Recently there was a report that rock based music is no longer the biggest seller in the states. I don’t know about others, but part of the reason I got into hard rock and metal was because it was the complete opposite of my parent’s favorites, such as Julio Iglesias, or other Spanish singers they were into in the 70s. Kiss became my thing, for the longest time, and then once MTV came about, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, and Iron Maiden were not far behind. My parents put up with it, but hated it for the most part, which made me listen to it more. And then you had all of these talk shows discussing how evil and dangerous the music I listened to was, and there was no way I would back down, or turn my back on it, it was my music. It was checking off all of the right boxes as far as I was concerned, and I identified with it completely.
But what about now? Has hard rock and metal lost its danger? Has it gotten stale and bland? Remember when someone like Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie made it big? That was 20 some odd years ago. Most people my age (mid 40s) have grown up loving things like those two, Slayer, Anthrax, Overkill, Lamb Of God, Death, Cannibal Corpse and all types of bands that when they first came out where risqué.
But I look at my kids, they genuinely like a lot of this music, because they have been listening to it since they were born. Not only that, but hearing Guns N Roses in a video game, or Twisted Sister in an episode of Sponge Bob has made them repeatedly ask me to play “Paradise City” and “I Wanna Rock.” So does that mean that these bands are now their Julio Iglesias? Sure, they like them now at ages 5 and 6, but chances are they’ll rebel and want to look for their own thing like I did. Yes, there are those odd cases where kids end up liking Sabbath, and Metallica like their folks, but most are looking for a reason to go against the grain, and find that song that freaks their parents out, that element of danger.
Where are they finding it? It isn’t Mumford And Sons, and unfortunately it isn’t The Bitters, it’s Kanye West, Nikki Minaj, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Gucci Mane and others. They are bringing that uncomfortable it factor to the table, that whether you like it or not, is gone in most of today’s new bands. Hard rock and metal has lost its edge to a lot of these bands. There isn’t that outrage over death metal or thrash lyrics like there once was. There are big name thrash bands that look like weightier on stage, with button down shirts, that would have automatically been a turn off as a kid, unless maybe you were a New Romantic, like Duran Duran, or an androgynist like Bowie. Look at all the flack Vinnie Vincent has received this weekend over his look, with posters talking about “dem heels”, because he didn’t wear heels in Kiss or his Invasion years? So, when someone actually tries to look different from the norm, people on social media are there to pounce. If Marilyn Manson puts on weight, or is trying to play up his persona, people make fun of it. So instead of embracing what you have, let’s trash it, because it isn’t in the metal bylaws fans have made up in their heads. All risk, and all danger is out the window, because we’d rather laugh at someone else’s expense. So, kids see that and think “well those are just old people complaining about old people things”, and move on. No worries though, your son is pulling up in the driveway with Lil Wayne or Machine Gun Kelly blasting, because they know that will piss you off. Because these guys are doing what the want to be doing. Instead of hearing old people bicker about things they don’t care about.