Rock-N-Roll is a type of music. It has been played by some amazing Rock Stars such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Who, etc. But what a lot people do not realize is that Rock-N-Roll is not just a music genre, it is also a life style. I have provided an infographic to show some tips to being Rock-N-Roll. These are of course not actual “rules” to being Rock-N-Roll but more of to show you the spirit that this lifestyle entails.
Jimi Hendrix has to be one of the greatest guitarists who had ever walked this planet. Not only did he sing with his voice but he also made his guitar sing as well. Displaying to his audience a new form of guitar playing that no one at the time had ever seen.
My words cannot begin to explain his guitar skills so let this youtube video just show you
Jimi also had an amazing mind and was very passionate about his art and his creativity. He also seemed like a free spirit. Not wanting to tied down to this world but wishing there was more color in the streets. Watch this snippet of his last interview.
Jimi Hendrix left a legacy that shall be long remembered. He left behind his amazing songs and ideas. He has inspired loads and loads of people, including myself, to pick up a guitar. He shall be missed but thank God his music lives on!
Video by Rare Music Videos
Video by Blank on Blank
Recently I saw the band The Maine on their Lovely, Little, Lonely Tour. I of course enjoyed the music as well as the band’s performance. But what really impressed me was how The Maine runs their band as a business. They do everything completely independent. This means they produce everything from their merchandise, to their tour dates, to even their records themselves. They are completely independent of any outside influence on their band.
This is based off of an old punk rock saying. “No one is going to do it for you. Do it yourself.” This is where the term D.I.Y. comes from. This is how I believe Rock-N-Roll bands can be successful independent of any outside influence other than the close network of the band itself.
Why do I think this is important to write about? Well nowadays music in general, not just Rock-N-Roll, is very much influenced by outside forces. Whether that is labels, producers, or managers, etc., the artist is now put restrictions on and they cannot be completely honest. They are hindered and cannot be fully creative and honest to themselves.
With this being said do artist need to be signed to a record label to be successful? With using The Maine as an example then not at all. The Maine has been independent since 2012 and they have gone on to release three albums on their own. Forever Halloween in 2013, American Candy in 2015, and Lovely Little Lonely in 2017. All of three of these records have been praised by their fans and by their critics as their best albums they have ever released. Here’s one of their latest single, ‘Bad Behavior’.
I think Rock-N-Rock bands should look to The Maine as an example of how to run your band as a business. You can be successful and make a living completely independent of a record label. All you have to do is make honest music and actually care about the people who listen to your music.
Photography provided by: The Maine
Video provided by: The Maine
One of my favorite bands right now is Oasis. I know I am late to the game since majority of their success was accomplished over twenty years ago but it just goes to show you that music is not hindered by time.
Even now in 2017, I can not only enjoy Oasis’s music but I can also relate to it. One of my favorite tracks by this band is their song ‘Champagne Supernova’. This is because I believe this song means nothing at all but also mean everything at the same exact time. The lyrics make absolutely no sense read by themselves but in context with the music the song becomes an anthem.
You can’t help but find yourself not only singing along to the track but also feeling like you are reflecting on some important aspect of your life. This is what makes this song amazing and one of my favorite songs by Oasis.
Rock-N-Roll now is lacking in the artistry of songwriting as of late and I believe rock bands should listen to this song with a pen and paper, take some notes, and enjoy the ride.
You can watch the music video HERE:
Freddie Mercury has got to be the greatest vocalist/lead singer/front man there has ever been. He captivated many fans over two decades with chilling vocal performances and onstage flamboyance in the iconic band Queen.
It is unarguable that Mercury was a phenomenal singer. His vocal control was and is like no one who had ever performed. His vocal range was quite impressive as well. There is some speculation that Freddie Mercury’s range was over FOUR OCTAVES. This is a huge range and it is a very rare. Here’s a video from YouTube displaying his range.
One of the biggest things that separate Freddie Mercury from every other amazing Rock-N-Roll singers was his flamboyant and theatrical stage persona. Which was actually quite surprising to people who were close with Mercury. It was cited that Freddie offstage was shy and reserved particularly around people he did not know. He even once stated, “When I’m performing I’m an extrovert, yet inside I’m a completely different man.”
Freddie Mercury’s, and Queen’s for that matter, most notable live performance was at Wembly Stadium in 1985 at Live Aid. Many people consider this performance one of, if not, the greatest live performance by any Rock-N-Roll band. 72,000 people were engaged by everything this band and Freddie Mercury did. Because of this Queen stole the show in 20 minutes. Here’s a video diving more into the show at Live Aid.
