There is an unsettling feeling in the air right now, rock and metal heroes seem to be dropping like flies and for the first time, we are about to see an enforced changing of the guards. In the last few months, we have lost Lemmy, Scott Weiland, David Bowie and now today the sad news of Glenn Frey of Eagles fame. We are reaching an age where the rock and roll bands of yesteryear are getting old and their members are passing away. So the question is, what next?
Which is a stupid question to be honest, because as I have said many times before rock and metal are actually in pretty damn good health. Oh sure, if you are looking for more traditional stuff you might struggle (although Airbourne are still doing AC/DC better than AC/DC are capable of doing it at the moment and they aren’t alone in improving the past) but in the underground, music is thriving.
Which some people see as a problem. The last ten years have seen desperate attempts for bands to make the step up, to become the next Metallica or Maiden or whoever. Some have succeeded, Slipknot are now headliners anywhere in the world, although they are not exactly young themselves, while Biffy Clyro are not far behind them. Avenged Sevenfold do seem to have tailed off a bit but it is still hard to see them playing anything smaller than arenas. Yet, we’re not happy. We want more and I don’t think we need more.
Because heavy metal and rock and roll were born in the underground and why shouldn’t it stay there? Oh sure, I’d love to see my favourite bands get as much money as possible and headline Wembley every week. I mean how awesome would it be to see bands like Cancer Bats and Employed to Serve scare the shit out of thousands of uninitiated people? But that’s never going to happen. And sure, they’re not the best examples. If you want to look at the next wave of big bands you should be seeing Five Finger Death Punch and fucking Babymetal. Or even the current watered down version of Bring Me the Horizon, who have gone to the masses rather than waiting for them to come to them. But do you really want to see them as the epitome of everything that is metal?
Because let’s be honest here, Metallica, Maiden even Sabbath. They were flukes. Bands that metal should not be that big. That’s just a fact. No one else is there. Even Download headliners like Tool are minuscule in comparison. Metal’s home is and always will be the sweatbox clubs that allow you to lose your mind for a few hours every week, we’ve just been tricked into believing for a while that that’s not the case.
I’m going to miss Lemmy and all these other guys. I’m going to miss Metallica when they hang up their boots and Maiden too. It already looks like AC/DC are coming to an end and that generation of bands that inspired me will pass on. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s over. Alternative music is alive and kicking we just need to accept it’s going to be on a smaller scale in the years to come. Don’t be one of those people who just gives up and sticks to the old records, much like I said when David Bowie passed, go out and find it. Go out and find the bands that deserve your time and I’ll bet you will never regret it.