1984 was a great year for music. I don’t know if George Orwell’s predictions of a dystopia had anything to do with it, but 1984, to me, stands out as a year when every heavy metal band would reach it’s pinnacle in creating the optimum LPs all captured on glorious vinyl. This year would be a climax of two decades or so, of previous hard rock and heavy metal glory.
Yes, I’m talking about the Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, and even you Motley Crue. The glorious rock stars of yesteryear.
Now let’s take a step forward and look at the state of music today. Where are all those heavy metal gods, the true rock stars. Where are the larger than life bulges in the pants, the boys that look like girls and girls that look like boys? Sure I understand that all of this belongs to an error that has since died out. But what have we replaced it with? Sappy banjo playing preppies, mediocre PC nerds, pseudo disco hipsters, ultra sensitive emo kids with weird hair, or, if we’re lucky, bratty second rate punk bands. It’s no wonder that our children are still wearing our rock shirts and listening to our records, now so smartly available in CD format and apparently all over the internet.
Now back to the past. The year is 1985. Tipper Gore leads the PMRC, a committee of repressed housewives, dedicated to taking all the fun out of rock n’ roll. At the time, I did not see the PMRC as a huge threat, but rather an opportunity for rockers to unite and show how intelligent they truly were, while simultaneously proving the stupidity of said bored housewives who’s biggest victory seemed to be putting an easily ignorable label on albums warning of explicit lyrics and, ultimately, wanting us to buy the album EVEN MORE!!
But now, looking back on things, did Tipper Gore win? Surely more raunchy rock stars emerged since then, producing bawdy lyrics and hip grinds. But it seems it was all with a neatly packaged, glossy sheen, that has since disappeared completely to be replaced by a piece of metal, shrink rapped and presented, as if to say, “Here, buy me. This is what you should be listening to. You don’t need to think about anything at all.”
Indeed I feel sorry for young girls whose best wet dreams will prominently feature a Jonas Brother. And while Radiohead is hardly the worst band in the world, and while I understand the feelings of social inadequacy, probably better than anyone else, nobody is more of a creepy weirdo than Alice Cooper. And it’s highly unlikely that “Symptom of the Universe” had anything remotely to do with recycling.
So I conclude with an urgent plea to rockers of the world to put down your coffee cups, unite and rise with a thundering voice. To paraphrase Nora Roberts, “Rock n’ roll is restless, rude, defiant and daring. Once in a while, someone comes along who truly understands, who has the gift to transfer all those needs and emotions into music.” Where is this person? Banished to a bar band career because the record company is too afraid to unleash the raw emotions that constitute a rock star? Who will be our savior to deliver us from the corporate grindstone that rock n’ roll has now become?