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Are Guitar Heroes Dead?

In a world of Guitar Hero for Xbox, Playstation and whatever the hell else, I wonder if actual musicianship is dying.

If you think about it, Guitar Hero is mostly a rehash of old songs. That is, the best arena rock songs ever created. In many ways, the game platform has saved the music industry - and the legacy bands we love. But what about the new acts?

The other day, I was listening to "Classic Vinyl" on my satellite radio. That station plays all the big ones from Aerosmith, to The Who, to the Beatles. You get the idea.

In 20 years, will we have "Classic MP3?"

I mean, seriously.

Will Hinder and Daughtry still be around? Will they last like Motley Crue and Van Halen? We all know music is very different these days - both in form and formula. By that I mean the three chords are the same, but the way they are arranged is much different than in 1996, 1986, 1976 and so on. That's evolution. For a very long time, the formula of pushing music was the same: band formed, got drunk a lot, played clubs, got some exposure, did some drugs, got an album deal, toured, toured, toured and eventually made it - or not.

Now a band has about 12.34 seconds to make it with a label and "buying" public before getting dropped. Is that even enough time to create an anthem for the ages? Um, no.

So, I'm sitting here, desperately seeking Susan and trying to think of a recent anthem-like song that doesn't suck. I think "Life is Beautiful" sort of stuck and was definitely a hit for Sixx: AM - but it wasn't a broad, in-your-face-because-you-heard-it-so-much-you-want-to-scream-song.

Like, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Now, that is an anthem. People of all ages still know every word of that bloody tune. It's played out and everyone is sick of it and yet people still squeal when it comes on the radio. It's just that good.

Do we even have bands that can create those quality songs anymore? I keep looking for the band, and no, Nickelback isn't it - even if they don't completely suck or whatever.

I have to believe there's a new version of the Glimmer Twins stirring somewhere in the world right now. Seriously, put down that bottle of Jack and pick up your guitar: write!

If we don't start producing some modern classic (like that?) bands soon, we're screwed. ZZ Top can't tour forever and neither can Def Leppard.

Soon, our favorite bands will be calling it a day for good and there really won't be a fifth farewell tour to look forward to during July and August. Then what? Silence? Memories? Respinning "Youth Gone Wild" for the 19 millionth time?

At this point, I'm putting all my faith in Avenged Sevenfold. Thank Glam for "Unholy Confessions" and deathbats.





Reader Comments (22)

I *love* A7X. But, part of the problem is that there's no mystique in bands anymore, and there's SO much product, that it's harder for a band to be THE band, they just don't last long enough, as you said. Music is becoming more of a throwaway commodity, and I don't think that's because there aren't good bands nowadays, it's the nature of the download generation.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I don't have sattelite radio, but regular radio sucks ass! I only listen to my Ipod which is loaded with everything as well as all the old favorites and alot of new bands I've discovered through websites like this one.

I'm ALWAYS trying to discover a new band that will kick my ass. When I was sixteen I happened upon a little unknown album called Appetite for Destruction by chance. NOT through the radio! (yet) Ever since then I've been looking for the next gem of an album I can discover.

You need to seek out new music and not rely on the radio to bring it to you, there's so much more out there that could rise up through a grassroots movement just like Gn'R did.

Screw the big labels! They're out of touch! And with the internet, just not needed.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike
I think its partly to do with the fact that the general public doesnt want this sort of music anymore. They're way too interested in Hip Hop and Indie and shit like that. I mean there is a market for this type of music, but not big enough for the record labels to take much notice, and play the songs as much as say, Bohemian Rhapsody. That doesnt mean the songs arent out there, its just not enough people want to hear them.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucifer
I think Lucifer's pretty much explained it and..........whoa, wait a minute......Nickelback DOESN'T completely SUCK.....WTF???!!!
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBritt Harlow
Thank god for Airbourne!
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNikkeSixx
I don't think there has really been a band that has moved me in my inner soul since the 80's. Thats when it was a lifestyle not a BUY- product. Hold on for as long as we can....
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDamnp78
i agree thank god for A7X if they get super popular on their new cd this year, music will change! They are glam/trash and everything else metal!

May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
The children and teenages of our time don't want to hear that kind of music...they are so lazy to think about the words, the melody....put a song as your soundtrack...they want mechanical things..industrialized...

