think it was that wise sage, Gene Simmons that coined the term, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old,” but I rather think it’s more apropos to say, “If it’s new and you don’t like it, you’re too old!” That’s the way a lot of us have become, including yours truly. Little by little, I found myself listening to less new bands/artists/music and more “classic” rock. Now, let me state clearly, there are bands that transcend the passage of time, QUEEN, LED ZEP, THE STONES, BEATLES, AEROSMITH, FLOYD, STYX, BOSTON, etc. and dozens more (I’m sure you’re thinking of several others right now) to whom I will always listen. Nevertheless, when we were younger, we embraced new bands/artists/songs/albums with unbiased excitement and I think we may have been a bit fairer when it came to critiquing new stuff!
Personally, I found myself starting to “dis” new stuff around the time grunge came out. I do think that the music business itself is partially to blame for my lack of enthusiasm. By the 80’s, the major record labels began operating more like public corporations hocking toothpaste, instead of acting like the preservers of the medium (music). Accountants began running the show, which lead to new acts and music being considered “widgets.” Record companies no longer were looking for the next new band with their own sound/style; instead they began looking for exactly the opposite. They looked for plug & play forgettable bands/artists that sounded EXACTLY like what was already selling for them. I don’t need to tell you what happens when inbreeding occurs – lots of retarded babies and weaker and weaker strands of DNA …overall a sorry state of affairs indeed!
Still, as my Pop used to say, “the crème inevitably finds its way to the top” and bands like SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM, U2, CHILI PEPPERS, NIRVANA, etc. proved that true! Sadly, though, for every PEARL JAM, it seemed that there were 100 other “JEARL PAMS” that just tried to copy/paste identical but decidedly less interesting music and worse, these bands were getting signed by the majors as fast as they could copy/paste. As a result, I and others like me began losing interest in anything new. Combine that with getting older and by the 2000’s, I sadly found myself listening to the same 20 bands that I was listening to when I was in high school (150 years ago) …but then came my wife and kids to the rescue!
While my wife Lisa loves classic rock as much as I do (one of the reasons why I married her is because she knew every single QUEEN song ever written and I was captivated by how she’d perform them for me), she hadn’t become tainted to new music. For years, she tried in vain to get me to listen to one new band/artist/song after another, but I grudgingly refused – I don’t know why, at that point, I think I was just acting like an ex-heavy metal old fogey. After awhile she gave up and started sharing her music interests with our oldest son Jared – which for some reason, made me insanely jealous – she and I always shared our love of music and I felt left out.
Well, one day, when they were both out, I put my son’s earphones from his i-thing into my ears and found the “play” button. For the next six hours I was rocking to three bands in which I hadn’t taken any real interest – NICKLEBACK, CREED and DAUGHTRY …and I was blown away! The bands all had a fresh sound, the musicianship was first-class (something I thought missing in some of the grunge bands of the past) and most importantly …they rocked! It was like falling in love again for the first time for me!
I recently went to hang out with a few of my “old” heavy metal mates and brought these “new” bands up (they’re really not that new), but I was saddened to see that they were as tainted as I used to be. One of my friends even dared me to ask a bunch of strangers in the pub we were in, if they ever heard of those three bands. I smugly took his dare, but was dismayed to hear over a dozen people (a bit younger than I) tell me they had only vaguely heard of NICKLEBACK …a sad state of affairs indeed! That gave me the idea to SPOLIGHT a band here on my blog. The first band I had to SPOTLIGHT was DAUGHTRY! This band rocks! TURN UP THE VIDEO, if you haven't already! Chris Daughtry has a voice that permeates my soul as does their music. I’d love to hear what y’all listen to and like (and it doesn’t have to be Rock) – leave a comment and let me know …I might feature them next! Peace, g
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Dean Wesley Smith