What Happened to American Rock?

Natalie Steiger, Reporter

As one of the biggest genres of music out there, rock proudly boasts some of the biggest bands of all time. Some might immediately jump to hard classics like Guns ‘n’ Roses, or something more grunge, like Nirvana.

Whatever your music taste might be, everyone’s got one song they like, even if they don’t know it’s rock. With the recent popularity of artists like Greta Van Fleet and Willow Smith, rock music is making a comeback. But, where did it go in the first place?

To find out, we first have to define “rock” as a specific genre. The American rock I’m talking about is full of guitars and drums and dudes with killer mullets. Obviously, we can find hundreds of bands fitting this exact mold in the 80s and even the 90s.
But the modern culture and energy of American rock is stuck in this period. New rock bands like Fall Out Boy and Green Day don’t exactly match the music giants before them, and some don’t even consider them rock!
Truthfully, American rock culture is dead. You would be hard-pressed to find a big name that’s specifically considered “rock”, even less for the specific hardcore rock ‘n’ roll that shaped American culture. The community WAS huge, and millions of people were listening and going to concerts throughout the decades when it was popular.
However, when everyone who lived and breathed rock music grew up, the concert culture of true American rock kind of died. Even more recently, the effects of Covid-19 on the concert industry in general have been disastrous. Sweaty mosh pits and face masks don’t tend to mix, causing a sharp decline in concert attendance. According to statistics, only 13.4 million tour tickets were sold worldwide in 2020. This is compared to the figure for 2019 which was 57.7 million.
But, all hope isn’t lost. Newer bands like Destroy Boys, The Frights, Surf Curse, and more are rapidly gaining popularity. The Battle at Garden’s Gate is a new Greta Van Fleet album that recalls the powerful vocals of old giants. Spotify is a great platform to find and support smaller artists, which is the first step to striking up an interest in rock again.
So, if you’re like me and you want a revival of American rock, look no further than yourself. Support up-and-coming artists adapting the genre of rock to a new culture while still enjoying some good ol’ Bon Jovi.