[NYT] A New Hard Rock, Just What Teenagers Were Waiting For

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From: Adam Rifkin -4K (adam@XeNT.ics.uci.edu)
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 23:30:48 PDT

I love this line:
> "A guy at Sony told us, 'If this is the future of music, I don't want
> to be alive,'" said Slipknot's drummer Joey Jordison.

Beavis and Butt-head would be proud... fire... Fire... FIre... FIRE!

> A New Hard Rock, Just What Teenagers Were Waiting For
> By NEIL STRAUSS, New York Times, May 4, 2000
> SAN ANTONIO -- It was a spellbindingly intense and brutal performance,
> and the concert hadn't even begun. Slipknot, an explosive rock nonet
> from Des Moines, was seething in a large holding room backstage at
> the Live Oak Civic Center just outside the city, warming up like a
> football team psyching itself for a particularly fierce playoff game.
> Its members, each masked and wearing orange prison coveralls, were
> pacing across the room in different directions. A musician in a
> grotesque clown mask menacingly swung a large PVC pipe as he choked a
> rag clown doll in his other hand; another, in a gas mask, squirted
> bottled water onto a lone groupie's T-shirt; others brandished wooden
> planks, punched walls or dropped to the floor to stretch.
> Suddenly they met in a huddle, threw their hands to the center, and
> let loose a ferocious scream that drowned out the 3,000 fans chanting
> "Slipknot." Then, one by one, they emerged onto the stage, driving
> the crowd -- wearing shirts pledging allegiance to other new
> hard-rock bands like Sevendust, Staind, Papa Roach and System of a
> Down -- into a frenzy. Two teenagers had already been treated for
> injuries before Slipknot had even finished thrashing, banging and
> raging through its first song about exploding angst.
> "It feels so easy to make a connection with these kids," said Matt
> McDonough, or Spag, the drummer in Slipknot's opening act, the
> face-painting scream-rock group Mudvayne. "They're wanton. Slipknot
> have them so pumped up that you could walk up to a mike and burp, and
> they'd go crazy."
> Pete Murray, the singer in the other opening act, the electrometal
> group Ultraspank, shook his head. "It was like this when we toured
> with Incubus too," he said. "You get the feeling that something is
> going on, but you don't know exactly what it is."
> What's happening is that a new school of hard-edged rock bands have
> formed a loose association from years of relentless touring together.
> Most are composed of ordinary-looking suburban or small-town
> 20-to-30-year-olds playing vaguely hip-hop- or electronica-influenced
> hard rock that sounds fresh but not necessarily new. From the best to
> the most mediocre, the majority of these acts are selling an
> impressive 500,000 albums, but none have crossed the million mark
> that would make them blockbusters.
> Still, through touring and the power of promotion on the Internet,
> the bands and their audience are reaching the boiling point at which
> they bubble into the mainstream.
> "This, certainly for us, has been a real movement of late," said Tom
> Calderone, senior vice president for programming at MTV, which has
> begun playing many of these acts on a show called "Return of the
> Rock." "But there isn't anyone leading the pack, so to speak. We're
> waiting to see who's going to come out with that big second album.
> There are a lot of bands on the surface right now, waiting to break,
> and I think it's a real close race. As a music fan, it's exciting to
> watch."
> Since grunge and alternative rock began fading in 1994 with the
> suicide of Kurt Cobain, there has been no great resurgence of rock
> 'n' roll, only isolated successes. But the same year, something new
> was rising from the ashes: Korn, a motley-looking quintet of
> self-professed white trash from Bakersfield, Calif., put out its
> first album, a bottom-heavy, rap-friendly primal scream produced by
> Ross Robinson.
> Along with the older and more politically minded Rage Against the
> Machine, the denser Tool, and, later, the more watered-down and
> nakedly ambitious Limp Bizkit, Korn began attracting not just the
> remnants of the alternative rock audience but also heavy metal,
> thrash and hard-core fans looking for something new. On their heels
> came suburban teenagers who had temporarily abandoned rock for rap
> and a younger generation looking for a sound to call their own.
> Then, in 1997, Ozzy Osbourne brought his Ozzfest to arenas and
> stadiums, providing an inadvertent launching pad for what some are
> calling the new rock, new metal or heavy alternative movement. To
> wide industry surprise, Ozzfest became the year's second-highest
> grossing tour (bested by Sarah McLachlan's less aggressive Lilith
> Fair.) Performing in Ozzfest, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Powerman 5000,
> Machine Head, Soulfly, Incubus, Coal Chamber, Sevendust, Static-X,
> Deftones, Godsmack and System of a Down proved their metal,
> significantly expanding (or in some cases, creating) their fan base.
