Daltrey had an answer to that proclamation, through the words of Townshend, when in 1972 The Who declared (recorded) ‘Long Live Rock’.
And just like Johnny Winter was, until the summer of 2014, Rock IS still alive and well, according to some, if not Gene Simmons. It was he who recently suggested it had been murdered by those who have refused to invest in the next generation of artists.
Enter Dee Snider with a rebuttal to Gene, via facebook:
“While I have nothing but respect for Gene, he couldn’t be further off the mark. The business model that helped Kiss and my band achieve fame and fortune is most certainly dead – but rock’n’roll is alive and well”.
He adds: “It’s thriving on social media, in the streets, in clubs and concert halls all over the world. And the bands playing it are more genuine than heartfelt than even because they’re in it for one reason: the love of rock’n’roll.”
And while Gene pointed to the illegal downloading of music as the culprit, Snider blames “greedy big-city moguls who made their own velvet noose to hang themselves with.”
His point about the industry killing off vinyl for CD’s rings true with me. Notes the Twister Sister legend: They said, ‘We have to charge more because there’s a cost to setting up the infrastructure to produce them.’ The consumer believed them, so they paid $18.98 for a product they’d been paying $7.99 for previously.
“But when the infrastructure was in place and paid for in full, and the cost of producing a CD dropped to less than a dollar, did the companies roll back the price in kind? Not on your life. They weren’t about to do the right thing and cut their increased revenue stream.”
The age of downloading presented a chance for revenge says Snider: “When the public realized they were being had, and the opportunity arose for them to stick it to the man, they stuck it and they stuck it good.”
Now what? Snider adds that while the gravy train is over, that won’t stop bands from trying. They’ll be motivated by a much more genuine love of the art. “Record company executives killed the business model – and rock’n’roll ain’t dead.”
A simplified view to a complex issue, clearly.
But I go the clubs and see these bands, playing for somewhere between peanuts and enough dough to pay for gas and new strings for their guitars and skins for their drums. And they have the very same passion as the bands ever did. And they have day jobs just like bands 40 years ago did.
It was never easy to make-it in rock and roll.
It was always a crap shoot. A lottery.
The odds are simply greater now. Among the truths – it’s not as if music, or radio, or any other gig you generally don’t have to get up too early in the morning to do (insert all the fun things you’d rather do for a living than be chained to a desk or work-station from 9-15), was ever a walk in the park. So-called artists do what they do because they HAVE TO. It’s not a job. It’s a passion. You want to enjoy financial stability, win the lottery and invest wisely. Even then there’s no guarantees the markets won’t crash, or you’ll be alive to enjoy it.
Find out what it is that moves you and strive to do it your way and do it the best you possibly can.
And quit whining. That’s for babies. Big boys don’t cry. Grasping the heaving bosom of life requires that one do the work.
(photo above courtesy bloomingdales.com)