How Classic Is Classic Rock?

Father Tucker

Ludicrous: If Carol Barnwell is the official spokeswoman of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, why did Craig Malisow not bother to publish anything she had to say during her 2007 interview ["Don't Ask, Don't Tell," May 21, 2009]? Why did he deem her remarks irrelevant to a story about the diocese? Why was she reduced to a callous chuckle?

Perhaps printing Barnwell's actual words would have taken up the valuable space he needed for his creative interpretation of them:"How ludicrous."

His words, mind you. Not hers. How ludicrous, indeed.

I do hope that in the future, Malisow focuses more on legitimate, unbiased journalism and less on portraying his interviewees as caricature villains bent on thwarting him. Granted, holier-than-thou, self-indulgent melodrama does have its place, but not in a story about the victims of sexual abuse.

Should a follow-up article on this tragic and painful situation be in the works, please find a less egocentric writer to handle it.

Thomas Blanton
Houston

Classic Debate

New rock sucks: I snickered when I read Ben Westhoff's piece on the "virus" that is classic rock ["Going Viral," by Ben Westhoff, May 14, 2009]. See, I'm from that era. Why, I even saw Led Zeppelin in concert back in the day. However, I'm always looking for new music to listen to. You can't just keep listening to stuff that came out 30 years ago, no matter how good it was. In fact, I have such a large music collection that I rarely even listen to anything "old." But here's the thing: By and large, new rock music sucks when compared to "classic" rock.

Are you seriously gonna tell me that there's anyone out there right now that's as good as The Who or the Stones or The Beatles or Zeppelin? Really? Name them. Green Day? The Killers? Arcade Fire? Much as I enjoy the bands out there today, the fact is, very few of them come close to comparing with the great old stuff. Believe me, I wish that wasn't the case. I would absolutely love to hear some great new bands, bands as fantastic as the old ones. They don't seem to exist, though.

Here's a question for you: Name a current band that will end up getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Keep in mind that you have to have been around for 25 years in order to get inducted. Any current bands gonna last that long, Ben? Is there anyone out there right now who is good enough, popular enough and influential enough to last 25 years?

I suspect that part of the reason that classic rock is still popular is that a lot of people like it, even younger people. Maybe they don't find the new music out there quite as thrilling as you do. Oh, by the way, if you go to YouTube, you can bring up a concert clip from last year featuring Win and Régine from Arcade Fire doing "Keep the Car Running" with "moldy" Bruce Springsteen. Apparently, they see something in him that you don't.

Scott Rose
Sugar Land

Online readers weigh in:

Forgettable: Your generation's music is not memorable. It is already consigned to the ash heap of history. The Beatles, Neil Young and the like have stood and will continue to stand the test of time. They know how to perform, play and entertain — triple threats. So many of the new bands can't even master one of those three ingredients.

Comment by mark from Park City

Feeling groovy: Your generation's music is nothing new. Other than some catchy "off the wall" names for bands, they channel the "old masters" in their work that's worth a darn. The rest is trash. For every "successful" new band, there is a distinct and ever-present style that can be attributed to an artist of the "classic rock" genre. Our musicians forged a pathway into music that has stood and will stand the test of time. Our generation was one of the most enlightened of the 20th century, producing leaders in the music industry who are still unchallenged in their abilities. Sorry, but your generation has a long way to go. And what's so bad about feeling groovy? It's better than pretending to feel nothing.

Comment by Rosie from Houston

Taking space: The name "classic" usually means that there is some real substance there. Perhaps it is "classic" because it has stood the test of time. Maybe it is classic because it actually has structure, harmony, melody and a craft to the writing. Then again, maybe it is classic because newer listeners are lazy, and call anything that is blues-based rock, or done in 4/4 time, "classic rock."

True, radio stations are appalling, and no one needs to hear "Free Bird" again, or "Bad Company," or especially "Layla." They are more cancerous than the music you cite.

Likewise, throwing together three random words to use as a band name and saying you dig Bowie — well, it just don't cut it. Put up or shut up. Most acts these days are just taking up space. Their music will be as easily forgotten as their personas.

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