10 Reasons why rock is not dead
10 Reasons why rock is not dead

10 Reasons why rock is not dead
10 Reasons why rock is not dead

Is rock dead or does it just smell a bit funny?

There has been much media gnashing of teeth over the death of rock.
I’m not sure what they mean by rock, some of the pundits seem to refer to indie rock only and some seem baffled by the lack of record sales for their end of the year Top 20 critics list.

But hasn’t it always been that way? In 1990 the critics lists didn’t always coincide with public taste.

Maybe rock is not enjoying one of its boom periods, but with a lack of media it’s become harder and harder to get heard by most people. Mainstream media is obsessed with X Factor and celebrities and alternative TV media is all centered on Jools Holland’s ‘Later’ which has some good stuff on it but loads of some bloke playing a piano.
Daytime Radio One is desperate whilst 6 Music has some great shows but is fringe.

None of these outlets seem to go near metal or punk or noisier musics, and for years metal has been bigger than indie but is never reflected by mainstream media.

Thank fuck for people like Sean Adams the owner of Drowned In Sound writing in his Sunday Times column and putting some perspective on this debate.

Not sure what is being termed rock in this debate, but let’s consider indie and metal…

1. The Stone Roses sold 1/4 million tickets in 40 minutes – I know in some senses it’s nostalgia but the band will be playing new material and that’s still a lot of people – it’s this summers major gig.

2.Enter Shikari could possibly have the number one album this week – a rock album that gets zero airplay and built up a following from touring – how old school and very rock.

3. Rammstein have a near sold out stadium tour in March, their last album got one radio play in the UK- I think there is a pattern emerging here- the mainstream ignore rock and then say it’s dead.

4. There are probably more good bands now than I can remember. Maybe the people who talk of the ‘death of rock’ should get out more.

5. The death of the festival has been exagerated – most festivals I went to last year were busier than ever. The rubbish ones put on by chancers trying to cash in have shut down.

6. There is a whole load of great albums to be released this year- we will cover as many as we can on the site; there’s so much going on out there it’s quite hard to keep up with it all, in the sixties you would be waiting for The Beatles and the Stones to release something…

7. last year was the first year that pop outsold rock apparently – I’m not sure exactly where the boundaries are between pop and rock… where does dance fit into this? But a load of records sold by X Factor landfill is hardly a threat to rock and alternative is it?

8. It’s time for people like Kasabian to stop the panic about the end of rock in their interviews – they are doing well themselves and they should be bigging up the bands who are arriving in their wake.

9. We demand the mainstream media recognises our culture, who are they to define what is ‘acceptable’ to listen to on daytime Radio One? Why is one three minute piece of music considered more worthy than another? Why can’t they be more eclectic? Why does fucking Chris Moyles get to decide what we listen to? Thankfully their power is slipping with the internet but they still have power. These people have never liked rock but even they can’t stop it surviving.

10. From Bruce Springsteen to Pulled Apart By Horses, The Computers to Rats On Rafts there is so much great rock music out there of all different shapes and sizes. the major bands will be releasing stuff this year- last year they didn’t which affected these dubious stats. The upcoming bands sound great – stop the doom mongering now and focus on the real problem, the out of touch pundits and the bored former rock stars who talk about ‘music being better in my day’… All this talk is just like 1976 and look what happened then – that’s already happening now – there are a thousand mini revolutions out there…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.



  2. Forget the commercial viewpoint. The trouble is rock /guitar music isn’t doing anything new creatively – forget the sales – the art form is just repeating itself over and over (something which the likes of pop and dance aren’t – they’re constantly reinventing themselves)

    Unless it can evolve it will eventually die or become a traditional like folk music.

  3. On the subject of #5, unfortunately I don’t think it’s as simple as saying that with festivals, the “rubbish ones put on by chancers trying to cash in have shut down”. While a lot of weak festivals have popped up and promptly died in the last few years, they have significantly damaged some of the better festivals by splitting the audience. Truck Festival was always the best outdoor festival in Oxfordshire, but low ticket sales last year forced it into liquidation and right now I’ve no idea if it will be held again.

    I’d add another reason to be cheerful which is some of the free festivals which don’t split the audience in the same way and which I think could make a great impact in the future by nurturing local and regional bands. I was very impressed with Stoke Sounds last summer, for example: a great atmosphere there, and a first festival for a few of the interesting bands emerging in that neck of the woods.

  4. Any sort of music has got to pass the dog test. If the dog looks at you with a pained expression and walks out of the room, you are playing Adele and you should maybe stop.
    If the dog leaps up and puts his paws out to dance with you, then its Elvis, and the dog’s liking it.
    If its Goldblade the dog chases his tail one way, then another, till he falls over on the kitchen floor. I’m not going to look into why that is. Some things are left as they are. (Yes, he has been done.)

  5. If Rock Music was “dead”, Teenagers wouldn’t be wearing Beatles T-Shirts, The Foo Fighters, Kasabian, Artic Monkeys etc wouldn’t be selling out stadiums and headlining Massive festivals and every town in the country wouldn’t have rising rock talent, thus making the whole Rock is Dead thing very exaggerated.

  6. 1960s- in America, it was the California sound. Manufactured and made for families and children, and with teen anthems thrown in here and there. It was Donny and Lucille at the High School Ball kind of music. Then came the British invasion. Psychedelic. Experimentation. Freedom.
    1976- rock had legendary bands going for it (i.e., almight Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple, etc…) but getting too stagnant. “Rock is dead.” Voila- punk. Perhaps one of the most amazing examples of music ever.
    1991- Hair metal, dance, and that sort of crap. From Seattle, wrought grunge, a subscene we’re still feeling the ramifications of.
    And with these waves, we also saw the greatest ever kind of rock brought to the fold- heavy metal! Heavy fucking metal!
    Between these waves, rock became commercial and formulaic. It lost its appeal. It became music for the aging yahoos, stoners, and nostalgic. The youth stopped connecting.
    Now it’s 2013. The same arguments have been made but are at a fever pitch. What will the new generation of rock look like? I hope it’s bluesy and old school with new ideas brought up (chorus rock? Guitar-only vocals? Return to RATM style raw rap-rock?) But I can’t predict the future, although I still do think that’s what will happen though, but who’s to say? Maybe it’ll be something from the Latin American countries, or China or India. (I could go for Indian Rock. Far eastern- far out)
    The point is- rock isn’t dead. Rock can’t die. For as long as there is someone who just gets that high from experiencing the orgasmic pleasure of an electric guitar, rock will never die.

  7. Rock is dead my ass! It will never die so long as there are people willing to pass it down to their kids! I know I will when the time for me to have a family comes! \m/


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