Friday, April 12, 2024

Rock isn’t dead, you’re just not looking hard enough


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Featured photo by Kerstie Wolaver 

Story by Kerstie Wolaver

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“Rock ‘n’ Roll is dead,” critics might say. Many skeptics claim the genre that has prevailed over many decades is finally coming to its end. 

One of the most impactful genres in the music industry is without a doubt, rock. 

What exactly is rock music? Some may answer this question with a band like the Beatles, others would say Led Zeppelin, while some will even say KISS or AC/DC. No matter which of these you resonate with, they all come from a common beginning. 

Rock music has been influenced by so many genres that came before it. From gospel music to soul, from jazz to country to rhythm and blues, there are so many elements that led to the birth of the rock music that many think of today. 

Guitarists such as the iconic Stevie Ray Vaughan influenced many musicians of today, including John Mayer, who introduced an entire group of people to the music of the Grateful Dead when he began touring with Dead and Company. 

It is acts such as Dead and Company that connect young audiences with the music of generations past, keeping rock alive and well for the foreseeable future. 

Dead and Company also keep the jam band scene alive by inspiring acts such as Mt Joy and Goose, who often cover the Grateful Dead. Many young fans have also found love for acts such as Phish, who have been touring for over two decades. 

Also contributing to the continuation of psychedelic rock today is King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, who have been feeding fans with new music since 2010. 

Still, some young listeners might say, “I don’t know, I think rock is kind of dead.” 

I say that rock isn’t dead, fans just need to know where to search. 

Artists such as Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley were contributors to the birth of rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1950s. 

Music is ever changing, from the rockabilly tunes that took young listeners by storm in the 1950s to the most popular artists of today, music can be found for everyone. New bluegrass act Billy Strings keeps this style and so many others, playing covers that are never bound by age or genre, and introducing fans to more and more music from the past. 

Many artists today grew out of 1970s inspiration — bands such as The Eagles, The Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and more.

For example, Florence + The Machine takes much songwriting inspiration from Stevie Nicks, while Robert Plant and Mick Jagger inspired identifier Dirty Honey. 

This to say, rock music has been evolving since its beginnings, at points growing into a new sound entirely. Artists such as Bob Dylan, who began as a folk singer but transitioned into the use of electric instruments and the rock sound later in his career is a prime example of how the evolution of genre can take place. 

In addition, a line can be drawn from Dylan to Greta Van Fleet, a prominent band in the rock genre today, although often compared to Led Zeppelin, the group draws heavily from the folk and blues music they grew up listening to, such as Dylan and Woody Gutherie. They also expressed appreciation for bluegrass music, with a love for banjo playing and Southern Roots.  

None of these new rock bands would have grown to the size that they are now without exploration and experimentation. Nothing grows from being put in a box. 

Overall, anyone who is looking for rock in today’s music can find it, so long as they understand the changes that happen within the genre as well as knowing where to look.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email For more news, visit, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines. 

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