Seasaw, Canceled Plans, Young Ritual Local Show at Mac’s Bar

If you’re having summer concert withdrawals and are looking for the perfect fall show, look no further! As soon as I heard the news that Seasaw, Canceled Plans (solo set), and Young Ritual would hit the stage at Mac’s Bar in Lansing on October 3rd I’ve been buzzing with excitement! I spoke with Michaela Stock of Canceled Plans and Dylan Grantham of Young Ritual to get the scoop on the upcoming show.

Both Stock and Grantham are excited about the gig and are eager to share the stage with some new faces. “I’ve never shared the stage with seasaw or Young Ritual, but I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been gigging since April of 2017, and I’ve never gotten to share the stage with another girl who runs the show. I’m a big fan of seasaw and their work, so it’s an honor to have this first and this show alongside two talented and beautiful women.” Stock writes. It’s remarkable to see such genuine support for other female artists in a male-driven industry. One of the things I love most about supporting my local music scene is seeing the interactions and friendships forming between artists that share the stage whether it’s for a single gig or for a tour.

IMG_3108Not only are Stock and Grantham ready to play with some new faces, but they are also thrilled to get back to Mac’s Bar. For Grantham, this is his first time in performing in Michigan’s capital. “This will actually be my first show in Lansing, so I can’t wait for that part. I definitely have some tricks up my sleeve to make a good first impression.” I’m eager to see what kind of tricks he has to make this show a memorable one. Grantham has been working on finishing up his first EP, and released the first single “Prime” last month! He’ll definitely be playing some new music at the upcoming show along with old favorites.

Stock, on the other hand, is a Lansing native and she’s pumped to get back to her hometown and play at one of her favorite venues. “The last time I played at Mac’s was in September of 2017. It was my first full-band show, and I was opening for Michigander, a band I had followed as a fan since high school. That was for sure a night I’ll never forget. Every time I walk through the doors at Mac’s I’m hit with gratitude and nostalgia for the space. I have so much more to say, but I’m going to leave some stories for the show!” I’ve never seen

IMG_7791While remembering Mac’s Bar and what the venue means to her, Michaela lights up and goes into every detail of the venue and how much she loves it. “I spent the latter half of my teenage years studying the scribbled walls in Mac’s Bar at shows. It was my first “dream venue” to play a show in because I had some of my first experiences with live music in that space. I even met my best friend at Mac’s at a concert. We screamed all the words to the headlining band’s set, and it’s been history ever since. Mac’s Bar did, in fact, end up being the first place I’d ever played a billed gig with tickets, a sound-check, and other artists back in April of 2017. I remember wearing a black dress, carrying my guitar case and pushing open the big wooden door thinking, “What the HECK has my life come to?” (For the record, I’m still figuring that question out.) It was so special.”

Do not sleep on this concert! Each of the acts has a different energy to bring to the stage and it’s sure to be a good night. Get tickets to the show here!

-Swaggie Maggie

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Hit Reset – The Julie Ruin

In 2016, American garage-rock band The Julie Ruin released their second album, Hit Reset. This hidden gem is reminiscent of lead singer, Kathleen Hanna’s days in Bikini Kill and the Riot-grrrl movement, while staying on point with the cultural, social, and political aspects of life in 2016 to 2018. After releasing a solo album under the alias of Julie Ruin in 1998, Hanna decided to make the band a full time project. In 2010, The Julie Ruin was formed in New York City by Hanna, Carmine Covelli, Sara Landeau, Kathi Wilcox, and Kenny Mellman.

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Hit Reset was received well by music sources and critics, and received an 8.2 out of 10 in a Pitchfork review, making it clear that the record is definitely worth listening to. Since the music falls into the punk-sphere, the album is not commercially known due to the popularity and demand for pop and rap music. I had never heard of Hit Reset or The Julie Ruin until just a few weeks ago, and I consider myself musically diverse, especially in the rock world. After listening to the album on repeat for a few weeks, I’m positive that everyone in The United States needs to hear it. They need to hear Hanna screaming, and feel her pain, and realize her triumphs with her.

