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I Like That Old Time Rock and/or Roll
November 15, 2003 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Nirvana to blame for industry's focus on image?
posted by boost ventilator (33 comments total)

 
I guess that would make sense if you spent the 70s in large stadiums and sinking your life savings into your home stereo. Did this person completely miss out on punk?
posted by boost ventilator at 9:50 AM on November 15, 2003


boost - yes they did, and it's probably better off for it.

article reads of petulant brat begging to be entertained.

Not that the music industry deserves to be defended, mind you.
posted by Busithoth at 9:57 AM on November 15, 2003


He not only missed out on punk, but Nirvana went right over his head, too. "Too cool to care?" I hardly think so. "Out of tune?" No more than Mr. Morrison was - and that doesn't mean I'm saying he was bad. Van Halen? Bon Jovi?? The next Diamond Dave Lee Roth???

I get it - he wants hair metal and classic rock back and those kids don't know what good music is. What an old fart - and at 46, I may be older than him.
posted by pyramid termite at 10:00 AM on November 15, 2003


Now, not all grunge bands were as lousy as the always-out-of-tune yet critically acclaimed Nirvana.

First sign that the guy is something of a musical philistine.

Musically, the period of time between 1967 and 1970 was nothing short of magic, thanks to never before seen or heard creativity from artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Janice Joplin and many others.....Nirvana was the unquestioned leader of the new genre and they championed the “it’s not cool to care” attitude that replaced the musical virtuosity that powered rock music from the late 1960s to 1990.

This guy truly seems to be missing the point. I can appreciate good technical chops as much as anyone and I am not ashamed to say that I like a lot of 70's hard rock as much as I like my punk and indie stuff. But what made the aforementioned bands great was not "virtuosity" if anything those groups were great because they used their chops to further the emotional and artistic aims of the music they made; ie Page, Van Halen and Hendrix weren't great guitarists because of his plectrum speed, but great artists because they new how to put their ability to good use in the furthering of the songs aim and they're determination to try and create something original.

And if anything, Kurt Cobain cared too intensley sometimes.

Yes, Nirvana did have an attitude and spirit (that some might read as "image") that caught people's attention, but that all wouldv'e meant exactly dick without Cobain's gift for songwriting (and underestimated hook-writing ability) and Dave Grohl's astonishing powerful drumming.

Yes, a lot of crappy music has been foisted on people trying to sell us the next Zeppelin or Beatles or Nirvana (or for that matter the next Pixies or Sonics or Minutemen) but ask any musician and they'll tell you that they'd rather be the first of themselves rather than the next anything.

on preview: I get it - he wants hair metal and classic rock back and those kids don't know what good music is. What an old fart - and at 46, I may be older than him.

I don't even think it's a classic rock vs. punk thing. Anyone who truly got what made those old warhorses classics in the first place shouldv'e welcomed the innovations of punk. This guy seems to have missed the point entirely.
posted by jonmc at 10:15 AM on November 15, 2003


The 1980s continued the boom times, thanks to great rock acts like Van Halen, Bon Jovi (...)


I must confess I stopped reading after this
posted by matteo at 10:18 AM on November 15, 2003


Two words: Idiot Man-child. Blaming radio's fuckups on Nirvana is just plain ignorant. If anything, they were the last adrenaline shot that radio got.

To me, what's wrong with the music industry are the sheep that buy the bullshit that radio and mtv pedals to them. There is just as much great music being made today as there ever has been, perhaps even more. Finding it just takes a little more effort than it once did.

Even for people like this guy, who haven't gotten beyond the "sounds" of 70s classic rock, there are plenty of bands currently recording that would satisfy him. Elevator, The Illuminati, and the superb Lift to Experience immediately come to mind. If he spent half the time it took him to write that nonsense doing a little research he'd be much happier.
posted by dobbs at 10:21 AM on November 15, 2003


I can't trust the judgment of someone whose criteria for good music include "guitar solos, great drummers or flamboyant frontmen" while at the same time accusing Nirvana of being too image-driven. That doesn't even make sense.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:26 AM on November 15, 2003


"Musically, the period of time between 1967 and 1970 was nothing short of magic"

It just occured to me that maybe this 'magic' was induced by, dare I say, hallucinogens. His magical awakening was a treasured time for him and all other baby-boomers to share and rub in the faces of their progeny, who'll never experience the same things as them.

