JUDAS PRIEST’S ROB HALFORD AND TWISTED SISTER’S JAY JAY FRENCH PONDER THE FUTURE OF ROCK
Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford and Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French have voiced of their concerns over the future of rock.
Nine months after KISS bassist Gene Simmons rattled the industry with his claim that rock is dead, Halford continues to champion new acts and questions whether the genre will need big names to sustain itself moving forward.
Halford tells 1290 KOIL Radio, “We were pondering about this the other day in the van driving back from a gig. You know, will there be another great, big rock star giant like Ozzy Osbourne? Will there be another great, big rock star giant like Axl Rose, for example.
Does that really matter? I don’t know. But it’s shifted, it’s changed. The good news is there’s an extraordinary display of talent coming from all different quarters in all different genres of rock and roll.”
He adds, “Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Royal Blood. There’s a ton of bands… Rival Sons… I can keep going and going.”
French feels the situation is much more dire, questioning arena and stadium rock’s future while suggesting fans better catch ageing acts now before the genre disappears for good. uestioning arena and stadium rock’s future while suggesting fans better catch ageing acts now before the genre disappears for good.
He tells iradiousa.com, “It’s an ageing genre. Name me any rock bands that are 25 and younger who are blowing up the charts. That’s the scary part – the replenishment of the genre.
Rock itself is an ageing medium and it hasn’t replenished its ranks, and the kids aren’t dreaming about being rock stars and playing air guitar and thinking they’re Jimi Hendrix and all that stuff like they were in my generation.”
With Twisted Sister set to play its farewell shows next year, French feels the clock is ticking on the whole thing.
He adds, “What will happen when the Twisted Sisters and the Whitesnakes and the Def Leppards and the Motorheads and the Black Sabbaths finally call it a day. Who’s coming up and replacing us? I don’t even know the answer to that. So you’ve gotta go see it while you can.”
One of the Biggest problems I see is band individuals identification. Back in the 80s every damn kid knew every single name of every member in the big bands. We all could name (and still can) every member of Motley Kiss Ratt Dokken Poison Megadeth Metallica stryper Maiden Priest Warrant Slaughter Tesla bon jovi Cinderella Anthrax,etc. RIGHT???Today I dare you to find ONE damn kid that can every member of 5 of the top charting >NEW< rock/metal bands let alone 15 of them. Kids dont identify with the bands like they used to . I dare anyone to challenge any kid under 21 to that challenge
Unfortunately, I think Jay Jay French hit the nail on the head.
Sure, there’s been some good bands to come out since 2000 – The Darkness, Avenged Sevenfold, Halestorm, Ghost, etc – but most of these acts either headline clubs or rely on package tours to play sheds or arenas.
There has also been a change in pop culture. Tyger mentioned already how rap has had a huge influence on pop culture. I was at a bar on Friday evening, and the younger crowd only wanted to hear music they can dance to – rap, pop, EDM, etc. The days when rock ruled seem to be long gone.
I’ve been saying for the last few years that same thing Jay Jay is saying. Once the great live bands are no longer touring, who is out there?
Plus, people don’t seem to be into music like they used to be. The MP3 age has zapped the industry back to the 50s, where the single matters much more than the album. With MP3s, people can just pick and chose which songs they want to put onto their devices. The days of true fandom, when you actually go to a record store on the street date to buy a new album by your favorite artist, seem to be coming to an end.
So, basically, the influence of rap, the rise of MP3 technology, and the general downfall of the quality of new rock may not have killed rock and roll, but the genre isn’t doing well. And sadly, I don’t see it recovering anytime soon.
I’m leaning more towards Jay Jay’s take on this. For whatever reasons, the 70’s and 80’s gave birth to music superstars. I can’t think of ONE person who can hold a candle to Rob Halford, Dio, Bruce, Steven Tyler, Axl Rose – or bands like Priest, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Rush, etc. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing, or the simple playing out of human society. One could argue that music “peaked” during those two decades. I’m sure the reasons are numerous that would be worthy of a grand psychological dissertation. Maybe the way the world is connected now dilutes what could be great talent as everyone is exposed to everyone else now. We all know the music biz itself is WAY different than before, the focus being on hits and looks. Where’s the development? Nowhere. You could also argue the amount of drugs int eh music scene was also greatly responsible for most of the greatest music ever (Aerosmith wasn’t sober when they created “Dream On,” for example.)
Bands like Machine Head (although they’re “older”), Teramaze, Trivium, etc. give me SOME hope. I think MH is criminally under-rated and puts most bands to shame. The rest are good/great, but don’t get the exposure or support to warrant those good ‘ol arena sell outs.
It IS distressing to me, as most of the bands I love are nearing the end. One could argue it’s a generational thing, but how many of those bands from the 50s and 60s had 40+-year careers. So it’s bigger than that. I don’t know what the solution is, if there is one.
Digital Downloads killed not only rock but also music. Only Taylor Swift sold 1 mil this year, and she refused to let Spotify put up her album. Good for her. Scorpions came out with probably their final album Return to Forever, but not on iTunes, so you had to get the physical CD from Amazon. But who did? Probably .001% of anyone who bought a previous Scorps release. Maybe too many releases from our favorite 70s/80s rock bands?? But I buy every one of them because they all are releasing great music – Tom Keiffer, UFO, Schenkers, Scorps, Uli, Priest, Accept, Udo, Motorhead, Sabbath, Van Halen, Deep Purple, Queensryche, etc etc – the artists are still releasing them like it was 1984 but everyone is so filled with other media junk that they don’t bother to support and listen to the new music. There was something about driving to the record store and seeing the new Extreme (or whoever) in the bin, waiting for you to buy it and delve into it.
I agree. Digital download has really destroyed a lot. I still, as a matter of preference, and probably some principle, buy CDs. I’ll snag an iTunes d/l from bands I may never have headroom, but i DO buy the entire albums, not singles.
It should also be noted that recent sales of physical albums show that catalog albums have been outselling new releases.