The kids today don’t know how to rock.
I’ve rewritten this entry a few times because I have a tendency to rant like a bitter old man. But really, the kids don’t know how to rock any more.
Sure, I admit that when I was a young teen, I flipped on the corporate rock stations and got roped into the early angst-filled years of the proto-mope rock scene. It was new and I had no idea what the alternative was—the internet was still a baby bird, taking its first steps onto the edge of the nest. Just a few years later, I had signed off corporate radio after accidently falling onto a college radio station on the AM dial when I was living in MN. Since then, rare was the time I would try listening to the corporate station. There just wasn’t a variety of music any more.
And while the big labels are trying to predict the next mega-trend, those of us who are dissatisfied with them look around ourselves for something to catch our ears. In today’s high tech society, it’s not hard to do that. There are tons of small labels/net labels, music blogs and self-promoted artists out there to keep us from getting thirsty.
Furthermore, some of us will dig out a magnifying glass, a sift, and a shovel and dig up long forgotten releases to give us some solace, and ponder about yesteryear. Some folks trace the lineage of certain musicians through their musical career with various bands, while others root a particular genre and try to unearth as many bands within it, no matter how obscure and hard to find they may be.
I’m guilty of that. I tend to do that the most with grunge rock. I know I’m not the only one.
Like most people who weren’t there, I heard Nirvana first. Once I learned about them, it led to Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam. From there (as the digging continued), Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, L7, Hole and Love Battery. Pandora’s box was opened and I eventually found myself knee deep in a never ending quest to find the most difficult to find releases by the most forgotten bands.
It was fascinating to find out certain musicians had played in as many as six groups within a few years’ time, and just what the influences were for the bands and artists of the time. From eying the grunge, I dove into 70s and 80s punk and hardcore, the more angst ridden psyche rock and garage rock.
I composed a list on rateyourmusic.com some time ago, compiling a comprehensive pile of grunge releases, proto-grunge and pre-grunge inspirations: (http://rateyourmusic.com/list/Stormyfox/grunge___the_most_comprehensive_album_list ). Every once in a while, I will come across something while digging online and I’ll update the list, and consequently, add the release to my ever-growing want list of music.
And I guess that brings me to my point. I was reading the Lamestain Northwest blog and at one point, maybe back in 2007, one of the writers made the comment “Kids these days don’t know how to rock.” I looked back at my small arsenal of grunge vinyl and CDs and recollected the attitudes some of those tunes let off, and I realized, in some ways, the kids are just as angsty today.
I was driving my teenage brother and a lady friend of his to some shop in town and she requested I flip the radio to some corporate station. I rolled my eyes but being the kind soul I am sometimes, did so. And out came the most over-produced and cliché dribble I have ever heard—it was some hip hop techno crossover, and I was half paying attention to the vacuous lyrics until at some point, the vocalist said “we’re young and we’re bored!”
And I realized nothing has changed really, except for the fuel that fed their dissatisfied faces. This endless party atmosphere that spewed from my car speakers (which I later washed to get the stink out) could, arguably, be a product of our high tech society and the unquenchable desire to be entertained and entertained quickly without hesitation—an instant satisfaction to answer their youthful dissatisfaction. I tried explaining this to people and they thought I was overthinking it. Maybe I am, but it still seems to ring true.
So while I try to dig up that long lost Dickless single (well, both of them) to answer my needs, the kids are getting their fix on the newest MP3s from Lady Gaga. And in the end, we’re both getting the same sort of fix.
And I hate admitting that.
But it isn’t rock. This is rock.
At any rate, there will be reviews and some look-sees at some forgotten treasures from the grunge era and earlier.