It’s always cool finding out artists are up on the blogs, reading these articles too. Recently, music blog Pigeons and Planes ran an article about the “pussification” of rock music. There were a lot of responses in the comment section but I don’t think anybody expected dude from Linkin Park to respond. He spends some time on his band’s relevancy and other details but here are the really good parts on why rock bands have little influence. Here it is:
Firstly, it’s in the numbers. I believe that these days, more than ever, it’s hard to start a rock band. Want to start rapping? Pull up an instrumental on YouTube, and you have a track. DJing? The software you need is either already on your laptop or it’s a few dollars and clicks away. Starting a rock band is a more complicated endeavor.
Do the math. If you want to start a rock band, you need more than proficiency and/or exceptional talent at your instruments. You also need some kind of production or recording experience, or access to it. You need chemistry. You need a group of individuals who have are all aligned on their vision of what kind of music they want to make. You want to be The Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Rage Against The Machine? MGMT? Your band has to come to a general consensus about what “credibility” and “integrity” mean. You need to be able to write good songs together. And when you finally start making songs for anyone to hear, you’re going to need to be able to get on a stage and play them well together. And for every aspiring rock band with four people who can manage to do all these things, there are four solo DJs and rappers trying to do it too (and probably finishing many more songs, many times faster).
Rock bands are outnumbered, and that’s only half the problem. The other half lies in rock’s culture of segregation—not in the fans’ minds, but in the bands’. Behind the scenes, more than any fan would ever imagine, there’s animosity between rock bands, even if they don’t say it. I ask my friends in other bands; their story is the same. A lot of bands are afraid to align with one another on record and on tour. Maybe it’s a credibility issue, or a snobbery issue, or maybe it’s just because rock bands are loners. Whatever the case, everyone else in every popular genre gets it, and they’re reaping the benefits. EDM, rap, pop, and even country artists are jumping from record to record because a.) it multiplies the fans’ interest, and b.) it’s fun.
This month, my band will put out a song with Steve Aoki that blends both our styles. And our next album will probably have nothing to do with the Aoki song, or even sound like our previous album. Because lastly, the other half of the problem (yes, the third half), is the most important of all.
Rock music needs to take chances and innovate. Want to compare rock’s growth to other genres? Listen to a Rick Rubin production from the ’80s—which was the epitome of hip hop production at the time—and compare it with the soundscapes and variety that Kanye West, Pharrell, Kendrick and co., A$AP Mob,Odd Future, Azealia Banks, and all the rest are using today. Listen to a track by The Prodigy or Fatboy Slim from the late ’90s, then listen to Zedd, Knife Party, Glitch Mob, Skrillex, Deadmau5, Major Lazer, Avicii, Daft Punk, and TNGHT. And ask yourself: why isn’t rock doing this? Sure, rock is evolving, but it simply doesn’t have the vibrancy it could—and ought to—have.
After all, it’s not just about moving forward, it’s about the direction in which you move. Baker’s piece wasn’t just about “rock” as a genre being less popular. Rock is very popular on a middle-level, the level that doesn’t trend worldwide on Twitter and get talked about in late night monologues. Baker makes a point that the rock music has gotten, in his words, “pussified.” Where’s the rock that’s about innovation, energy, aggression, catharsis, passion? Where’s the explosiveness of The Shape Of Punk To Come? The ferocity of Master Of Puppets? The boldness of The Downward Spiral?
A girl from Japan told me once that she was worried about men of the next generation being what they called “Soushoku Danshi,” or “Sheep Boys.” This description was invented to describe people as either “herbivores” or “carnivores,” the former group being described as soft, non-assertive, and indifferent. For me, rock music has gotten a little herbivorous.
Where are the carnivores? At the end of the day, it will never be about one song, one album, or one band. A movement requires leaders who are restless, brave, and fucking disruptive. I’m in the studio right now. I’m looking for ways to do it myself. I hope my peers and their fans are as well, because it’s the only way we’ll be able to force Pigeons and Planes to write a post called:
“Everything But Rock Sucks Right Now and It’s Depressing.”
Read the article in full by clicking the link below and click here for a preview of that Linkin Park x Steve Aoki joint.