I often wonder this question, “Who’s going to save rock and roll?” Who are the bands that will carry that torch that was lit so many years ago by bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones? Who is going to carry on when the AC/DCs and Metallicas aren’t around to inspire a new generation of rockers? To be honest, I can’t think of that many bands from the 2000’s that are going to have the impact of a Nirvana or the Foo Fighters.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t love all the bands I just brought up. Some of them I could just not listen to, but with that being said, you can’t discredit their influence. That is exactly what I’m trying to find in the 2000’s. The band that 30 years from now people still think are a must listen. I’m strictly talking about the mainstream here, popular rock music. In the 00’s, I feel like I can name a dozen bands that will be popular and important like Sonic Youth and the Pixies are to the 80’s, but I can’t find the Guns and Roses and Metallicas.
The biggest problem with the 00’s is that a lot of the bands from the 90’s kept being a huge deal. Bands like Weezer, Blink-182 and Green Day just got bigger as we went into the next decade. In 2001, The Strokes burst onto the stage and were named the saviors with their debut album Is This It? They started a huge rush of what got called “garage rock” and a ton of bands that started with “The.” The Vines, The Von Bondies, The White Stripes. This, like many musical trends in the 00’s, faded out fast.
Out of all the “The” bands, one shines like a beacon in the piles of generic names and sounds. This band that I think has actual staying power is The Killers. With 3 albums that were all very solid including their debut Hot Fuss that put them on the map, The Killers are a real rock band. Plus Brandon Flowers is the kind of front man you can get behind, giving you that vibe he is just better than you and isn’t afraid to say what he thinks of someone else’s band or career.
Pop punk bands like Panic at the Disco and My Chemical Romance had their flash in the pan. But not many made it out with anything to show for it and Fall Out Boy broke up before you could really tell if they had actual staying power. But this did give us a gem that will outlast even the Vans Warped Tour at this point, Paramore. I’m sure the comparison to No Doubt of the 90’s is a little on the nose, but honestly they can only hope to keep that kind of steam. Hayley Williams could be the Gwen Stefani of the 00’s. Especially since Stefani opted out of the rock world for a while and went into the pop universe to become an even bigger star. This leaves the window wide open for Paramore to fill that void left with No Doubt being more of a pop act these days.
As far as the end of the 00’s, indie rock got some time in the spotlight with bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Vampire Weekend and The Shins finding some commercial success. But I feel like this isn’t going to be a lasting phase. It is more one of those things where the popularity will rise up and then fade back down to where the people that liked them from the get go will be the only ones still listening. In reality, time will tell with a lot of these indie rock acts.
Of course, there are those of you that will make passionate cries for “dude” rock bands Shinedown and Seether. But if you honestly think music like this is going to have the staying power of a Pearl Jam or a Led Zeppelin, I just feel bad for you. Bands that are the offspring of Nickelback all sound the same and have no part in the future of music. Every two years some other awful version of these bands will be spun out for dudes to fall in love with.
So that’s it. The 00’s gives me little hope for the future of rock and roll. A handful of bands that could be around for years to come and so few true rock stars that there isn’t much to look forward too. As always the underground and non-mainstream will still be fine. Obscure bands will influence more obscure bands, but for rock and roll something big has to come in for it to be saved. Let’s hope for rock and roll, the 10’s have a little more to offer.