This essay, whatever it's original purpose, serves to close whatever door had been opened during that magical time for this person.

reminds me of 'Almost Famous', though, where Philip Seymour Hoffman's told the kid how rock has already lost the war.
posted by Busithoth at 10:30 AM on November 15, 2003


Again, the problem with this guy is not that he likes the wrong stuff, but that he seems to like it for all the wrong reasons. Because 20 years from now there'll probably be plenty of people who thing the musical world ended when soundgarden broke up writing obtuse articles like this too.
posted by jonmc at 10:33 AM on November 15, 2003


Page, Van Halen and Hendrix weren't great guitarists because of his plectrum speed, but great artists because they new how to put their ability to good use in the furthering of the songs aim

then jon go see by all means Bertolucci's The Dreamers when it finally comes out in New York

there's a hilarious dialogue about "Clapton vs Hendrix" between two music-mad kids that really cracked me up (well it cracked the whole theater up). go see it. good stuff (and lots of Joplin, Hendrix and Dylan in the soundtrack)


(but in the US it'll come out in a mutilated version, all to protect America's viewers from the shocking, shocking sight of full frontal nudity -- senseless cinematic carnage and mysogyny good, nudity bad. remember, kids)

posted by matteo at 10:34 AM on November 15, 2003


I just might do that. We seem to be finding some common ground here, matteo. I'm a little bit frightened.
posted by jonmc at 10:37 AM on November 15, 2003


Please just ignore the first 4 paragraphs. I don't give a fuck if he dislikes Nirvana and missed out on punk. The message is that the major labels are bloated with idiots that fear risk taking. They've saturated the mainstream with the boy band diva pop thing, filesharing obviously won't go away, and consumers have wised up to the one hit and 10 filler songs album. The labels burned us out, but they still go after filesharing like it's gonna solve all their problems. Yes we've heard this all before, but it's worth repeating. Also, you can't beat the net in terms of distribution, but at this point in time, a band still needs to be signed to a label to get any respect or attention. I doubt "Internet musicians" will pose a serious threat to the music industry.
posted by foot at 10:40 AM on November 15, 2003 [1 favorite]


...and don't get me started on Clapton vs. Hendrix. I have a theory that right after the Layla album, the real Clapton died in the same motorcyle accident that killed Duane Allman* and that a bunch of record execs created a clone with all the chops but none of the soul of the original which accounts for all the middling tripe he's been putting out ever since.

*who at his best could give both Clapton and Hendrix a run for their money. But that's a whole other discussion
posted by jonmc at 10:42 AM on November 15, 2003


Nirvana is to blame for the industry's focus on image. Nirvana. Not Ratt and Poison and Warrant and Motley Crue and the endless string of Non-Threatening Boys going back forever and Madonna and the Rat Pack. Nirvana.

Ooooooookaaaaaaaaaayyy... *backs away slowly*

Anyway, true music only began with YATTA!.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:08 AM on November 15, 2003


what a stupid article. It's based on nothing but bare assertions.
posted by delmoi at 11:12 AM on November 15, 2003


I blame the Beatles. Rotten limey jerks.
posted by majcher at 11:27 AM on November 15, 2003


that essay would make an awesome LSAT question.
posted by fishfucker at 11:37 AM on November 15, 2003


hahaha. this thread was very amusing. so far, one person has made the critical distinction - congratulations, foot! you actually understood the words on the page!

First sign that the guy is something of a musical philistine.

i'm pretty sure he's an industry flack - you've pretty much all approached the article from completely the wrong dimension - you're looking for artistic expression in trade journal whitespace filler. at some point very early in reading this, you decided it's purpose was the tell the world what's good and what sucks in the artistic realm of rock. and that's not it's purpose at all! it's just more hand-wringing pablum from another parasite who misses the days of supergroups and spectacle.

Blaming radio's fuckups on Nirvana is just plain ignorant.

the article is about the recorded music industry as a whole, not just radio. it's about the money, not the music. he's not writing about quality or musicianship or saying that 10 minute guitar solos, great drummers and david lee roth were the apex of rock acheivement, he's saying that those things created big cashflow. (btw, the writer didn't blame nirvana for anything, the *poster* did that.)

totally missed punk? no, from the perspective he's writing the article from, punk is irrelevant. how many platinum punk albums were there in the 70's and 80's? punk generated zippo cashflow from an industry perspective. a single phil collins concert (he was HUGE in the late '80's) probably moved more money around than the ramones entire career. unclench your overly moby'ed rock sensibilities - the article: it's all about the money.
posted by quonsar at 12:00 PM on November 15, 2003


The real reason the music industry became obsessed with image? Did you guys even see that thread of the worst album covers ever? 'nuff said.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:09 PM on November 15, 2003


Try a test sometime where you listen to any “alternative” rock stations across the nation, looking for any uniquely impressive performances such as guitar solos, great drummers or flamboyant frontmen. You are unlikely to hear the next Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham or Diamond David Lee Roth on your FM dial.

