Posts Tagged ‘rock

16
Dec
09

The Next Greatest American Band in 2009



The most common phrase in the English language is repeated when one describes a place, person, or thing. That one advantageous adjective is the “Greatest”. We are use it to describe our favorite food or movie, but in this case we’re talking about the music. Who is the next “Greatest” American rock band?

First what makes a rock n’roll band great you might ask? Is it the band’s lists of Top 40 hits on the charts? Is it a popularity contest? An iconic fame or figure? Ticket sales? Or a string of successful albums? Since Beatlemania hit the soil of the United States we have been looking for the next “Greatest” band/supergroup. That’s like asking when the Apocalypse is going to happen. In America we have been tested by time to find this great American rock band and this definitely does not involve any game systems. There is a long list of great American bands starting from the late Sixties with The Grateful Dead and later Aerosmith in the 70’s. But we have also seen unbelievable great American acts been taken away from us like The Doors and Nirvana. They could have controlled the world but their legends live on.

In the latest Rolling Stone magazine issue, the writers/editors along with some of music scene’s best artist’s including Win Butler of The Arcade Fire expressed and voted best albums and songs from the past decade. We saw the rises and falls of artists and their genres. And now there is only one way to move on and that is to learn from music’s past. The mainstream of the musical airwaves have revolved like a record player starting with rock music. Then it led to laundry lists of sub genres that have the music scene. Emo, scream punk, crunk and freak folk music all rose and died in the past years. But with any great record has a strong finish and it has brought back the good ole rock n’ roll. Hopefully it controls the music scene. The music industry has no hand to control the scene of empowering artists anymore. Only true great rock bands like the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam have lived their course and still continue to rule the world of rock music.

Now how do judge who is the next true American rock band? Is it ticket or album sales? Progression of music through the artist’s discography? Or does it come down to a popularity contest?

Let’s start about 15 years ago so we can understand the music scene with a short history brief. In 1994 the newest American rock scene had blown up in the city of Seattle with the stranglehold of Grunge. But in that same we saw its mountain top and death with the tragic passing of its heroin, Kurt Cobain. Nirvana not only ruled every college dorm room but the airwaves, concert venues and every pair of head phones that walked the planet. Bands like Pearl Jam and a year later, the Foo Fighters played to what is left to the of the nation of rock fans with hits like “Jeremy” and “Everlong”. But these hits could not stop the overhaul of sex symbols, one hit wonders and, of course, boy bands.

By the mid 90’s, the birth of Total Request Live scene took over and rock music was pushed aside, taken off record shelves and kicked off radio playlsits. TRL drove the entire listening generations into a vacuum of popular music industry. The image of an artist dominated over the music and shit hit the fan. They not only created superstars and made new sub genres popular but they also damned the rest. The new music became known as Rap Metal and its leader Limp Bizkit. They took pop hooks and mixed it with rock melodies to trick new music listeners this was rock n’ roll music. This allowed great bands like Radiohead to fly under the radar. Slowly Rap Metal dug its grave and pop punk was born to swoon the pop music world of the TRL kingdom. And soon a birth was beginning to be misled. TRL nation became divided as punk and pop punk drove fans to evolve the musical tastes and ears. Each fan was finally allowed to find their favorite band. This was also the start of an empire known as MySpace and the Warped Tour allowed new artists to get exposed. Any music fan could connect with huge acts/TRL favs like Blink-182 and The Offspring and discover new acts like Something Corporate and New Found Glory. During TRL’s reign there were some acts to appear and survive this trend like the Foo Fighters but rock was still trying to find itself.

In 2002, the birth of the musical festivals brought back revelation of rock music. Soon acts like U2 and Dave Matthews Band were touring the summer circuits and the end of pop punk music was dying with Good Charlotte. Rock music was starting to become reborn to its industrial form. It was time to get back to the basics and Bonnaroo and Lollapolooza allowed music fans to rediscover what was important to music. That is the live performance. Fans were getting to notice songwriting and bands that were once flying under the radar were starting to get noticed fast. The scene of rock music was restored to its rightful place at the top of the music chain. From our northern neighbors, the Arcade Fire’s Funeral was preempted to the  beat of the White Stripes’  “Seven Nation Army” and we were sealed by Radiohead’s Capitol (2002) musical prowess. Super artists Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were going at it again. Top 40 radio stations starting to play rock music again and the playing was settled again to start another 1960’s rock rebellion due to the collapse of the music industry. Now music was at the forefront and rock n’ roll was ready kick ass.

But who is the next great American rock band? If it were due to legend then its Bob Dylan but he’s already an immortal rock god. And the following of the past of 25 years and still rocking award has to go to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. The ticket sales award goes to the traveling and always great Dave Matthews Band whose latest release Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King proved they still can rock with could be their best album to date. The men of rock award has to go to the ever talented Jack White and Dave Grohl. Both men keep rocking no matter what band there are with and lead a new generation of rock. But the new greatest America rock band that will represent a new era are the Kings of Leon. Their sound transcends time and they do not need any help rocking out stadium filled fans and each album keeps getting bigger and better. The Followhill family defines the true meaning of rock n’ roll dynasty. From their dysfunctional family relationship to earth shattering hits the KOL have the nation of rock music and its fist and ready to rock it more til its end.

