For years now, heavy music has fallen out of the mainstream. Bands with an affinity for alt-folk, synthpop, dubstep, EDM and pop have caught on with the masses, leaving bread-and-butter heavy music genres such as rock and metal to smaller crowds.
But, there are signs heavy music is making a comeback. Metallica will headline Glastonbury this year, making them the first-ever metal band to headline the festivities. Coachella brought some heavy sounds to its alternative-leaning festival this year with Motörhead.
More and more artists are refusing to water down their guitar riffs and rock rhythms to fit in with trends.
“People have been saying rock is dead for years but the reality is that it just falls out of favor with pop culture from time to time,” Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge and Slash’s band recently told the press.
With all the pop music out there, there was bound to be a reaction, right?
Here are a few musicians who would love to see a rock resurgence—and soon.
Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, when asked by Download.com about the band’s Carnivores tour:
“A lot of rock and pop music today are very passive and jingly. It sounds like stuff you hear on Nick Jr. and Disney Channel. And if I’m 16, do I want to listen to Nick Jr. rock or something that’s going to be pushing it? So that carnivorous attitude just became a theme that we kept coming back to.”
Slash on true rock surviving amid a very pop-driven landscape via a release:
“I am a rock ‘n’ roll guy. The music business has become a pop-oriented sort of thing and all of the different music genres have become pop. I love the fact that I am doing rock ‘n’ roll and have always done the same thing from a very heartfelt place. Aerosmith has represented that to me ever since I was kid. The two of us going out there and doing this big (upcoming summer) tour and holding that banner and doing it as sincerely as it can be done is something that I can be proud of.”
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden on rock’s decline, as told to Details.com:
“Rock never meant the same thing to everyone, but when I was growing up in the late ‘70s, everyone could identify the five, ten bands that formed the center. Even if you preferred the fringe—the Clash over, say, Van Halen—you still knew what the center was. Now kids turn on the radio and hear Eminem or Kanye, so that's what they gravitate toward. They're making music on iPhones. Everything's fractured. The reason there's no modern-day Shakespeare is because he didn't have anything to do except sit in a room with a candle and think.”
Myles Kennedy of Slash and Alter Bridge on rock’s loyal fan base via a release:
“Though rock is not the force that it once was in America, it still has a loyal fan base that always seems to continue regardless of what popular culture deems as the ‘cool thing.’ It’s great because you go to a rock show and you know folks aren't there because they are following trends, they aren't fair weather fans, they’re following their heart and listening to music that they love. People have been saying rock is dead for years but the reality is that it just falls out of favor with pop culture from time to time. The rock fans are still out there and that's why a tour like this is so important.”
Warren Haynes on the state of rock music, as told to Billboard:
“Man, I've been hearing that for over 10 years, and I’m sure some elements of rock, particularly in the mainstream, appear to be deceased. But I think there are independent young bands that are going at it the right way and hopefully are bringing back a resurgence. There's no shortage of ticket sales for classic rock bands, but the marketplace is just so cram-packed with product that it's hard for a lot of things to find air. Unfortunately, as much as I hate to say it, in the case of rock music, the bar is very high. If you're going to be a rock ‘n’ roll band you've got to compare yourself to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Stones, the Allmans, the Gratfeul Dead, and that's a high bar to contend with. I hear a lot of really cool young music that I hope will cause a new wave of excitement but I don't know that I hear a lot of stuff that competes with the greatest rock music ever made.”
Photos by Anne Erickson
For further reading:
Metallica’s Hetfield on Instagram
Robb Flynn Love/Death Baritone Flying V
Metal vs. Rock: Ozzy Ponders Musical Geology