> At the same time, Ozzfest gave new rock its roots with performances
> from elder statesmen, including Mr. Osbourne's pioneering metal band
> Black Sabbath; well-known hard-rock bands that formed in the 80's
> like Slayer, White Zombie and Pantera; and other hard-rockers of the
> late 80's and early 90's that never broke into the mainstream,
> including Neurosis, Fear Factory and Type O Negative. Thanks in part
> to Ozzfest and similar tours, the teenage audiences of the newer
> bands began working their way backwards to Metallica, Kiss and Black
> Sabbath while older metal fans began lining up to get into Static-X,
> Deftones and Slipknot shows.
> "Ozzfest was very important," said Serj Tinkian of System of a Down.
> "It put us in front of a lot of kids. We did it twice, and it's had a
> huge impact on this band."
> Unlike followers in 1994, when Korn emerged, fans into dense, heavy
> new rock today can dedicate entire CD collections to the genre
> because of a seemingly bottomless supply of young bands. And they're
> diverse, ranging from spiritualists to nihilists, pop to noise.
> P.O.D. and Project 86 preach positive, Christian messages; System of
> a Down incorporates Armenian folk music; Coal Chamber is practically
> a gothic-rock band; Incubus comes from a more sensitive, melodic pop
> place; and Disturbed and Slipknot sing about fenced-in people pushed
> to a breaking point, the former with driving pop hooks and the latter
> with an all-out percussive assault.
> None of the bands represent a new direction for rock. In nearly every
> city, a diverse cadre of grungy hard-rock bands has been kicking
> around for decades. But teenage angst demands its antiheroes, and --
> and in the absence of any other popular rock uprising since grunge --
> these acts, semipopular but not overexposed, have made it exciting
> again to grow up a rock fan, constantly discovering newer and better
> bands. For many at the shows, it's their own generation's version of
> classic rock.
> "All our parents listen to classic rock -- Led Zeppelin, the Doors,"
> said Josh McCall, 20, a telemarketer outside the Slipknot show. "I
> started listening to some of the younger stuff, like White Zombie and
> Gwar. Then a bunch of newer bands came along, and it just kind of grew."
> Though almost every label now boasts its own new rock phalanx, for
> years nobody wanted to sign these acts, many of which have been
> laboring since the early 90's. Slipknot, according to its manager,
> was rejected by 10 labels before landing on an imprint of Roadrunner
> Records run by Mr. Robinson of Korn fame.
> "A guy at Sony told us, 'If this is the future of music, I don't want
> to be alive,"' recalled Joey Jordison, Slipknot's silver-masked
> drummer. "I just thought, 'If that's what he thinks, then we are
> doing something right.' "
> With at least four major rock tours crossing the country in the
> summer -- including Ozzfest, Tattoo the Earth (featuring Slipknot),
> MTV's Return of the Rock Tour (with P.O.D.), and the Family Values
> Tour founded by Korn -- many are expecting hard rock to have a new day.
> "This summer is going to be huge," said Shawn Crahan, who performs in
> a clown mask on an elevating percussion platform in Slipknot. "Every
> week our album sales are going up. I always knew it was going to
> happen; I just didn't know it would happen this quickly."
> One element separating this new wave of hard-rock acts from the past
> is better studio equipment, especially the sound program Pro Tools,
> giving even first albums a more polished studio sound than their more
> punk-influenced predecessors.
> More significantly, rap has influenced bands to incorporate
> vinyl-scratching disc jockeys, drum-machine beats, percussion loops
> and electronic programming.
> In addition, many of them promote their music the way hip-hop acts
> do, using street teams of fans who work free, dispensing cassettes
> and stickers at schools and outside concerts. But, in another
> parallel to hip-hop, fans are often fair-weather, passionately
> embracing a band and then dumping it for something fresher.
> "Korn and Limp Bizkit are over," said Dustin Lux, 15, who attended
> the Slipknot concert here. "They fell off. Slipknot is the future of music."
> Though the music business once shunned this music like yesterday's
> disco, today's metal bands have developed organically, and the
> industry is embracing it again.
> And not just for the money. "Whether or not you're a fan personally
> of this music, there's no way you can deny that it is regrouping kids
> and creating a sense of community and dialogue among them," said John
> Rubeli, the scout who signed P.O.D. and Project 86 to Atlantic
> Records. "Being around these bands and out at these shows, it's the
> most honest, real environment musically you're going to find."


It itches, it seethes, it festers and breathes My heros are dead, they died in my head Thin out the herd, squeeze out the pain Something inside me has opened up again -- Slipknot, "Diluted", http://www.slipknot1.com/

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