Once a time I tought taht Crashdiet could be that band...but with constant lineup changes...they will never be!!!!

the music industry try to sell our hard rock/glam/sleaze/hair metal as a package... but it is a life style...a religion
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucas Serpa
You need a band to come along that becomes more than just iconic - they have to influence on a much broader spectrum than just looking cool or having a little staying power.
Think about it; every 10 years or so we get another couple of bands that rise to the top and stay there - I don't even have to name names. But only once or twice in a generation do we see the types of bands or musicians that influence an entire generation. Look back in history to the 50's, 60's and 70's. There hasn't been anything like that since then. Diversity, exploration, and musical change that echoed AND influenced the landscape.

A7X is pretty awesome in a lot of ways, but I don't think, historically, they'll match up to the forefathers (and mothers) of where we are now.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
hey Mike Snake of Eden is a good not well known band same with Cast of Kings they are good and i found them through myspace. i think the age of guitar heros is coming back.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercrüe düde
Great Blog and very true. As scary as it might be we are hurting for music that will stand on its own and last. I love the fact that Motley Crue is back, but the concerts we've been to where younger opening bands have opened the crowd is just waiting for the headliner and not taking in the music. The music scene has become instant gratification and there is no way it can carry on like that.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJB
I think it mostly has to do with the Internet. The instant and free availability of virtually every song ever recorded has turned music into a an almost worthless commodity.

We are now absolutely flooded with music. There are 50 trillion bands on MySpace, all competing for our attention. If someone tells me that a band is cool, I'm likely to go to their page and listen to a few snippets of songs while at work, which is hardly a great way to experience music. I rarely buy albums ever more, preferring to instead spend 99 cents at iTunes to get the latest singles that I found on a Top 40 rock chart online.

Prior to the ubiquitous net, I would learn about new music from friends, radio or videos and usually end up actually buying a tape or CD. There was a level of commitment there, and also a bit of ritual -- I'd immediately play the new tape when I got home, read the liner notes back to front, etc. Thinking back, that ritual was a part of the emotional relationship that I had with my music.

Also, there was mystery & excitement when you went to see a band live. What were they going to play? How would they look? Now, you can see hundreds or thousands of performances in 5 seconds on YouTube.

I don't think that's the experience of the Internet generation. I think they download a few free albums and potentially never even listen to everything -- it just gets buried with the other 15,000 songs on their iPod.

Don't get me wrong -- I LOVE music (new & old) and still spend way more than I should buying downloads and going to shows. But I agree 100% that the overall experience has changed. I somehow doubt that this generation will spawn a band like Van Halen, Metallica, Aerosmith or U2.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Great article. I couldn't agree more. Also gone is the whole larger-than-life stageshow. No more lightshows, pyrotechnics or upside-down drum kits. The whole music industry is now a instant gratification machine.
And... my 2 cents on who could make a great anthem song in this age. I would vote for 3 Seconds to Mars.
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrinity
i meant 30 seconds to mars :)
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrinity
Trinity, I couldnt of said it better. 30STM are an incredible band!
May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
Keri Kelli will be around for a long time. He is probably the top guitar player in the States these days as far as versatility and virtuousity ...
May 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergerry g
Avenged Sevenfold is like a boyband
May 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiamGallagher
Look to the European bands. PERIOD.
May 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRetrospect Records
@Trinity -- there are still bands who go all out with their stage shows. Nickelback's shows are directly from the 80's rock playbook, and Slipknot is completely over the top crazy complete with spinning drum kits. And you can bet that if Hinder starts doing headline arena shows, their stage show will be pretty crazy as well.
May 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
I totally agree with you, there hasn't been a "that song" in a while.


avenged sevenfold are terrible im afraid, any song they have that starts off great soon dies with the arrival of a horrible attemp at a catchy memorable chorus that jus ends up soundin cheesey and reeks of tryin to hard.

at first they did'nt really bother me, then one day while wonderin around my local supermarkets magazine rack i seen the front cover of a past its best rock/metal mag (the one wi the K) and they were being billed as the next Guns n Roses. They had chains round ther necks and had little fake cuts and bruises on ther faces and wer lookin jus ooooo so tough (say that last part of that sentece as sarcastically as possible please) and it jus bugged the fuck outta me.

Then i heard Beast and the harlot main riff is good not really over keen on anytin else but nice riff atleast then the chorus came along and jus fucked all that effort up.

avenged sevenfold suck and i don't care how hard u try to convince me otherwise!! (others have tried)

May 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJonny Ga$h

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