I believe that music is powerful, in any capacity. That’s why it makes me upset when pop music on the radio is mindless and inappropriate. Musicians have a huge platform and they should use it to promote positive messages, and stories about their lives that people can relate to and learn from. Hanna uses Hit Reset to tell her story, and I think that people would gain a sense of empathy towards people by hearing this record. By traveling through Hanna’s journey, listeners are able to share her experiences with her, and feel for her. In a review from Pitchfork, the album is described as “The chance to tip her experiences onto a sterile surface and assess each memory’s impact before dropkicking it into oblivion; the kind of process that’s often only possible when you’ve looked death in the face. It’s Hanna’s most personal work” (Snapes). Hanna proves her power and “she triumphs at every decibel” (Powers).

Hanna has Lyme disease and has been battling it for years. It has forced her to take time off from making music, but she has never backed down from a fight. A review from NPR Music describes Hanna as “both the dissembled survivor and the furious avenger” (Powers). In 2013, a documentary titled “The Punk Singer” was released about her life, and that experience rings through Hit Reset. When I first listened to the album, I was a little conflicted. I was immediately reminded of sounds from the 90’s, and of my best friend. My best friend from home has a voice kind of similar to Hanna’s, being that it isn’t perfect or pristine. It’s not technically good, but it’s interesting and passionate. There were songs that I didn’t like at all, such as “Be Nice”, because I couldn’t understand the lyrics through Hanna’s frenzied screams. I’ll be honest, I got a little bit of anxiety as I listened to the album for the first time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, but the music was definitely anxiety inducing.

I’d listen to this album when I’m pissed off. Maybe I’d be in my room or driving home from work, but this is the kind of music you listen to when you’re so angry but you may not know how to express the anger in a constructive way. This makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, kick things and cry until I calm down. I think that it’s important to feel those emotions every once in a while. Emotions make people human.

While we have learned in class that the Riot-grrrl movement was not perfect, I think it was a great place to start in terms of getting everybody to notice women, see them as legitimate human beings, and understand that every woman is equal to every man. The Riot-grrrl movement only encompassed straight, white, middle class, women, and the documentary is pretty reflective of that. It seems as though most of the women interviewed and showed in the film are white and supposedly middle class (They all met in college, so they could afford a college education). Women of color, transgender women and men, and members of the LGBTQ+ community also needed a voice, as well as members of lower classes. It is unfortunate that so many people were not included in the Riot-grrrl movement, but it is understandable that the very first step in a movement is not perfect. There is no possible way for something to be perfect upon conception, but the important thing is that a first step was taken.

Hit Reset is reminiscent of 90’s punk, and combines techno-rock influences with classic punk attributes such as fuzzy guitar riffs, strained vocals, and manic rhythms. At first listen, tracks can be split up into two categories. The first kind of song you’ll hear on the album is wild, all over the place, and frenzy-inducing. These songs mimic classic punk and bring about a manic style. The second type of songs are almost monotone sound, following one rhythm, have repetitive lyrics, and could be classified as punk ballads. After listening to the album a few more times, it is obvious that each song follows a similar style that is unique to The Julie Ruin. The “New-wave romp didn’t lack energy, some of Hanna’s lyrics were unusually tentative” (Snapes). The album is cohesive, and follows Hanna’s experiences and thoughts as a female artist.

There are a few running themes that are apparent and maintained throughout the album, and tell a story. Love, being feminine, feminism, and identifying as a dreamer, can be found woven throughout the lyrics of each song. While Hit Reset cannot necessarily be considered a rock-opera like The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers or The Who’s Tommy, it definitely follows a theme and tells stories. The lyrics all seem autobiographical and personal, even in the songs where many of the lyrics could not be understood. They still felt unique and distinctive, because  “Hanna faces down the abuse she’s suffered in her own life” (Powers). Half of the songs, such as  on the album sound manic, and anxiety inducing. The lyrics are screamed with a high-pitched-frenzy and the instruments are all over the place, creating a craziness. The other half of the songs, such as “I Decide” and “Time is Up” sound almost monotone and flat, but not boring by any means. They seem so much calmer than the other songs on the album. Both of these styles work together to create a unique record.

