In which we humbly ask: What the hell happened to rock?

Busted Axl or Sweet Pie O’ Mine?

I remember when – and seriously, anytime someone starts a sentence with “I remember when” you know you’re about to hear a sermon – but I remember when a young Axl Rose strutted onto a stage in white-n-tight, crotch-stuffed bicycle shorts and nothing else, belching out Guns-n-Roses tunes in arenas throughout the world. He’d flip off annoying fans, thrust himself into the crowd and pick fights with reckless abandon.

And that’s when the group cared to take the stage.

It was a time when MTV actually played music videos, when songs on the radio didn’t have to fit a three-minute, watered down format. Most importantly, rock stars lived as fast as their music, which included trashing the occasional hotel suite, leaving 100-dollar tips for a five-dollar meal and savaging the Playboy Mansion on a regular basis.

What happened to those times?

These days, in a climate polluted by political correctness, our rock stars of the past, well, they’ve gone political. And I’m not talking about a Woodstock-type of freedom rally or anti-war protest through song. I’m talking about artists concerned more about proselytizing than writing and performing the actual music that made them famous in the first place (See Ted Nugent and Hank Williams, Jr.).

Rather than the “Who gives a crap” attitude that permeated through the jungle of teased rocker hair back in the 80’s, today’s rock stars appear to be on a mission to A. Sound the same, producing recycled musical dreg you’d find in some low-budget student film (See Nickelback and anything by Creed); B. Make you truly like them – a lot, going out of their way to get positive press and prove they are normal just like you and me (save for the mansions, fat bank accounts and supermodels they go and bang); and C. Tell me who I should vote for, as if my life is parallel to a rocker’s. And you’re going to hear it a lot during this election season no matter what side of the political spectrum you happen to find yourself.

And it’s not just politics. Flip through the channels and Sarah McLaughlin is bringing down the mood BIG TIME in her ASPCA public service announcements. Because nothing is more of a downer than the emotional high and fever pitch of watching a game-winning touchdown pass only to see emaciated dogs and cats at the first commercial break.

I’m all for philanthropy. And surely I am not advocating that we turn back the clock to a more chauvinistic time where a man would find no harm at complimenting a pretty woman by calling her “sugar tits.” I just want my rockers to focus on rock-n-roll instead of raising my kids (Remember Charles Barkley’s “I am not a role model” Nike ad?) That’s my job, thank you very much.

Seriously, as a father of three daughters, I have to be the one who steers them in the right directions and help them makes good choices. There are no more Axl Rose’s in the world of mainstream rock that I can point out to and lovingly inform them, “If you ever bring a guy home like that I’ll use his ball sack as a punching bag.” Ozzie Osbourne? He and Gene Simmons jumped the shark a long time ago. They’re more like lovable old men you feel sorry for at this point.

But where are their successors? Who takes the baton and lives a life that all my married brethren and me can live vicariously through? I don’t need my rock stars to care about the environment, tell me how to raise my kids or who to vote for. Is it so much to ask that they fill the musical void we find ourselves in and just make  good music? Because you know the musical times are tough when C-Lo Green in his bedazzled v-neck is considered good enough to judge other talent.

Oh my God what ever happened to The Sex Pistols?


Monkey C Blog is updated mostly every week. The children’s book, Night Rhythms, is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Sun Flakes: A Collection of Short Stories & Essays and When I Close My Eyes, a children’s book are due in 2013!


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