Trying To Get To You

Monday, March 19, 2007

“It Ain’t Rock N’ Roll, But I Occasionally Like It”

Steven Van Zandt has an interesting piece on the indie rock renaissance that you can read here. I’m not sure if he nails it, but with his outsider's perspective, he comes closer than most in summing it all up. Steven has always been a rock n’ soul traditionalist – the first three albums he ever produced, the first three by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, were great summations of the Stax/early 60’s New York R&B/Atlantic sound that was so influential to the Asbury Park artists. But in the past five years, he’s reinvented himself as a torchbearer for the garage rock sound on his radio show for Sirius, Little Steven’s Underground Garage, where he’s left the soul behind to concentrate on exposing his version of rock n’ roll to a new generation. It’s a version that’s begins with “Louie Louie” and is heavy on the Kinks and the Ramones. I’m guessing that in his recent travels as a DJ, he’s been exposed to the new-indie. His piece isn’t a rave about the music – he calls it “sexless” and “hookless, with occasionally unforgettable melody.” And I disagree with him when he writes, “Eventually this generation will use up its angst, experience enough catharsis and tire of appropriately mourning the state of our horrifying world and need an energy infusion to party again." I believe that's wishful thinking - you could have written the same thing about grunge in 1992, and that never happened. But it’s still an interesting perspective – that of someone who is still committed to the idea of rock as popular music coming to terms with a generation whose philosophy is in diametric opposition to the one he grew up with.

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