Is Rock Dead?

Being a rocker of the old school and living in North America, one might think that Rock Music is either dead or dying.  Try finding new songs from veteran Rockers on our radio.  Yeah, I know we can tune to some Classic Rock FM stations, however can we hear the latest from say an Ian Hunter, Styx, Kenny Shields or the Stones?  Nah, only what they performed back in the seventies and eighties.  So, what about new Rockers…can we hear their Artistic Works?  Not so much!  Yet, if we look at Asia, Europe and the UK, Rock in all of its glory is all over the airwaves!  Here, in North America-traditional radio are worried their audiences are shrinking, and going to the internet, tuning in the internet radio stations.  Hey! wait a minute!—What is actually on these Internet Radio Stations??  Well, Rock of course!—It really doesn’t make sense does it!  The North American music industry, as a whole, is struggling…that includes radio, labels and concert promotions.  They collectively worry about the intrusion of the so-called Digital Age, Digital Downloads and the sort.  Instead of embracing these emerging Medias, like their European and Asian cousins, it seems they close the quarters.  Do a little digging, and we would find out that those veteran musicians that are still producing and recording, are doing so with Labels from Europe and Japan.  They also undertake substantial tours of those territories, and are successful at it!  It seems, here in Canada, we are back to the old ways, where emerging Canadian Artist as well as our veteran musicians have to look outside the country first, before they get the recognition from home-grown industry movers.

I keep hearing there is no money in Rock!—what a false statement!  Here are just a few examples of genuine support from many in the industry—however they are not North American…let’s look at the December issue of Classic Rock, as an example, the premiere UK monthly magazine that is actually the bible of Rock for many across the globe:  It is primarily a celebration of  forty years of AC/DC!  It arrives with not one, but two CD’s!  It is of course a glossy print publication with an average of 140 pages…now that takes money!  As one looks through this issue…a gatefold advertisement right in the middle of the magazine, (equivalent to a Super Bowl commercial), full colour on Def Leppard’s latest DVD release: “Viva Hysteria”!  This one ad, shows the support of the group’s label and that they are willing to put up the dollars to support such a project.  Would we see this type of support in Canada?  To my eyes, sadly not!  Of course, Classic Rock is not the only example, there are many more-all across the globe, where the print media, record labels and promotion companies collectively show their support for such veterans as David Coverdale & Whitesnake, REO Speedwagon, Heart, and many more.  They do not just stay with the veterans, they announce and proclaim brand new Artists as well—such as Kick, Silent Voices, Red Dragon Cartel, and on it goes.  Let’s just take a brief look at some Canadian groups/artists that are still active, and think about if you heard of any of this activity.  Sass Jordan teaming up with Brian Tichey—with the blues rocker “S.U.N.” hitting the streets in 2013.  Have you heard it—did you even know it was released?  Kenny Shields has just released some new material, and if you are not plugged in to the internet, you most likely haven’t heard as well. 

There is more, however I do not want this piece to end up as a negative rant, as there are people out there in this country that know what must be done!  And they are doing it!  Next week, we will begin looking at some of those very people—those with a mission and a vision—bringing Rock to life, reminding us that those whom amazed us some forty years ago are still doing the same today, and we have new Artists embracing this Art of pure Rock…their Voices are also being heard…and with the help of a certain few, their Voices will be heard the world over!  So, is Rock Music Dead?—not so much!



And don’t forget Indie Night in Canada…on January 25th, at Riley’s in West Kelowna…the first of many Special Events that will take place at this re-energised West Kelowna venue:  Riley’s presents: Indie Night In Canada: featuring Kelowna’s own: the Flu, and Fields Of Green… plus Eric & Alexander!!-- these two talented men are from the Castanet Garage Band winners, Scissorkick…a fantastic up & coming group of Rockers! 

So, mark this one on your calendars—Saturday January 25th in West Kelowna, at Riley’s!-doors open at 6pm, and advance tickets are available at Riley’s plus the West Kelowna Petrocan.   

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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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