There are many fans of hard rock music that have been wrongly pigeonholed as apathetic. This music is not music for the elitist coffeehouse culture in SoHo. It' s rock 'n' roll music for kids across the land, and I think that makes it much more subversive in a way, in that it has the form and the function of a powerful, populist music, but it can carry very incendiary messages.
No matter what though, there's always rock & roll. There's rock 'n' roll in hip-hop, there's rock & roll in pop music, there's rock 'n' roll in soul, there's rock 'n' roll in country. When you see people dress and their style has an edge to it, that rebellious edge that bubbles up in every genre, that's rock & roll. Everybody still wants to be a rock star.
The music industry went through such a strange stretch in 1977, especially in this country, with the whole punk rock thing coming about. Punk was rebellious-and justified in that response-but it had very little to do with music, and so it created a highly-charged but frighteningly floundering atmosphere that I found very, very disheartening. Musical quality for me has always been an important part of rock'n'roll-and winning recognition for that has long been an uphill battle all the way. Punk seemed like rock'n'roll utterly without the music.
Good rock 'n' roll is something that makes you feel alive. It's something that's human, and I think that most music today isn't. ... To me good rock 'n' roll also encompasses other things, like Hank Williams and Charlie Mingus and a lot of things that aren't strictly defined as rock 'n' roll. Rock 'n' roll is an attitude, it's not a musical form of a strict sort. It's a way of doing things, of approaching things. Writing can be rock 'n' roll, or a movie can be rock 'n' roll. It's a way of living your life.
When I was a teenager, I really didn't like loud rock music. I listened to jazz and blues and folk music. I've always preferred acoustic music. And it was only, I suppose, by the time Jethro Tull was getting underway that we did let the music begin to have a harder edge, in particular with the electric guitar being alongside the flute.
I write a lot of more instrumental music than I do vocal music. It's because I come out of a background of playing piano and then playing sax for a number of years. I kind of got into rock backwards. A lot of guys go into rock and then get sick of it and then go into something else. I came the other way, so I've always just had a lot more stuff lying around.
They tell us "Rock'n'roll is the devil's music." Well, let's say we know that rock is the devil's music, and we know that it is, for sure ... At least he f-kin' jams! If it's a choicebetween eternal Hell and good tunes, and eternal Heaven and New Kids on the f-kin' Block ... I'm gonna be surfin' on the lake of fire, rockin' out.
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