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  • No X factor anymore.

    Hey guys and gals, here's one for discussion. Please give me your thoughts on this.

    Back in the 60's 70's, there were a wealth of bands that did'nt just play well, they had that X factor. You know, the flambouant, in your face bands like the Who, the Stones, Hendrix, Cream, Yes, Queen, Pink Floyd, Police, loads too numerous to mention. And solo artists like Bowie, Tina Turner. These guys and gals still have a following 40 years on. Will anyone be raving about Snow Patrol, Keane and the like in 40 years time. I dont think so. They are good bands but like all the others, No Charisma. No X factor.

    I saw a lot of these 60's 70's bands live back then, and it felt like your guts were being screwed. Perhaps its because Im an Old Git now and can say to the grand kids, `This aint real music. Not like we had`.

    You've only got to turn on the tele, and all the adverts have got 60's 70's stuff playing. And the programs. CSI must be paying more in royalties to the Who than they are paying their actors.

    Nowadays what have you got. Theres hundreds of great bands out there but none seem to have that wow factor anymore.

    Charisma, and In Your Face dont seem to be important anymore, but I cant see why. If I was head of a recording company Id rather sign a band that was going to give me an income for 40+ years than one that would be dead and buried in 2.
    Last edited by John.b; 08-10-08, 07:51 PM.

  • #2
    Is it that the new "X factor" bands don't exist, or is it really that they are out there but the record labels would rather mass market another lip-syncing dancer and make a quick buck off them than invest the time and money into developing another Pink Floyd or Who?

    I'm thinking there are plenty of great musicians out there doing awesome things, but they remain unknown to the masses because the record labels aren't interested in them right now. And honestly, I'm not sure that the younger crowd that spends the most money on recorded music these days is looking for a Floyd. If they want more Jessica Simpsons, then that's what the labels are going to give them.

    For those of us with better taste in music, we have to be content with the eye candy and ignore the crap she's singing.
    >>>See my E-kit here<<<

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    • #3
      Good idea for a thread guys,

      My 2c worth (and I don't mean to offend anyone with this "thesis") is that this is closely related to the study of popular culture.

      Naturally, this X-factor was there further into the past but in smaller numbers due to smaller population and media forms, as we can cite the same awe that was generated by performers like Al Jolson, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, Elvis etc etc

      Being an old git now who does remember the 60s......I reckon there was an explosion of ideas and technology in the 60s that led to this X-factor for the artists you have mentioned. The kids who grew up hearing this 60s revolution actually learned to play their instruments properly and also benefitted from the leap in technology that came from the 60s, the space race etc and that led to the supergroups of the 70s.

      Unfortunately, and this is probably controversial, there are only so many ways that music can be created and by the end of the 70s it had pretty much all been done. (yes, I know that Bach wrote virtually every combination of notation and key in his works a couple of hundred years ago, but we didn't have the communication revolution to amplify and spread these ideas until the 60s/70s).

      So, after all that waffle, I guess I'm getting to the point that it is unlikely we will see that level of X-factor again. Artist/performers from the 80s and onwards (e.g. Madonna) will be remembered for the popularity but for the originality and X-factor? I don't think so.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think part of the reason for this is that there's a kind of rebellion (for lack of a better word) in today's music scene against the "cult of personality" hype that drove the fame of a lot of acts in the past. The sort of thing that made some of these acts larger than life - the ruinous living, outrageous antics on and off stage, androgenous clothing and hair, lavish stage shows, etc. are (I think) looked upon by the latest generation as so much silly posing. I think the current generation has learned that that kind of fame comes at a very high price - a price they are not willing to pay.

        Also, the market is much more fragmented now than before. Used to be that every teen and young adult knew the names of the big acts and kept up, at least to some extent, with their music. The older generation didn't have all the video games and on-line activities that the current generation has grown up with, so music was a much bigger part of our lives.

