TODAY -

Rock Music That Matters

Samarjit Kambam *



3rd Manipur Rock Fest 2011 on Oct 22/23 2011 at YAC Ground, Imphal
3rd Manipur Rock Fest 2011 on Oct 22/23 2011 at YAC Ground, Imphal :: Pix by Seddharth Y



It is said that God created music. But it is not known whether music preceded mankind or vice versa. Music has been one of the most powerful media known to man. Music is felt before it is understood. Music is universal and has always something in store for everyone. Music is life, life is music. There are different varieties of music.

It may be classical, folklore, country, pop, opera, acid, jazz, punk, blues, freestyle , fusion, hardcore, heavy metal, hip-hop, industrial, metal, meditative, progressive, grunge, alternative, regaee, retro, samba, tango, thrash, tribal, trance, R & B, Soul etc, etc.. The list is endless. Among them is ROCK which had been an effective influence on the youths and reflected their social and political concerns.

The origin of Rock music lay in the blues music of the blacks. It is a form of expression against their socio-political subjugation and exploitation through the dominant cultures and economic framework. Rock music played a significant role in the past decades, each decade brandishing its own image and identity through music.

Music in those decades always represented an ideology with rock's propensity to expose the meaninglessness of life, dehumanisation and modernisation arising out of gross injustice under capitalism and exploitation by the corporate world. Since then Rock music had been doing so efficiently, the youths dissatisfied with the dogmatism and doctrines, raised voices for freedom starting from the late fifties. (Courtesy "Sepultera" the Brazillian band of the early nineties which used hard rock music as an effective tool to augur their discontentment against the decaying politico-socio-economic system of their country).

Rock music served as the main catalyst for that new found freedom in the youths and propelled rebellion giving a new shape to history. The most famous example being civil rights movement of the 1960s and the Vietnam War. (As Bruce Springsteen hollered "To meet the Yellow Men" in his hit Born in the USA).

Rock music came all the way from the 50s, still going strong. Rock music is believed to be born in the year 1952. However, ambiguity persists about such an exact date as rock n' roll is generally perceived to have been started with Elvis Presley & The Beatles while some attribute its origin to Little Richard. Legends like Muddy Waters, Jimmi Hendrix and Chuck Berry also come closely related when coming to the origin of Rock music.

Unlike boys band clones who sing, behave, dress similarly and are a repetition of each other(some even singing from their diapers) these rock bands have got their own uniqueness with each band giving their own statement.These rock groups didn't hearts and fans through cutie looks but through their maturity in attitude, outlook and work.

There's the Guns 'N' Roses with all those unpredictable swigs depicting anarchic way of life. U2 being the most political band in its genre. Sex Pistols & Boston really cared for environment. And can there any other group that really loves nature other than Red Hot Chilli Peppers? They don't even wear shirts as a way of showing their closeness to nature.

Judas Priest's leather and chains impresses you in his own unique way. Want to worship darkness? Well, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne & Iron Maiden - the rulers of darkness will lead you the way. One don't ever get bored listening to 'The Trooper', '2 Minutes to Midnight' & 'Fear of the Dark' which brings you back to the heady nostalgic days when Iron Maiden mania ruled supreme.

Metallica's there to give you sweet rhymes of metallic thunder. You'll want to listen to their numbers till you Fade to Black... The Pink Floyd is always ready to turn you into a psycho. Go down memory lane and John Fogerty(CCR) will make you sit 'Up Around the Bend' waiting for the bad moon to rise until you begin to wonder 'Who'll Stop the Rain' - some of the classic rock delicacies made up of the most natural sounds where your heart beats in tandem with the beats of leather drums.

The guitar legend Mark Knoffler demonstrated his dexterity in handling six strings by plucking without looking at the guitar and without any plectrum in 'Sultans of Strings'(pronounce 'Swing').

Most rock bands also reflect their passion for love songs in their works. 'Love' a four lettered word is something which nobody can give a perfect definition. But our reasoning tells us that without love we all would be something else - a blob, a scum, a zombie ..... lifeless, emotionless. In fact, love is something which is one of the main component of us humans.

To some who have learnt bitter lessons of love from experience, love is a street of no return, a one-way road, an ELM Street, a nightmare avenue, a final cut etc. etc.

Likewise, most rock bands preach love out of their own experiences. Well, some bands really lead you to the way to love till you get lost or get stuck. Poison's 'Every Rose has its Thorns' warns you to watch your steps before crossing the gate of romance.

First you promised the moon to your beloved and later on you realise that someone stood between the two of you and the chapter of your love gets over just as Mr Big's 'Promise Her the Moon' does and brings you back to reality. Watch out for rock bands like Meatloaf for they would do anything for love. And if all the people of the world are Eagles, then, we won't need food for when we're hungry, 'Love Will Keep Us Alive'.

The music with its inherent rebelliousness, however, has not remained immune to criticism and has often been cruelly victimised at the land of critics. Rock music even though intensely satirical, like the songs of David Bowie has not yet attained a cent percent acceptance. From preaching hedonism (Jim Morrison) to being intensely psychedelic like the Black Sabbath, rock music has done it all through the years.

The prejudice against rock music has increased with the recrudescence of techno music for those who cannot absorb it, tend to criticise it and think that they have found their piece of cake. However, a la mode 'techno rock' has emerged which is a fusion of techno as well as rock music (like Def Leppard's track 'Promises').

Also bands like Prodigy came up with their own idea of rock music where nothing is said and instrumental beats compensate for the loss. One disheartening fact is that some hard rock bands are going almost country for survival in the market of music and has lost their uniqueness. It is a big let-down for hardcore rock music lovers like us.

To conclude, some words about the rock music fans. The emergence of new artistes, boy bands, singing pop, ballads, hip hop, soul, R&B might have affected the rest of the population but not all of them.

As I can recall a few lines from the song of Dire Straits:-
"They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing bands....
It ain't what they call Rock N' Roll
"

(This article is entirely dedicated to all Rock lovers of the world)


* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on November 06, 2011.



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