Freddie Mercury is one of the greatest front men to ever perform Rock-N-Roll music. For over twenty years, he engaged us into his music with his incredible vocals and his on stage antics. He is greatly missed till this day and will continue to be. He has cemented himself in the history of Rock-N-Roll and as one of the greatest Rockstars to every grace this earth.
Video by: Timi T.
Photo by: Neal Preston
Video by: dylbiebee
Green Day is my personal favorite band of all time. Even though I do not listen to them as religiously as I once did, I still consider them my favorite. This is largely due to their record “American Idiot”.
American Idiot is Green Day’s seventh studio album and it was career rejuvenating for the band. The album was released in 2004 and became highest grossing record to that date. The success of American Idiot proved that Green Day should be considered one of the best Rock-N-Roll acts in recent memory.
Everything done on this record is performed masterful. To the amazing guitar tone that sounds huge on the record, the structure of the songs and their placement on the album, and the lyrics of this amazing narrative that is spilled out throughout the record.
If you need a reminder of how great this record is then listen to it on spotify.com or listen to it in this YouTude video.
Billie Joe Armstrong (the lead singer and guitarist for Green Day) is my personal favorite songwriter ever. I discovered my love for his songwriting with American Idiot. In fact I discovered my love for music period because of Green Day and American Idiot. After becoming absolutely obsessed with their music I began to take guitar lessons. The first song I learned all the way through on guitar was American Idiot’s second track “Jesus of Suburbia” (which is a little over 9 minutes long). This record was life changing for me and I know it’s the exact same way for a lot of other people too.
Even though the lyrics were about characters within a story, the songs still came from a real emotional honest place. They were blunt, honest, and at times very opinionated, but more than anything this record has passion. That’s Rock-N-Roll man. That’s what today’s Rock music needs. A group or a record that will come in and shake things completely up and change how we look at and consume Rock-N-Roll. We need an album like American Idiot.
FORGETTING YOU BUT NOT THE TIME
Design by Chris Bilheimer
YouTube Video by Az Navarro
Photo by Ross Halfin
The 1975 are a band from Manchester England. They have found so much success in the mainstream media with their records, their self-titled debut and their sophomore record “I Like it When You Sleep For You Are so Beautiful Yet so Unaware of it”. The question I shall be asking today is whether or not The 1975 are a Rock-N-Roll band.
Let’s take a look at their lyrical content. The subject matters that lead lyricists Matty Healy loves to tackle are that of sex, drugs, girls, flawed relationships, suicide, and frustration with self. These are all things that many great Rock-N-Roll bands of old coined within their lyricism. Look at The Beatles, they wrote about every single one of those subjects in one or more songs and they are considered the greatest Rock-N-Roll band that ever existed.
Most importantly though for their lyrics are that they are challenging, they make you think. They make you want to dissect them and figure out what they mean and thus making you want to listen to their tracks even more. This is a sign of not only a great Rock band but also a great musical act in general.
What I shall be discussing now is the dividing point for a lot of people on whether or not The 1975 are a Rock-N-Roll band.This is their sound. No one here can pretend that The 1975 are the heaviest band out there. Their sonic sound is very much derived from Pop and some R&B influence. They even utilize electronics and synthesizers within their music, which many people use as the defining argument for them not being a Rock-N-Roll band. But I say this is not the end of the argument.
Yes they do use things like electronic drums and synthesizers but at the end of the day they are four guys playing guitar driven music. GUITAR DRIVEN MUSIC. Sonically this is the key to being a Rock-N-Roll band. If you have a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, and a singer, then you have the classic mold of a Rock band.
So in conclusion, I say that even though The 1975 have many Pop elements and uses electronics in their music they are still a Rock-N-Roll band. They make upbeat guitar driven music laced with challenging and real lyrics. If you disagree with me then go to spotify.com and give them a listen and decide for yourself. But most important enjoy the music.
BABE YOU LOOK SO COOL
Photo by: David Drake
Photo by: Dave Ma/Courtesy
Photo by: Jon Super/Getty
In my opinion, one of the last true Rock-N-Roll bands had to have been Oasis. They embodied the essence and the spirit of Rock-N-Roll. The music and the attitude were ever present in this group’s persona from the time they began in 1991 till the time they decided to part ways in 2009. Rock music is surely lacking without their presence, so let’s take a look at this amazing Rock-N-Roll band.
Oasis formed originally under the name The Rain with members including Paul ”Guigsy” McGuigan on bass, Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs on guitar, Tony McCarroll on drums, and Chris Hutton on vocals. Hutton was eventually replaced by Liam Gallagher and suggested the band’s name should be renamed to “Oasis”. Oasis played their first live gig on August 18, 1991 at the Boardwalk Club in Manchester. There in attendance was Liam’s older brother Noel Gallagher. After the show, Noel offered to join Oasis only if he’d become the sole songwriter of the group. The others approved and thus the Oasis that majority of us know and love was born.
