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The Golden Years of Classic Rock

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At the age of 30, I'm probably younger than most of you rock fans reading this blog. I can say that with some confidence considering the fact that at almost every live rock show I attend, I'm surrounded by balding 60 year olds who have dug out a Def Leppard T-shirt from 25 years ago and dusted off a leather jacket that was last aired at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in 1989. Sorry if I've just offended you.

But this blog isn't aimed at you, it's aimed at classic rock's lost generation. We are at a critical point in the future history of classic rock where in 10 years time, there'll be no more Stones, no more Kiss, No more Whitesnake and no more Aerosmith (Bon Jovi will probably still be knocking around, but hey...) In fact, I'd argue that there'll be no more proper bands at all!

Let me qualify that, When I say 'proper bands' I mean bands that were formed in a time before the music business was what it is today. In the music industry today, a band must be commercial, music is a product and it has to sell. In 1975 when Queen released Bohemian Rhapsody, people had never heard anything like it, Bohemian Rhapsody wasn't commercially appealing and although Queen had been around for a few years, it was still considered a risky single to release. At five minutes, 55 seconds it was considered too long for radio play but it was released anyway, because a handful of people believed in it. Today, in most cases, what the record company says, goes.

Some would argue that in today's musical climate there isn't a market for classic rock and that these guys are just pensioners playing guitars, although that may be true, I believe the younger generation need to see them before they are gone forever. Last year I saw Whitesnake live at the Hammersmith Apollo, and at the ripe old age of 61, David Coverdale was still hitting ridiculous notes and strutting like a peacock. It was amazing! In my experience many of the classic rock bands still around from the 70's and 80's have still got as much charisma as they had back in the day!

Live rock music is an experience that can't be recreated by listening to a live album or watching a live DVD, there's nothing like the feeling of leaving a rock concert hoarse from singing badly at the top of your lungs with the deafening ring of tinitus in your ears, and yet the time to experience it is passing us by. I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to say that we are experiencing a dying art form.

I'm an actor currently appearing in the West End show Rock Of Ages, a show that encompasses rock songs of the 80's from bands like Journey, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and Foreigner. One of the most encouraging and exciting part of my job is that I get to see audiences enjoy this music for the first time. There are an encouraging number of young audience members discovering the music I have loved for my entire life and I hope the show encourages them to listen to these bands and get to know them as I have.

Whenever anyone mentions the TV show Glee, I cringe. If Glee has been good for anything, it's been good for Journey. Journey's Don't stop Believing was first released in 1981 making it to 62 in the U.K charts, in 2010 it was released by the cast of Glee making it to number six in the charts. Due to this recent chart success, Journey are currently enjoying a massive resurgence in their music (and I'm sure in their bank balances) and although I hate Glee and all it stands for, it has brought classic rock music to a whole new audience that may have never found it.

Let's face it, at their age most classic rock bands should be getting an early night with BBC Radio 4 and a cup of Horlicks. So the next time you see one of these bands on tour, buy a ticket! You might never get the chance to see them again, and one day when they're gone, you'll be one of the 60 year olds I mentioned earlier and you'll be heading down to your local music venue to get your live music fix...unfortunately for you, it'll be a 40-year-old Justin Bieber singing his greatest hits...acoustically...then you'll wish you'd seen Def Leppard just one more time.