The New Age Of Rock

It seems that the times are certainly changing. I finally got around to watching a DVR recording of The Alternative Press Awards (Highlights) on AXS TV, noticing something that really didn’t sink in until after they had given Billy Corgan an award for rock legend or something. (I was admittedly skipping through most of it.) Corgan (of The Smashing Pumpkins, a notable grunge act gone art rock/metal) simply stated that he “wasn’t a legend” and that all of the bands that the young people were into these days were legends. These bands of course, were the current generation of rock and alternative metal music (the afterbirth of nu-metal) and are hailed by some as “three-word bands.” For instance, Twenty-One Pilots, Black Veiled Brides, Falling In Reverse and others were vastly considered the new age of rock, with members of Korn aiding them either on the stage or during performances (The “Hungry Like A Wolf” cover performance featured both Asking Alexandria and Jonathan Davis of Korn) as well as Body Count, Slash, The Misfits and Joan Jett also giving nods to this new scene of rock music.

But as Corgan’s words sunk in, it made sense. He said something along the lines of “these are the bands who ask questions and want to kick someone’s fucking head in, they’ll help you to understand yourself” which is vastly what I remember from listening to bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, Slipknot, Mudvayne, Mushroomhead, Godsmack, Disturbed and other rock/nu-metal acts of my era. If the world didn’t make sense, songs like Slipknot’s “People Equal Shit” or “The End Of Everything” made it feel much more tolerable. Same with Korn’s “Falling Away From Me” which had much to do with my current household situation at the time. I remember the graphic scenes from that video, which also echoed into their later cut “Thoughtless.” I also listened to quite a bit of Limp Bizkit back in those days, who Machine Gun Kelly (a mix of Limp Bizkit and Eminem in all respects) definitely follows the footsteps of. His performance made me think of both artists, finely packaged for the new youth, who had grown up with a much different kind of rap music than we had, now renamed hip-hop and far more dance floor friendly. Even though I listen to copious amounts of metal these days, these bands opened the door into heavier music for me and I can’t forget them. So the same must be said for these guys, even though I can’t really get into these young, pierced and tattooed pretty boys and find it a bit odd compared to the dirtier shit that we listened to. Its rock that sounds like it got into a fight with metal and lost, but made sweet love to the pop scene of the nineties and the emo scene of the early 2000’s.

AP Music Awards 2014

Yet once again, it’s not my scene. It’s their scene now. It’s tough to admit, and we once thought that our rebellious brand of rock would be around forever, but all of the bands that I just named are now getting older and are looked to more as mentors now. They’re no longer the young guys trying to find a sound and a voice. They found one and my generation listened. Slipknot had their maggots, draped in clothes from hot topic including those extremely expensive JNCO jeans. Mudvayne, Godsmack, Static-X, Dope, Disturbed and all those myriads of nu-metal alt/rock acts all had their hordes of listeners, people who bought every CD, every shirt, every concert ticket; and it’s the same for these kids today. I don’t understand the music, I don’t really get it at all – BUT THEY DO. Looking back though, am I supposed to get it? Is an almost thirty year old man supposed to get the kind of music made for teens and early twenties, made by bands around the same age? Remember that even Elvis was rebellious in his time, as were the Beatles. They were considered Satanic, evil tools of the devil to lure children into the kingdom of Satan. Don’t believe me? Google it.

“It’s that damn rock music. Korn is music of the devil.”

“Look how Mudvayne dresses. They look like a bunch of demons.”

“That Marilyn Manson is the fucking antichrist. He’s a sick pervert luring our children right into the mouth of hell.”