A song that immediately stood out to me on the album was “Rather Not. It sounded so familiar, and I could have sworn that I’d heard it before.I think that my subconscious knew it was a song I personally needed to hear. The low, catchy bass and guitar riffs that are continued throughout the song are reminiscent of Pixies’s “Here Comes Your Man, and they compliment Hanna’s unique vocals perfectly. Hanna’s voice is one-of-a-kind. She’s no opera singer, but in her context and situation, there is no other way these songs could sound and still have the incredible weight that they possess. With lyrics that are pointed and deliberate, “Rather Not follows a disastrous relationship that has ended. Although there is significant history, Hanna sings about throwing all of that history away for the sake of moving on and feeling comfortable and alive again. She sings “If you love me I’d rather not know” over and over throughout the song, which resonates with anyone who has fallen out of love and the relationship keeps coming back to haunt them.

Another interesting song is “Mr. So and So”. It starts with a catchy guitar riff and then Hanna comes in with a monologue. The lyrics up until the chorus are spoken as a speech, detailing an awkward and inappropriate encounter she had with a male fan. When the chorus starts, the lyrics echo “You can’t say goodbye until I get my hello. Mr. So and So. It’s all just for show.” It’s heartbreaking and makes me angry to hear about the uncomfortable things male fans have said to her.  “Mr. So and So” is “an anti-ode to an entitled male fan” (Powers) that allows listeners to feel the same disgust that Hanna does.

 

Works Cited

Powers, Ann. “Review: The Julie Ruin, ‘Hit Reset.'” NPR Music, NPR, http://www.npr.org/2016/06/30/480605934/first-listen-the-julie-ruin-hit-reset. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

Snapes, Laura. “The Julie Ruin Hit Reset.” Pitchfork, Conde Nast, 16 July 2016, pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22073-hit-reset/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

-Swaggie Maggie

Seeing Artists More Than Once

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is why we see artists and bands more than once. As a working college student, I’m always trying to save money. This can be difficult when there are so many concerts I want to make it to. The price of concerts tickets adds up, even when they are held at smaller venues that don’t cost as much per ticket as concerts held in stadiums would. However, as hard as I try to save money, if one of my favorite bands is coming to town I’ll go see them, no matter how many times I’ve seen them before.

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Recently, I bought tickets to see All Time Low with a few of my friends. The concert is being provided by the residential services of my college, so the tickets were relatively inexpensive, and I was able to get great seats! After purchasing the tickets, I started thinking about why we want to see bands or artists more than once. Take All Time Low for example. I have seen them once before, but that was back in 2015 before the release of their latest album. Often times we see bands more than once because we want to experience their new music live.

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There are some bands that I’ve seen more times than I can remember off the top of my head. I’ve seen both Mayday Parade and Sleeping With Sirens 6 times each, and in multiple settings. I’ve seen them at festivals, at headlining tours, and in intimate venues. A few times, I saw the bands when they hadn’t released any new music. The setlist sounded similar to the one at the previous show, but I still had the time of my life!

My personal philosophy when it comes to buying concert tickets is simple. I ask myself three questions before purchasing. 1. Can you afford it?  2. Will you have fun? And 3. Will you be sad if you don’t go? If I can answer yes to those, I know that buying the ticket will be worth it.

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Album Excitement 2018

We are less than a month into the new year and we already have new music to be excited about! 2017 was a great year for music, but I’m betting 2018 can top it. As of now, there are already a few albums that have piqued my interest and I can’t wait to hear them in full when they are released! Here are a few albums I’m most excited to listen to in 2018.

