How Classic Is Classic Rock?

Comment by Tim from Houston

Fan of both: Yeah, great local bands play down the street, and I buy their tickets too. But I wouldn't hesitate to shell out $100-plus for Neil Young either. In 31 years of my going to his shows, he's never given less than the money's worth. And I've caught a lot of bar bands that weren't worth the cost of a pint.

Comment by Nick Danger from Chicago

No support: It's what listeners are familiar with. Radio does not play the diversity it used to; it does not support up-and-coming artists. Kids are listening to new music over the Internet, and these bands may have a million fans, but from 150 countries, and they can't fill an arena in any given city.

Comment by Walker

Good music: Of Montreal is pretty cool. I like some of that band's songs, but only some. That's the case with most modern music I appreciate.

But I like five to ten albums from Pink Floyd, Rush and Black Sabbath. Not every song has to have a catchy melody, because the music itself is good. Who can say that for Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Korn or any other guitar-based modern rock played on the radio? Would you even notice the difference if you switched the guitarists out?

I will grant you one thing: There's an unbelievable array of metal these days. Communic, Dream Theater, Kalmah — it's great. The stuff I'm being force-fed, though? No way.

Comment by Steve

Really enjoyed this piece: There are a lot of reasons for older music continuing to dominate radio and arenas, but I think part of it is that these acts have been established as legends and younger musicians are still in the process of earning their credibility. There is a lot to say for being prolific and creating a large catalog of quality music. One of the problems with the current music scene is that bands blow up — i.e., The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand — but they don't have that much to back it up with after the first album or two. And that's frustrating for music fans who tout these bands and then watch their subsequent albums decrease in originality. I think the shift is on, though. Your typical college students will put on an MGMT album at a party years before a classic rock album. They probably did not pay for the album, though, and therein lies the entire problem.

Comment by Cousin Chris
from San Francisco

It's the execs: The author is laying the blame in the wrong place (the listeners). The author needs a history course on the executive side of the industry (not the performance side). The problem lies in the record companies' highest levels and has trickled down to the bottom for about 25 years.

The change came in the '80s, when the companies were taken over at the top by people with business experience, not music experience. In the '60s and '70s, the acts were given contracts for many albums and given time to develop. First album didn't sell? No problem; Ahmet Ertegun believes you have it and will give you time to prove it. How has it been for the past 20? One to two record contracts, renewable only if you go platinum. How has this affected radio? Executives of the same mentality own the stations. Why gamble with the latest Pearl Jam when "Jeremy" has already proven to make money for us?

Comment by Zep from Houston

Fuck current music: I was in high school in 1999-2003, and I hated my generation. I hated Jay-Z, Blink 182, Eminem, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Coldplay, Slipknot, and Alicia Keys. So I sought refuge in classic heavy metal. Ozzy, Metallica and Iron Maiden. Want to know how much my parents had to do with that? Zero. At best, I only have three artists in common with my parents — Bob Marley, Van Morrison and The Beatles. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I'd even be into metal if my parents liked it. I'd probably be too weirded out.

Don't want to hear "Start Me Up" for the millionth time? Don't listen to Classic Rock radio. And who cares if our culture has an identity or not?

Comment by Josh

It comes in cycles: I remember thinking how foolish my friends were for buying Doors and Led Zeppelin albums when I was a kid. That wasn't my music; it was someone else's. My very first CD was Camper Van Beethoven. Now I go to the mall or to festivals and see young kids with Nirvana T-shirts and think they are just as bad as my friends who wore Jim Morrison T-shirts when I was young. I want to tell those kids, "That was my music; get your own."

But keep the faith, the cool kids will always find the new stuff. There is hope for Animal Collective, TV on the Radio and the like.

Comment by roger from houston

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