Not all bands age well. This is true when the band’s career is less than ten years. Tastes change, people’s sensibilities change, fads die and new ones are born. Young rockers become old rockers, and the bloom falls off the rose. No one wants to see their dad rage along with power chords and lyrics about fighting the man.
Sometimes a band can become so commercially successful that their artistic merit vanishes underneath the fame. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the punk rock movement was sweeping across the UK and America in reaction to the psychedelic rock of the 1960s and the yacht rock that dominated radio in the early 1970s. Punk was simple and aggressive, and it didn’t care about airplay, or authority or convention.
The Police were a band that brought together several threads and wove them into radio friendly rock that was simply inescapable from their first album in 1977 onward. The Police were sui generis. There was no other band that sounded like them. From the first few notes or moments of a song, you could easily tell that it was a Police song.
When a band or ensemble endures and stays commercially viable for 50 years, that demands attention. Yes is one of those bands. Of course, since their formation in 1968, many musicians have passed through their ranks. Detractors point to that as a satirical characteristic of the band.
While the band’s discography is as lengthy as one would expect, there was one recording in particular that rejuvenated the band in the early 1980s and created a new generation of fans that would propel the band forward into the present day.
Johnny Cash is rightly credited with being the father of outlaw country music. This is not the country music of today, the one that has been taken over by the Carrie Underwoods and the other improbably telegenic performers that populate and dominate the genre. Cash’s music, and the style he created, was the one of Merle Haggard, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson. Cash exuded the idea that if you weren’t against the system, you were part of the system.
King Crimson is an enigma. Like many progressive rock bands, Crimson has had numerous lineup changes since its debut in 1968. The band continues to this day, having completed a tour in Fall 2017 that took it across the United States, coupled with an announcement that new music was on the way.
Some of you reading this may have no idea who District 97 is. So, for Day Three of The Tuk Ten (rock edition!), let me acquaint you with them. D97 hails from Chicago, Illinois, and have followed an indie rock pathway across the United States and throughout Europe, all on a DIY and crowdfunded model. This is very much a rock band for modern times. For reasons explained below, In Vaults is definitely in my very own personal Top Ten.
The second album in The Tuk Ten (the rock edition) is Weight by The Rollins Band. Weight came out in the middle of that band’s career. It doesn’t have as much of the exposed raw energy of the debut album, End of Silence. What Weight does have is a mature and hard edge coupled with some fine engineering that runs through the entire album.
As all things with Facebook, you periodically see these quick little challenges to list your favorite childhood memories, favorite movies, and so on. One of these challenges, the “List your top ten records” challenge caught my eye.
Recently, I had the good fortune to speak to a room full of young, aspiring entrepreneurs about my professional journey. I hoped to draw some parallels for them to follow, to the extent that those parallels could aid them.
The first part of the session was a 60 minute prepared talk about the initial hurdles that young startups face from a legal standpoint. Following the discussion, there was a question and answer segment, and I was asked the following question by the host:
“How long did it take you to achieve your success?”
It’s no secret that independent musicians are struggling out there. There are some out there you have heard of, and some you haven’t heard of, working incredibly hard to get their artistic expressions out in front of audiences. A lot of times, that grind can start to look pretty bleak and exhausting if you are moving through it without any plan or strategy.