The list of nominees for the Brit Awards is out, and as always, as with nearly all mainstream music interaction, we have to ask WHERE'S THE ROCK ?
At the very lightest / most indie end of the rock scale Bastille, The Arctic Monkeys and Kings Of Leon all have a look in, but where are the bands that can pick up a guitar and really know how to use it ?
In the category 'British Album Of The Year' - One band I say, Black Sabbath's '13', the album reached the #1 position in nine countries and shifted truckloads, is one of our greatest ever British bands represented at the Brits ? No. Perhaps 'All Hell Breaks Loose' by Black Star Riders have been nominated ? It's a cracking rock album packed with catchy riffs and strong songs. What about Motorhead's 'Aftershock' ? But no, the album category is populated with the radio friendly unit shifters, because this is how the Brits work.
I'm not really criticising the Brits, although I think that dropping the Rock category back in 2007 was a mistake. It isn't as if bands in the rock spectrum never get any success here either, in recent history The Darkness, Foo Fighters and Manic Street Preachers have all won (and we're not counting Oasis and Kaiser Cheifs are we?)
Across the rock and metal media writers have been complaining that the bands that were huge 20 years ago are still the bands that are huge today, and that new acts are rarely breaking through to massive status. Should we shoulder some of the blame ourselves ? Do we all download too much and therefore make it harder for young bands to survive on a decent financial basis ? Probably.
This then is also part of our mission, to get singles by new rock and metal bands into the mainstream charts. By charting singles we will get them airplay on the big networks, by getting airplay we will open them up to a much wider audience and some of that audience will find something they like. I'm not daft, I don't believe that we can convince the legions of Beilebers and Directioners to suddenly gain an all consuming love for brutal black metal but if people hear more rock and metal then they might find that they actually like some of it.
We shouldn't shun the mainstream and pretend it doesn't matter to us. The mainstream record and media companies are vital tot he continuing promotion and success of the types of music that we love. You don't think so ? Were you watching black metal on YouTube ? See the connections. The big players can help the small ones, albeit unwittingly.
Let's re-engage with the mainstream, together let's help our favourite new bands to survive and thrive, together we can Rock The Charts.