What ever happened to my rock & roll?


Harry Brooks had no option than to love music. From an early age, the sounds of The Beatles, The Byrds, Neil Young and James Taylor have filled his ears, until he hit 12 and started to delve a bit deeper into the joys of music. He can be found playing in various bands around the city including Saturator, but would happily sacrifice every one of his records to see Everton win the league again. For Getintothis he wonders where all the rock & roll stars have gone…

Sat in a pub beer garden at the weekend enjoying the sun and a selection of Eastern Europe’s finest light ales (as well as sundry nuts and crisps), the conversation turned to music.
A few members of the party, myself included, have played in beat-pop combos regularly, and have speculated about what it would be like to live the dream, and sign that elusive record deal.
One of the chaps isn’t a musician, and started to prattle on about living the fabled ‘rock n’ roll lifestyle’ of Keith Moon, John Bonham and Cliff Richards (really, absolute hell raiser was Sir Cliff). Which set me to thinking – what has happened to those rock and roll rebels who live life with a different set of rules to us mere mortals, but at the same time were cool and had the music to back it up? Is anyone truly rock and roll anymore?
For instance, bands such as Keane, Coldplay and Travis get lumped into the list of rock bands these days – however, my Grandad is more rock and roll than these, and he’s been dead for five years. Keane take blandness to whole new levels – even Tom Chaplin’s recent stay in rehab seemed more like a PR invention to keep them in the news and up their rock quota.
Even somebody like Pete Doherty (right) – celebrity girlfriend, drink, drugs, reviled by the media – is only playing at living the lifestyle, and certainly hasn’t got the music to back it up, so for me can’t be classed as rock and roll. And if there is one thing he isn’t, it is cool. Liam Gallagher did it for one album, but now just comes across as the bell-end he always was.
Iggy Pop is still out there, doing it as though it was still 1969; on stage, he looks as though he were built solely for that purpose. It’s just him – no posing, no attitude, nothing contrived. For him, it’s the entire embodiment of his being. Just look at his Glastonbury performance, getting the crowd up on stage, telling the stewards to go f*ck themselves, then falling over because of the mud that had been left on stage. Absolutely ace, and I’m not even a fan of either him or The Stooges. Compare that to, for instance, My Chemical Romance (insert name of any other punk rock wannabe).
The Who played two festivals last month – Glastonbury and Knowsley (which is an article in itself), and blew away every other band on show – more energy, cooler, better songs, and a history of self-destruction (well, certainly in Pete’s case) that puts others to shame.
The View, the so called saviours of rock (©NME) suggest wearing the same kecks for a few days as living life on the edge. I truly despair.
The cool, rock and roll element doesn’t just mean self destruction though. Take Frank Zappa – no drugs, huge work ethic, and a cool that just can’t be bought.
I can’t think of anybody in modern music that I really desire or aspire to be. I watch DVD’s of the Who, Zeppelin, The Doors, The Byrds (pictured left) and I want to be those people, they have that indefinable element that added to the fact they made such great music. I’d carry on with the daily 9-5 than swap places with any current musician.
Take Towers of London. They try so hard to live up to the idea of rock & roll, that they end up being a cliché of that very idea. Plus they are possibly the worst band this side of The Twang.
So, is the well of real rock-stars all dried up? Are we going to have to make do with the watered down, PG-rated version from now on? For the sake of rock and roll, we really need a saviour.