There’s currently a great read on Vulture, an interview collection of people who talk about the Strokes and how they blew up and then petered out. The article is great but the notion is all kinds of wonky.
The headline is “The Last Moment of the Last Great Rock Band”. And then there’s a lot of people saying how cool they were and how amazing it was how cool and boozy and druggy they were. Of course, there’s also the creative notion of the band that gets mentioned but let’s be honest. The Strokes were – even though they are not my cup of tea – an amazing band that defined the Zeitgeist but they weren’t the last band ever to do great rock music. But when Vulture speaks about “The last Great Rock Band” it doesn’t just talk about the music. It’s all about the ‘tude and the image that comes with such a title.
Suroosh Alvi (Vice Media)
I saw them at Coachella right before that MSG show and Julian was like, “I just flew in, I don’t know what the fuck is going on, I just got on my gold-plated jet.” Such a bored rock star. And then he gets onstage and doesn’t do anything but kill it.
Japandroids – a not great rock band because there aren’t any great rock bands anymore so they possibly couldn’t be one (I will do this throughout the article, so I will advise anyone who can’t detect sarcasm to get a sarcasm app right now and keep it close for this read)
I did a few interviews with bands, I sat in the tour bus with Derrick Leon Green from Sepultura while the tour manager vacuum cleaned. I had discussions with punk rock bands who quit because they couldn’t juggle touring and family anymore and I talked to nerdy dance pop groups who dreamed of composing video game soundtracks. I can tell you this: thank god, those godawful ROCK BANDS are over.
Austin Scaggs (Journalist)
I thought it was going to be a giant debaucherous orgy of booze and drugs. It was the absolute opposite. To be super-blunt about it, the Strokes were crumbling right in front of my eyes, right in front of the camera. There was a lot of resentment and there was a lot of tension. When I got home I was like, “Wow, that was not what I expected.” I didn’t see one naked girl the whole time.
White Denim- ugh, look at these guys, trying so hard to be a great rock band with all the great singing, the amazing bass line and guitar? They even have an amazing drummer. If only they knew that they never can be a great rock band, poor sods.
Look, I get the appeal (for young men) of a boozy rock band with naked ladies. But what did that give us? Yes, quite a few classic rock hits but also a lot of drug related deaths and more undocumented rapes than anyone could (and would want to) ever imagine. The male dominated rock band-epos is ridiculous and unnecessary.
Look at nerdy bands like Genesis, who managed to create insanely awesome music without being high as a kite, they even had a feminist as a front man. Look at Frank Zappa, who – ok – was all into boobies but had strict no-drug-rules for shows. No one ever went to a Frank Zappa concert and had the worst experience because the band was shitfaced and insulted the audience.
Great music doesn’t have to be written by sexist, gross drunken dudes who smash their hotel rooms to pieces and are above any other emotions than contempt or anger. And it’s not necessary to sell these “tortured artistic souls” as a life style that other bands would want to emulate. It’s not necessary to grief over the loss of these kind of bands.
Alabama Shakes – apparently not a great rock band because there haven’t been any since the Strokes.
I love my boring, nerdy weirdo musicians. Most of them were incredibly nice, down to earth and talented as heck. No one needed to play a role to feel better about themselves. No one had to wear sunglasses on a sunny day to feel less self-conscious or to hide a hangover. They all sat down with me, talked about reading on tour, family life and their side projects to finance their music.
Sallie Ford – no great rock band in sight because, come on, you know this, there haven’t been any since the Strokes!
If a band needs drugs and alcohol and (for god’s sake: consensual) sex to find their creative energy, fine, but I am tired of journalists and fans alike to pretend as if that’s something amazing, something that should be celebrated as some sort of “rock band”-badge. It’s rather sad if a musician can’t really write music or play on a stage without doing drugs or being drunk (and I don’t mean “have a glass of wine during the show or a beer”-drunk but “let’s slur, forget your chords and stumble into the drum set”-drunk). Yes, it’s part of rock (and punk and metal and …) history but let’s not pretend that the domestic abuse, rape and deaths by overdose did not happen during that time. Those things happen a lot if you have a bunch of dudes, a lot of drugs and the opinion that this is all part of a great rock band all for the sake of ART. Fuck that.
Sweet Spirit – Please move along folks, there’s no great rock band to be seen here, they are not the Strokes and therefore can’t be one.