Well, I suppose being a child with older parents would have something to do with it. My Dad was born in 1949 and my mum in 1958 so they grew up in a different musical era. The music that would be played around the house was stuff like Led Zeppelin, Prince, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Queen etc. Mum would have her stuff playing as well but I tended not to listen much outside of whatever music she and Dad both liked. I listened to the radio and Top 40 music, and there were songs I liked and disliked. But I wasn’t firmly in the rock n’ roll camp.
I was twelve when my mum and dad took me to my first proper gig. I’d seen live performances before but they were by tribute bands ( really good ones, but tribute bands none the less.) It was a Mark Knopfler gig at the Royal Albert Hall. I’d heard pieces of his solo stuff before, but to that point I’d never consciously listened to his stuff with Dire Straits. The show was nearing its end and I had really enjoyed myself. This was music that appealed to me being played really well by world class musicians. And then they broke into Sultans of Swing. And my musical life changed.
After that gig, I really went back to my Dad’s music collection. And I never looked back, listening to most things where I could hear a guitar in the mix. I also went well beyond his collection as well, looking to other bands and artists. And I was amazed by the abilities of the musicians I listened to. And I was inspired to try and learn myself. The summer after that gig at the Royal Albert Hall, my parents were kind enough to buy a guitar starter pack and pay for some lessons. Ten years later I’m still playing and still loving learning new songs and techniques.
But I think the reason I listen to rock music is its sense of freedom and rebellion while being played by excellent musicians. I like to hear real instruments being played really well. Vocals are treated in rock just like they are in any other genre of music. And I have nothing against other genres of music, I enjoy pop songs and EDM music and can listen to quite a wide variety of music, as long as the melody or chord progression piques my interest. The skill shown by musicians, rather than producers which is a whole other debate, is what really keeps me in the rock n’ roll camp. The lyrical content can be much more varied than pop music as well, where many songs are about relationships or love affairs. That’s not to say that rock songs haven’t been about casual sex or relationships but they’ve also been about human connection, drug abuse, mental health issues, and even more. That variety of lyrical content is far more engaging to me than another song about a broken heart.
The sound of rock music makes it much more exciting for me to listen to. The crunch of distorted electric guitars makes them leap out of the speakers. And that’s something else that attracts me to rock music. The power of the music excites me and draws me back to keep exploring the genre further and in directions than before.