Editorial: What’s the Problem with Rock?


Rock, the verruca on the sole of society’s foot, often ignored and just as frequently trampled on yet consistent and determined. Big record labels try to freeze it out only to find it returns bigger and more powerful than before.

The international language of rock, born in the 1950’s has gone through many variations and themes over the decades but however you choose to categorise it every subgenre has come up against the same brick wall as the others and that is the wall of mainstream popular music. Loved by “everyone”, no one more so than the record companies themselves who throw money at it with gay abandon.

So what is it that record companies fear from rock?

To me, the most obvious factor appears to be the lack of control. Their inability to mould rock bands into what they consider to be marketable. The mere suggestion “We could improve this by……..” would be enough to see any band with balls heading for the door, sticking their middle finger up  as they go their own way. These guys are the real deal, the ones who have put sweat, blood and tears into the music that they feel so passionately about and that is worth more than any poxy record deal. Sadly though, many equally great bands have succumbed to the pressure and have become lost in the world of mainstream mediocrity.

Sometimes the lack of airplay and the ignorance of the music industry in general only adds to the air of mystery that rock provides, thus pushing its appeal to those who choose not to conform and yearn the taboo. To such people rock is something they can relate to, a feeling and sometimes the only thing that understands who they really are which in turn only leads to nurturing and encouraging growth at grass roots level. The underground scene and the local music scene are where you will find rock is at its very raw best.

The flip side of general ignorance caused by lack of promotion is that it fuels speculation and creates situations such as the witch hunts that many bands have been subjected to over the decades. The poor, misguided, gullible members of society who actually believe that there are satanic links within rock and that it alone can recruit new members to team Beelzebub. The same people who much as they may deny it will know every word to at least one classic rock song whether related to a fleeting childhood memory or a more intense life changing experience. Even they must realise that whilst pop bands and their meaningless songs come and go a well written profound rock song will stand the test of time and the band who produced it will still be selling out major concert venues well into the future.

Rock, like a weed will continue to grow and thrive in the background and regardless of the disdain shown and the neglect bestowed upon it, it will not curl up and die.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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