That Rock n Roll eh?

Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner has divided people a bit.  His acceptance monologue at The Brits had some people roused, throwing the horns in salute of his words: ‘rock and roll…will never die, and there’s nothing you can do about it’.

Arctic Monkeys

Other people, well, they thought he was being a prick. Or just off his head. Or both?  
Let’s be honest, he didn’t come across spectacularly well, but I actually liked some of what he said.


The Brits are, to be honest, irrelevant to rock and roll now. I’m trying to think back to a time when they were relevant, and for me that was some point in the 90’s, when bands, actual bands won awards and played the show. Even then though, it was always tame. Always sanitised, and always for the masses.  In fact, thinking about it, I’m pretty sure it was my youth and naivety that made it feel relevant.

Is rock and roll for the masses?  Yes and no.  It eeks out into popular culture, into the mainstream. It crops up in the most unlikely places, elements of it get borrowed, reworked and made ‘radio friendly’.  So yeah, that’s for the masses.

But the real rock and roll? The electrifying punk rock, the snarling frontman/woman, the dirty riffs, meaty hooks, booming baselines… they’re confined mostly to smaller venues (as a fan, I’m thankful for that, soulless arenas aren’t my favourite places), talked about in fanzines and blogs, with crowdfunded or shoestring-funded recordings that get feverishly passed around groups of like-minded friends.  Sometimes the odd band escapes, has a moment of glory, or stays ‘out there’, gets adopted into the mainstream and paraded out as headliners on the festival circuit year in, year out.  

It’s good though, isn’t it? That despite all the sparkle, glamour and auto-tune, The Brits still gives a nod to a band like Arctic Monkeys?
I’m not saying they’re the most rock & roll outfit out there (clearly not), but compared to the sterile landscape of rent-a-writer pop that fills these type of awards, they are a nice change.

It gives a bit of hope that maybe out there, there’s a future artist out there…a lass or lad watching, who sees someone like Alex Turner making a bit of a show of himself, but saying something. Giving a sly two fingers at the whole thing, and presenting a challenge: ‘there’s nothing you can do about it’.

Oh yes there is. You can make it better. You can create noise, join a band, do something different. Better still, support bands. Get to gigs, as many gigs as you can – from the 100 capacity venues, to mid sized places like Rock City, The Cockpit, The Leadmill, and that pub in town that’s always got gigs on. Why aren’t you there every week? What have you got to loose?    

What are you going to do about it?

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6 Comments

  1. February 21, 2014 / 7:36 pm

    Arctic Monkeys have grown on me… I hated them at the first, saw them at Glasto and then loved them… As much as he might be an arrogant cock, he is a bery talented musician and I would take that arrogant cock over Bieber, 1D etc etc anyday!

    Toni x

  2. February 23, 2014 / 4:26 am

    Very sad how Arctic Monkeys whether they believe or not have been moulded. Much prefer the times of whatever people say it's what I'm not 🙁 xxx

    http://www.jesscaedmunds.com

  3. March 12, 2014 / 3:51 pm

    it's called progression isn't it? Arctic Monkeys could have churned out a hell of a load more of songs akin to those on the first album. But a good band, neigh, great band move forward and that's AM have done. Regarding his words, well how can you judge someone on something like that? Do we really know him or are we too quick to jump to conclusions? The latter me thinks.

  4. March 12, 2014 / 3:52 pm

    I like them! I have the same hatred for the factory-made pop like you 😉 xx

  5. March 12, 2014 / 3:54 pm

    Do you reckon it's music-industry moulding, Jess?
    I'm not sure myself…. I think they've (especially Alex Turner), clearly had a lot of influence from Josh Homme et al.
    I suppose they'd change significantly anyway, as they were basically kids when the first album was made (it's a good'un though, isn't it!) xx

  6. March 12, 2014 / 3:55 pm

    Who knows, PJ! I'm with you on the progression – AM is a great album (that we're still listening to!). He did come across as a bit of a knob head, but then, isn't that what the brits is all about! x