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"Important" Rock Artists/Groups


thatshortguy
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Essentially, I'm writing an article that chronicles five artists or groups that I consider the most "important" to rock at the present time. This doesn't necessarily entail a certain kind of rock (punk, metal, etc.), which causes the potential nominees to be practically limitless.

So I'm curious. Who do you think are the most "important" artists or groups in rock? Keep in mind that you don't have to stick with a certain genre, or even have the same definition of "important". The only criteria is that they have to still be making music.

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Metallica is the big one, since they have been around for so long

Yes, but does longevity really warrant a band the honor of being defined as one of rock's most "important" today? Metallica were seemingly very sedentary in their method between their self-titled album and S&M. Despite the success of the Black Album, S&M and St. Anger arguably fell flat in terms of expanding the boundaries of rock as we know it.

Granted, they had the courage to attempt both endeavors, but it's arguable that neither project has left much of a mark (although it could be said that not enough time has been given to see if St. Anger has influenced anything.)

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On today's rock music?

The Clash : made punk-rock mainstream; plus the scene they helped popularize became the Grunge movement.

Led Zeppelin : the theory listed above; every band has been affected by Zeppelin in one or another.

The Kinks : made rock and roll basic, yet great. Like Led Zeppelin, a lot of bands had some sort of attachment to the Kinks. Hell, the Clash did.

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Guns N' Roses. Easily.

But Arsenal, Gun N' Roses aren't working on Chinese Democracy, Axl Rose and the fake Guns N' Roses are... supposedly. The Real Guns N' Roses are with Scott Weiland in Velvet Revolver. So, in a way, their both working, and not working. The Guns N' Roses around today is not GUNS N' ROSES, if you get what I'm saying.

Maybe a homer pick, but I'm going to say KoRn. A lot of people may hate 'Nu-Metal' and the bands that KoRn influenced, but they really jump started a whole new genre, jump started some popular (though not great bands) like Limp Bizkit, have been around for 10 years still doing their thing, and besides one album, never really got mainstream success (in my opinion).

Edited by sycodmn
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Jello Biafra

Ministry

EDIT:

Call me crazy, but I'm gonna say the Beatles. Without them, there'd be no Nirvana, Britpop would never have happened, and the current scouse scene would be rubbish. Viva la Coral!

I will call you crazy. The Beatles don't make music anymore.

The only criteria is that they have to still be making music.
Edited by Tristy
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Guest Locutus of Borg

I'm going to have to say The Beatles. They came and took the world by storm, and influenced other bands would would come to leave their mark in music history.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, while although probably more of an influence on country, were arguably the biggest thing to come out of the South next to Elvis Presely.

The Cure, many people would agree, these guys were the beginning of true "emo" music. With lyrics that could move, and music that could get you just to start moving without thinking about it.

Radiohead, one of the most popular bands ever, really brought Alternative and Indie music to the mainstream of the industry. Many have tried to "mimic" Radiohead in a way, but nothing works like the original.

Led Zeppelin, a very "artistic" band, with screaming guitar solos, a bass player who never held back, and a drummer who seemed to be invincible, rocked many a stadium. Not to mention creating a song that has been a favorite of every guitar player and a mainstay in the American high school prom: "Stairway to Heaven".

Grateful Dead, while never offically having a top 10 hit with the exception of "Touch of Grey," still maintain their title of having the most tour earnings of any band. They may have never been a mainstream act, but had many loyal fans who supported them through the years. Many a jam band have learned the art of jamming from this band who could stretch a 7-minute song into a 45-minute-long epic of three, four, or five songs, and improvising most of it right on the spot.

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Guest Locutus of Borg

Well, if you would like to get technical, all of them still are in some form or fashion, excluding the Beatles.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is still together, granted only with two original members.

The Cure is just about to go on tour with Interpol this summer.

Radiohead, well you know they're still together.

Jimmy Page of Zeppelin is still making music, most recently as a member of the currently-on-haitus Black Crowes.

All the members of Grateful Dead (excluding the late Jerry Garcia, of course) are still together. Some of them played as Jiggle the Handle for a while. They had a short stint as The Other Ones and I think now they're together as The Dead. Phil Lesh regularly tours solo with special guests as Phil Lesh & Friends.

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Cradle of Filth

Easily the most influential and successful "Black Metal" band of the past decade. Dani and the boys started in Total Fucking Darkness way back in the early 90's, and are keeping up with Damnation and a Day, which came out last year, and are currently working on a new album.

Also, Nine Inch Nails, for obvious reasons.

