Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Teens sure dig the Classic Rock

Here's an intriguing Rolling Stone article about teenagers discovering, and helping keep alive, the genre of "Classic Rock", which New York's Q104.3* plays pretty much non-stop. My favorite factoid was this one:

"According to the market-research firm NPD, kids ages thirteen to seventeen bought twenty percent of all Floyd and Zeppelin albums sold from 2002 to 2005, and seventeen percent of Hendrix and Queen discs but accounted for just three percent of Creedence Clearwater Revival sales, six percent of Rolling Stones sales and a paltry one percent of Cat Stevens sales."

(What? What? What's wrong with Cat Stevens, you young people of today? Other than the supporting-the-death-of-Rushdie thing, of course, which was unfortunate, and anyway he's now claiming he was misquoted. Anyway, give me the Cat-man, whose first four albums are incredibly pretty and inventive, anyday over Pink Floyd. Yecccccchhh. I hearby declare a fatwa on Pink Floyd. Well, a fatwa on post-'71 Pink Floyd, the early stuff is pretty dope. OK, only kidding. About the fatwa.)

Anyway, I know about this phenomena first hand, and it's not just because I've already turned my 10-year-old daughter Julia into nearly as big a Beatle-head as me. (1) When I was spending some time at the Guitar Center on 14th Street last December (buying a lovely bass amp which may or may not have been an excessive purchase, but I love the damn thing), I ended up advising a kid who was no older than 13 on what kind of a bass he should buy. I asked him what kind of music he listened to, and he said "Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin". (I told him to get a Precision "Squier".) (2) And when I played bass with Bubble while performing The White Album and Revolver in front of an outdoor crowd in Hoboken last summer, there were these two kids - both about 12 or 13 - staring at us worshipfully from the side of the stage the entire show ... like they were soaking every note in. No Death Cab for Cutie for them! (3) Likewise, when I took my nephew James to his first rock concert a while ago, it was to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse. James survived the show, and (though no longer a "teen") is still a big-time classic rock fan... as a matter of fact, he and I continue to have vehement arguments about - you guessed it - Pink Floyd. He thinks they're much more important to the History Of Rock than Devo, which I strongly disagree with... but I digress.

Speaking of the Floyd: if you're a fan of the '79 album The Wall, you may want to tune into Q104.3 tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 11:30 PM to hear Rockline (a perennial syndicated rock call-in show). Tomorrow's show will actually be a compilation of previous Rockline interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason about the making of the album, the 1982 movie, and the 1990 Berlin live performance in front of over 250,000 people. Did the album have secret messages? Does the end segue into the beginning? What movie does this one sync up with? Find out tomorrow night...

* Speaking of Q104.3, here's a fascinating - or tragic, depending on your point of view - article about how the station is programmed. Three acts that come with both big positives and negatives for the programmers: Bob Dylan, Rush, and The Grateful Dead. (It all has to do with the vocals, no?) And while Elton John and Billy Joel are considered "Classic Rock" in New York, in Chicago they're "Adult Contemporary". Interesting!

1 comment:

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