Posts Tagged ‘Dave Grohl’


January 5, 2012

Is rock dead? It is according to the Black Keys and Ke$ha.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney said “Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world”. At the same time pop singer Ke$ha told MTV News.” People say that rock and roll is dead, and it is my mission and my goal to resurrect it in the form of my pop music.”

The raw facts however suggest that rock isn’t dead, or least is breathing easier. According to Nielsen SoundScan, in America Rock was the biggest music genre of 2011. Rock music had a 1.9% sales increase during 2011 and sold almost double total R&B sales.
It comes down semantics of course. The Black Keys and Ke$ha aren’t talking about the same thing when they talk about “rock”. For Nielsen SoundScan it’s a genre rather than a musical spirit. And that’s where The Black Keys and Ke$ha are in unison. “Rock” used to be that music which had an edge, the music that pushed at the boundaries. Rap has been the new “rock”.

I’m not a fan of bands like Nickleback and Maroon 5, but it’s too easy to make them a target fore derision. There have always been bland bands– Electric Light Orchestra, Chicago – acts which radio gravitate towards because they are safe and non-confrontational. They serve a purpose. We remember them, and we’ll remember Nickelback, for their success rather than their contribution. The bands that define “rock” were more often than not NOT successful in sales terms. Their importance is measured by impact and influence. It’s hard to find that kind of artist amongst today’s “rock” fraternity. Rock doesn’t have an Eminem. I can’t think of a contemporary rocker who might inspire the future. Dave Groel and Jack White are contenders, but they’re keeping the flame alive not lighting new fires.

In those terms rock IS dead but look and listen hard enough there’s some exceptional rock music being written and recorded – The National, Cold War Kids, The Kills, Death Cab For Cutie – and while there’s a band around of the calibre of Radiohead you can’t say rock is dead.

What’s dead is rock music that’s “dangerous”.



January 10, 2010

Michael Jackson and the Beatles were America’s biggest selling artists of 2009 – Michael because he died, the Beatles because they just refuse to.

Let’s draw the line right there. It’s a new year, it’s a new decade. Where are we going? There’s four artists I can think of who will provide us with the answer, if they haven’t already. Jack White and Dave Grohl are exactly what the times call for, busy making music for the sake of it, both with several projects going at the one time, both in love with music’s past, encouraging us to be excited thought their enthusiasm. Both could sit back. Neither does. While the rest of music worries itself silly they’ll just have a good time. Dave’s already promised another Them Crooked Vultures album. Jack White is hinting at a solo album, alongside all his other activities.

Will I Am is hop hop’s equivalent to Grohl and White. If the Black Eyed Peas hadn’t been so goddam successful this year, Will I Am would be doing what Dave and Jack are doing, working with all manner of other artists. He’s done some of that already, but I’m sure he’d like to do what those other two have managed, remembering people who used to excite them to work with and finding other newer people too.

The Black Eyed Peas are the latest big turning point for music. They are the Elvis and Beatles of our age. Hip hop has been divisive. The Black Eyed Peas have found a way to make it inclusive. The rap establishment  won’t like it. They run the American music industry to serve their own ends and we’ll see them try to brush aside the Black Eyed Peas as happened previously to  ‘alternate’  hip hoppers like Arrested Development and De La Soul, but the Black Eyed Peas have proved themselves to be a much more immovable force.

The fourth artist guaranteed to take us into the future is Lady Gaga. She’s Elton John and Madonna. And so so much more.  Even if she stopped now she’s already defined the time, but she’s only just started. How long has it been since a music artist promised so much entertainment?

Welcome to 2010!

What I’m listening to:

Dirty Projectors (Bittre Orca); Christina Courtin (Christina Courtin); Iggy Pop (Lust For Life)


November 24, 2009

 I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Foo Fighters’ ‘Greatest Hits’ will be seen as a major milestone for Dave Grohl’s band, maybe even the end. Them Crooked Vultures could become more than a pleasurable side-project.

Last year, when the Foo Fighters were in London Led Zeppelin fan Grohl had Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones step on stage to perform two Zeppelin classics with Dave back behind the kit. Then earlier this year the ever-active Dave Grohl gave himself a special 40th birthday present. He invited John Paul Jones and Queens Of The Stone Age guitarist Josh Homme to meet him for a “blind date” at a medieval banquet, for some old fashioned jousting, bonding and a jam. The Zeppelin fuelled Them Crooked Vultures album is the result. Already they’ve said they’re keen to record a second album.

Them Crooked Vultures’ self-titled first album is what it had to be, quick and easy, Dave taking a back seat at the kit, letting Josh Homme take the lead. Otherwise it would be second-hand Foo Fighters. John Paul Jones, like Dave is a happy collaborator. For his part, Jones has said that after making the Them Crooked Vultures album he’s not interested in the much-muted Led Zeppelin reunion. For a moment back there he and Jimmy Page were auditioning replacements (?) for Robert Plant who’s having too much fun recording and touring his Grammy-winning union with Allison Krauss to think about Led Zeppelin.

Obviously there’s unfinished business here. More Them Crooked Vultures. What more can Dave do that he hasn’t already done with the Foo Fighters? Maybe the next Vultures album will change the line-up. Dave and John Paul are guaranteed to be there. Josh is also keen. Imagine if that other “busiest man in rock” and Led Zeppelin disciple Jack White got involved! THAT would be too much to hope for!


November 9, 2009

Dave Grohl has finally punctuated his Foo Fighters’ career with a Greatest Hits compilation, something the record company wanted four years ago and Grohl has now delivered, although it’s an act he feels like “an obituary”.

Don’t expect Dave to dwell on it too long. The Foo Fighters was in the beginning a bid for sanity when life as part of Nirvana was insanity, and then for Nirvana’s ex-drummer an evolving statement of survival, freedom and gratification. Kurt Cobain will be remembered as a legendary scene-changer, someone who ultimately turned on his band and family. Grohl has been an honest toiler who uses any chance he can to make music, for the sake of it. He makes music like a fan of music. One day his music will be a memory. Nirvana’s will remain history, a history in which Kurt Cobain’s name will always come way before Grohl’s.

When Dave Grohl puts up his feet at the end of the day he can reflect on a full life, marriage and children. When Kurt Cobain puts his feet up… well he can’t.

Who would you rather be, Kurt or Dave? Who would you rather have been, Kurt or Dave?