Rock Is Dead (Again)

It’s that time of year again, when the likes of Mark Marford proclaim rock dead. Marford’s claim seems based on how much the MTV VMAs sucked, but what else is new?

Oh yes, make no mistake, MTV is now owned by the cheeseball bling. “Diddy” hosted the VMAs and he was tedious and small trying to be mutinous and large. The show was a comical cavalcade of overblown Vegas-grade hip-hop artists, 50 Cent and Nelly and Kanye West and all of ‘em screaming “Yo boyeee” and grunting their manhood in these low slouchy gorilla tones apparently mandatory for hip-hop cred, and far be it from me to give a damn that the bloviated hip-hop persona has overtaken the outlandish rock persona as the emblem of cool, but it seems worth mentioning that the most glaring and telling and godawful thing about it all, the most disquieting aspect was just how far the true rock ‘n’ roll spirit seems to have fallen in the cultural strata.

MTV hasn’t stood for “music television” since record labels started making their money re-releasing LPs on CDs, and CDs have since been rendered obsolete by the MP3. But saying “MTV isn’t ‘rock and roll’ anymore” is like saying the selection of tapes at the Virgin Megastore sucks.

But it’s not just rock on TV that’s suffering- it’s dinosaur arena rock, too. That might be because there’s a looming shortage of aging rock stars whose best days are behind them who can get away with charging $350 a ticket.