Every couple of years some twat who has never actually seen a guitar writes an article claiming that ‘guitar music is dead’, as if it is some great scoop and actually true. Which of course it isn’t, yes bands with guitars more often than not fail to top the charts, which is instead full of soulless crap (in the majority anyway), but any slight scratch below the surface shows that music with guitars is far from dead. However, is it still cool? I mean of course it’s cool, but is it really cool? There was a time when rockstars were the coolest fuckers on the planet and had an amazing ability to do more drugs, drink more booze and fraternise with more young women than anyone else. Is that era dead? Are the current wave of rock bands lacking that little bit of va va voom?
The band that inspired this article was Black Stone Cherry, one of the new wave of rock and roll bands who every year seem to be getting that little bit bigger. Their latest album, Magic Mountain, has seen them embracing the American radio rock sound even more and they are getting to that stage in their career where they will either make the step up to festival headliners or have to accept that they will also be the bridesmaid and never the bride. Either way the band themselves have now got four albums of rock and roll goodness on the shelves and yet that cool factor is lacking. When Guns ‘N’ Roses sang about shagging hookers it seemed edgy and cool, although slightly less so now, and yet on “Dance Girl”, from the aforementioned Magic Mountain, when BSC sing “damn girl, I’m seeing me with you tonight” it just comes across a bit cringe, as if the band are pulling out lyrics that they think they should be singing, but in reality they should just be leaving well alone.
It’s not just Black Stone Cherry however, modern day rock and roll has lost that down and dirty edge that made it so sexy to begin with. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Maybe it’s just as simple as the heavy metal and rock community growing used to all this stuff, so while the mainstream pontificates over a pop band caught smoking a bit of a weed, we’ve got bored of people snorting coke and chucking a TV out a window. However, it’s also the case that the music has got as down and dirty as it can get and quite frankly we got fed up of it. Glam metal has been and gone and the world has rightly decided that yes, Poison, while they may have been ‘rock and roll’, were also really shit.
So yea, rock and roll isn’t as dangerous or edgy as it once was. However, is it still cool? Damn fucking right it is. I don’t think there is a single right minded human being who would be able to claim that Black Stone Cherry are not cooler than Justin Bieber. That no matter what Miley Cyrus does, she will never be as edgy as the beer swilling rockers that make up Airbourne. Rock and roll is always cool and yes every now and then the mainstream forgets that, but the people that make and love that music will never do so and in reality that’s all that matters.