By Alexander Castiglione, aka Stigz
Anybody that has a subscription to Rolling Stone probably knows where I’m going with this. For those of you that don’t get the music journal in the mail; bear with me.
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed something going on with Rolling Stone. Specifically, who was on the cover. The particulars are as follows: I have seen, in recent memory, a half-dozen covers which made me stop in my steps. Especially since this is the same magazine that used to have legends like Jimi and Robert Plant on the cover, and even more obscure up and coming acts which we all know and love. However, Lil Wayne, like this past week’s cover, is not a person I would say is contributing to rock.
Or the planet, for that matter.
In fact, he makes the top five for people we should euthanize, slightly behind Carson Daly and Ryan Stop-Fuckin’-Smiling Seacrest. Of late, we have also seen beauties like Megan Fox, absolutely delicious. Or Shakira – who should permanently jack Kit Kat’s catch phrase, “Break me off a piece,” and have it forever floating over her head holographicaly. Somebody should call Steve Jobs about this. And it makes a whole lot more sense than the I-Pad. But I digress.
Even John Mayer, who regardless of your take on him/his music/his fans, is a legit musician. Mayer uses his Strat to slay a dragon with some serious riffs, and still breaks it down jazz style to have panties dropping from here to Japan. Say what you will about him, or this new “Sex Object” PR approach his people are spinning, but this dude can wail. In short, he earned a cover.
Then we have, which to be honest I thought it was the cover of an AARP catalog, the November 29th 2009 issue of Rolling Stone with Bono, Mick Jagger, and Bruce Springsteen on the cover. Yes, I know it was regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yes, I know it was a big deal. And yes, now I know that two of the three are well acquainted with the good products from the great people at Pfizer. But is this what Rolling Stone is about?
This magazine, of which I am a devout reader, has had some of the best pieces in not only music journalism, but journalism in general. They all were about rock in some capacity. Movies, music, cars whatever, they all related to the “Rock & Roll lifestyle.” About this elusive and enchanting counterculture filled with good times, loud tunes, tattoos and smoking hot women, which has rocked this country for the last half century. Yes, sex symbols make sense. Yes, geriatric rockers make sense (however un-photogenic). But Lil’ Wayne? Come on!
Lil Wayne (whose name in itself makes me want to climb a clock tower) is in my book right under Kanye West. The title of the book? Douchebags Who Have Contributed Nothing to Music.
Being an aficionado of all music, whether it’s classic rock, metal, post-hardcore or electronic dance music, I can be safe in saying that Lil Wayne and Kanye (and anybody functioning under their paradigm of sampling and using sound effects to no avail and calling it “original”) are the bane of the music industry, and do not deserve the cover of Rolling Stone. Vibe, yes. Jet, Ok. But Rolling Stone – never.
Rock, which is what Rolling Stone should be about, is about sticking it to the man (yea, I stole the Jack Black line from School Of Rock), about finding your voice and screaming it out to the world, about displaying yourself and breaking it down by lyrically tearing apart this random series of tragedies, accidents, joys, hates, failures, and triumphs we call life. Not about bling, not about retarded Bentley tattoos, and not about who wins the most Grammy’s, but about who actually earns them. And even Grammy’s lost their appeal, as they have slowly but surely become the music industries equivalent of a high school popularity poll.
The naysayers of this article will say, “Well, it’s pop culture, and that’s kind of what Rolling Stone reports on. Trends in music and stuff…” Well fuck that. And fuck pop culture. Since when did Rock & Roll, or any music for that matter, become about “what’s popular.”
Music is about what moves you. Music is about what inspires you. Music is what soothes your savage beast – or uncages it. Music is what connects us with everyone, everywhere, for all time. Music is about vibing with the tonal creations of another human being. Music, good music, is not pop culture.
Pop culture is the enemy.
PS Rolling Stone, please, please, I beg you, stop harboring the adversaries of musicality.