Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Teaching New Dogs Old Musical Tricks

As life bestows its chronological gifts, I have reached the stage where I am faced with bafflement when considering modern popular music combinations.

As the sands of time shift, the modern music scene seems to become increasingly difficult for me to comprehend and I find myself seeking solace in the timeless classics.

My daughter has tried to explain to me the merits of various contributors to the music of the current generation, but all of these reality TV show winners seem to look alike to me and all their songs appear to be covers of the proper music from my youth.

I cannot be alone with my confusion over modern music. Such is the state of the scene at the moment that we are seeing the industry encouraging the strange phenomena of bands that split up with artistic differences years ago (see Note 1) to reform and undertake huge arena tours. Even Michael Jackson is currently undergoing a 45 000 mile service with his cosmetic surgeon ready to moonwalk onto stage for a few intimate gigs at the O2 arena.

It seems to me, my mellifluous yeomen, that modern music lacks something. The youth music scene today seems to have forgotten why it exists – it is there to challenge the establishment. It is there to drive hormone fuelled youth into a frenzy of indignation and ignite a passion to change the world.

I was a mere child when Messrs Townsend, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon started ‘The Who’. By developing a stage act where they destroyed their instruments at the end of the set (See Note 2) and setting the standard for thumbing ones nose at the establishment.

Drawing a veil over the way Roger Daltrey was to subsequently going to retire to a country mansion, become a renowned fly fisherman and advertise American Express; I will point modern songsters to the late lamented Keith Moon. There was a man who epitomised the Rock and Roll lifestyle and ensured the fame of the band. (see Note 3)

Keith Moon defined the style of the band with his delivery of percussion. He provided the beat that drove the music. (see Note 4)

What the musicians of today need to realise is that unless you have some beat in the music, they are never going to be able to whip the audience into rebellious frenzy. How can you expect your songs to probe the mass consciousness to promote the downfall of the western world when they are as memorable as third rate marmalade? Without a mob following, how can they ever expect to enjoy a garage stuffed full of Ferraris attached to a 20 bedroom mansion overlooking a couple of acres of trout lake?

So all you young wannabee musicians out there must get real. If you want to make it big, you have to listen to the legends in the business like Bruce Dickinson (see Note 5) and drive the beat home

There isn’t a single song that I have ever heard that wouldn’t be improved by giving it a bit of extra cowbell!

Note 1: This normally meant that the band members deciding that their years as the symbols of rebellion against the status quo was over and they either bought huge country houses and collected classic cars or retired to rehab for many years before returning to the public eye by advertising car insurance.

Note 2: This meant that they avoided the need for any tedious encore, although they often destroyed equipment of greater value than their fee for the gig.

Note 3: His exploits are legendary such as his penchant for driving cars into swimming pools and his love of flushing industrial strength fireworks down toilets.

Note 4: There could be an element of jealousy behind my admiration of Keith Moon because as everyone knows, I cannot carry a beat in a bucket.

Note 5: And a belated birthday wish to Christopher Walken who celebrated his birthday on the 31st March.


Rachel Noy said...

As a youngun, I think you're right, modern music does lack something. A lot of songs are never going to stand the test of time, can;t imagine people still listening to Kanye West or whatever in fifty years time. There's some exceptions though.

Simon said...

... unless Kanye West discovers the cowbell.

Rachel Noy said...


Anonymous said...