Reflecting on what he calls the "best year" of his life, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl took the time to swat at the annoying little gnat that never seems to go away in Rock & Roll – specifically, the idea that "Rock is dead" and is an irrelevant force in the music industry. Why tired music writers with nothing to say insist on repeating the same tired, irrelevant line is beyond me, but I've already gone far enough down that rabbithole.
You may remember Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney's recent discussions on the same issue, in which he lambasted Target-rock champions Nickelback for homogenizing rock music, affixing a large douche nozzle to the end of the beloved genre for the sake of mass appeal – and dumptrucks full of money, of course.
While Grohl has been known to throw an ill word or ten at bands who use backing tracks and computers in their live show, at the core he believes that "the problem with the music industry," is more a lack of quality than a lack of interest. So basically, he agrees with Carney, but delivers the hit in a much more philosophical manner.
Grohl spoke with Billboard and was asked about the problems plaguing the industry, to which he responded: "Someone asked me recently, 'What do you think the problem with the music industry is?' I said, 'take the Adele record, for example. It's an amazing record and everybody's so shocked that it's such a phenomenon. I'm not. You know why that record's huge? Because it's f—ing good and it's real. Now imagine if all records were that good. Do you think only one of them would sell? F— no! All of them would. If all records were that good the music business would be on fire, but they're not.'"
As for that whole "rock & roll is dead" nonsense: "There's always gonna be rock'n'roll bands, there's always gonna be kids that love rock'n'roll records, and there will always be rock'n'roll. I travel all over the world and play music, and it's easy to think rock'n'roll has gone away when you're in a country like America. We just got back from a trip Down Under, we did a tour of Australia and New Zealand where we were pulling 40,000-50,000 people a night, selling out stadiums. To me, that means rock'n'roll is alive and well."
It all comes down to the quality and the connection, as Grohl explains: "The thing that will never go away is that connection you make with a band or a song where you’re moved by the fact that it’s real people making music. You make that human connection with a song like “Let It Be” or “Long and Winding Road” or a song like “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Roxanne,” any of those songs. They sound like people making music. In America, rock’n'roll isn’t in the forefront of the mainstream as it is the rest of the world…I don’t know what it is, but it’s one of the few countries in the world where rock’n'roll is not huge.”
The Foo Fighters latest album Wasting Light was one of the most successful rock albums of 2011 and was nominated for six Grammy Awards — the second most nods behind Adele’s 21, which received seven. It even made our #1 spot for Album of the Year in 2011.
Photo: Johnny Firecloud