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Link Wray and his Wraymen - Link Wray was a fellow who played surf in the 50s, basically he made the blue prints for the power chord. I believe it was the song "Rumble" that was banned from radio play, because it was deemed to lewd. The funny thing is, that song has no vocals. It was this man who influenced Pete Townshend.

The Doors - A group that were a little off beat during the 60s, Jim Morrison was the anti-hippie of the 1960s. Great mix of music, and Densmore, Krieger, and Manzarek are all fantastic musicians. Believe it or not, Morrison's "I don't give a fuck attitude" was kind of an inspiration for the punk scene, most notably X.

MC5 - Another band in a similar mold as The Doors, except played a bit harder, but still came out against the hippie scene. MC5 were a great band, that played excellent live shows. They are well known as one of the bigger influences on the punk scene.

Frank Zappa - His music was well ahead of it's time. He is another guy that went against the stream of the people and love in the 1960's. "We're only in it for the money" is a nice little parody.

Black Sabbath - The kind of band that made the later metal heads want to pick up a guitar. Their songs are classics, and just about every person that considers themself a rocker or a headbanger is a fan of Black Sabbath.

The Ramones - Began the era of fast one to two minute songs, many that were pop influenced (think Bay City Rollers and Beach Boys). Inspired countless punk bands, metal bands (Motorhead), and a whole slew of other trash rockers.

Dead Kennedys - A great fusion of surf rock and hardcore punk. They were also known for lyrics that were clever. Jello often sang his song from the view of the people he protested, making many DK songs satirical.

Heart Attack - Kind of an obscure pick, one of the original NY hardcore punk bands. THey began their journey with the youngest memeber at the ripe age of 12, playing to fiesty NY crowds at CBGB, and Max's Kansas City. Played in the great era with Reagan Youth, Kraut, Agnostic Front, Beastie Boys, and others.

Sham 69 - One of the first Oi bands to make their presence felt. They were heavily influenced by the Clash (who were already mentioned). Sham would in turn influence the likes of Cockney Rejects, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Angelic Upstarts, and more.

I know you may not think these are current, but of all the bands mentioned, the people in those bands are still involved with music. Some members might be dead, but I'm certain that members of these groups are active still. So I declare them present day musicians.

Edited by VerbalPuke
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Bare with thy, for tis a long post:

First off, Tristy has the right idea. I'm looking for artists/groups that are still creating music today. Ergo, bands like The Beatles are out of the running, while artists like Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still viable candidates.

Now to everyone's suggestions:

1. Mark of Excellence, you proved my point. The fact that Metallica's latest works have fallen somewhat flat ultimately constitutes as the damning evidence. While St. Anger may be too young to warrant any talk of its influence on the future sound, it also didn't really incorporate anything groundbreaking, aside from bad productions and a sound that seems more from a demo than a fully-produced album. It's not like a Days of the New album, which usually brings in new sounds and strategies concerning songwriting.

2. Guns'n'Roses, while still technically active, aren't really doing much currently to be considered important to the scene.

3. Zeppelin has been dead for a while. Besides, I think it can be argued that we've started to venture more and more away from Zeppelin's blues-metal sound and more into a straight-foward feel with the formation of genres like speed metal and industrial.

4. The Clash, while influential to most rock bands, had not done anything recent prior to Joe Strummer's death.

5. Velvet Revolver has the potential to be a BIG pillar to rock as it stands, but they're simply too young to warrant that designation right now. You can say the same thing for bands, who haven't had enough experience just yet to be considered in the same vein as a Tool, who have continually brought new things into the rock scene.

6. KoRn has been fairly popular since their debut, but their efforts as of late (at least to me) haven't brought anything new to the table, aside from an attempt to harken back to the days of old school Metallica (blame David's drum sounds for that.)

7. Jello Biafra's a good idea, but I honestly am starting to feel like he's spinning his wheels. He's done spoken word albums and more-rock-oriented songs, but at the same time, how many people outside from a dedicated punk or rock follower knows of him? Part of being important -- in my opinion, anyways -- is to be able to reach new people en masse, while bringing something new into the fold and not completely leaving the rock arena. Biafra's done different things, but his branching out into the spoken word field and complete underground profile leaves me a little lukewarm on him to be considered one of the five most "important" pillars of rock. Although do not get me wrong, being underground is fine.

8. Ministry's alright, but they started to become more and more "blah" after Pslam 69. Even Al himself has gone on record as saying that when Democrats are in office, Ministry albums suck. I tend to agree with him, aside from "Bad Blood".

9. Lynard Skynard, while being the patriarchs of Southern rock, eventually fall to the question of "where do you hear them now?" While you may hear their sound in some of today's bands, the actual band has said very little in today's age. While Biafra is seeming like he is spinning his wheels, I feel Skynard truly are.

