“Rock is Deader than Dead”
By Merkin Muffley—HorrorHomework Instructor
I am still waiting for the resurrection of rock and roll.
That good ol’ fashioned, violent and defiant, instrumental and controversial music we Americans named Rock and Roll, baby. The music which not only reminded us we were alive, but that it’s okay to be angry.
Rock is Dead. In the wake of its demise, what we’ve been left with is the rotting concept of the rock and roll experience—a human institution. Marilyn Manson called that shit years ago, and he’s now as dead as the rest of them.
This thing called Rock and Roll is no longer heard at The Grammy’s, or on silly ol’ Mtv. It’s no longer some massive living thing that used to summon millions of congregants to arenas. It’s simply now a nostalgic, and at-times humorous relic. (See: Quiet Riot or Pretty Boy Floyd)
We now live in a culture where Rock is no longer as vital as it once was. The fervors conjured by the likes of Manson or Rage Against The Machine have nowadays puttered-out. Such is the nature of the beast, I suppose.
Religion, Government, Humanity and Society are no longer as musically-engaged as they once were.
Now we’ve taken a step down to the flashy dance floor, closed our eyes, and droned along to the mindlessness of Sex, Money, Fun and Swagga. (See: Lil Wayne, Katy Perry, Macklemore, Bruno Mars, etc.)
It’s like the seventies and eighties got together, ate some poor people, took a dump, blended the excrement, and served us one big pile of steaming ‘Hot 100’ zombie virus Pâté.
It’s clear to me this generation of Westerners elected the zombie as part of its pantheon. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the American zombification has infected the music of a nation with dead idols. They walk among us. They walk across our television screens and throughout the airwaves.
“But Merkin,” you say. “Rock isn’t dead. There are millions of people who still love the greats; Black Sabbath, Elvis, Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jethro Tull! Rock isn’t dead, you ugly albino bastard!”
And I say to the silly fucker, “No, you silly fucker. Rock as it was originally known, is dead. It used to move people to causes. It used to grab that thing called The Establishment, or The Man, by its miserable throat and lash it with its tongue,” and I says to him, I says, “What we have now, are zombies. Sabbath, Elvis and those Jethro Tull bastards are being kept alive on a cocktail of contracts, dope, Viagra and tired media hype. How many times do we have to hear some asshole bring up Stairway or Bungle in the fucking Jungle when I bitch about the state of vitality in Rock and Roll?”
It’s the countercultural spirit that’s lacking. The humane act of embracing inhumanity or anarchy, of breaking social norms and the inherent shackles of spirit, is no longer a part of the musical experience for most listeners. It’s the will of the people to get behind songs like We Are Young by Fun, or I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift. I think this sucks, because we have a lot to get mad about as of late, and we don’t have a Marilyn Manson or Slayer or Rage to help us vent. Rock seems to be kind of dead in that respect.
Let me back up.
Rock is not dead—but it deserves to die. Maybe it needs to be put out of its misery so that it can be reborn (See: Reanimator). There are only a few true-blue rock bands left that keep the rebel soul alive and infectious. Rock bands that remain relevant and visible in the mainstream. (See: Tool, Mastodon, Opeth, etc.)
There is a multitude of other bona fide rock groups that are still noteworthy, still viable, to the music listener. (By the way, thank you internet.) But they do not serve the needs of the public the way they were intended.
The atmosphere of the music industry is to blame. It is ever-changing. Instead of receiving record deals or exposure, many of today’s great forthcoming rock bands (See: IWrestledABearOnce, Bring Me The Horizon, Ghost, The Bronx, etc.) are now seen as “independent” or “underground”.
Today we get to see the resurrected songs and dances of “the greats” serve the ever-present need to be angry or absolved. These same-ol’-song-and-dances are performed before the aging or media-bloated internet masses. It’s a crude sort of homeostasis.
Then again I am a Rock and Roll kinda albino, so this random rant is biased.
Here comes another Black Sabbath album. Everyone grab a shotgun and run to the hills.