        Back then we had Rock, Pop, R&B and Soul, and C&W. When one of the big acts came to town, everyone knew about it, and if you went to the show, everyone would ask you how it was. Then all kinds of new flavors came along - Punk, Metal, New Wave, New Age, Cross Country and so on. Add to that in the current day World Music, Alternative (whatever that means), new brands of soft rock, jazz, and frankly a lot of bands that whose music defies categorization, and you have so many different pockets of interest that it's hard for any of the bands to really rise to the kind of god-like prominence that bands of days gone by did.

        Remember too, that music promotion has undergone a major shift. Anyone with a computer can publish a CD these days, and the major labels are not as powerful as they once were. As a result, I think they tend to play it safe and go for the least common denominator, an approach that will insure we don't get anything really new and different.

        Finally, there are a lot more labels out there feeding the ever-more-fragmented market. Everyone is doing their own thing, and keeping up with who is big this year is no longer pre-requisite for acceptance by one's peers (at least that's my impression).

        About 20 years ago (when I was 31) I was dating a girl who had just turned 18, and I asked her if she thought the music of the day compared to the music from the late 60's and early 70's. She said no, that it was not nearly as good. I took this as proof, since she was literally a baby then and didn't associate it with her "golden years" or anything of the sort.

        Is today's music as good? Most if it is not, IMO, but some of it is better. It's just that we have so much to listen to, and so many things other than music to occupy ourselves with nowadays that bigs acts are just not the big deal they used to be.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with stickinthemud, there is alot more diversity in music these days.

          i remember reading an article on pink floyd, saying if they were around today, rather then in the 60's, they would have a hard time getting signed to a major record label.

          I disagree that there are no bands with the 'x' factor these days. there are some bands who in my opinion will be remembered for years, you may not necessarily know who the are, but its a different time, and different generation now.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with most everything said here. I see few more factors in the loss of great "X" bands. 1) The lack of great promotors and managers with vision, dedication and long term loyalty? 2)The pool of well trained musicians seems to be shrinking. 3) The scramble for the entertainment dollar is beening won by media comglomerates who want to sell you an Ipod, cable TV and a new gaming console. 4) In America, tons of money that used to go to support live music in the local pubs and lounges (the trainig grounds for great musicians) is going to the rental on government owned gambling machinces and corporate managed casinos.

            A former music venue bar owner told this to me last year. "Why would I hire a band and put up with all those drunks to get some of their money, when I can rent 10 machines from the state and take all their money with no fights and less paid help."

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            • #7
              I agree with much of the thinking so far also. I will add, speaking of 'management' that more bands are trying to manage themselves. I'm thinking of situations such as Elvis and the choke hold Colonel Parker had on him for a while. But it might've been very good for The King in many ways. Of course, the Beatles managed to break out of molds now and then while managing themselves. But I don't think they even managed themselves all by themselves either.

              Which brings up another point: in addition to fragmentation, we also have saturation. There is so much music being made and distributed in so many different ways that the mind reels and the senses become dull when trying to contemplate it all.

              But these things don't really answer the whole question. I'm also thinking that there was more character coming out of people raised in the '40's and '50's, and maybe the '60's and '70's. Things started coming apart in the '60's. 1963 was a particularly bad year for a certain legal decision that revealed the glimmerings of how deep the moral depravity and narcissism could go. The song 'American Pie' is a story trying to capture some of the sadness of that lost morality and character - an object lesson that was pretty universally liked but also ignored. There was rebellion, but a lot of it was thoughtful rebellion. Now we seem to have rebellion for the sake of rebellion.

              We (the children of the '60's and '70's) have created an entitlement mentality in our children by teaching them the 'theory of relativity,' that is, nothing is absolute and everything is relative. "If it feels good do it" is still resonating in our culture. Hard work, discipline, self-denial and considering others more important than ourselves have largely gone by the wayside. Good music is produced by people who have all these things; since they are lacking the music in general is also lacking. The creative people have to have the backing of the disciplined people in order to thrive (or have the character themselves), and since there is a general refusal to be told what to do everything suffers. Anarchy only produces chaos; money is god, and everything else takes a back seat.