10. The Cure -- See Skynard, Lynard.

11. Radiohead seems just too easy to deem as 'important'. Everyone and their mother wants to label them as something huge and influential. While they may be talented and intelligent--even experimental--they seem like little more than a quick shot in the arm to rock music. They come in, snatch the spotlight and feel like the Gods of alternative for a brief while, and then disappear with little trace. If a band is 'important' to its genre, wouldn't they leave a little more of a proverbial taste? It could be chalked up to the fact that Radiohead are somewhat only knee-deep in rock now (especially after Amnesiac, although Hail to the Thief seems to signal a bit more a return to that rock sound), but I just feel like rock as a whole wouldn't suffer greatly if Radiohead left completely.

12. The Grateful Dead fall essentially into the same boat as Led Zeppelin and Lynard Skynard. Zeppelin in the sense that the band has begun to fade into history, but at the same time, there is a new generation that have some Dead in them (Phish, Dave Matthews). It's paradoxical, I know, but the final bit of info comes down to the fact that they don't make music anymore. Technicalities, technicalities.

13. It's funny, as Nick Cave and Cradle Of Filth kind of fall into the same boat as Biafra. While Cave and CoF aren't spinning their wheels, per se, they suffer from being "underground". It's almost unfair, really, considering the fact that the subgenres of metal have loyal-yet-smaller fanbases, bands from these areas tend to return replies of "who?", which ultimately makes their "importance" lessen. The same can somewhat be said of Cave's work, as only his peers and the educated fan really know of him. Part of my criteria for "importance" is that you have to be able to grab untrained and new ears in large numbers, while still not giving up rock's underlying roots and feel.

14a. VerbalPuke, most of your bands ultimately fall into the earlier-mentioned categories and descriptions:

14b. Link Wray & His Wraymen, Heart Attack, & Sham 69 all fall into that "unfortunately underground" field, while Wray also dips into the pond that Zeppelin & Skynard reside.

14c. The Doors, while still active minus Morrison, are mainly relying on their past work to gain attention. Same goes for Sabbath, sadly.

14d. The Ramones, Dead Kennedys, MC5 and Frank Zappa have influenced a lot of the now-elder alternative bands (Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, etc.), but Zappa's no longer with us and the MC5 have all but faded. With The Ramones and Dead Kennedys definately gone and likely gone forever, respectively, it leaves little for them to say in today's scene.

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I'm saying Metallica... you gotta look at what they already have done.

ESPN gave them an award from their X-Gamers, who some said Metallica was a big inspiration in skating from the 80's.... which is really awesome. They were MTVIcons, only rockers to do it before them was Aerosmith..... Metallica always tries something new, they have the statue to do so.

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Guest Angry Baboon

- Pixies. I'm pretty sure you already know about the Pixies, so I don't think I need to explain this one to ya ;)

- !!! (Chk Chk Chk). The most dance orientated rock available right now. It seems since the Talking Heads synthesizers have always been used crappily and cheesily. !!! are making the style bad ass again, but at the same time totally original. Energetic as hell. Need more exposure.

- Modest Mouse. They aren't exactly the best band on the planet, but they're without a doubt the best band to be getting MTV airplay in years.

- Porcupine Tree. Just listen to 'em. Hard to explain.

- Belle and Sebastian. Like Bread. I love them. This is a biased choice ;)

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14c. The Doors, while still active minus Morrison, are mainly relying on their past work to gain attention. Same goes for Sabbath, sadly.

I don't see why that matters. It's not like it makes them less influential or anything (and BS is reuniting for OzzFest this year :D )

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Squancho beat me to the Pixies, as I expected, so I'll throw in the SINGLE most important musician EVER, in my opinion, who I am shocked and appaled that no one's mentioned.

David Bowie, anyone?

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Guest bruins72

Sadly, I don't see any current groups that are all that important to rock music. Sure there are some bands that are still active that have made HUGE contributions to rock but their current music is no longer relevant. Bands like Aerosmith, Metallica, and Kiss have made a huge impact on music but they're just shadows of their former selves. As for newer bands, none of them really stand out to me as special. I don't think there are many current bands that will be remembered 20 years from now.

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Maybe a homer pick, but I'm going to say KoRn. A lot of people may hate 'Nu-Metal' and the bands that KoRn influenced, but they really jump started a whole new genre, jump started some popular (though not great bands) like Limp Bizkit, have been around for 10 years still doing their thing, and besides one album, never really got mainstream success (in my opinion).

I think it was more Faith No More who jump started the genre that became Nu-Metal, they pretty much spawned it all.

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