  • IMG_6684Dashboard Confessional – Crooked Shadows February 9

    • I’ve been a casual fan of Dashboard Confessional for years, but once I saw them live this past summer I became obsessed! As soon asI got home I decided to listen to their entire discography and began wishing for new music. They have released two singles from the album, “We Fight” and “Heart Beat Here” and fans are more than ready for the album todrop tomorrow!
  • MGMT – Little Dark Age – February 9

    • Again, as a casual fan, I learned about MGMT’s new album in one of my classes this semester. I was a huge fan of their song “Kids” and when I heard about their upcoming album I got excited! Catch MGMT performing at a slew of festivals this summer.
  • Moose Blood – I Don’t Think I Can do This Anymore – March 9

    • I love Moose Blood and listen to them anytime I feel like I need a good cry. Their emotional expertise comes through in their lyrics, and their instrumental ability is amazing. I can’t wait for this album to come out!!
  • Jack White – Boarding House Ranch – March 23

    • Jack White is a Michigan Native, so I’ve been listening to his music since I was a kid. He recently announced his upcoming album and accompanying tour, which always brings excitement to residents of our state. I always feel a sort of pride for all Michigan Made musicians. There is some conversation surrounding his tour, seeing as he’s pushing for fans to check their phones at the door and go technology free.
  • The Vaccines – Combat Sports – March 30

    • The Vaccines have made their way into every single one of my playlists since I was a senior in high school, so I was obviously excited when they announced new music. So excited that I actually chose to study the release of Combat Sports for my music production course!
  • The 1975 – Music for Cars – 2018img_3403

    • While we don’t have a confirmed date for the album, The 1975 have been teasing Music for Cars on their social media accounts for the past year. The third, and final installment of The 1975 era is sure to be their greatest yet! While I’m definitely sad that this final album marks the end of one of my favorite bands of all time, I’m happy that I’ll at least have one more record to play on repeat.
  • Kanye West – Turbo Grafx16 – TBA

    • Okay, so nobody actually knows when Kanye’s newest album will drop, and it may not even come out in 2018, but I’m still excited about it!

So there are the albums I’m most excited for this year! Are there any that I should check out before these drop? Let me know in the comments!

-Swaggie Maggie

Every Nite is Emo Nite

It’s not a band. It’s not a DJ. It’s a party to celebrate the music they love. Emo Nite LA was founded in December 2014 and they’ve been taking the scene by storm ever since.  By bringing fans both young and old together to revel in the nostalgia of emo classics, Emo Nite has become a nation-wide force, recognized by artists of all genres, music publications, and, of course, fans.

Emo Nite LogoThis fall, Emo Nite LA has been touring across the United States, bringing the party to fans who can’t make it out to Los Angeles to participate. With dates continuing through December, emo devotees across the country can come together and have a great time.

For those who aren’t quite sure what Emo actually is, it’s a genre of rock music that is created through melodic, and often intricate musicianship. The lyrics are meaningful, confessional, and obviously emotional. Emo artists include Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, Mayday Parade and Taking Back Sunday.

October 20th, The Loft in Lansing will be hosting Emo Nite, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the vibes! Emo Nite promotes an inclusive community where the only requirement is a love for music and good times. Tickets can be purchased for $10.00 here, and you can keep up with Emo Nite by following them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify!

See you there!

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Photo and Video courtesy of Emo Nite LA

Bucket List Concerts: Paul McCartney

 

I’ve given myself a few days to calm down and I’m still riding my concert high. On Monday I got to see Paul McCartney, my idol, in concert. McCIMG_7967artney had permanent residency on the “number one person to see live” as number one for as long as I can remember. For a Beatles superfan and music lover in general, Paul McCartney is as good as it gets.

My dad and I have a tradition of seeing classic artists together. We’ve seen The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and more. For my birthday this summer he bought tickets for McCartney’s second Detroit date in the brand new Little Caesars Arena. We had been holding onto the tickets since June, and in the months between my birthday and the show, my excitement had built immensely. Every time I even thought about seeing my idol, I got teary-eyed.

The day had finally arrived and I was freaking out. I couldn’t sleep at all the night before thanks to the butterflies in my stomach. I was actually nervous to see him. Even though I knew he’d be beyond fantastic, there are always nerves that come with checking something off your bucket list. My dad and I drove downtown, parked, and approached the new stadium. The place was packed with fans both young and old, all ready for the show to begin. Once we found our seats, it was only a matter of minutes before Paul and his band took the stage.

