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Louder Than War LogoI was recently flicking through the Guardian’s top 100 albums of this century and whilst it’s got many great albums in it there are some glaring omissions. Along with some less fashionable genres metal was widely ignored. The goes for 6music which does a great job of seeking out many styles of music and has to be saluted for much of the great work that it does but, again, goes nowhere near anything that would be considered rock.

What is this Fear Of Rock!

It’s not a small micro cult embraced by a clutch of bored teenagers in half forgotten market towns but one of the biggest musical genres in the world. In 2019 the singles chart may be dominated by great pop and R n B but the album chart still sees regular number one for group’s like Tool whose recent album managed to be both ground breaking, 21st century and also huge and yet they are talked about like they are some kind of obscure cult band.

Rammstein can sell out the 30 000 capacity Milton Keynes Bowl with zero radio play from the BBC,

The curse of music is the critic canon – the story of rock told in several set pieces that are frozen in time for ever – the Velvet Underground not the Doors, The Stooges not Led Zepp, punk not prog, Bowie is god whilst Black Sabbath are pariahs, Syd not Floyd,  Pulp not Tool, the Stokes not Anna Von Hauswolff, indie not Goth…you know the story – you know it too well. Whilst I love a lot of the canon groups, music is far more complex than that – it obeys no rules and all manners of styles can enter the musical DNA despite all this pointless tidying up of things into lists and playlists.

It’s time for rock to get embraced by these mainstream medias. It’s time for the Guardian and the BBC and others to wake up to the creative groundbreaking power of a Tool and many others and stretch the envelope or even better tear the envelope up.

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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.


  1. Interesting and very true article – although I always feel that when ‘our’ music occasionally crosses / clashes with the mainstream that it kind of devalues it… When the luvvies start lauding ‘our music’ .
    If the mainstream started playlisting the countless cool bands out there would they stop being cool? (That’s a question not a statement).

    I used to get excited to hear ‘Hong Kong Garden’ or ‘Neat Neat Neat’ or ‘Anarchy In The UK’ on 6music but then I realised I would never hear ‘Voices’ or ‘Stab Your Back’ or ‘I Wanna Be Me’ (the B-sides) as they are out of the station’s comfort zone.
    6Music is stuck in a demographic rut – it has it’s audience (is it around a million?) and rather than reach out for more it’s scared of losing what it already has. Daytime playlists are predictable and ‘off-peak’ schedules lack any real substance beyond the indie, post-punk realms.

    This is why platforms such as Louder Than War exist…
    Perhaps it’s time for Louder Than War Radio…..?


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