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Are there any bands today who are as popular as GNR was in the 80/90's or has this kind of adulation a thing of the past?


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On 5/27/2021 at 2:33 AM, DurhamGirl said:

Just watched a vidoe of GNR in Rio 1991 and the crowd are just crazy which made me think are there any bands that ilicit that kind of response today  and if not I wonder why?  Any thoughts...

Do 'rock stars' even exist anymore?  It's all so fake these days it seems.  

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2 hours ago, mystery said:

I wonder if they (the old band) would've continued making albums after the UYI albums if they weren't such a massive act. 

I consider it fortunate that the band even had a chance to make those albums.  They were such a volatile group.  It's kind of shocking they lasted as long as they did all things considered.

2 hours ago, mystery said:

I was reading a similar thread on another forum about this. There really aren't any newer bands (I'll say 2005-present as criteria) that are at the forefront like GnR, RHCP, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Kiss etc. I feel like rock is kind of a "boomer" thing with younger people. It's not cool to them. Pop and hip-hop and all it's various sub-genres are what's king.

I do think it's a generational thing to some extent.  Anyone coming of age in the late 80s through early 90s saw the tail end of the rock n' roll era.  There are still massive rock bands that pull huge numbers and have become legendary icons, but very few got their start post 2000.  

Funny enough I was driving around today and the song "Higher" by Creed came on the radio.  I listened to it as objectively as I could and couldn't find too much fault int the song itself.  But the style, production, and everything but the songwriting was so derivative it just doesn't hold up.  The song itself isn't bad, but it's just so boring since their influences are so evident.  Greta Fan Fleet is like that.  If they want to be Led Zeppelin, they need to be better than Led Zeppelin.  They clearly are not.  That's where Guns were different.  They were equal (or in some cases better) than their influences.  They didn't just copy, they put their own takes on established sounds and wrote some great hooks and melodies for people to sing along to.  You put Axl on stage with anyone in the late 80s and early 90s (Tom Petty, Mick Jagger, Bono, Springsteen) and he would inevitably out-sing them.  I can't think of a modern day rock artist that could make a similar claim.   

I've believed that if you're going to be successful in the rock genre today, you're not only competing against contemporary acts, but also acts that came before you.  In other words, to be successful in rock you better be as good or better (or offer something new) than the bands that preceded you.  And I think that's a really tall hill for a lot of new acts today.  It may be an impossible task.  Are there really that many great rock songs left to be written at this point?  Moreover, do rock fans really give a shit so long as they're getting serviced by known and loved acts?  I haven't found too many acts today that sound inspired, innovative, but still able to write a decent hook.  AWOLNATION and Nathaniel Rateliff are the only two artists of the last tent years that I think have done anything interesting in the rock genre.  To my ears, almost everything else just sounds stale and derivative (including Slash's solo stuff).  I know everyone raved about Metallica's last album, but I found it boring as fuck (we get it, every song is about death and requires the words fade, black, destruction in every song).  It's the same reason why I stopped listening to Coldplay over ten years ago; they lost the thread and got poppy as shit.  

I also think besides the difficulties of creating exciting great rock music there exists a perspective shift among younger music listeners.  People want to be entertained, and they want to feel included somehow.  Gone are the days of Jimmy Page standing in front of a sea of motionless people with all focus on him.  People want to be involved.  They want a show.  They want to dance.  Rock has largely become less performative as it got harder (thanks Nirvana!).  Banging your head came to replace dancing and singing melodic songs that got stuck in your head.  People will still go to a NIN or Maiden show because it's a spectacle.  

2 hours ago, mystery said:

But even with that, I don't think the top stars can reach quite the same heights today. I won't deny that Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars aren't popular, but with how fragmented media is I don't think they're household names with as broad a section of demographics like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Mariah, Whitney etc.

Maybe.  The fact that Ed Sheehan was the highest grossing act of 2019 might say otherwise.  And look, I'm not a fan of any of that music.  But I'm not sure I would necessarily agree that these "newer" acts haven't reached the same reach as previous acts.  There are a lot of acts "the kids" are into these days that I have never heard of.  But like Guns or Madonna back in the day, I have a hard time believing there are that many people alive in North America under the age of 60 who doesn't know who Taylor Swift or Ed Sheehan is.  That isn't an assessment of their talent or abilities, but a reflection of how ubiquitous they have become as music acts.  

That said, I'm not sure any artist will ever be as big as Michael Jackson.  He seems to be the one artists who's level of fame likely won't be duplicated in our life times.  I think "newer" acts like Adele, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars do hold up well in terms of broad based appeal when compared to Mariah, Prince, Whitney, etc.  