Our tickets weren’t anywhere near the stage, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to be in the same room as him. As soon as the lights went down my heart felt like it stopped-the show was starting. When I say I cried through the whole show, believe me. I cried through the whole concert. I still can’t actually believe that I got to see my idol, the number one person on my list, live in concert! I got to see an original Beatle singing and performing the songs that he’d written so many years ago. Songs that transcend time and touch people’s souls to this day.

Paul McCartney was an amazing performer. He ran around that huge stage playing guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, and singing. He sang close to 40 songs and kept his energy high throughout the night. Between songs, he’d stop to tell a story about how he’d written the next song or something funny or sentimental about it. I’d love to sit with him and hear all of the stories he has about his days with The Beatles.

It’s hard to pick one favorite moment from the night, so I’ll mention two. The first was when he played “Here Today”. The song was written for John Lennon after he’d passed away, and McCartney explained that the song was in the form of a conversation they never got to have. His performance was truly a beautiful tribute to Lennon. I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the crowd of 20,000 people.

 

 

My other favorite moment of the concert was when McCartney sat down at his piano to play “Hey Jude”. As my favorite Beatles songs, and one of the most powerful and beautiful songs of all time it was something I’d been waiting to see live for a long time. I sobbed, sang along, and will never forget how it felt to witness my idol sing my favorite song in person.

 

If I ever have the chance to see Paul McCartney again, I will 100% take it! He’s an amazing performer who has reached across generations of music lovers to spread his message of love and acceptance.

-Swaggie Maggie

So You’re Trying to Meet Your Favorite Band

They’re just like you…only they’re famous. They’re your favorite band and you’ve been dying to meet them. They finally announce a tour and you’re ecstatic when you see your city listed amongst the stops. You save your money to buy a ticket, but then what? You’ll only meet them if you’re willing to put in the effort. We all have favorite bands, and you’re not telling the truth if you say you’ve never wanted the chance to have a personal conversation about specific lyrics with their lead singer or talk skills with their drummer. Here are some tips on meeting your favorite band!

 

Avoid “Annoying Rock Star Behavior”

The first thing you need to do is make sure that they’re cool with meeting fans. As unfortunate as it is, some bands are notorious for not wanting to talk to fans after their show. This may come off as annoying rock star behavior, but it’s definitely understandable; they’re tired, they’re trying to pack up, and they’re off to the next city. Just make sure they’re comfortable hanging out with fans before starting a line outside their tour bus. I’ll try to say this in the least-creepy way possible, but you need to stalk their Instagram. Seriously, just check their tagged photos. If they’re tagged in a bunch of photos with fans, then it’s a safe bet that they like meeting people after shows!

 

Time to Make a Choice

Next, decide if you are willing to pay for a meet and greet. This becomes a factor with more popular bands or artists because they are in high demand. Personally, I prefer waiting outside a venue for free. I’ve met bands through paid meet and greets, and while they usually come with some extra perks including merch or a private acoustic set, it all feels a little synthetic. You end up waiting in line for a little too long, and once you finally are able to have face-to-face interactions with the band, they’re often brief or cut short due to the fact that paid meet and greets occur before the show.

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A few summers ago my best friend and I were able to meet Taylor Swift on her 1989 World Tour during a meet and greet before the show! While meeting Swift was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, we weren’t able to speak with her about everything we’d wanted to! We actually changed the lyrics to her song “Welcome To New York”, and we were going to play the ukulele and sing it for her. Unfortunately, I had to leave my ukulele outside the meet and greet, and she was never able to hear our song. My advice is if you’re willing to wait after a show, it’s definitely worth it!

 

Stay Observant

The next step has to be done at the venue, so make sure to be watchful! You need to figure out where the band is going to be after the show. Sometimes they meet fans inside the venue after washing up. Sometimes they meet fans outside on the sidewalk. Other times, they want fans to wait near their tour bus. m3To figure out where they’re going to be, stick around after their last song and look to see where a small crowd might be forming. If the venue’s staff tells you that you need to leave, listen to them, because the band will be somewhere else. A few years ago, I went to see Mayday Parade with The Maine co-headline the American Lines tour. After the show ended, my friends and I stuck around inside the venue to see if any band members from either group would come out and meet with their fans. It didn’t take long for Derek Sanders, lead singer of Mayday Parade, to come out and begin speaking with fans.

