Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where are all the rock stars?

In case anyone hasn't noticed, rock stars as defined in the twentieth century are no longer being born, created, or landing on our planet after long interstellar journeys. Seriously, can you name anyone who matches the criteria set forth by the likes of Bowie, Jagger, Morrison, Elvis, or going back to the prototype, Hank Williams? Where are the bad boys and girls of today? Where are the feral heros calling out for rebellion against all things safe, sterile, mass produced and corporately controlled? Do we no longer need these archetypes? Have we overcome the evil menace and created a society that celebrates free thinking, individual expression and social consciousness? No? What happened?
What happened is that the recording industry that was created by like minded rebels around the icons of their age became the very beast it started off trying to slay or at least subdue. This is old news and the independent movement of the late twentieth century was the response and spawned some anti-heros and heroines of its own. They existed on a level well below the stars mentioned above both in terms of fame and financial reward but they served the same cultural purpose in that they provided inspiration and a means to identity for their generation. I'm sure most that found themselves in that position never started off wanting anything more than chicks and kicks but they served that purpose for a lot of us young hell-raisers and we appreciate it.
It's the young hell-raisers of today I'm worried about. I honestly can't name anyone within the last five years who is anything more than a disposable, industry created, income generating performing seal. Who do they look to to help them get through the craziness and eventually channel their young rebellious energy into something positive that doesn't destroy them and those around them? I'm all for tearing things down but I've always believed in doing that to put something better in place. I'm worried that kids today are into destruction for it's own sake as a release for anger they don't know the source of or understand. Am I too old to know who's speaking to them and for them these days? Or, is my perception correct that this latest generation has been branded from birth by frighteningly effective marketing campaigns which have left them spayed, neutered, cowed and unaware that there is indeed a menace to fight against?
I'd rather believe that I'm correct and not old but I am well over forty so I have to stay open. I'll keep listening and looking and maybe I'll find that there are some pied pipers out there leading a new generation towards freedom and inspiring them to rise up against the corporate giants that swallowed the original rock stars and spit them back all clean, pretty and harmless.
Maybe they're not musicians. Maybe there are new icons in media I haven't considered. Wherever they are I hope they're out there or I believe we're truly fucked.