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6 minutes ago, downzy said:

I consider it fortunate that the band even had a chance to make those albums.  They were such a volatile group.  It's kind of shocking they lasted as long as they did all things considered.

I do think it's a generational thing to some extent.  Anyone coming of age in the late 80s through early 90s saw the tail end of the rock n' roll era.  There are still massive rock bands that pull huge numbers and have become legendary icons, but very few got their start post 2000.  

Funny enough I was driving around today and the song "Higher" by Creed came on the radio.  I listened to it as objectively as I could and couldn't find too much fault int the song itself.  But the style, production, and everything but the songwriting was so derivative it just doesn't hold up.  The song itself isn't bad, but it's just so boring since their influences are so evident.  Greta Fan Fleet is like that.  If they want to be Led Zeppelin, they need to be better than Led Zeppelin.  They clearly are not.  That's where Guns were different.  They were equal (or in some cases better) than their influences.  They didn't just copy, they put their own takes on established sounds and wrote some great hooks and melodies for people to sing along to.  You put Axl on stage with anyone in the late 80s and early 90s (Tom Petty, Mick Jagger, Bono, Springsteen) and he would inevitably out-sing them.  I can't think of a modern day rock artist that could make a similar claim.   

I've believed that if you're going to be successful in the rock genre today, you're not only competing against contemporary acts, but also acts that came before you.  In other words, to be successful in rock you better be as good or better (or offer something new) than the bands that preceded you.  And I think that's a really tall hill for a lot of new acts today.  It may be an impossible task.  Are there really that many great rock songs left to be written at this point?  Moreover, do rock fans really give a shit so long as they're getting services by known and loved acts?  I haven't found too many acts today that sound inspired, innovative, but still able to write a decent hook.  AWOLNATION and Nathaniel Rateliff are the only two artists of the last tent years that I think have done anything interesting in the rock genre.  To my ears, almost everything else just sounds stale and derivative (including Slash's solo stuff).  I know everyone raved about Metallica's last album, but I found it boring as fuck (we get it, every song is about death and requires the words fade, black, destruction in every song).  It's the same reason why I stopped listening to Coldplay over ten years ago; they lost the thread and got poppy as shit.  

I also think besides the difficulties of creating exciting great rock music there exists a perspective shift among younger music listeners.  People want to be entertained, and they want to feel included somehow.  Gone are the days of Jimmy Page standing in front of a sea of motionless people with all focus on him.  People want to be involved.  They want a show.  They want to dance.  Rock has largely become less performative as it got harder (thanks Nirvana!).  Banging your head came to replace dancing and singing melodic songs that got stuck in your head.  People will still go to a NIN or Maiden show because it's a spectacle.  

Maybe.  The fact that Ed Sheehan was the highest grossing act of 2019 might say otherwise.  And look, I'm not a fan of any of that music.  But I'm not sure I would necessarily agree that these "newer" acts haven't reached the same reach as previous acts.  There are a lot of acts "the kids" are into these days that I have never heard of.  But like Guns or Madonna back in the day, I have a hard time believing there are that many people alive in North America under the age of 60 who doesn't know who Taylor Swift or Ed Sheehan is.  That isn't an assessment of their talent or abilities, but a reflection of how ubiquitous they have become as music acts.  

That said, I'm not sure any artist will ever be as big as Michael Jackson.  He seems to be the one artists who's level of fame likely won't be duplicated in our life times.  I think "newer" acts like Adele, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars do hold up well in terms of broad based appeal when compared to Mariah, Prince, Whitney, etc.  

A lot to unpack here but you make great points. There's something to be said for following what came before you, taking influence but also adding your own twist. That's something I think a lot of artists from the 80s/90s that got popular did well. Axl like you said had a deference for these older artists while seeming at the same level or maybe a level above. His performance with Tom Petty in 89 was amazing. He arguably outshined Petty on his own song. Guns as a band as well like you said. You could clearly hear their influences but Axl/Slash/Izzy/Duff/Adler still sounded like something fresh and dangerous at the time. They didn't sound like a lesser version or feel inferior to the established acts.

Something I've noted about rock is that even in the 90s some bands like Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, even U2, were finding standard rock outdated. They were mixing rock with electronic elements and other genres. I remember a few magazines and artists stating the guitar was dead and rock was passe. I also think rock has kind of maximized it's growth and potential. We've seen pretty much all the differentiations rock has to offer. Hip-hop in particular continues to expand and incorporate other genres and mutate and grow.

One last point is that while there may a lot of people who might be familiar with the songs of these current artists, you rarely see them on traditional television which is what a lot of older folks still watch. Those artists of the past were on MTV all the time and MTV was a huge influencer back in the day. Through music videos, in-studio interviews, or specials you got to know these artists better then I feel you know current ones unless you're scouring the internet and are on social media. Even Guns did a decent amount of press during the Appetite and UYI days. You might hear an Ed Sheerhan song but I think it's almost back to an earlier time where you might not know their name, their personality, or what they look like. 

