Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kasabian: Internets ruined music

Why did rock music stop being sexy and underground and become so humdrum.

Here's a thought: Kasabian.

No, no: not that Kasabian ruined rock; I mean Kasabian have a theory. The NME has the details:

The outspoken frontman claims there are no iconic musicians left because artists reveal too much about themselves on blogging websites such as Twitter.

He said: "It's not like what it used to be like in rock 'n' roll. In the 60s and 70s you had the likes of David Bowie and Marc Bolan, and then in the 80s you even had shit acts that were rock stars. Then in the 90s you had the Britpop revival."

Yes, I think I remember the Britpop revival. That would have been when, erm, everyone harked back to the days of Britpop while they were still having.

You'll note that Meighan's theory manages to find no room for punk or new wave at all, and also seems to be lamenting an era when "shit acts" were treated as rock royalty. It's a bit like someone trying to form a viewpoint about 20th Century history without including the Second World War and trying to treat Vietnam as the sort of thing America really should be doing now.

Anyway, in the past it was all unlocked doors and smiling policemen, and now it's not. What went wrong, Tom?
"I think - especially in the last three or four years - the internet's taken a stranglehold and killed off the myth of the rock star now."

It's the internets! Of course. Only since about 2007, though.
"You know when you used to buy the records and there was the myth behind them?"

Yes, who can forget the complex myth-making of Britpop; the elaborately constructed backstory of Menswe@r, for example? It was like a Norse legend.
"There's too much on blogs now and I think it's killed it off. Nobody's surprised by an interview anymore or anything. It's quite tragic."

Well, nobody's ever surprised by anything in a Kasabian interview. Except if they were ever to say "actually, Hard Fi were miles better than us."

It doesn't seem to have occurred to Tom that the problem is not blogs and the internet, but more that rock has moved so far from the edges to the centre, and bands are pushed by their labels to make themselves so available. The supply is the problem, not so much the distribution.

Nor that, perhaps, the reason we don't have a Bowie now is that we're quite happy to settle for so much less. If we're giving prizes to Kasabian with a straight face, isn't that sign that - as a culture - we're getting the rubbish pop stars we deserve?
He also said blogging has taken away the spirit of rock 'n roll'. He told Bang Showbiz: "There are so many rock stars writing these self pitying blogs and it's not in the spirit of rock 'n' roll, it's like 'Wow, what rubbish'."

There is, naturally, a document which details exactly what behaviour is acceptable from rock and roll stars, and 'writing self-pitying blogs' is banned. Turns out 'sounding like you're seventy years old and waffling on as if you were Michael Parkinson about how rotten popular culture is' is fine, though.