While this article may be about more than this, I stopped reading after his challenge. He is actually on point that you are unlikely to hear the next Hendrix, etc on the radio, but what radio decides to air often has little to do with real art. Catchy little tunes burned into your memory through excessive repitition is all radio has ever been. Even most of those he cites as great where chopped into bits for airplay. Their job is to sell shit, duh! If he's looking to for new rock 'n roll heroes, he needs to turn the radio off!
posted by LouReedsSon at 12:22 PM on November 15, 2003


Ugh, terrible article. Does have a bit of a point on the lack of great guitar solos on current radio. Part of that is due to the style of songwriting nowadays (I'm sure John Frusciante could play more complex solos but chooses to go more minimalist, for example), and maybe a lot of younger musicians are channeling energy towards others areas (turntables are outselling guitars, and fooling around on the computer).

And weren't the Stones average musicians? Why'd he bring them up in the opening paragraph?
posted by bobo123 at 12:58 PM on November 15, 2003


"a new form of rock music called grunge hit the charts direct from Seattle"

Stop it, you're killing me.
posted by 2sheets at 1:26 PM on November 15, 2003


Did this person completely miss out on punk?

Not to mention rap/hip-hop, which have completely changed the face of popular music. Maybe that's partly what's bugging him.
posted by boredomjockey at 2:41 PM on November 15, 2003


Hmm, music made by today's kids making old farts puke?
Sounds like they understand rock music quite well.
posted by mischief at 2:42 PM on November 15, 2003


I don't trust any classic rocker who can't spell Janis' name correctly.
posted by elvissinatra at 3:05 PM on November 15, 2003


Anyone who truly got what made those old warhorses classics in the first place shouldv'e welcomed the innovations of punk.

What exactly were the innovations of punk, other than bleaching all remnants of African-American influence out of rock and roll?
posted by timeistight at 5:05 PM on November 15, 2003


What exactly were the innovations of punk, other than bleaching all remnants of African-American influence out of rock and roll?

Reigning in self indulgence and reestablishing concision and outrage as cardinal rock virtues. Returning rock to the "three kids in a garage" ideal and away from the "distant rock star hero" entertainment it had become. Restablishing independent labels. Returning healthy anger to rock and roll. Getting more women and gays involved in rock than ever before. And that's just off the top of my head.

Plus there's plenty of black influence in punk, it's just not as obvious as in other genres. I address that issue here.{self-link}
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on November 15, 2003


For those of you that want to see, here is a picture and story about the author. It's Daddy writing on Son's website...and maybe theres a complicated back-story or not.
posted by meech at 9:57 PM on November 15, 2003


Nirvana had an image? I woulda called it more of a smear. Or maybe a blur. Now. Marylin Manson. THAT's an image. Nirvana's image was actually just creative hygiene.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:43 PM on November 15, 2003


the writer didn't blame nirvana for anything, the *poster* did that

I simplified it, but to me, if grunge = "something horrible" and Nirvana = "the unquestioned leader of the new genre" and the author thinks that "change from performance-driven rock and pop music was the official end of the classic rock era and was the beginning of the end of the music business’ long commercial success" and the grunge attitude somehow "replaced the musical virtuosity that powered rock music from the late 1960s to 1990" yet bands like Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains = "quite good." I still think it is a valid question. I didn't quote the author, I just made the observation that the author has his panties in a bunch about Nirvana and I don't think he has good grounds especially when the albums are far from being sloppy and amateurish. They didn't try very hard to sell millions of albums, but they tried to write music that meant something to them.

Also, I think the author has a point about labels not nurturing artists...he just doesn't know when it all went down the toilet. He should be upset with MTV and the 80s, but instead has a woody about Van Halen and Guns'N'Roses. Actually, he should be pissed about music videos in general (especially non-performance based ones). That appears to symbolize a lack of focus on musicianship and the music.
posted by boost ventilator at 8:00 AM on November 16, 2003


let the idiot know
posted by Satapher at 2:11 PM on November 16, 2003


and the labels are not to blame for anything

youre the motherfuckers who buy the albums
posted by Satapher at 2:13 PM on November 16, 2003


Regarding Nirvana and image, I just want to say that I had duct tape all over my clothes years before Kurt Cobain ever did.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:04 AM on November 18, 2003


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