I take no joy in writing this. Our site is not on the level of Rolling Stone or Loudwire or Metal Injection but I feel the need to say something. Rock music is dying a quick death and nostalgia is to blame. Let me be clear, revisiting your high school days to hear the soundtrack of your youth is fine. But, what if it’s being performed by someone that should have hung it up over a decade ago?
I take no joy in saying this but our heroes are failing us. What’s worse is, we’re failing them. You know the old adage of enabling someone with an addiction? Well, we’re doing that with some of our favorite bands and, worst of all, it’s coming at the expense of the rock music genre. Classic rock artists such as Paul Stanley, Jon Bon Jovi, and Vince Neil continue to cash the checks and fill up arenas; much to the delight of a generation that values memories over substance.
The truth about Paul Stanley goes back to the early-mid 2000’s. As front man for KISS, Paul boasted an impenetrable voice for over 30 years; the ultimate ringleader to KISS’ electric church-type concerts. But, as is normal, the voice started to go and by the time they were touring in support of 2009’s ‘Sonic Boom’ album, Paul Stanley was reduced to a mere mortal. Over the next few years, his voice deteriorated quickly. By the time KISS toured with Motley Crue (more on Vince Neil, later) in 2012, his voice was absolutely shredded. Despite much public outcry in internet circles, KISS continues on to this day with Paul Stanley miming to a taped lead vocal (which, honestly, is preferable to what audiences were getting) as they continue their ‘End of the Road’ tour. You would think that lip-synching would piss off the average music fan (remember Milli Vanilli back in the 80’s, folks?) but alas, nostalgia wins out and venues fill up.
Killing Rock n Roll
Motley Crue, despite going as far as signing a contract to never play live again, are about to embark on a stadium tour with Def Leppard, Poison,and Joan Jett. Vince Neil who, honestly was never the greatest singer, is in rough shape and rarely gets through more than three words of a verse before running out of breath. But,no matter; you got laid to Dr. Feelgood in 1989 so, by all means, go ahead and blow $200+ on a ticket to see them live.
Bon Jovi was, arguably, the biggest band of the 1980’s. They helped usher in the wellspring of hair-metal acts (even though they don’t associate with them anymore) that dominated rock radio through the rest of the decade. Bon Jovi were a crossover band that topped the pop charts and even non-rock fans were pulled into the genre between their catchy tunes and Jon’s pretty smile. The problem in 2022 is that Jon Bon Jovi literally CANNOT sing anymore. Just watch footage of their latest cash-grab, er, tour. It’s absolutely horrendous to see what condition he’s in, vocally.
And, while I do feel sympathy for these artists that were the soundtrack of your (and my) lives, they’re all wealthy beyond their means and only trotting themselves out there to continue to cash in. It’s a free society and they are more than welcome to do that. You, however, as a ticket buyer must know that you are doing this at the expense of the Rock n’ Roll genre. Nostalgia is fine but let’s be honest, within the next decade ALL of these artists are going to be gone. Then, what?
Maybe I’m just talking to myself here but I believe in Rock n’ Roll. Call me corny or cheesy or whatever; I don’t care. This music and its artists (yes, including those I’ve referenced above) got me through some very difficult times in my life. The escape you feel from a great rock song is hard to quantify; it gives you something to focus on and takes you away from your problems. It’s so important to me that I’d hate to see it die.
While bands like KISS, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi continue to pack arenas on tour to satisfy the nostalgia cravings of us older rock fans, there are several up and coming rock groups that are being left behind. While you’re paying $200+ along with $40 for a t-shirt from Motley Crue, there’s a rock band playing to 10 people at a club somewhere and barely scraping by. While you’re purchasing your $1000+meet and greet with Bon Jovi to stand near them for 20 seconds while a photographer rushes to take your photos, there’s a rock band bringing home gas money (at best) to make it to their next show. While you’re blowing $200+ for a picture disc of a greatest hits album from KISS (of which you own all the songs 3 times over), there’s a rock band that’s happy to get 100 streams on their Spotify account in hopes that it’ll lead to a single album (or better yet, t-shirt) purchase.
You have to understand, all the naysayers are close to being proven right. Rock music is close to death and WE’RE the bad guy! With the advent of streaming, it’s easier than ever to find great new rock music performed by artists that don’t need auto-tune, backing tracks, etc; you just have to look for it. Remember how fun it was to discover great new music when you were younger? That opportunity STILL exists for you; you just have to put in a minimal amount of effort. So, instead of padding Jon Bon Jovi’s bank account for the umpteenth time, go take a look at what’s out there and support some new artists. Jon (and Paul and Vince etc) can comfortably relax in their older years and you’ll feel better about helping save the genre you profess to love.
I’m sure I’ll get plenty of push back about my take and how no good new music is being created etc. That’s fine, but I had to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening.