Hypocrisy of the Anti-Hero – Real vs. Fake in the Grunge Era

January 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Nirvana Grunge Music

I’ll admit it. I love pop metal: Bon Jovi, Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leppard. Bring on the cheese. I’m in. Despite the fact that much (though not all) of the music was awful, I still enjoy it today. Pop metal was the soundtrack for a good portion of my childhood. There was an honesty to it. That’s right. I said “honesty.”

Conventional wisdom says that music from the late 80’s was too “fake.” Too much hairspray, too many cookie cutter songs, too many of the same “sluts and concert footage” videos on MTV over and over again. Fake. Then the bands from the Seattle grunge scene (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, etc.) broke the mold and supposedly fixed everything. These bands were “real.” They wore flannel shirts, didn’t jump around on stage, wrote depressing songs and generally connected with the anti-corporate rock sentiment that had been building throughout the pop metal era.

I am not here to tell anyone what’s good music and what isn’t. I am here, however, to overturn the hypocritical notion that pop metal bands were “fake” and grunge bands were “real.”

MOTLEY CRUE hair metal bandsPop metal bands wanted to be rock stars, and freely admitted it. Pop metal bands wanted to have sex with lots of girls (your wife, girlfriend, daughter, etc.) and freely admitted it. Pop metal bands wanted to party and smoke / drink / snort various substances, and freely admitted it. They wanted to be rock stars so badly that they were willing to pay the ultimate price: being seen and photographed wearing a horrific amount of spandex, makeup and hairspray. They played huge stadiums, sold tons of records, and cashed huge checks.

That is the ultimate honesty… “I want to party, get rich and bang chicks, and I will look and act like a complete idiot in order to do so.”

Grunge bands, on the other hand, stared at their shoes a lot. They were part of a reactionary movement against the extroversion of the 80’s. Grunge bands were uncomfortable with the idea of being rock stars, or at least projected that image. They wrote songs about darker, often politically charged topics like teen suicide, domestic abuse and poverty. They played huge stadiums, sold tons of records and cashed huge checks.

Wait… what?!?!?!?

I’ve got an idea. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of being a rock star, then don’t be a rock star. Don’t sign a major label recording contract. Don’t play arenas and stadiums. Definitely don’t cash those huge checks. Only rich capitalist a-holes (you know, all those people you don’t like) cash huge checks. Stay with that independent label and stick to the local underground scene. It’s “who you are,” right? RIGHT?!?!?

OK, rant over. That’s been building up for about 20 years.

Again, I’m not here to pass judgment on the quality of anyone’s music, but merely to point out that being a rock star yet clinging to an underdog, everyman, indie label image while at the same time going platinum and playing to tens of thousands of people a night is the fakiest faky McFake-a-lot hypocrisy of all time, at least musically speaking.

There. I said it. Deal with it.

About the author: Dan Vuksanovich received his Master of Music degree in classical guitar performance from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University in 1999. He currently teaches and blogs about how to get better at guitar via his website,

Garage Band Volume Wars

July 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Volume WarsMusic should be loud. That’s just a simple fact. Sure, it applies more to rock than, say, Mozart, but you need to be able to feel the music. Preferably in your fillings as they shake loose from your teeth. But I don’t need to tell you this, because as a guitar player you know this instinctively. Read more

Cool Song: Kyng – ‘Falling Down’

July 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

KyngKyng is all about heavy riffs and a good melody. ‘Falling Down‘ brings just that! Known as the “California Heavy” sound. “Can’t wait to unleash this to the universe and beyond,” Veliz says about the jam. ‘Falling Down’ was mixed by Mike Watts and will available for sale on iTunes starting July 26th. Completing dates with The Sword, Kyng is currently out touring with Black Stone Cherry and Pop Evil and plan on touring forever as the road is the life’s blood of any young hard rock band looking to conquer the world.

The band consists of three band-mates who make it heavy; guitarist-vocalist Eddie Veliz, bassist Tony Castaneda and Pepe Clarke Magana, the Southern California power trio came together in 2008 bound by influences including Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Queens of the Stone Age. Check out these heavy melodic riffs…. Read more

Night Ranger Covers AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds – Video

June 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

AC/DC Dirty Deeds Night Ranger Cover SongMany other guitarists have tried to emulate Angus Young’s distinctive guitar tone and fail. Night Ranger’s rhythm guitarist, Brad Gillis, stated in an interview conducted by if he had any reservations about taking on such a feat. Read more

How to Book a Show

April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rock ConcertHow many concerts have you been to? You’ve probably been to at least one, and aside from booking the band and getting the security, a lot of other work can go into it. Being the promoter and actually doing it is another thing, and I once got lucky and made a ton of money doing it. Read more

Who Slaughtered Your Beloved Classic Rock Song?

December 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

classic rock songs
What makes a classic rock song? Is it the legendary era it was born? The fact that you know within the first two beats that this is YOUR SONG!?! The fact that time slows down and the world shuts up followed by the inevitable yet involuntary foot tapping/head banging as you Crank it Up? Maybe, that spark that keeps you Rockin’ Out to it in your brain all day? There’s No Way anyone could perform your Jam better! Are YOUR favorite classic rock songs untouchable?

Let’s consider Limp Bizkit’s cover of The Who’sBehind Blue Eyes.” There was nothing particularly different or special about the song to make it unforgettable. Honestly, their mediocre at best cover sounds like a last-minute studio track filler. Fred Durst lacks the emotion and passion Roger Daltry brings to the table in the original version. To top it off, the best part of the song was cut out completely! Overall, an anticipated disappointment. Read more

Fight Club – Cover Bands vs. Copyrights

June 7, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

cover-band-tribute-bandOne of the hottest topics of discussion in musical circles these days is the idea of music licensing, copyrights, and musicians getting paid for their work. It is usually part of the covers vs. originals argument that rages every few days on most musician forums and message boards. Some writers of original music get very touchy about anyone who plays covers and think that cover bands should have to pay the writers of the songs they play some kind of royalty. Read more

Lou Reed talks about The Velvet Underground Rock Band

August 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The Velvet UndergroundOn their first two albums, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) and White Light / White Heat (1968), The Velvet Underground plumbed the depths of chaos, cacophony, hard drug addiction, alternative sexuality, decadence, death and the social complexities of avant-garde artist Andy Warhol’s glittering demi-monde. But by 1969, they’d reached a turning point. Read more

MC5 Kick out the Jams Rock and Roll

July 30, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

MC5By the final months of 1968, civil disorder in the United States was in full and bloody bloom. Against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the country played out its own violent scenarios between the summers of 1967 and 1968, a period that saw race riots in Newark and Detroit, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and the beating of protesters by Chicago police at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Read more

Creedence Clearwater Revival Bayou Country CCR Rock n Roll

July 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Creedence Clearwater RevivalBy the beginning of 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival had already attained a small measure of fame with “Suzie Q” the hit song from the band’s self-titled 1968 debut. But the hit-making machine the group would become was just warming up, and in the decade’s last year, CCR would turn out a slew of double-sided hit singles and no fewer than three albums, each of which would go Platinum. Read more

Next Page »