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Friday, June 26, 2009

Evolution of Modern Rock Music

Moddern Rock Music

This blog post is a combination of three posts on the Laughing Madcaps Syd Barrett group. There is the first post (in red) and then I have combined the two replies into one post on this blog.

Madcapslaughing @ yahoogroups.com wrote: "Never underestimate the power of TV, and time spent growing up in front of it!The Banana Splits (for example) were probably more influential than anythingmentioned here, at least on the musicians of the past 25 years or so. MTV alsohas had a huge influence. The Velvets were hipper, but The Monkees touched allotmore people."

I gotta call you on this. I can't let the above statement slide. What's written above is utter crap, complete bullshit.

Surf, Dylan and the Ennnnnnnnnglish Invasion begat the sixties psych groups (Velvets, MC5, 'Elevators, Chocolate Watchband and all those "Nuggets" groups) begat groups like the New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, and Ramones. This begat Jane's Addiction and the Seattle "grunge" groups which begat what's happening now. It's a straight shot from Psych > Punk > Alternative > today's music spanning 45 years. It can all be explained in one, concise, paragraph like above.

What started modern rock was Surf, Dylan and the Beatles (pretty much). Back in 1965 it was a great turning point. Surf was going out of style and there were two paths ahead: 1) Dylan - *Meaningful* lyrics 2) Beatles. All of the groups in America were making choices on which way to go.

But what the fuck? Groups didn't want to get rid of all that cool equipment for the guitars that went with playing Surf. And Dylan was great and the Beatles were obviously the Next Big Thing so HOW ABOUT if we keep all the cool guitar stuff, I'm still paying on it for Christsake, and COMBINE Dylan and the Beatles? We will rock out like the Beatles and sing "meaningful" lyrics like Dylan. That way we're straddling both new paths and "playing it safe".

So the groups kept playing with all of the cool Surf guitar equipment and tried to cobble together a "Beatles" sound while attempting to marry that with *meaningful* lyrical content ala Bob Dylan. The result was Modern Rock Music. Even the Beatles and Dylan got into the game with the Beatles trying to sing *meaningful* lyrics and Dylan going full electric.

In my opinion, the birth of Psychedelic Music had very little to do with LSD and had a LOT to do with the above two paragraphs. From '65 - '67 a lot of cool music was made until it began to get all bloated and overblown with the ten minute guitar solos and the musicians drinking LSD like it was Kool Aid. Shit got weird with the Progressive Rock, Southern Rock and Country Rock.

Then the Nuggets album was put out in 1972. Kids bought this album and began digging out all of those old 45 rpms. This started the whole "Garage Comp" Industry. But it also helped start Punk. These kids wondered WHY great music like what's on Nuggets wasn't being made anymore. Nuggets was on heavy rotation at hip places like Max's Kansas City in NY. So then groups were formed to celebrate and play this music. That was the birth of Punk.

Also the Velvet Underground went on until 1973 (sort of) and the kids that dug them began to form bands; mostly in NYC. The Stooges/MC5 were influential too. This begat the New York Dolls and Ramones. The kids in Ennnnnngland bought the New York Dolls & Ramones albums. They also gobbled up the Velvets & Stooges stuff.

We can skip right over the psychedelia (long jams), progressive rock, heavy metal, country rock, Southern rock, power pop. Groups like the Grateful Dead, Aerosmith, KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Genesis, Yes, Eagles, Led Zeppelin and a million others might have been superstars in their time BUT they were not all that influential. Whereas groups like the Velvets, MC5, 'Elevators, Chocolate Watchband,... might not have been that big in the Sixties but were HUGELY influential to what happened afterwards. Each new generation continues to pull influence from them. This is why the Velvet Underground were voted the Most Influential Group of All Time by a Rolling Stone Magazine Writer's Poll a few years ago.

You can poke little holes in my argument here and there but what I wrote in the above two paragraphs is pretty much how it went down and continues to go down. Surf/Dylan/English Invasion influenced young American musicians who created the first *modern* Rock music. The thread was lost a bit with the overblown psychedelia (ala Grateful Dead and more), Progressive (King Crimson, Yes and more, Country/Southern Rock (Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a million others, Heavy Metal (millions of bands) but was "picked up" with the emergence of Punk. This was lost in the Eighties among the hair metal and what-the-fuck ever else but was picked up again in the late Eighties with groups like Jane's Addiction and Nirvana. It's an easy leap from them to today's music.

I'm not even that crazy about Punk and Alternative but THAT'S how it went down. Myself, I like the overblown psychedelia but it's a dead branch in the Tree of Rock.

But what I outlined above is why it SUCKS that Sky Saxon died. It's why the Stooges getting back together was such a big deal. It's why Roky Erickson is headlining places like the Coachella Fest.

1 comment:

RokySyd said...

--- In madcapslaughing@yahoogroups.com wrote:
"Exactly right... and it doesn't jump from the Delta/Chicago blues to rock... it goes first via the likes of Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly,
Link Wray... etc."

I was talking about the three schools of youth music that were popular at the birth of modern Rock music: Surf, Dylan, Beatles. I wasn't going back to the apes dragging their knuckles in the mud.

I know that there was the Fifties music and before that Country Blues and New Orleans Jazz. Before that there were piano rolls. I know all that.

I am talking about a scecific moment in time, 1965, and what was happening in the youth music world that begat (what we will call) modern Rock music.

Of *that* synthesis how did we get to where we are today? I don't care that Jefferson Airplane were gigantic in the Sixties. They don't mean shit in the Grand Scheme of things.

I put my theory out and I stand by it.