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11
May
09

Musical Influence #2: Mr. Bob Dylan and Bob Marley

Now I think no one will ever put together Bob Dylan and Bob Marley in the same sentence. There are too many reasons that make it a cosmic blast of rock heroism. First there are two different styles of music.  Secondly that is too much iconic rock for one to listen to at once. The reason I put the Bob’s in one sentence is because in this recent election year many bands and singers stated their views or tried sticking it to the man. Even the Grateful Dead did a concert for their political party. But these two men revolutionized music in so many ways that to transcend it all in one blog is impossible. But their musical force lead people to free themselves from the political realm and it alone started political free speech issues in songs.

First Bob Dylan was a new renaissance of music. He was also the last force of folk music in America with Woodrow Guthrie. Dylan, a now Pulitzer prize winner, moved and transformed music if we like it or not. When he went to electric in 1965 with one of his greatest songs “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. In the same year he released his highest U.S. hit with my favorite song “Like a Rolling Stone”. Then in Rolling Stone magazine named Dylan’s ” Like a Rolling Stone” the number one song of all time in 2004. His career was not a highlight film for his entire life. His career almost did get off the ground especially when your real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman. So he started introducing himself as Bob and later added Dylan to his greatness. Also having a name like Johnny Cash help you out as an ally does not hurt either. Dylan saw his lyrical poetry to help listeners envision a story of life that all could understand. He captured the meaning of the times and they were “changing”.  Not only is Bob Dylan an iconic figure he was a story teller that led a generation and future generations into their lives with their own personal soundtracks.

He can be known as one or “the” greatest musical artist of all time. Also he brought electric sound into the mainstream other than Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry in American culture. He made pop music and culture’s gateway into the 60’s for the new musical revolution of drug-enthused  music. But his lyrics were so poetic and still are today that he has been nominated for many other awards even a Nobel prize. Bob Dylan was smart in how to connect to a generation of people. And his generation was a confused young nation of music lovers. Though his songs talked about life, culture or politics he and this next artist knew what culture really meant.

On the other hand, Bob Marley was not just a face or a but a nation too. His music uplifted a culture and its message in many ways. His story-telling ability allowed his Jamaican peoples and all his listeners to see  the struggle he  and his people consistently went through. But Bob Marley and Bob Dylan moved a culture of musical rebellion. This rebellion was one of tyranny of musical power. His Legend album is one of the most gross selling albums of all time. His music became the face of a musical sound of the entire world. Their is no mention of reggae music without bringing up the music influence of the Marley family. Though maybe some of his ideas seem obscure his grace and style led a nation’s story to be told. When trying to describe the man, Bob Marley, into words many come to mind: Music, reggae, lyrical genius, marijuana, revolution, optimism, anguish and hero. Hearing the music of Bob Marley for the first time is like an exploration of feeling that a music listeners has never gone on. His music is like a drug that can make anyone feel a universal well being of optimism in any mood.

Bob Marley once had said, “Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny”, he choose his life everyday and even Dylan had chosen to do the same thing. Both have lived a musical dream that many wish they could endure but there were many tests each had to pass to live out their dreams. their music lives on forever. Many bands and artists have tried to teach themselves with the lyrical story telling of Dylan to the musical passion of Marley, but only few have mastered close it. Only artists like Ben Haprer and my favorite band, O.A.R,  come to mind. Some bands to try to cover but few can replicate. If anyone wants to see a great concert this summer see the sound of Bob Marley then head to a O.A.R. concert with opening guests on selected dates because The Wailers are their opening act this tour. And during the concert there will be covers of Bob Marly songs with his band. So check it out…

11
Sep
08

Angels and Airwaves anew?

Since being in Chicago (reason for the title) I have come to discover an even bigger love for music. And to discover music means usually finding sounds that are not usually heard in mainstream music. Well, I guess the band, Angels and Airwaves is already pretty mainstream but the sound is not. When I first heard their first single, “The Adventure”, I first thought edge from U2 and The Cure. The sound was new and refreshing. Lyrics were greatly written but the voice sounded so familiar. Come to find that it was Tom Delonge from Blink-182. This was the recent side project from another great band, BoxCar Racer. From punk, to rock, and now ultra rock with AVA. The band is just not Tom but has Atom from the Offspring at drummer, at bass Matt, who was the former bassist from 30 seconds to Mars, and David Kennedy at guitar from BoxCar Racer. This is a really diverse band in sound and technique but don’t worry rock fans your dreams will soon becoming true.

After the release of their ultra awesome documentary, not only are they planning to do remixes of their current songs but they are working on two other projects this winter. In January 2009, they will be back in the sutdio but they have already in line a punk-rock album and a third true AVA album. With great rock band members to make a ounk rock album just for fun. Then you know it will have all the sounds form all the previous bands in one. On a lighter note, also after their release of the documentary entitled, “Start the Machine”, they are looking to but a feature film together with all their music. But check out the coolest website for a band in MODlife. No other band has a website to even contend to Angels and Airwaves creations.