 

Say “Cheese”

 

My final tip a little superficial, but sometimes a cool picture with your favorite artist can turn into a funny TBT photo if you’re not on you’re a-game. Founder of Style In The Way, a fashion and lifestyle blog, Sierra Mayhew, recalls the time she had the opportunity to meet Jay Z at a football game. “I found out that Jay Z was sitting a few boxes away from mine! I was offered the opportunity to meet him, and though I only knew a handful of his songs at the time, I jumped at the chance to go say hi!” Their conversation was going great and he was down to earth and friendly. When it came time to take a photo Mayhew remembers that her Mom “was nervous and in a rush so it came out terrible. I was half-blinking and looked possessed!” So remember, don’t blink when your photographer takes the photo because it may be your only shot!

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Sometimes though, you can’t do anything to prevent a photo mishap. This past MayI stood outside The Maine’s tour bus with my college roommate in hopes of meeting the band. When it was our turn to meet John O’Callaghan, the lead singer, we werewelcomed with a hug and a smile. I was able to speak with O’Callaghan for a little while before his tour manager told us that we had to take a photo and move on so other fans would get the chance to meet him. Just as my roommate took the photo on my phone, the tour manager bumped into her, resulting in a blurry (but still cute) photo!

 

 

These suggestions should help you feel confident that you can meet your favorite band! While it’s possible and not necessarily hard to meet your favorite artists, it is essential to make sure to follow these steps and remain respectful to both the venue’s staff and the performers. If you keep these tips in mind the next time you go to a show, meeting the headlining act should be a breeze!

-Swaggie Maggie

 

 

 

I Can Dig It: 10 Year Anniversary Tours

I’m a complete sucker for nostalgia, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when I tell you that I’m obsessed with anniversary tours specifically 10-year anniversary tours. In the past couple of months, I have been able to attend both of Mayday Parade’s throwback tours and I had the time of my life!

In November the band set off on a tour to commemorate their very first EP, Tales Told By Dead Friends. The venues were tiny, (I’m talking venues I used to watch local bands play) and the crowds were intense. Only the most diehard fans snagged tickets. Since the original EP only has 6 songs on it, the band played other fan favorites and did not disappoint.

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Then, a few weeks ago, I went to see Mayday Parade on their 10 year anniversary tour of their first full-length album, A Lesson In Romantics! This album is actually one of my favorites of all time, so I was buzzing with excitement. Mayday played the album from cover to cover, and it was amazing. The crowd was energized and the band gained momentum through each song from that.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago stating that Mayday Parade has the most passion while performing than any other band I’d seen, and to this day I think they rank within the top 5. Their performance of A Lesson In Romantics was so emotionally charged and beautiful. I found myself in tears from the intensity of their songs a few times (very typical of me). To be honest, every time I buy tickets to their show I think to myself “Why did I do this? I’m a broke college student and I’ve already seen them 5 times.” but as soon as they hit the stage I remember why I love seeing them live so much, and I know that I’ll continue to buy tickets to their shows until there are no more shows to go to.

I think one of the reasons I like anniversary tours so much, is that I am able to experience a band’s history, exactly the way they want it to be portrayed. It’s kind of like how I’m bummed I’ll never have the chance to see The Beatles perform live, but seeing Paul McCartney would be just as amazing. You didn’t get to see it when it was happening in real time, but you get to see it 10 years later, and you get to see how far the group has come. Let me know if you’ve been to any anniversary tours, and what you thought of them!

-Swaggie Maggie

 

Rock and Roll Saved My Soul

During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s the sound of America was evolving. The swing and Jazz music of the 1930’s had become rhythm and blues, otherwise known as “race music” in the 1940’s and the groundwork was being laid for a new genre called Rock ‘n’ Roll.

This hybrid genre was being created in the urban cities of The United States, pulling cultural influences from different races and societies. St. Louis, Memphis, New York, Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland all had distinct sounds that would soon combine to create not only a variety of music but a way of life.