 

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The last run of larger-than-life rock bands was the emo run of the mid-late 2000s. Even that wasn't on the same level as the 1970s-1990s, but you see super-seismic fandom for some of those bands like The Killers, MCR, Fallout Boy, Panic! at the Disco, etc. Especially the first three.

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5 hours ago, 3rd Wheel said:

The last run of larger-than-life rock bands was the emo run of the mid-late 2000s. Even that wasn't on the same level as the 1970s-1990s, but you see super-seismic fandom for some of those bands like The Killers, MCR, Fallout Boy, Panic! at the Disco, etc. Especially the first three.

This is a great point I remember all these bands being featured on MTV and other media and seeming pretty mainstream. My local station that only plays pop hits plays I Write Sins Not Tragedies every now and then. I feel like I've heard it more the past few years than I did in 2005/6. 

Fallout Boy arguably had more success during their comeback in 2015 as well. 

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On 6/1/2021 at 1:35 PM, downzy said:

That's where Guns were different.  They were equal (or in some cases better) than their influences.  They didn't just copy, they put their own takes on established sounds and wrote some great hooks and melodies for people to sing along to.  You put Axl on stage with anyone in the late 80s and early 90s (Tom Petty, Mick Jagger, Bono, Springsteen) and he would inevitably out-sing them.  I can't think of a modern day rock artist that could make a similar claim.   

I've believed that if you're going to be successful in the rock genre today, you're not only competing against contemporary acts, but also acts that came before you.  In other words, to be successful in rock you better be as good or better (or offer something new) than the bands that preceded you.  And I think that's a really tall hill for a lot of new acts today.  It may be an impossible task.  Are there really that many great rock songs left to be written at this point?  Moreover, do rock fans really give a shit so long as they're getting serviced by known and loved acts?  I haven't found too many acts today that sound inspired, innovative, but still able to write a decent hook.  

That's true, you won't really find any bands now that are better than GnR and other bands like that. There's some that are close though, by today's standards.

I saw Dirty Honey with Joyous Wolf opening last week and I was amazed at the number of younger people there, from high school age and up. I think there were maybe 70% or so younger people in the crowd. So I definitely think that kind of rock is starting to become more accepted among that age group, which it wasn't when I was in college. I wish I had known kids like them back then, because they're all into Slash SMKC GnR Dirty Honey etc.

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On 6/1/2021 at 3:11 PM, Original said:

Do 'rock stars' even exist anymore?  It's all so fake these days it seems.  

Joshua Homme from QotSA and Matt Shultz from Cage the Elephant both come to mind, personally.

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On 6/11/2021 at 9:18 AM, Bitchisback said:

Joshua Homme if QotSA and Matt Shultz from Cage the Elephant both come to mind, personally.

yeah Josh has the talent and the charisma but were QOTSA ever mainstream? they had Go With The Flow and No One Knows in 2002 but it didn't get as big or close to the old guys. I think Jack White had it at least with the White Stripes. That band was pretty big but no huge new band really.

because rock isn't mainstream anymore there are less big rock bands and more big solo artists and in a more pop genre like Lady Gaga for example and Billie Eilish.

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Just now, Rovim said:

yeah Josh has the talent and the charisma but did QOTSA were ever mainstream? they had Go With The Flow and No One Knows in 2002 but it didn't get as big or close to the old guys. I think Jack White had it at least with the White Stripes. That band was pretty big but no huge new band really.

because rock isn't mainstream anymore there are less big rock bands and more big solo artists and in a more pop genre like Lady Gaga for example and Billie Eilish.

Popular music has moved on......which I suppose it always should do. I'm sure Glenn Miller fans were annoyed when his sort of music stopped being played as widely and made way for other things. People were annoyed at The Beatles and The Rolling Stones coming along and moving tastes on etc etc. It's always been the same. 

There's lots of great rock music out there, but it's not as popular. People complaining about not 'liking all the popular music of today' and thinking 'kids only listen to rubbish now' probably just need to accept the fact they're getting old! 

 

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On 6/1/2021 at 3:35 PM, downzy said:

That said, I'm not sure any artist will ever be as big as Michael Jackson.  He seems to be the one artists who's level of fame likely won't be duplicated in our life times.  I think "newer" acts like Adele, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars do hold up well in terms of broad based appeal when compared to Mariah, Prince, Whitney, etc.  

I agreed with your whole post but I wanted to single this part out as I really agree here. MJ was/is on a different level of fame. Everyone knows about Michael Jackson. 

