Column from May 8th, 2000 issue
Your know something just struck me...., 12 to 18 months ago all the people supposedly in the know were whispering that melodic rock was about to come back with a bang, and all the major labels were lining up to support it again. What happened? We're still exactly where we've been for the best part of 10 years, and if anything quality melodic rock is steadily getting more and more underground, not more visible.
Now I know some are going to start highlighting some of the modern pop-rock bands and holding them up as the "face of modern AOR", but until those sort of released have the same production values as some of the classic AOR releases of the last 25 years, then they're not going to cut it for me. The feel just isn't there, and even when you have pop-rock band with good guitar work, there's such a hollow feel and such a sense of throwaway values that any good effect it could have just fades away instantly. Then you get Shania Twain and Ricky Martin throwing in the old quality song to the repertoire while still reeking of being a bad cabaret act.... That's far from satisfying too.
But what's even more bizarre: get a quality melodic rock song in a prominent place in a major movie (or even more sadly a commercial), or get Aerosmith to cover it, and hey presto it's a hit and the wider music buying public is lapping it up. How come there's nothing in a similar vein to follow it up?
Maybe the talk of lots of L.A. clubs having melodic rock bands playing again is right, but it's not translating into record label signings, and there doesn't seem to a be a groundswell of popular opinion and support that you would normally see with a burgeoning underground. Something isn't quite right.....
Then it hit me, the music world is just reflecting modern business society. Just 10 or 15 years ago you became a success by working hard, putting in effort and trying to do something better or be the best. Right now were in the middle of a horrible get-rich-quick cultural were you try to make a huge amount of money by duping investors and then do nothing for the rest of your life! You just have to look at all the people that have become rich by selling stock in internet companies that never have, and probably never will, made a profit to know that's right.
For me, pretentious as it may sound, quality music is an art form. But like lots of art, it can't exist without financial benefactors. However, the money markets (and record labels amount to the same thing!), don't see it that way as they're purely have a short term outlook. They want to make money quick and get out. If that remains a case for a few more years, lots of musical forms are just going to die out altogether and that will be left will insipid and stagnant.