Fueled by social issues, politics, and a sense of rebellion, Rock ‘n’ Roll appealed not only to those who populated the music scene but to youths across the country, all with different social backgrounds and ethnicities. From the 1940’s through present day, rock music and rock culture have evolved into a diverse field of acceptance.

The rhetoric or Rock and Roll is a genre of music that originated in The United States in the 1940s and has evolved since then. Many people (including myself) believe that rock and roll is the basis for all of today’s music and that all modern music originates from rock. Rock is composed of many different sounds including jazz, rhythm and blues, country, gospel, and Motown. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the term “rock and roll” was coined. Since then, the genre of rock has been split and transformed into hundreds of subgenres, and “rock n’ roll” has become not only a type of music but a way of life.

Rock and Roll is one genre of music that is incredibly diverse in many different aspects. The sound it startedIMG_0117 with is very different than the sound we hear now, and it has evolved into countless subgenres that all fall under the category. These subgenres include indie, metal, psychedelic, alternative, grunge, punk, and much more. It also attracts a diverse group of people who are united under a single genre of music. People who are attracted to these subgenres of rock are not limited to those who reside in the music scene, and include anyone from children, to students, to producers, to executives.

The definition of the word diversity is changing. Traditionally diversity is defined as “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements:  variety; especially:  the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). While the old definition of diversity concerns the difference of race and culture, the new definition of diversity encompasses not only race and culture, but also ethnicity, social background, religious beliefs, political views, thought process, character content and more. The new definition of diversity is much more inclusive than the old definition and is definitely a step in the right direction of creating a more accepting community. While those who enjoy rock music may all have similar if not the same taste in tunes, they all come from different backgrounds and walks of life.

The earliest form of rock and roll can be traced back to 1942s when Capitol Records was founded in Hollywood and became the first major recording label that was not located in NYC. Capitol went on to back rock legends such as Brian Wilson, The Eagles, and Paul McCartney. Savoy was also founded in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey by Herman Lubinsky to promote “black music”. This music included jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel music. Another significant step towards the creation of rock and roll can be found in 1943 when Les Paul invented “multi-tracking”, a modern recording technique where each layer of a song is recorded on a different track, and then run together on a single record. This led to musicians being able to record more complex songs. The next big year for rock music was 1948. During this year, saxophone player Wild Bill Moore from Detroit released a song titled “We’re Gonna Rock We’re Gonna Roll”, and Leo Fender released the first ever electric guitar which would later be famously named the Telecaster.

The 1950s were also a big year for the creation of rock. In 1951 Cleveland DJ Alan Freed started a radio program called “Moondog Rock’n’Roll Party”, and Ike Turner’s album Rocket 88 became the first ever rock record to be recorded and released. Later, in 1952, Bill Haley formed the first rock band, The Comets. From there the scene was truly born and rock was becoming a revolution. Films such as Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle created a new role for teens, and both radio stations and record labels were promoting rock (music derived from “race music”) to all teenagers. Chuck Berry, a rock pioneer, and a black artist was the first musician to cut a rock record with guitar as the main instrument in 1955. 1958 became the golden age of instrumental rock, and the popularity of rock allowed independent labels to flourish, acknowledging smaller labels and artists. From there, Barry Gordy founded Motown in Detroit and it was apparent that rock and roll were in it for the long haul. The end of the decade marked 600 million records being sold in the USA, as well as the untimely death of rock musician Buddy Holly.