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3 hours ago, allwaystired said:

People complaining about not 'liking all the popular music of today' and thinking 'kids only listen to rubbish now' probably just need to accept the fact they're getting old! 

Maybe...

Or maybe there's nothing in rock/pop music that's brought anything new to the table.  I tend to share Rick Beato's sentiments that most new stuff that has wide-spread appeal is boring:

There use to be real musicianship behind a lot of what drove popular music, whether you liked it or not. 

I'm not necessarily saying that new music isn't good.  But that it's devoid of any real experimentation or complexity.  Obviously there are some exceptions, but if you're only interested in bopping your head and tuning out, then that's an easy itch to scratch for any song writer.

Up to this point I've held the opinion that many of today's stars are as popular as previously acts (with obvious exceptions).  But it's not so much based on the music itself.  Pop and rock music has transitioned to the creative void that country music has lived for decades.  It's fine, and sometimes fun.  But it's boring as fuck, especially considering what came before it.  

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1 hour ago, downzy said:

Maybe...

Or maybe there's nothing in rock/pop music that's brought anything new to the table.  I tend to share Rick Beato's sentiments that most new stuff that has wide-spread appeal is boring:

There use to be real musicianship behind a lot of what drove popular music, whether you liked it or not. 

I'm not necessarily saying that new music isn't good.  But that it's devoid of any real experimentation or complexity.  Obviously there are some exceptions, but if you're only interested in bopping your head and tuning out, then that's an easy itch to scratch for any song writer.

Up to this point I've held the opinion that many of today's stars are as popular as previously acts (with obvious exceptions).  But it's not so much based on the music itself.  Pop and rock music has transitioned to the creative void that country music has lived for decades.  It's fine, and sometimes fun.  But it's boring as fuck, especially considering what came before it.  

I think there was definitely a peak where rock was perfected in a more pure form. by early 2000's you had enough strong variations and blends of the past and what was current 15-20 years ago.

the guitar as an instrument isn't what the mainstream wants to hear anymore as well.

I remember Gilby once said in an interview that he liked The Killers debut album cause he was able to detect all the classic influences of rock in it. I think this is a requirement for a lot of rock fans in order for them to connect with new bands/new music.

Appetite was the Zeppelin formula perfected with punk influence. Soundgarden was Sabbath and Zeppelin etc. These bands had enough personality and talent so the music felt fresh but you could clearly hear the roots of The Beatles in Nirvana.

I think rock today is cool but it's not as bombastic and singular as it once was, it combines more elements so there is less room for any one element to shine or it's a rehash like GVF or Dirty Honey (no offense to fans of these bands)

 

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1 hour ago, downzy said:

Maybe...

Or maybe there's nothing in rock/pop music that's brought anything new to the table.  I tend to share Rick Beato's sentiments that most new stuff that has wide-spread appeal is boring:

There use to be real musicianship behind a lot of what drove popular music, whether you liked it or not. 

I'm not necessarily saying that new music isn't good.  But that it's devoid of any real experimentation or complexity.  Obviously there are some exceptions, but if you're only interested in bopping your head and tuning out, then that's an easy itch to scratch for any song writer.

Up to this point I've held the opinion that many of today's stars are as popular as previously acts (with obvious exceptions).  But it's not so much based on the music itself.  Pop and rock music has transitioned to the creative void that country music has lived for decades.  It's fine, and sometimes fun.  But it's boring as fuck, especially considering what came before it.  

I attribute a lot of that to societal change though, alongside things like technological advances. 

As for the boring thing ...yeah I'd agree. I find much modern rock music very dull, but that's usually because it leans so heavily on the past. Every hyped band I listen to, I just think 'yeah, they've just totally ripped off...' even to the extent of the way they dress like it's the 70s or 80s. 

I sort of blame rock fans for this though- they often praise things like that sound like the past as "the next big thing", at which point they get listened to by more people, who simply shrug and go back to the music of the past. There's definitely a death of imagination in the rock music scene on a major level. But at the fringes, I'd say there are loads of great bands....but they'll never be popular. 

One thing's for sure though....we can't tell kids what to like and what not to! Every generation finds a thing, musically. For me the saddest part is when they don't have something and have to rely on the past. I don't think it's an especially healthy music scene if teenagers are listening to music their parents did. A lot of music was about rebellion and finding something my parents didn't like or understand. I hope if I ever have kids, they're not remotely interested in their old dad's music taste! 

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I actually think there is a lot of really good alt rock out there right now.  Not so much hard rock though. But bands like Glass Animals, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Sir Sly, Black Pumas, Alice Merton, Portugal. The Man and Cage the Elephant are killing it today.  I know alt rock isn't for everyone but I feel like there is a lot of great music to listen to right now

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