Yeah it’s 2020 and I’m writing an article for link2wales – Let’s face it, there’s fuck all else to do right now. My much-loved band Rabo De Toro have split up, the festivals have been cancelled and it looks like Faith No More won’t come back to these shores in 2021 – It’s all fucked right? The irony is that a tidal wave of music is quietly building.
Sales of guitars have gone through the roof – This is a reality. Fender sold more guitars in 2020 than in any other year in the company’s history. At the beginning of lockdown I ordered my dream guitar – I don’t know why, but if I’m stuck indoors I need a hobby. It’s a B.C Rich Perfect 10 designed by genius luthier Neal Moser and re-released as a sumptuous high end model in 2019 – A guitar so outrageously shaped even Dave Mustaine from Megadeth stopped using them, but by the gods it is the stuff of legend. I am far from alone – People are piling their time into learning guitar again.
Music events have been killed off so musicians are being forced to be creative. I never thought I would do this, but like a sex-addict who has lost internet access and turned to the underwear section in an old Argos catalogue, I have resorted to busking. I thought it would be grim but I am starting to enjoy it – It is forcing me out of my comfort zone and I’m playing in front of people who avoid my music like the plague (or a highly contagious virus). If the music is bad, I won’t get paid. So the shit songs have been scrapped – The heckler had a point. I’m being forced to reassess myself as a musician.
Way too much free time means people are obsessively writing music. The songs are angrier now we have something to moan about. Life in a warm centrally heated home with a TV the size of Kubrick’s monolith was nowhere near the dull grey years of Thatcher and Major – In 2020 we had resorted to getting miffed about identity politics. Now you can’t even buy toilet rolls, 5G conspiracy nutters are going mad in the streets and there’s a killer virus on the loose. The economy is fucked and people are losing their jobs. Your cosy front room and wide-screen telly have turned into an Orwellian prison cell. The music being written now will be angry and rebellious. By the time lockdown is lifted, there will be punk and metal bands so aggressive they will burn the skin off your face.
We have no idea where the pandemic is going and the music industry is fucked but if I am honest, since Top of the Pops died and Metallica sued Napster, the industry got progressively blander every year with some glorious exceptions to the rule – Coronavirus just pushed the restart button. As musicians, bands, promoters, engineers and music fans we need to reinvent ourselves and plan for the return. Imagine the first gig when lockdown is lifted – The public needed to be reminded how much they miss live music.
Even if it’s shit it will be amazing. …Onward and upward.