Tone Tips: Does the Rock Guitar Eat Its Own?


I grew up listening to all kinds of music, but rock and roll was (and always will be) my number one musical love. So it naturally concerns me that rock music seems to be in a bit of a crisis lately. Not too long ago, while on a guitar forum on Facebook, I came across a recently posted link to an interesting and thought-provoking article on the TeamRock website. “Is rock music running out of ideas? Is the title. He explores the theory that rock has become somewhat stagnant and is therefore losing popularity. According to author Scott Rowley, “Rock music is not dead; going round and eating his own cock …

“Ask one of the early generations of hard rock stars and you’ll get a similar story,” Rowley continues. “You’ll get Tony Iommi raving on Hank Marvin, Jimmy Page talking about Scotty Moore and James Burton, Glenn Hughes hitting on Otis Redding, Rod Stewart on Sam Cooke. Even the second generation: Angus Young would rave about Chuck Berry more than he did. wouldn’t do it on Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page. Joe Strummer would rave about Beefheart, King Tubby and Johnny Cash. “

Rowley goes on to note that asking today’s young bands about their influences will result in a predictable role call: Zeppelin, Free, Sabbath, Gun N ‘Roses, Thin Lizzy, AC / DC. “And who are their bands like?” Zeppelin, Free, Sabbath, Gun N ‘Roses, Thin Lizzy, AC / DC, ”he says. “Rock eats itself, moving in increasingly decreasing circles, recycling its greatest hits.

I think there’s a lot of truth to what Rowley is saying, and a mid-2017 report from Nielsen Music seems to support his thinking. Factoring in CD purchases and streaming in the US, rock ranks second after hip-hop / R & B (23% to 25.1%, respectively). So what should a young aspiring rock guitarist do? I believe and maintain that it is just a matter of thinking outside the box and breaking the mold.

Expand your horizons. I’ve always loved reading magazine interviews with my guitar heroes, especially when I discovered some of their unexpected influences. Randy Rhoads is a prime example of a guitarist who took a wide range of influences and stretched the parameters of hard rock. Sure, he loved Ritchie Blackmore and Michael Schenker, but he was also an avid student of classical guitar and liked players like Allan Holdsworth and Earl Klugh. “Diary Of A Madman,” the epic track from Ozzy Osbourne’s second solo album, is a Randy tour de force where his many influences are all exhibited. It didn’t hurt that Ozzy himself was a Beatles fanatic and showed a desire to experiment musically, but keep in mind, folks: that was in 1981! Hard rock and metal were relatively new genres and these guys were already pushing the boundaries.

We have the tools, we have the music to influence, and we have the means to distribute and promote at our fingertips.

Fast forward to the early 90s, when 10 years of hair metal had certainly taken its toll. It was not all bad for sure, but do i need to say more than Cherry Pie? (Rowley’s comment that rock goes around in circles and eats its own tail could certainly be applied around this time.) But lo and behold, grunge has come to save the day and Nirvana has taken over the airwaves and MTV with shares. equal parts of pop, punk and hard rock. It was incredibly fresh, and above all it was authentic.

Soundgarden pushed the boundaries even further than Nirvana. Always changing and experimenting, they mixed post-punk with Sabbath and Zeppelin. But Chris Cornell loved everything from classic soul to Elvis Costello. And it all made its way into his writing, playing and singing in a very natural and unforced way. He’s never been one to adhere to rules, boundaries, or clichés of any kind, and it is this fearlessness (and that of his bandmates) that has allowed Soundgarden to expand and expand. the hard-rock genre exponentially. Acoustic instruments mixed with very fuzzy guitars and basses, tinged Middle Eastern melodies and extreme alternative tunings. It was a fair game for Soundgarden.

What’s my point? There has never been a time when accessing music to influence yourself was easier. We also have more instruments, amplifiers, software and sound effects at our disposal than ever before. The computer I’m typing on now can easily be used to create and release an album. The only thing holding us back is, well …we. We have the tools, we have the music to influence, and we have the means to distribute and promote at our fingertips. But you just have to dare to be different. AC / DC are one of my all-time favorite bands, but one thing’s for sure: the rock’n’roll world doesn’t need another AC / DC! The rock world needs a band that can listen to it in the same way AC / DC did it – or Led Zeppelin, the Who, Nirvana or Soundgarden, for that matter.

Hope this inspires a young guitarist to reunite with cool musician friends with varied musical tastes. Who knows what might happen? No rules, think beyond borders, combine your influences and don’t be afraid to be different. Really, insist to be different. The sky is the limit, so what have you got to lose? Now, go!

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