New Rock vs. Old Rock
The other day I was told that I should "play more of the old rock". They weren't talking about the stuff that 97X plays, but the 90s and early 2000's that we play on I-Rock 93.5. While I understood their point and had the conversation with the person, I completely disagree with them.
A couple years ago the New York Times ran a study to determine when people develop their musical taste. They concluded that between the ages of 13-16 is the most important time in our lives to set the future of what we will like for music. For me, that puts my musical range from 1993-1996. That also gives you my age...yikes. However, really during that time I was more into the classic rock of Zeppelin, Doors and Hendrix and really wouldn't discover new rock until 98-02. Guess I was a late bloomer. But that general time of my life is what set me on the path of rock and hard rock.
When I built (and continue to evolve) I-Rock 93.5 the point was...well to make a station I like! But really, to make a station for rockers from 18-50. A majority of us then fall into the 1993-2008 time for our music taste. Those were good years for music. But should we only live there?
If you listen to this station with any regularity you know I play a lot from those years. (However it's really the hard rock from those years with the grunge turned down since first launch. And in actuality, I play the new releases more than anything.) Those years of Korn, Slipknot, Linkin Park, Godsmack etc. are amazing years for rock stations. Weather it was rock stations not wanting to evolve past that, or listeners getting stuck in their ways, that was the "peak" of hard rock radio in America.
So here we are, 12 years later at a turning point for rock radio. We can continue to play those same songs you know over and over again. Or, we can play the new stuff coming out now, and the new stuff that has come out in the last decade. If we as rock radio stations don't play this new music, and we as rock music listeners don't listen and embrace it, in 20 years we'll still be listening to the stuff from 20 years ago! Eventually Tool, Deftones and Disturbed will be considered classic rock. We shouldn't do that to them now though.
Really there are two buckets new music is falling into. It's either new songs from old bands or new songs from new bands. Obviously.
On the first part, yes, Waffle is a great song by Sevendust. So is their new song Die To Live. We as rock fans should be able to listen to and embrace both the old songs from these bands of our youth, while listening to the new songs as well. We cheer for Blind and Freak on a Leash, we should for Never Never and Can You Hear Me as well.
We also need to discover new music from new(er) bands. Ones that have only been around the last 10 years (aka the decline of rock) and don't fit in that sweet spot of our musical tastes. Bands like All That Remains, Bring Me The Horizon, Greta Van Fleet, In This Moment, Starset and on and on. All good bands all with their own unique sound. Isn't that what we want? Something new and unique. That is what rock has always been about.
Now the second part to those new songs/bands is not just playing them while they are in "the top 40" and then dumping them never to be heard again. I will continue to play these bands hit songs from 2010-2020. Why wouldn't I keep playing "older" stuff from The Pretty Reckless, Volbeat and I Prevail. Clearly, rock stations did that with music in the 90s and 00s, so why shouldn't we do it now.
I-Rock 93.5 is different. We don't have some corporate playlist that is forcing the same old stuff at you every day. Perhaps that will eventually be our downfall. However, for as long as I'm here and getting to choose what plays, I will continue to deliver new music along with new bands. I'll work to keep the "active" in Active Rock and keep us from becoming classic rock too soon.