Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Metal’

Last week the guitar company Gibson Brands Incorporated, the manufacturer of the legendary Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  A lot of people, including myself, wondered how and why this could have happened. How can such an iconic guitar company with such notable players such as Jimmy Page, Slash, Zakk Wylde, and many more, go from multi million dollars in sales to having to file for bankruptcy?

Many people blamed the high prices of Gibson guitars. A top of the line Les Paul is often priced between $5000 to $10000, sometimes more. A mid priced Les Paul goes for about $1000 to $3000. These guitars aren’t cheap for sure, but people forget that Gibson owns the Epiphone line of guitars which sells Epiphone Les Pauls in the $100 to $500 price range. In fact, it’s these affordable Epiphone Les Pauls which account for most of the company’s sales.  So I don’t think this is the problem.

In my opinion Gibson’s downfall goes far deeper than just a pricing issue. It signifies the death of Rock as a cultural force. The term “Rock Is Dead” has been said for years but this time it’s really happening. Well, it’s not exactly “dead” but like Jazz, it’s become a niche. It will keep it’s core audience which grew up on Rock but it’s not exactly growing armies of new listeners.

Gone are the days like when I was younger, when you would hear bands like Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Metallica, etc. on mainstream radio. You not only heard them on radio but they were also pushing pop culture and selling multi platinum records while selling out stadiums. Rock just isn’t pushing popular culture anymore.

The new generation just isn’t into Rock for whatever reason. There’s just too many other things these days for a kid to get into, whether it’s video games or a newer form of music like Hip Hop. Sometimes you’ll meet a kid who will like Rock when they hear it, but as said before, it isn’t pushing popular culture anymore. Most kids these days don’t know Eddie Van Halen from his elbow. And there’s no guitar hero that’s going to bring Rock back to become a cultural force again. Time marches on. Sinatra never came back after the world heard Elvis.

Thinking about all of this brought me back to my younger years when me and friends knew this older Jazz guy named Tom who would play Jazz guitar and collect old Jazz records. We would laugh about how he was just so into this old style of music and really be into it.  This was his niche. We looked at him like he was some kind of dinosaur.

What comes around goes around. Now some youngster is probably amused by my taste in music with my collection of old Rock cds. This is my niche.

Now I’m the dinosaur.

-Roz

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Kirk Hammett from the band Metallica talks about guitars and shows some of his cool electric guitars in his collection. He’s not only a great guitarist, but he’s one of the nicest and humblest guys you can ever meet.

-Roz Abellera