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Customer Discussions > Alternative Rock forum

Does anyone else think being an alternative rock fan is hard?

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Showing 1-25 of 35 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 19, 2009 8:43:29 PM PDT
Justin Rice says:
80's alternative rock. 90's alternative rock.

The music was so creative, back-to-basics, and uncompromising in regards to quality over image. But most of those bands (with some exceptions like Sonic Youth) have broken up. Worse, nobody even knows about them - have you tried striking up a conversation about alternative rock bands you wish would get back together while only getting blank stares?

On top of that, modern radio rock owes a huge debt to alternative rock music. You can hear the influences everywhere, excepted watered-down and devoid of any real creativity. Today's bands don't acknowledge who they got that sound from, leaving the original pioneers to stew in obscurity.

And third, why do so many people associate the genre with it's most musically incompetent and most recent acts? Green Day, Yellowcard, Lifehouse, Blink-182 are all bands that barely pass for the namesake, yet keep getting propped up as "prime examples".

It just seems like being a real alternative rock fan sucks.
Anyone else agree?

Posted on Jun 20, 2009 1:23:57 AM PDT
Alt9999 says:
Now Justin, no one likes a bitter martyr. If we choose to listen to music that is hailed as non-commercial, we can't complain that the bands are unknown or don't always get credit as influences. And really, the idea of "alternative" pretty much died around 1995. Alternative sounds and arrangements were absorbed into the mainstream by that point. None of those bands mentioned have any credibility as 'alternative'.

In the end, I prefer that many of these bands are off the radar. These are my bands. Buying those records were personal experiences. Listening to the music was often a revelation. I don't want them to be punchlines for talk show comedians or fodder for Entertainment Tonight.

Velvet Underground, Stooges, Big Star sold diddly in their day. But all are revered today. Great bands usually get their due. At least in terms of respect.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2009 12:02:32 PM PDT
Justin Rice says:
I'm no saying it doesn't feel nice to like bands that the mainstream doesn't recognize, I'm just saying it makes it hard to relate....even to people who are so-called alternative rock fans themselves. I could thumb through a list of bands but they wouldn't get it until I mentioned "Nirvana". It's especially frustrating that I can't relate to the majority of people who claim to be all for alternative rock, much less people outside of that.

Interesting that you gave 1995 as the year real alternative rock died. I like to think it was two years later, when Lollapalooza feel apart.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2009 3:17:52 PM PDT
I, personally, like the fact that the music I love isn't popular, and I always have. It's not for everybody, nor should it be. I think "alternative rock" died in 1991, when it became popular. Suddenly, there were jocks and yuppies listening to some of the bands that I used to get beat on for liking. There were so many absolutely horrible bands in the early 90s that were considered "alt:" Creed, Matchbox 20, etc. Just like punk and hip-hop, creativity went away once popularity and money moved in.

Posted on Jun 20, 2009 3:34:52 PM PDT
John Jelinek says:
who are these great alternative rock groups that you alone recall?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2009 4:08:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2009 5:11:46 PM PDT
Squirrel Bait, Slint, Husker Du, Soul Asylum,
Replacements, Big Black, Butthole Surfers,
Minutemen, Moving Targets, Breaking Circus,
Magnolias, Dinosaur Jr., Doughboys, Nils,
Rifle Sport, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Jesus
Lizard, Cows, Poster Children, Hum, Failure,
Pedaljets, Shudder To Think, Pixies, Nice Strong
Arm, Live Skull, Come, Lotion, Nomeansno, Big
Dipper, Material Issue, Bomb, Snatches Of Pink,
Spell, GVSB, Swallow, Low, Meat Puppets, Giant
Sand, Sun City Girls, Wipers, Phantom Tollbooth,
Die Kreuzen, Primitons, Toadies, Therapy?

Posted on Jun 20, 2009 4:51:37 PM PDT
Alt9999 says:
Mission of Burma, Black Flag, Guided By Voices,
Barbara Manning, Jawbox, Red House Painters,
American Music Club, Mudhoney, The Fall, Ride,
The Breeders, Sugar, Minor Threat, Misfits,
Countless New Wave and Hardcore bands who may
have had a small output, but were much more interesting
than the majority of what can be found on radio.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2009 4:57:50 PM PDT
Good work, Huss-
I ran out of gas.
But I'll add the Screaming Trees...

Posted on Jun 20, 2009 5:11:27 PM PDT
Alt9999 says:
I'll buy 1997 as the year alternative died. It was the year "Electronica" got its 15 minutes. That was probably the last marketable alternative subgenre left. Albums like "Odelay" and "OK Computer" now feel like the end of something rather than being a new direction.

M Kneisel: The grunge thing with Pearl Jam/ STP/ Nirvana really exploded in spring 92. But I think there was plenty of great "alternative" music still being made thru 95 or even 97. By that point though, most of the bands getting airplay were put together by record companies or managers to cash in on what happened a few years earlier. The problem wasn't that the music had gotten popular, its that the newer bands weren't influenced by the original alternative sources, but rather the more popular, cleaned up versions which were being slotted alongside Boston and Journey on the radio.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2009 12:26:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 21, 2009 2:59:25 PM PDT
S. Rice says:
The Huss says:
"I'll buy 1997 as the year alternative died."