              The X factor is character, I think, which is sadly lacking nowadays. It is symptomatic of a wider problem in our culture which is rotting from the inside out. Yeah, a lot of the people in many of those long-lasting bands lived licentiously and self-involved, but they were sort of controlled by good managers and producers (not that all of them were 'good' but they at least knew what was acceptable and what wasn't, in other words they knew the market) who set limits on what they could do. Many people also burned out pretty quickly and the ones who survived learned some lessons from it. In general, of course.

              A musician by the name of Randy Stonehill said it well.
              We are all like foolish puppets, who, desiring to be kings
              Now lie pitifully crippled, after cutting our own strings. (Randy Stonehill, Welcome To Paradise 1976, 'Puppet Strings.')
              I'm sure many people will bristle at the thought of being puppets, but the idea is still very clear. We started cutting our strings at least in the '60's' and now we are flopping around and directionless. But we still think we are so cool.

              Shalom
              Bruce

              Comment


              • #8
                good post Bruce. I played rock in the 60's and I find myself still trying to put those values on the bands, gigs, venues and styles I work in today. Like putting a square peg in a round hole. I remember the Beatles wearing suits and me playinmg in rock bands with a business cut hair do (age 16). Today the members of my band are 21, 29, 45 and me at 57. We all come from different worlds and values. However, we agree to put out the music the best we can even if we can't agree on morals, politics, drugs, or lifestyles.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by V(ader)DRUMMER View Post
                  I'm not sure that the younger crowd that spends the most money on recorded music these days is looking for a Floyd. .
                  Is it the younger crowd that spend the most money. Im not sure. If your talking the top ten crap then yes your probably right, but go into a music store and see whos in there buying. I went into one the other day and there was me and about 5 other guys in there all sorting through the 60's and 70's rock and blues stuff. OK so it was being sold for a third of the price of the screaching bird singles but its got to say something. I reckon 90% of the disc buying public are over 40 but theres no chart to measure this.

                  I bought Guns and Roses, Judas Priest, Nickleback, Elmore James, Taj Mahal and Memphis Slim.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by V(ader)DRUMMER View Post
                    Is it that the new "X factor" bands don't exist, or is it really that they are out there but the record labels would rather mass market another lip-syncing dancer and make a quick buck off them than invest the time and money into developing another Pink Floyd or Who?

                    I'm thinking there are plenty of great musicians out there doing awesome things, but they remain unknown to the masses because the record labels aren't interested in them right now. And honestly, I'm not sure that the younger crowd that spends the most money on recorded music these days is looking for a Floyd. If they want more Jessica Simpsons, then that's what the labels are going to give them.

                    For those of us with better taste in music, we have to be content with the eye candy and ignore the crap she's singing.
                    Good post Vader. It seems that everything has gone this way...from music to film. Mass market and ignore originality. Look at movies. Superheroes, movies made from novels or from 60's and 70s television shows are waht seem to dominate. Music seems to go the same way. Find a schtick, package it, clone it and flood the market until everyone is sick of it. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of the new rock and metal, but so much of it has the cookie cutter feel to it. But I guess there is really nothing new about that. Even in the 60s there were American Beatles clones that looked and sounded like them and were pushed onto the public. But it seems like in the 80s, it really got out of control with the Hair Metal thing. Back then, if you had big hair, spandex, were from LA, and were guitar based you could get a contract and some videos on MTV. Thankfully there is always Tool, Nine Inch Nails and whatever Chris Cornell is doing at the time.
                    Hawk snare, toms, and bass; Hart ECII crashes & ride; VH-10 Hihat; Iron Cobra double-bass.
                    "I never play the same thing twice...sometimes because I simply can't remember it." - John Paul Jones

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John.b View Post
                      Hey guys and gals, here's one for discussion. Please give me your thoughts on this.

