Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Did Peter Frampton Kill Rock and Roll?.....No

Blame it on IBM

We went from "The Holly Hay Ride" to "Arena Rock" to "Indie" all in about 40 years. It's safe to say that the Indie market is eating the "Music Industry" whole. When asked if he were offered a Warner Brothers Contract in a recent interview, a former chart topper from the 80's said he would have to think long and hard about it.

Rock Music was a fad. Yes, a generational fad. It went from the innocense of the Holly Hay ride in the late 50's to sold out Football stadiums holding 100,000 plus in a little over 15 years. With the exception of a little spurt in 91 in Seattle Washington; Rock Music stopped filling stadiums.

What happened between 1958 and 1975?

Frampton comes alive sold 6 million copies in a week.

Music (over night) went from being an art form to "Product".

The Industry had found what they were looking for. A mega cash cow. Peter was handsome AND had Rock credibility having played with Humble pie. His solo albums were MOR and safe for a changing audience. But just as quickly as Frampton came alive; he left. But the formula was on the chalk board. Pretty face plus Rock Credibility = Album sales. This led to a hideous saturation of what would be known as "Hair" bands in the 80's and early 90's. The keyword in the previous statement was "Saturated". It got to the point where there was something for everyone and nothing for all of them. Acts such as Def Leopard and Van Halen appealed to the pseudo metal crowd. (Those to afraid of Metallica) Journey was the closest band for the masses. Springfield appealed to the Dylan generation. YES appealed to the musicians. Rock music became incredibly fragmented.

Remember the phrase United we stand?

The hardest thing for a band to overcome today is the "15 second pitch" OR, the answer to the question:"What kind of music do you play"? How can anyone that's original answer this question. Think about it. Everything has been bastardized to a point of absurdity. Brian Setzer has a song on his album 13 where he talks about

"Really Rockabilly" He says there's Nuvo Rockabilly, Psycho Rockabilly, there's Starbucks Orange County Rockabilly, There Euro Ja Ja wir machen Rockabilly, There's western traditional blues sinfluenced Rockabilly, there's Australian shrimp on the Barby carry your surfboard to Sears to buy your rolled up Levis Rockabilly.

You get the picture.

The Fad called Rock music was constantly being escorted by the likes of the Stones. Then eventually The Ramones, then in the late 90's the computer came and slew everything and everyone.

Rock music (now in it's 40's)was the music of a previous generation. I sympathize with the Glenn Millers and Cab Calloways of the world. Even Glenn Miller never played to a 6 figure audience. I can remember in the 90's asking my two boys (teens) who stole my RHCP album. They said: "Dad, we don't listen to rock"

What a sobering age affirmation. What an epiphany,

Rock was Born in 1956. It's zenith was 1975. I don't think Rock is dead, it's just been put on a shelf next to Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra and Mozart.

What replaced Rock music? Rock use to be a way of life. Rock was an active form of leisure. When the new Queen album came out, you ran down to Tower Records, paid your 6.95, raced home and "Dropped the needle on it" .

The first time you listened to it; you sat back in your bean bag with your head phones plugged into your Sony 50 watts per channel reciever as this black disc twirled at 33 rpms on a "Technique" turn table. The signal went through something called a 24 band equalizer (so you could hear every violin and Chelo note) And then you indulged in what ever vice you used to relax.

The 2nd time you listened to it, you blasted it out your Marantz/JBL/ or if you bought in the late 70's; BOSE 901 series speakers. (unless you lived in an apartment then you had the 501 book shelf speakers that blew your neighbors away.

Part of that first listen was all about reading the album cover and inner sleeve. People use to have parties when the new so and so album came out.

Now the same age kids are playing PS3 or Wii. And music is just part of the ambience as they are killing Halo beings. What we use to call Stereos are now simple boom boxes. You would be hard pressed to find a "component audio system".

Sometimes I take my band's P.A. (2000 watts per channel) and hook up a walk man to it and play the White album til my windows rattle. Ah the good ol' days.

No Rock isn't dead, but it hasn't exactly had any grand kids to speak of. Or if it has, They're all at Itunes. Something for everyone and divided we've fallen.

Oh what I'd give to hear that needle drop, feel the static electricity of the celophane being taken off the album and to feel the sound of The Dave Clark Five again for the first time.


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