|Peter, I agree with you -to a point- with your statement that rock is limited to portray certain themes because of its structure. ( I think that could be objectively true...and I remember Rand talking about Tap Dancing as being limited to portraying only lightness and joy. But the limitation of being able to portray limited themes is not in itself a bad thing, "it's in the way that you use it!. And that when bands such as ELP or Deep Purple simply add a rock beat to a classical piece, often that's all they are doing. But Rock, as opposed to Rock and Roll, is a ambiguous label at best, and that some people claim that when rock loses the beat, or uses more than three chords, it ceases to be rock. Beatles are a great example, "When I'm Sixty Four" is not a rock song, nor is "Michelle" or "Yesterday." Then there is the issue of when rock bands use jazz or latin rhythms...such as Yes, when Bill Bruford brought a jazz approach to rock drumming, his playing DID bring a certain liteness that, along with certain other features, distinguished them from being merely Classical rock. And Black Sabbath's "Laguna Sunrise is instrumental, acoustic guitar with strings, no drums, and to me suggests a love scene from a 1940's film. But is it rock merely because a rock band played it?|
But it is those qualities that caused orthodox rock fans and critics to spit on any progressions, because it wasn't rock. So rock bands find themselves in a catch 22...progress, and cease to be rock, or be labeled as pretentious? And what incentive is there? The rock camp will label them traitors, and others will say its not good enough, and will never be.
BTW, Peter, not trying to convince you otherwise,(but I find you more knowledgable about rock music than I previously thought, and you do make some interesting arguments). I think that I am challenging you because those arguments challenge indirectly my own ambitions as a musician. I grew up with all sorts of music, from rock to rap to country to Latin, Jazz, and classical. And when I write, I incorporate what moves me the most from different genres and forms, so I do not claim that my music is rock, or jazz, or anything else but my own creation. It's almost like racial mixing, my music is not White or Black or Asian or Hispanic, it's mixed. Not in an eclectic for eclectic sake manner, but an integration of influences. I think you are hitting a nerve the same way a racist would hit the nerve of someone biracial, like when one claims that the white people are held down by the black genes. (Not that I am calling you racist.) But I feel that my musical ambitions are being condemned as inferior because of their "rock genes," (god, I dread to say it...I can hear the outcry that racial differences aren't chosen, as musical influences are...but some claim that homosexuality is chosen and therefore immoral.. the comparisons to the homosexuality arguments...agghhh...why must I go there???).
But I will risk the slings and arrows in the spirit of friendly debate...
Peter, just as you claim that rock music is limited to rage, anger, hate...Many accusations were made against Jazz (the syncopated taint) that were similiar (and I can hear classical snobs who disdain Frank Sinatra). One such argument was made by Cyril Scott in his book MUSIC: ITS SECRET INFLUENCE THROUGHOUT THE AGES. In his defense of classical music and it's role in the future of humanity,he virently attacked Jazz as immoral.
"After the dissemination of Jazz, which was definitely 'put through' by the Dark Forces, a very marked decline in sexual morals became noticable...Now, it is just this over-emphasis on the sex-nature...for which Jazz-music has been responsible. The orgiastic element of its about its syncopated rhythm, entirely devoid of any more exalted musical content, produced a hyper-exitement of the nerves and loosened the powers of self-control...with its array of harsh, ear splitting percussion instruments inflamed, intoxicated and brutalized, thus causing a set back in Man's nature towards the instincts of his racial childhood...Jazz music at its height very closely resembled the music of savages..." (142)
I don't think that this is music you listen to, given your arguments against rock, yet you list Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" as a favorite. Obviously, you either don't share the author's beliefs about jazz, or maybe you agree with it, but believed that Jazz was able to progress beyond its limitations (and since My Favorite Things was originally not a jazz piece, it could be compared to your criticism of Elp's rock arrangements of classical music.)
Ok, this is long enough...and I haven't summed this up...and I rambled...just my sense of life reacting to what it considers unnecessary attacks on its food source.