Why Does Rock n Roll Suck?
While watching Iron Butterfly perform “Inna Gadda Davida” on my TV streamed down from Netflix via my TIVO box, I ran upon a rare, interesting article on CNN about why the rock music of today sucks. I think most every rock fan can agree that Iron Butterfly is one of the great rock bands and “Inna Gadda Davida” is a rock song that inspired generations. It seems fitting that this song was pumping in my heart as I read this article. The subject of the article was why rock n roll sucks and the writer used evidence from Steven Van Zandt (the long time Bruce Springsteen guitar player).
To sum up the perspective of the article: People buy fewer and fewer records/CD these days for many reasons. A contributing factor is that rock music isn’t that compelling. Once records from Elvis Presley to Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd flew off the shelves. Yes, that music was just that good. Today’s rock music is mired in mediocrity. Musicians barely being able to play their instruments, lack of any sense of history or where rock music came from and with a plethora of technology to make even unskilled and untalented musicians seem ok without ever having to work for it.
Today’s bands have a tough time playing covers. Is it because their artistry is above that or is it because they just can’t play it. Think about this: When the Beatles formed and started playing, did they up and write “Let it Be”? No. They played the club scene in Germany and worked their asses off. The played covers and played until their fingers bled. By the time they cut their first record, they were veterans. It didn’t stop there for the Beatles. Most fans will agree that they got better as they learned their craft. George Harrison wasn’t the most talented song writer in the band or the best guitar player in the world. By the time the Beatles broke up and he went solo, some believe that he was the song writing equal to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Not to mention, that his guitar playing became stylized and he played with ease with the best in rock n roll.
My advice to all you up and coming bands. Learn a few covers and work on your musicianship and songwriting with the guidance of Masters who have already proven themselves. If you are a cookie monster band learn a few Slayer songs, throw in a W.A.S.P song for good measure. If you are really ambitious, you might want to learn some Iron Maiden or Blue Oyster Cult. If you are a little more laid back, try out some Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. If you are an aspiring jam band try out some of those Grateful Dead tunes, or maybe a slice of some old Motown. Whatever kind of rock you are trying to play, learn a few blues standards. Put your own spin on it if you have to, but play some covers. Just learn from paths already trodden. You will appreciate it and your audience will too. Who knows one day you might sell a few records and rock n roll won’t suck anymore.