Did Rock And Roll Die? No It Just Faded Away
Back in 1981, during an interview with Joan Jett, I advised the rock star, who had just released “I Love Rock And Roll” ,that rock rock music was a lie that killed people and broke hearts. So in 2013, is that still true?
No. Not in the slightest.
The reason is simple, rock doesn’t matter any more.
In the mid to late 1970s, with punk blowing the world to smithereens, and a black leather jacket the ticket to a life of bohemian artistic wildness, people, fans, musicians, wanted to join in: they wanted to be a part of what seemed like the end of the straight world once and for all. The future was ungraspable, untenable, where all you needed was a guitar and a long necked beer.
It was a real dream for teen to 20 somethings, of rebellion, of a future, a sort of self-importance and a rejection. And it was important and whatever the admission price to join this dream was worth it.
But the dream was a tautology and it was a nightclub with 200 capacity fitting in a 1000: not everybody got in and the those attempting and even those who managed, paid the price of excess. Rock and roll was eating its young, the sex and drugs, the dreams and heartbreaks… too many casualties.
In 2013, nobody gives a shit.
Nobody would kill themselves, or let themselves be killed for Linkin Park. The excitement, the other worldlyness, the better life and better living is completely over. It just doesn’t matter. It’s like falling out of love with a woman. It is as though the scales fell from the eyes of the rock and rollers and were replaced by… well, they were replaced by absolutely nothing. There is the old line from Peter Shaeffer’s “Equus” about how he is going to remove a teenage boys imaginary world in which he worships horses as Gods, but has nothing to replace them with. This is what bothers the psychiatrist: that he must remove a god and replace it with nothing.
That’s what happened with rock and roll. The god of rock, the dream of a life free and clear, was destroyed in the 1980s and when it became time to replace it with something, there was nothing here. We killed God and replaced it with a video game…
When people my age (my rocker peers) claim today’s music isn’t as good, they aren’t really right (most of em don’t know Kurt Vile from Ezra Koenig) , they mean it doesn’t MATTER ANY MORE. Whatever made people like us fight and argue and care, there is nothing to fight and argue and care about it. It isn’t musical, Vile and Vampire Weekend are both excellent, but who cares?