If you have cable, you probably get Vh1 Classic and that means you likely recognize the phrase "Classic Current."
I started really thinking about "classic" versus "current" yesterday after buying my George Michael tickets. Yes, I write about "modern" bands here from time to time: Crashdiet, Vains of Jenna, Bullet for My Valentine...We all know these are relatively new rock acts - but what happens when a band makes a comeback - or releases new material?
I told all the people I work with about George Michael. Most of them didn't recognize the name - and trust me, I am one of the youngest employees of the Fortune 500 company. So I was surprised at their confusion, but not bothered. Many coworkers took the time to look up old George to put a face with the name. Then it started to click. Anyway, one of these coworkers kept referring to George as "current." Yes, she knew he had a lot of fame in the 1980s.
So, what makes a band or artist "current?"
I realize I deal in nostalgia here. I talk about the bands I love - you love them too. Here's a question: if (when) Motley Crue releases a new album this summer, does that make them a current band?
Can you be current without being popular among the Hot Topic set?
The members of Motley Crue are pretty famous. Much more famous than a whole lot of other musicians. Band members still get mentioned in Rolling Stone, People, The New York Times. Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee go to movie premieres. They stay in the spotlight.
Bret Michaels and the rest of Poison are pretty famous too. Bret is enjoying a resurgence of popularity thanks in part to Rock of Love on Vh1 Classic. When Rikki Rockett was arrested on a strong arm rape charge just days ago, the news circled the Internet, newswires and made national magazines.
If bands stay in the limelight, continue to record new music and tour, are they current?
The Rolling Stones have a big movie coming out based on their live shows. When you think rock royalty, the Rolling Stones are clearly up there with the cream of the crop. Not many bands - save Led Zeppelin - are more famous. The Rolling Stones have been making music for more than four decades - but are they current?
Vh1 Classic uses the term "Classic Current" most commonly during Metal Mania video blocks. At this point I know that if a Motley Crue video pops on the screen it will be followed by SIXX: AM's clip for "Life is Beautiful." This is good marketing for both bands - but what sort of message does this send to fans?
Personally, I think if a band is making an effort, they are current. Current and new are two totally different things. Thoughts?