STOP KILLING ROCK MUSIC
A few weeks ago I was watching a reactor on YouTube. He was checking an excellent Mexican hard rock band that is giving a lot to talk about, The Warning. They are 3 sisters under 22 who make incredible music. The reactor loved the track and concluded that Rock is not dead.
That phrase affected me a lot because I wonder, when has rock been dead?
So for today, my purpose is to explain how the public has been led to this misconception and what we can do to ignore it.
Two points of view have been responsible for creating the image that rock and metal are dead. One is that rock is no longer on the commercial charts and the other is that there are no icons as there were in previous decades and therefore there are no new fans.
The premise that rock is dead because it does not appear on charts along with pop, RnB, hip hop, or reggaeton singles is wrong because it concludes that rock has the same aim as the aforementioned genres.
The end purpose of these genres is in fact to appear on the charts. It is to be palatable to most of the public and to be digestible. Their purpose is commercial. They can be irreverent (sometimes) but all for commercial success.
Rock was not born and does not live to please the majority. Rock music and heavy metal are expressions of rebellion and nonconformity of those of us who do not agree with institutions and society. They are not a way to become a millionaire they are a way to protest against the system. (Check, black metal in Norway burning churches or RATM protesting against capitalism)
So, if we are looking to change the system, why the heck are we going to want to be classified and listed by an institution like Billboard? or why are we going to need the approval of industry executives?
Sure, from time to time rock will appear on the charts. You can’t escape wonderful music (Tool and Slipknot are good examples of being on the charts) but that doesn’t mean that’s their goal.
Rock is dead is a phrase coined by the industry, not by rockers, so why do we speak in terms of the industry and not ours?
Adam Levine says we’re dead, who cares? He is not a rocker; he is a pop artist with an electric guitar; Gene Simmons says rock is dead, who cares? He is as much a part of the industry as Mr. Levine. He has his television show and sells millions in merchandise. He only cares about his brand (Kiss) but what has he done to support fresh sounds in rock? Little or nothing, he is not a valid rock speaker.
These two are like a vegan reviewing a pork recipe. They don’t like it, don’t care about it, and are going to talk bullshit about it.
I prefer to speak in terms such as that Rock has hope, has a future, and has alternative paths. That phrase only serves genres that know they have no way to compete against the message, musicianship, and originality of rock and metal artists.
Some say Rock is not alive because there are no longer icons for people to follow, for example, Kurt Cobain or Mick Jagger. So if there are no rock stars, there is no rock.
This is another idea that comes from the industry and not from the music. A rock star is a figure that is leveraged in the machinery. They depend as much on their music as on the fans and the impulse that the record label gives them.
But rock and metal are not a consequence of the stars. Rock stars are a consequence of the market, not of art, so because we do not have one, it does not mean that the other does not exist.
Not all of us were born to be stars, as well as not all of us were born to be presidents. What matters is where we come from and, with rock, we come from the edges of humanity.
One of the outstanding characteristics of rock and metal is that it treats those of us who are different, different.
We all know the bell curve, it is simple statistics. Is a graphical description of a normal probability distribution with standard deviations.
Do you know what that means? That with 92% significance, people are normal, they (the industry) can ignore the standard deviations and weirdness for the sake of selling to the normal people.
In Cristian that translates into, Average music, for average people.
But what does this have to do with our argument?
My point is, we are not part of the majority, but it does not mean that we do not exist. It means that we value different rules and visions than the majority. If they do not recognize us, it is their problem, not ours.
But this curve is melting. If you give people the opportunity to listen to different music, they will take the opportunity and listen to it. And do you know why that is? Passion.
It is the crazy people, the weirds who are passionate about creating something out of the box. Those who care about art and those who are going to innovate are the different ones, not the average ones.
Talking about weird and wonderful, check this out.
That is why now there are so many reactors from hip hop background listening to rock and metal. They know rock is different, doesn't have to be better, but differs completely from what commercial ears are used to hearing, and that is why it draws their attention.
In closing, how can we continue with the tradition of rock and metal and have new fans? One word; education.
Surrounding new generations with something different from what radio and television have already digested for us is the best way to ensure the future of rock.
Teach your children to play an instrument, take them to concerts, get them in touch with the music that we love so much, and don’t be afraid to be different.
In the words of Sally Hogshead, a marketing guru “Different is better than better”, so let’s keep working on different musical proposals than the norm, no matter what the industry says.