have been greatly exaggerated
Tuesday afternoon, 63° and windy
Listening to Night Beats, The New World
If you believe rock n roll is dead, or that there is no good new rock music, or that Justin Beiber, Rhianna or *insert popular, predictable, auto-tuned act here* killed rock n roll, I have seven suggestions for you.
1. Quit complaining about today’s Top 40. Top 40 has largely sucked throughout its history, has only been a trailing indicator of musical trends, and has completely missed countless fantastic acts. For every Space Oddity there were approximately 1,794 Afternoon Delights. If you’re over 35, you do not have enough years left to wait for Top 40 to spoon feed you something great. Most likely, it won’t.
Yes, 1973 was an exception. So what. You’ve been holding your breath for four decades waiting for that to happen again? Get over it.
2. Stop listening to shitty commercial radio stations playing Top 40 “classic rock n roll” from your high school years. I promise you will never discover any great new music while listening to Billy Squier’s The Stroke. Scientific fact: any station that plays The Stroke will not be a source of new music.
3. Get yourself a Spotify (or other reliable, user-friendly streaming music) account where you can actually hear new music. Then use it daily. Baby, don’t fear the New Releases tab.
4. Cultivate friendships with people who love music. They’re the best kind of people anyway! Musicians, DJs, people passionate enough to go to live concerts and music festivals, writers who can’t shut up about music, and especially music lovers a little or a lot younger than you. Music enthusiasts of any age can do wonders for new music discovery. It will be very easy to look into their suggestions with your shiny new Spotify account.
5. Take your friends’ music suggestions and give some new music a real chance. By that, I mean giving new-to-you albums more than one spin. If you like what you hear, check out the artist’s back catalog. And let your friends know what you enjoy. My concert BFF who told me about Night Beats did so in a 3am message because was so sure they were right up my alley. He was correct.
6. See new music live as often as possible. Nothing will energize you for a new band more than seeing them perform their material. Of the bands listed below, I’ve seen nine of them live as of this writing. Most recently Night Beats stellar set at the Majestic Cafe in Detroit. Pay attention to those smaller venues, and get thee to some music festivals that feature a lot of new acts, like Bonnaroo. Then go to as many shows as your budget and stamina can handle.
7. When you find something you love, share share share! Tell your friends. Be enthusiastic on social media. Buy the album, buy the T-shirt, put the button on your jacket and the sticker on your guitar case. Be the Johnny Appleseed of rock n roll.
I don’t care if you happen to prefer the music of your youth. That’s fine. Just don’t lament that rock n roll is dead because you’re too lazy to look for it. Complaining about “lack of musical talent today” just makes you sound out of touch.
If you still can’t find newer rock n roll, I’ve handpicked these for you
OK, OK, I’ll get off your lawn now.
This has been a public service announcement, brought to you by the department of Get Your Butt to a Show.
(And if you love novels about characters who huge fans of rock n roll, check out State of Love & Trust.)
Cover photo:author”s screenshot from Nightbeats Live in South Africa by Barry Devilliers, Roundabout Films.