Huss, do we really have to list all the great current alternative music out there like this was the Classic Rock forum?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2009 10:07:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 21, 2009 10:15:32 PM PDT
Justin Rice says:
My Name
Nero's Rome
Eric's Trip
Dharma Bums
Moon Socket
Volcano Suns

any of those ring a bell John J.?

edit: I see a couple of bands I haven't heard of (looking at the other lists). Must check those out later.

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 10:16:56 PM PDT
Alt9999 says:
There may be great current music out there right now. I just don't consider it to be "alternative." As I stated, virtually every subgenre of alternative has been pushed into the mainstream. Newer bands aren't building on the experiments of obscure bands so much as they are reworking ideas which found their way onto commercially viable albums of the early 90's.

Alternative was defined more by intentions and the process which produced music than by any particular style. The great 80's alternative bands literally had to invent venues to play and ways to market themselves. Some of them established credible ways to become quite well-paid. Once that path has been established, whether its thru sound, image, song topic, hairstyle or whatever, any band which follows isn't alternative. They are just a pop, rock, folk, rap, etc band trying to have a career in music. Nothing wrong with that. And I'm sure many great original bands have taken established paths to success. I just don't consider that as alternative.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2009 9:56:41 AM PDT
Justin Rice says:
Now when you say "alternative" are you talking about a literal alternative to something else (ex. the mainstream) or are you referring to a specific genre of related sounding music? I always think of alternative rock as the second one. To me, alternative rock is simply a creative divergent from punk. They share the same DIY factor, distrust of commercial excess, guitar/bass/drums focus, etc.

As for the bands you consider (or don't consider) alternative, I would say that today there are very few bands out there that are trying to legitimately pick-up where 1997 left off. Straight-forward and socially conscious guitar-based rock music isn't the trend right now. I have found a handful that carry on the tradition and I consider them to be real alternative rock bands. It's about the tradition: it's an approach, a philosophy, a style, and and idea that can be adopted any one/band at any time. At least that's how I interpret alternative rock.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2009 11:31:38 AM PDT
Music Fan says:
Here is some "real" alternative I've been playing constantly for years.

Butthole Surfers, Bad Brains, Bongwater, King Missile, Alice Donut, Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Breeders, D.R.I., Jane's Addiction, Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Circle Jerks, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Ciccone Youth, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, X, The Germs, Screaming Trees, Braniac, The Sugarcubes, Pavement, Necros, Misfits, Rollins Band, Big Black, Pink Fairies, Mudhoney, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Meat Puppets, Green Jelly, Tripping Daisy, Toadies, Scratch Acid, The Jackofficers, Kramer, Shockabilly, Porno For Pyros, Psi Com, Deconstruction, The Residents, Snakefinger, KMFDM, The Cramps, Ween, (to name a few).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2009 1:39:18 PM PDT
Bob Bykowski says:
It wasn't hard from 1977 until about 1987 or so. Now it's hard because so much current music sucks !!

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 9:16:14 PM PDT
T. Miller says:
i agree with bobbie bykowski.... there's deeper alternative stewing early on than even the 'real' alt rockers care (or know) to acknowlege... let's not forget can, bauhaus, joy division, blurt, mc5, x, television and the new york dolls who'll see you at that dance down on 14th street [green day, nickleback, bare naked ladies, hootie...]

so long as i don't need to hear any of MY bands in prime time tv commercials (sorry iggy,,, BUT you were entertaining on late night w Conan 6/24) then i'll be happy to take the hard, high road of the the alt rock fan

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 1:26:21 AM PDT
Alt9999 says:
R Bykowski has it half-right. It was easier from 76 to the early 90's to be a fan of alternative because there was a legitimate mainstream rock scene. By the mid-90's, the mainstream was completely influenced by alternative music. For a few years in the 90's, the mainstream was great for that reason. But nowadays, the alternative and mainstream records aren't all that much different sonically. So what separates the two are record sales, which was never really the point.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2009 1:43:08 AM PDT
Vic Ferrari says:
Justin Rice I think being an Alternative Rock fan is great! You get the opportunity to show all of those people who have given you blank stares what good music is to you. You are the host to a new and different world. And, most important, you aren't a spirit draining clone of a clone of a clone like the bulk of society. Goodonya!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2009 7:42:24 AM PDT
Justin Rice says:
"spirit draining clone of a clone of a clone".....that was brilliant. I'm going to have to remember that one the next time.
The Huss, you're completely right about the mainstream initially benefiting from alternative rock. The bad thing is, like you mentioned, all things that go mainstream get milked out of existence. Alternative rock, as most people understand it, is a joke. It's a joke that they keep trying to squeeze dry, even to this day (Daughtry anyone?) I think I wouldn't be as bummed if modern radio sounded completely different from alternative rock. But it's still that cheap, diluted knock-off that's a daily reminder that all truly great things can be made a mockery off.