After the birth of rock and roll, the 1960s began an important era of creation. Artists were experimenting with sound and taking chances. In the early 1960s, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix arrived on the scene, and Motown was booming. The Beach Boys created surf music, and Beatlemania began! In 1964, the real experimentation commenced. Holy Modal Rounders shaped acid-folk, while James Brown transformed soul into funk. The Kinks’ riff in their song You Really Got Me was the invention of hard-rock. From there, Bob Dylan created psychedelic rock, blues-rock was born from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton, and The Byrds invented folk-rock. It was also in the 60s that rock became a sign of rebellion. Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones was banned throughout the USA and the UK, and garageIMG_0017 bands were becoming popular. Joni Mitchell created an image of an intellectual female singer-songwriter, and rock could be found everywhere. In 1967, Ralph Gleason founded “Rolling Stone” and artists were playing with and fusing different sub-genres of rock. The Doors mixed rock, blues psych, Indian raga, and free form poetry while Pink Floyd invented space-rock. It was towards the end of the decade that The Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild coined the term heavy metal, “Hair” opened on Broadway as the first musical with rock music, and The Who’s “Tommy” became the most famous Rock Opera. The 1960s was also the birth of the biggest rock and roll concert in history, Woodstock.

The 1970s brought 10 more years of experimentation and the birth of not only hard-rock but of punk-rock. Black Sabbath stormed the scene and became the prototype for black metal, and Alice Cooper created shock-rock, while David Bowie transformed himself into Ziggy Stardust and invented glam-rock. The Joy of Cooking became the debut as the first band of all feminists and extended rock to include all men and women. In 1973 The Ramones played their first show at CBGB’s and became the first punk band, launching the punk-rock movement. The rock scene became even more diverse with the introduction of Queen, who was led by Freddie Mercury, a gay musician with an incredible vision.

Hair-metal, psychedelic rock, and pop formulated the sound of the 1980s. The decade was dedicated to innovation and expansion. In 1981 MTV made its debut on cable TV and the next year Sony + Phillips introduced the Compact Disc.  Metal was all the rage in the 80s, and different subgenres were created. Venom introduced black metal, and Metallica initiated speed-metal, while Red Hot Chili Peppers crafted funk-metal. In 1985, the magazine “Alternative Press” was founded to cover the independent rock scene.

The 1990s was an interesting time for rock music. Pop was becoming more widespread, while rock was on it’s way to the back burner. It wasn’t quite underground though. The grunge scene in Seattle blew up when Nirvana was formed, and Lollapalooza was founded to display artists in the alternative rock genre. Green Day hit the scene and released the best-sold punk-rock album of all time, Dookie. In 1992 the music world was digitalized when the MP3 was created as an electronic way to store music, and in 1998 the portable MP3 player was invented. When the Rock and Roll hall of fame was opened in 1995, Cleveland became a mecca of rock memorabilia and history.

Today’s rock music is a more underground scene than it was in the past. Rock has evolved into pop, hip-hop, and rap and those are mainly played on radio stations. There are rock scenes that are booming though! Small rock bands who were inspired by the music leaders of the past are breaking into the popular music scene, and alternative charts are rising. There is also a nostalgic side of rock that has taken over. All of the legends of the past are back on the road or making new music, trying to revive the magic of rock and roll.

Personally, rock is my favorite genre of music. I’ve found bands that make me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself, and I am constantly inspired by music. I wasn’t always interested in rock music. I’ve always loved muIMG_9164sic in general, but I grew up with Disney princess movies, Hillary Duff, and Aly and AJ. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I discovered Sleeping With Sirens, a post-hardcore band that was bad-ass and talented. The way they manipulated their instruments and melodies appealed to me, and I began my search for more bands like them. I sing, and I write songs, so lyrics have always been important to me. I’ve found that rock bands write lyrics that are meaningful and thought provoking and I really respect that. Through my love of rock music I was inspired to create this blog, and I realized my dream of writing for “Rolling Stone” after I graduate.

I find myself drawn to all subgenres of rock, from metal to psychedelic, to folk and I think that is an important aspect of rock and roll. All of its subgenres are inclusive to any and every fan, and when you find a band or a sound that you love, it becomes a home to you, no matter your race, gender, sexuality, social status, or religion. Every person on this earth has the ability to come together through music, and that’s a really beautiful thing. Through rock I have met so many different people, and learned about their lives and stories, and this has been happening to fans of the genre since the 1940s. Since rock was derived from “race music”, the group of people it appealed to was broad, and all that mattered to them was the music. From there, with the creation of so many unique subgenres, rock attracted even more fans with diverse backgrounds who were able to connect through music.

-Swaggie Maggie