With Noel now being lead songwriter the band received a big break when Creation Records co-owner Alan McGee discovered them at a gig in May 1993. McGee was impressed with the band so much he offered them a recording contract. Oasis went into the studio and recorded their debut record “Definitely Maybe”. The record was released on August 29, 1994, entering the charts at number one within a week of its release. This made “Definitely Maybe”, at the time, the fastest selling debut record in the UK.
In 1995, Oasis released their sophomore record “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?”. “(What’s the Story)” received commercial success, selling over four million copies thus becoming the fourth best-selling album in UK ChartHistory. This record gave us amazing tracks including “Some Might Say”, “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, “Champagne Supernova”, and of course, “Wonderwall”. Oasis would continue to release music throughout the years until 2009 where they inevitably broke up. This was mainly because of the professional and personal conflicts that would happen between both Liam and Noel Gallagher.
A huge reason why Oasis was successful and cemented their place in Rock History was because they made amazing tunes, but another reason, which is often criticized as a negative, was the fact that were so controversial. The members of Oasis were often described as everyday “lads” in a band. They were loud, they were not afraid to say their opinion on music, politics, etc., they were known partiers, and they would constantly say they were the greatest rock band that ever existed. This is almost genius in an unintentional way. Because they would get in a drunken fight, or punch a photographer, or say that everyone in the British Parliament does drugs, or have a member quit the band during a tour, the media wanted to cover it. With the major news outlets covering these shenanigans all this is doing is getting more eyes on the product of Oasis. People who watch these stories would be exposed to Oasis and their music, which could ultimately win the audience over and make them become fans.
Whatever your opinion on their music is, you cannot deny the impact and the influence Oasis has had on Rock-N-Roll. With their relatable rock tunes and their media grabbing actions, Oasis has to go down as one of the last great true Rock-N-Roll bands as of late. They of course aren’t the only ones and I shall be discussing. There are many more acts to speak about in the coming weeks. But for right now you should head over to spotify.com and put it on the Oasis channel and fly away.
Photo by: Steve Double
Photo by: Brian Cannon
Photo by: Jill Furmanovsky
Over the past few years, Rock-N-Roll music has begun to take a back seat to the mainstream media and receiving less radio play on popular stations. Why is that? Has the music changed? Has the audience changed? Has our taste changed?
Almost all of these are perfectly acceptable reasons but I believe it is something deeper. Rock-N-Roll is no longer in the forefront of music is because Rock music no longer has these iconic figures who not only influence us through their music but influence us through their iconic lifestyles and beliefs. Look at some of the most popular Rock acts out there. For example, The Beatles had John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. I understand most people would not be able to name all of The Beatles but majority of them could at least name one. And why is that? It is because of some of their antics and their life outside of the band that truly made this group icon. Of course, The Beatles make amazing music but again they solidified their place in Rock history for everything they did outside of their realm of music. They influenced pop culture. Because of them everyone started wearing their hair just like them and dressing like them. They became so huge that major news would report on them.
The reason why Rock-N-Roll is taking a back seat to Pop, Country, and Rap is because of this. Rock Music no longer has these characters. Rock-N-Roll no longer has ROCK STARS.
So where are all the Rock Stars? If you believe the title of this blog, you could say and make a pretty decent argument that they are all dead. Currently right now in today’s music scene, Rock-N-Roll is not challenging in any sense of the word. It is not challenging musically, it is not challenging lyrically, and it is not challenging to pop culture and the rest of the world. I believe this is because a lot of Rock bands think to themselves “How can we be the heaviest Pop band out there?” They are trying their hardest to get played on the radio so they can become bigger and make their management and record company more money.
They are focusing on the wrong thing here. They should be writing true, real, honest music that is not influenced by anything or anyone other than the artist themselves. When a band does this we get The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who, Metallica, Green Day, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Oasis, etc. (If I made any of you feel nostalgic then you can listen to all of these bands here on Spotify.) And the real winners are us the fans, because we get AMAZING music that we all shall talk about for years and years to come.
In the weeks to come, I shall be discussing more about how we need the Rock Stars put back into Rock-N-Roll music. I shall be talking about certain bands of the past and certain bands of the present as well and see what makes them important to Rock-N-Roll. If any of you have some favorite Rock Bands you’d like for me to discuss, please leave a comment below.
Photography by: Iain Macmillan (1969)
Photography by: Jill Furmanovsky (1997)
Photography by: Joe Papeo (2013)