Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rock Ain't Near Dead™

Rock Ain't Near Dead™ is a concept. It's taking the argument, or at least the discussion of, 'is rock 'n' roll dead?' and turning it upside down, inside out, and top to bottom. It's soon to make its debut on LA Talk Radio, and has already established a presence in social media. It's a mission that aims to further perpetuate this thing called rock 'n' roll. To hold it up and examine it from all sides, past, present, and future. To further its cause, and its call.

It all began back in the spring of this year - there was this great discussion being held on my favorite weekly podcasts - 65amps Lunch with Dan Boul. In addition to being the founder, head chief, and bottle washer at one of the world's finest boutique amp companies, Dan is not only a great webcast show host, he's a serious student of rock 'n' roll - having been raised in the region of rock's birth down in Missouri, he also earned his keep as a professional guitarist both here and abroad in England, where he solidified his love of all British amplification. Somewhere in between, he lived in Atlanta, where he worked for the legendary musical instrument retailer, Rhythm City. There, he toiled side by side with another gear freak who turned his passion into what's become almost 15 years with Sheryl Crow's band, guitarist and musical director, Peter Stroud. Dan walks the walk, and he can sure enough talk the talk.

Dan Boul hanging with the King of Cool, Earl Slick
This discussion of Dan's looked at rock 'n' roll's place in the world as of today. Great rock is not most generally seen, or heard in the mainstream, its having been replaced by corporate avarice, greed, a generation that has mistakenly been raised on the concept that music should be free, and an absence of any act that could be described as visionary. There's no young Hendrix on the scene, no Pink Floyd standing in the shadows, and to my knowledge, no Beatles in any caverns in Germany as we speak. The question was posited - "Is rock 'n'roll dead?" The gauntlet was thrown down.

This type of conjecture stopped me in my tracks - I spend most of my waking hours immersed in all things rock. From morning to night, I am scouring the planet for great rock, and doing all I can to support artists I feel who, if perhaps are not exactly saving rock 'n' roll, are at least keeping it more than afloat. I've heard a tremendous resurgence in the quality of rock music I'm hearing these days from any number of genres - whether it's Tony Reed up in Washington state putting out album after album of ridiculously good heavy music under several guises as an ace guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer, Steve Hackett leading a prog rock revival unrivaled by anything since the days of ELP and Yes, great new bands such as The Temperance Movement and The Graveltones from England, 68-75 out of Dan's old stomping grounds in Atlanta, or Eric Gales flying the Hendrixian guitar hero flag high with Pinnick Gales Pridgen, there is literally more good music going down than I can handle. Henceforth, Rock Ain't Near Dead™.

Eric Gales crossing the boundaries
Mr. Boul and myself have been continuing this discussion for months, and somewhat serendipitously the concept grew legs and has started become its own entity. It was cropping up on his show with great regularity, and it was appearing in my blog, Rock Guitar Daily, and in my overly busy presence in the social media. It became a platform from which we could not only look back at rock 'n' roll's hallowed past, but we could also look closely at what was going on today, and even hope to help steer where it goes in the future. Rock Ain't Near Dead, no more than is the blues, no more than is jazz. It's sure evolving, though.

Our first venture is taking shape as an internet radio show, Rock Ain't Near Dead™, which will make its debut on LA Talk Radio here very shortly, perhaps as soon as mid-November. We're looking at formats, features, guests, and exactly how we want to get the ball rolling. We've both spent years garnering good relationships within the musical community, and we've made some amazing friends who will now make for some amazing guests. In the last year I've worked with many musical luminaries - Glenn Hughes, David Coverdale, dUg Pinnick, Greg Lake, Leslie West, Orianthi, Steve Lukather, and the list goes on - it's now time to reach even higher, step up a little closer, and do even more to help great folks like these in furthering their missions. In addition to these great classic rockers, I've been at the forefront with new bands and acts such as Canada's Monster Truck, Scorpion Child, Andrew 50 Watt, The Temperance Movement, The Graveltones, and many, many more. Indeed, rock may not be currently King, but maybe it's not a good time for kings, and a better time for those who come from a position of love, passion, and integrity, as opposed to birth right.

Glenn Hughes and Andrew 50 Watt preparing to make a racket!
In addition to our radio show, we'll also be setting up a full service website, the requisite social media outlets, and there is even talk of a small batch record label with the Rock Ain't Near Dead™ imprimatur. We're even looking at partnering up with a recording studio to make new projects happen. I'm not sure how far this can go, but we intend to find out, because I will tell you this. One can bitch, one can moan, one can carp all one likes about the sad state of affairs, but the day will be made by those who approach the issue from a standpoint of positivity and action. Don't bitch, get off your ass and make something happen. As Carlin said, "If you don't like the weather, move."

We're moving. We're working. We're getting ready to have an impact, have a lot of fun, and maybe more than anything, to get everyone - you, me, everyone, doing something to keep rock 'n' roll moving, to keep it alive and doing fine, and to even be ready when the next Giant appears - "If you build it, they will come."

Rock 'N' Roll needs some help - this much is certain. We live in a time in which the music business has gone so wrong that the proposed saviors are mostly pirates. Music must again be of true value - both sonically and economically, and that's going to take hard work, innovation, and great perseverance, because there are a great many with a great amount of control who think the status quo is just fine. We know it's not, and there are many of our breed who are reinventing a struggling business model.

At any rate, we're going to have some great fun, some great laughs, and we're going to attempt to entertain as well as to be entertained - for that was always rock's promise - not just to be entertaining, but to be enlightening and entertaining in all directions. I'm hoping that everyone who reads this will wish us well, and join us upon this journey - for it's true, Rock Ain't Near Dead....

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