There’s a kind of hush and mush and beatz and paddling upstream all the time with Tidal, Spotify, and now Apple, but nowhere are their the Rock Guitar Gods who once strode across the world with the brontosaurus stomp of their They Ain’t Heavy They’re Our Brothers Bands with names like Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, Cream, Black Sabbath, Iron Butterfly etc etc.


Those were the days when many of us wanted to buy a guitar and become rock and roll outlaws. It wasn’t about buying the latest iPhone so one can instagram their food and share good stuff like this with others through constant updates on Facebook and twitter and WhatsApp while downloading music so it becomes the limp background to lives as opposed to it taking centrestage.

We watched the Jimi Hendrix Experience and wanted to play our guitar left-handed even if we were right-handed while wearing three-quarter length velveteen jackets. Who cared if we couldn’t play? Jimi Hendrix could and did and so did Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and later, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and others on a list too long to go in here. Though the front men were the front men, at least for this writer, watching Pete Townshend become the Human Windmill was far more exciting than Roger Daltrey lassoing his microphone in The Who though Keith Moon often came close to stealing the thunder from both by detonating his drum kit.

Jimmy Page was part-angel, part-devil and he and Robert Plant gave Led Zeppelin the visual and aural heaviness of the band whereas later on, Eddie Van Halen made many of us fall in love with Valerie Bertinelli- he might even have been prettier, which is probably why he married her in one weirdly narcissistic move. This happened when watching the video for Van Halen’s “Jump”. Front man David Lee Roth jumped in the air, did the splits, pouted and tousled his hair like Pamela Anderson getting ready to get down to some nine inch action, but Fast Eddie was bisexuality personified- cocky, striking all the right Rock God poses and moving as if he was Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode.

These were Rock Gods, and though today there’s still Keith and Ronnie up there enjoying that last ride and laughing as Mick Jagger becomes the Midnight Rambler, Mister Jitters and the white man’s Tina Turner, one longs for those Rock Guitar Gods who gave music all those muscles, biceps and balls. 

Yes, Chris Martin has written some lovely songs for Coldplay, and there are those days when the romantic in us needs a “Fix You” or “The Scientist” or “Yellow” to give us a soft-cock moment, but, sometimes, like what kryptonite is to Superman, we need more of the dark side of Batman and Gotham City to scare the shit outta us and jolt us outta being comfortably numb.

For a very brief moment in time, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, grunge, and to a lesser extent, Arctic Monkeys, Blur and Oasis with all their songs based on “I Am The Walrus” made us feel as if we were smelling that teen spirit. But it was over very quickly as, maybe, it just wasn’t very good, and, nah, one doubts that if Kurt Cobain didn’t blow his brains out, he would be the James Dean of Grunge that death has made him out to be.

Like Hendrix, like Brian Jones, like Janis Joplin and the rest of the 27 Club, he appeared for a purpose, said everything his music had to say, checked out, and left us with the Foo Figjters and Dave Grohl, the will i am and Pharrell Williams of so-called “Rock”. 

Whether it was good or bad for us, or underrated or overrated, or over, under, sideways down, it is all part of one’s personal journey with the trips along the way. 

But going back- and thank gawd for YouTube- and then back again wanting more like Oliver Twist as the Mad Hatter and Willie Wonka and watching those classic performances when Rock Gods ruled the world, shows how much weaker we have become- and so malleable and pliable to simply take what’s given without questioning it and elevating mediocrity and the Peter Principle rampant in music companies and their technological sidekicks, who are actually strangers bearing gifts and apps and leading everyone up that proverbial garden path. 

These new Pied Pipers Of Hamlyn must be stopped before they sink music without a trace. It’s a damn shame that the death of Rock Guitar Gods signalled the renegade spirit of rock and roll which has now given way to Shylocks, apps for saps and not enough old fashioned very big balls.

Hans Ebert
Founder Racingb*tch
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk

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