Sunday, November 14, 2010
The other week I went on a rant about my distaste for the current crop of rock bands. Simply enough, I haven't seen a rock band that truly exhilarated me since the demise of Bush League (with respect due to Actual Water, who will get there)*...
My opinion was leavened somewhat by Grinderman's concert this past week at the Phoenix. They were crushing. I felt paralyzed by andrenaline, half exhilaration half vague terror. IT WAS ROCK N' ROLL IN THE FLESH. Raw shit, the good stuff.
I hate to be that guy whining about the state of music today talking about how much better things were in the 60's (much, musically speaking), as the truth of the matter is there are a handful of things that truly excite me happening presently... But it's hard not to notice that (rock) bands suck by and large these days. And I think I know why.
Rock (RAWK specifically) has always been and should always be about one thing only. Not having. The variety of bereftitude (not a word) is inconsequential, though not having sex and not having money seem to be the most potent for some reason. The problem is bands today have way too much to be halfway interesting. Recording is too cheap, finding compatible bandmates too easy, sexual desires too readily satiated through a computer screen, American Apparel is hiring younger and younger adolescents. There's too much available for any not-enough to find it's way into rehearsal factories the world over. This is a problem, (one I am not exempt from).
Look at pictures of New York in the 70's, or read this book. Shit was fucked up. People were lacking, and in return we got punk, no wave and many other permutations. All that great shit made by good looking Englishmen in the 60's was spawned by people who were born during World War II... I think there is something to be said for that.
It occured to me while Warren Ellis was savagely abusing a pair of maraccas, and while Nick Cave made love to all of us with his stylishly clad pelvis that Grinderman have access to the last legitimate resource of not-havingness. Youth. They don't have it, they're frank about it. And they are among the first to truly capitalize on this in an electric fashion. More old guys need to catch on to this, because I honestly believe that in the rock n' roll (I use this term specifically for it's cheesy cache in 2010) game they truly have a leg up on us young guys with a little too much satisfaction...
I realize this argument calls into question the whole suffer for your art theory that I find to be mostly bullshit, but I do think guitar based music made by young men and women today would be better off with a little less... Especially if we're gonna be competing with band's like Mr. Cave's.
Something to think about.
*I also leave Anagram (one of my favourite bands to see live) and a fistful of others out for sake of debate.
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