Jack White you ‘da man!

In another example of a great article in my local paper that I can’t find free online (but you can pay for it at the LA Times site), “Rock’s Future” by Robert Hilburn of the LA Times discusses the renaissance of my favourite term “retro rock” focusing on the success of Jack White of the White Stripes. One quote I found interesting was Little Steven’s opinion that “classic rock started with Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and ended with the suicide of Kurt Cobain.” He feels that new bands like the White Stripes and the Vines and The Hives are reconnecting with this “classic rock” and moving away from the “one dimensional anger and aggression of late-‘90s bands whose game plan was to simply exaggerate the legitimate disillusionment and assault of such great early ‘90s groups as Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails.” Of course, the main focus of the article seems to be on bands signed to major labels as opposed to the indies but the point is well taken. And for people complaining that “If these new bands are so good why don’t they sell more?” Hilburn rightly points out that the times are changing and it is much harder for any “alt-rock” band to get the exposure today that someone like Nirvana got in the early ‘90s. He concludes by stating that bands like the White Stripes can play an important role in keeping rock and roll alive even if they don’t get the massive exposure, much like The Velvet Underground, Gram Parsons and Black Flag did in the past. “Even if the Stripes and the best of the other new bands only join that list of rock cornerstones, they will have done much to keep the music alive. Five years ago, rock had only a legacy. Now, it again has a future.” I really like Hilburn’s optimistic, yet realistic take on rock and roll in 2004. Can’t wait to see what the future brings!