These days, these bands are still very much alive, new generations of kids are discovering them and listening to them, buying their records, but I think I would be right in saying they are seen as 'alternative' by today's standards.
Now, I'm not going to judge anyone's music taste, and of course, times change. Now take a look at the charts today. We have today's generation of kids watching the X Factor. We see so many singers and artists come into popularity by singing someone else's songs, and have lyrics and music written for them by someone who knows what they're doing. They become hot. Look at Justin Beiber with his millions of followers or 'Beliebers' on twitter. Granted, the kid can sing. I just wonder how much involvement he has in the songwriting process. Who are his influences?
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not attacking the entire pop industry. There are many genuinely incredible singers, artists and bands who hold their own. Beyonce and the late Amy Winehouse for example.
I just can't help but hear half the shite on our radios and wonder, just what the hell happened? I think we need somebody in mainstream radio to come along and do what John Peel did.
If you are a musician, have been in a band or know anything about writing music of any kind, you know it's not easy. There are people who are naturally gifted, but sometimes that isn't enough. There are so many struggling artists who never get noticed or picked up by any labels. I have heard some incredible acoustic performers, bands and singers playing the local bars nobody's ever heard of who have more talent, originality and stage performance than many artists out their touring the world, earning millions with their legion of teenage fans. Clearly, this is not a fair world, at least in the music business.
As a music fan, I seek out the good shit. I'm always looking for new music. I can't get enough. Every so often, I discover a band I'd never heard of before, and I'm hooked. I never really listen to the radio. They always play the same shit. Now, don't get me wrong here, there are some great radio shows, I'm just directing this at the music they play on your typical breakfast show and during the day, just chart stuff, repeated every day till you're sick of it.
They only play what they think will be popular, or it seems that way to me. You know what I mean. How are we supposed to hear anything fresh? It's not just radio. I used to go down to a rock club here in Belfast, almost every week. I remember one time going to the DJ and requesting a Pepper's song. He refused to put on any of the songs I wanted, and said he would play Give It Away or Dani California or Can't Stop. He only wanted the people to hear something they would recognise and dance to.
I really, REALLY don't understand that mentality. Why not play something people don't know? I knew if he put on Stone Cold Bush or Good Time Boys, people would dig it. They would dance. Or so I like to think. We are so blinded by radio. I have had so many people who told me they thought Californication was the Red Hot Chili Peppers first album. Oh, the look on their face when I told them they had an album out in 1984.
One example of a band that takes influences from past decades of rock and blues while giving us an original, modern sound is The Black Keys. I'm glad they have been getting a lot of mainstream attention, but bands like this, in my opinion should be far better known than they are. If you're reading this and don't know of them, have a wee listen to this.
I think I'm leaving myself a little confused as to what my original point with all this was, but hopefully I've been able to make you think.
It just makes me sad to hear the same old crap day in day out in work on the radio and think that of all the people who never hear anything different.There is ALWAYS more beautiful music out there, that's what we all need to hear. Search for it. Music that makes you feel something. I can't wait to find out who I'll discover next.