I’m sure if you look, you’ll also the same things being pasted onto these new bands. And sure, they look rebellious with their oblong earrings and weird styles of dress – but these are the same things that our parents thought when we had caught the rock bug. In ten or fifteen years from now, Black Veil Brides, Bring Me The Horizon, Falling In Reverse and others will be hailed as legends. This will make our music classic rock. Yes, you heard me. Korn, Godsmack, Slipknot and others would be classic rock. So does that make hair metal the golden oldies? Perhaps, since Pink Floyd tunes would be about as ancient as Bing Crosby or The Temptations. Hell, even Buddy Holly. But it’s not as if they aren’t trying to teach these kids who never grew up with the classics what they were, as Joan Jett, Body Count, The Misfits and Korn all gave them (and I do say that observing the mostly adolescent/tween audience) a dose of what we grew up with. Let me tell you something, I was looking through an issue of Revolver and noticed an ad for a roast of (Slipknot frontman) Corey Taylor. I’m not even going to beat around the bush on this one, but Taylor is looking old. He’s not the young man jumping around and screaming on the Disasterpieces DVD anymore. It was kind of shocking to be honest. But then again, you can tell when Slash and Joan Jett are starting to get so old that the plastic surgery makes them look like fucking wax dolls on the stage. The music might live forever, but they will not.

Unfortunately, there are some other things I noticed about this show and it roughly seems bought and paid for as with the majority of these award type events. Sure, the people may have gotten a chance to vote on the acts; but those acts were probably already handpicked to them by the magazine itself beforehand. It’s basically telling your readers, “These are the five bands that we like. Which one do you want to win the award?” So naturally, the same five to eight bands were nominated for all of the same categories. That part of the show was a complete and utter joke. More or less, it was just a bunch of bands from the same scene handing out statues to each other. Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal won the album of the year, but that’s only because the critics gave it rave reviews, as expected. As far as the band of the year, that wasn’t even well…, a hard rock or alternative metal act. It was the biggest joke of the entire show, as Fall Out Boy won it all. You heard me; the same Fall Out Boy that is world renowned as a pop rock music act and has been featured on American Idol, as well as the actual Grammy’s themselves. This had to be the main idea from the get-go, in order to get these “rock saviors” even more fucking publicity. But if you want to know what I think, I think it stinks of the elite. The guys came out with “Phoenix” which is about death and rebirth, obviously and is undoubtedly programming, just the same with Imagine Dragons “Radioactive.” Sure, both are heavily catchy numbers, but there’s no doubt that the phoenix here refers to the one on the back of the dollar bill (do some research, it’s not an eagle) and what many believe will be the death and rebirth of our society. Both songs speak of a “new age” or a “remix” which are a message that definitely seems to be radiating into the minds of people. If you talk “death and rebirth” concepts long enough, they’ll soak right into the subconscious. Remember, these are the rebels of society – the young, impressionable rebels – so they’ve got to get these rebellious bands out there to make them feel like they belong, while filling them with their language. It’s in a word, brainwash. It was kind of funny, being in the industry and seeing how these acts are deliberately fucking marketed right to them. So then how exactly, is this rebellion? Yet, I myself was the same fool before the symbolism had really come into place. But now that it’s here, it seems that they’re being brought up to want this new age. Though none of that can be truly confirmed. Quite simply, they just got a bunch of guys and gals that speak the lingo of the modern adolescent and look appealing (which has been going on for decades now) which brought them all en masse. It’s not much unlike my situation years ago, with the old age of rock. Or my parent’s situation, with their age of rock, all of the way back to Elvis and Little Richard.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this, it’s that nothing stays the same. Everything eventually changes and even these bands will have dulled the blade in favor of newer and even more marketable acts. Press who grew up with the old acts will either sit happily promoting the next generation of acts to follow, or they’ll be replaced by entirely new press agents. That’s just how it works in this industry, no matter who’s in charge. There will be new rebels with new outfits and other sorts of weirdness, who will speak to future disenfranchised youth and upset those who grew up with the music that I can’t understand today. Who knows what that kind of music will even sound like, but rest assured that it will be vastly different than even this. It’s difficult to predict new trends in any kind of music, but it’s definitely interesting to observe the same sense of rebelliousness in today’s youth who have not yet found a place for themselves as a debt slave or an overseer for a corporation. Remember, in fifteen to twenty years, even this flavor of rebellion will be outdated. Such move the clockworks of time.

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