Posted on Jun 25, 2009 9:11:42 AM PDT
K. C., Vail says:
personally i would explore psychobilly, surf music and power pop more, that's 'my' alternative music these days.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 4:07:18 PM PDT
sf says:
Alternative is literally the alternative to what is popular. Isn't the whole point of alternative to be listening to the "cutting edge" of what is about to become mainstream and (ideally) popularly known and recognized as "good" or "great" ?

Maybe it has turned into a situation where instead of the above scenario, you now have bands aspiring to be chronically alternative. In other words, the bands form not because they are poor/jobless and found a music talent which could make them money, but maybe they come from well to do families or situations where they know people and just want to form a band in order to be cool and plugged into some scene where they can meet other people like them. Maybe alternative is now just for those people who do not aspire to make a lot of money, they just want to express day to day feelings and remain fairly anonymous except to those few who happen to come across and attach themselves to whatever sounds they are putting out. These artists are not in competition for money or fame, as much as they are just doing it for the art and being able to express themselves and be understood to a smaller segment of people. In this way they can be more influential to a smaller group of people rather than get lost in being immensely popular and having to please everybody rather than their own selves and followers.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2009 8:50:50 AM PDT
Legit Person says:
Finally: Somebody mentions Green Jello!!

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 10:44:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 21, 2009 11:00:16 PM PDT
i'll add some bands, joy division, shellac, autoclave, helium, slant 6, my life with the thrill kill cult, rodan, june of 44, retsin, sonora pine, rainer maria, tara jane oneil, ida, k., green river, blind melon, the jesus and mary chain (!!!! hell yeah!), cop shoot cop, foetus, the afghan whigs, jawbox, swans, juliana hatfield, belly, breeders, samiam, throwing muses, kristen hersh, tanya donelly, lemonheads, blake babies, rites of spring, pailead, baby chaos, engine down, milemarker, bob mould, commander venus, mineral, cursive, ruby falls, cap'n jazz, the promise ring, chainsaw kittens, teenage fanclub, matthew sweet, angelfish, the amps, appleseed cast, atari teenage riot, happy go licky, jawbreaker, bettie serveert, the murmurs, bitch magnet, blatz, built to spill, knapsack, quicksand, clutch, coil, concrete blonde, cowboy junkies, die 116, dream syndicate, opal, mazzy star, drive like jehu, falling forward, far, the for carnation, sunny day real estate, sugartooth, sunshine blind, superchunk, texas is the reason, that dog, 12 rounds, human waste project, dieselmeat, reverend horton heat, toad the wet sprocket, letters to cleo, veruca salt, the refused, urge overkill, 1000 homo djs, soul side, soup dragons, sleepytime trio, sister machine gun, machines of loving grace, shotmaker, karate, prick, primal scream, portishead, the perfect disaster, the notwist, the get up kids, my bloody valentine, morpine, maximillian colby, love and rockets, lifetime, jejune, gwen mars, china drum, god lives underwater, gastr del sol, fretblanket, elastica, wire, fairweather, elliott, american football, dig, curve, cracker, black box recorder, fugazi

Posted on Jul 22, 2009 12:28:24 AM PDT
Alternative lacked originality...Nirvana great originality and i think folk type stuff would've been made by them...i don't think they would've made hard edged stuff everytime out...if kurt wasn't joking about leadbelly being his favorite artist then he was leaning towards folk (not folk per se but acoustic music)...he did great in that MTV performance alone and with the band...Tori Amos was big for Alternative...the other bands may have like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nine inch nails but soon they got stale and has to keep changing and evolving...take the Beatles their music was always changing in their 8 years the UK knew them and the 6 years america knew them...that right there is the problem with music in general lack of originality...and it's not the musicians fault it's the A&R, the industry they're looking for young guys, sexy girls and forgetting about talent and the then you have music that bores you to death and they wonder why sales are down...they claim it's everyone downloading the music but it's more like nobody cares...alot of people are going back to the older bands like led zep, the who rather than be bored by today's lifeless alternative had it's day now it's time for the next new thing...something else will eventually evolve...all it takes is one dominant artist to make it so.

Posted on Jul 24, 2009 9:27:19 PM PDT
Sponge are waycool! Its hard to be an alternative rock fan sometimes, and this culture is full of stereotypical expectations still, and if you're not stereotypical enough, employers think your lazy and strange for not having a lot of popular references, and so you can't get employed and can't buy the cds you want, and then you and your kind cannot support the good music, cuz you're all unemployed, and the ones who have money don't like music as much and only buy the stupid things, usually. Ok I'm being a bit negative. Forgive me. According to some people who are popularity patrol they say I'm emo and my opinions when they are right don't get listened to. GO GREEN! Clean the Earth and get along with your neighbors. That will get you through the recession.
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Discussion in:  Alternative Rock forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  35
Initial post:  Jun 19, 2009
Latest post:  Sep 9, 2009

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