                      Back in the 60's 70's, there were a wealth of bands that did'nt just play well, they had that X factor. You know, the flambouant, in your face bands like the Who, the Stones, Hendrix, Cream, Yes, Queen, Pink Floyd, Police, loads too numerous to mention. And solo artists like Bowie, Tina Turner. These guys and gals still have a following 40 years on. Will anyone be raving about Snow Patrol, Keane and the like in 40 years time. I dont think so. They are good bands but like all the others, No Charisma. No X factor.

                      I saw a lot of these 60's 70's bands live back then, and it felt like your guts were being screwed. Perhaps its because Im an Old Git now and can say to the grand kids, `This aint real music. Not like we had`.

                      You've only got to turn on the tele, and all the adverts have got 60's 70's stuff playing. And the programs. CSI must be paying more in royalties to the Who than they are paying their actors.

                      Nowadays what have you got. Theres hundreds of great bands out there but none seem to have that wow factor anymore.

                      Charisma, and In Your Face dont seem to be important anymore, but I cant see why. If I was head of a recording company Id rather sign a band that was going to give me an income for 40+ years than one that would be dead and buried in 2.
                      The aforementioned bands were groundbreaking acts, it had never been done before in that way, it was new. After 40 years and the endless knock-offs and bad impersonators it's all been seen a few times over and frankly it's boring. The dinosaur is dead, it just refuses to lay down and die well. There's too much money to be had.
                      Drumkat Turbo 4.5, Emulator X3, Superior 2.1, Roland Fantom XR, DTXtreme III, SPD-20 etc.......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't know... I think a ton of the bands now have to have that "exta" thing just to get a following.

                        Slipknot (not a super huge fan here...but they have a few good ones) actually put on a very good show. To me I thought that had "it" when I first saw them.

                        System of a Down.. I think they had a different version of "it" but "it" none the less.

                        I think "it" has had to change with the times though so that may be part of the reason "it" (or X) seems to be gone.

                        (Plus music was (is???) really big business for a while...and you know what happens to innovation once a bunch of stuffed shirts get involved....)

                        -I'm just throwing ideas out...your mileage may vary.

                        E
                        - your source for electronic cigs. Use coupon code "" for 10% off every order!!!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jrcel View Post
                          The aforementioned bands were groundbreaking acts, it had never been done before in that way, it was new.
                          There's something about this statement that just rings true for me. Building on this and previous posts, what *could* create this kind of stir? (If we knew we'd be doing it and swimming in money ). I started going to concerts in the very early 70's, wasn't quite old enough for 60's performances. There were all kinds of things being done that were novel for the time that are old hat today. For example, ELP with spinning pianos and rotating drum kits. Fabulous at the time, passe if someone tried it today. Kiss pyrotechnics, same. Styx 'themed' performances, same. Devo on treadmills, same. "Unplugged" performances, ditto. All of these were to varying degrees cool because they were new (but perhaps not revolutionary).

                          I wonder if what is being asked has been the case over a much longer period of time in music. For example, Mozart in the technical sense didn't really do anything new, he just did it extremely well. It wasn't until that blasphemous Beethoven and his ilk came along and added a 4th movement to symphonies and started playing a little more 'romantically' that there was seemingly something *new* in music. I wonder if during Mozart's time people wondered "when is something new gonna happen?. That Baroque stuff was classic!" (chuckle)

                          My point is I suppose, there will always be good music. It may have to be sorted of of the surrounding crapola. We may be simply in a period where the next X factor hasn't arrived, or we simply don't recognize it yet.

                          My opinion, yours may vary
                          Lyle
                          Last edited by slyone; 08-12-08, 03:09 PM.
                          and the jukebox plays..... !! (the Nails - Home of the Brave )

                          E-set : TDW-20, 2 up & 2 down, VH-12, 6 cymbals (5 CY14, 1 CY15), 2 Pintech Dingbats all on a Gibraltar rack, thru a Simmons DA200S
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Big Bopper View Post

                            ...But these things don't really answer the whole question. I'm also thinking that there was more character coming out of people raised in the '40's and '50's, and maybe the '60's and '70's. Things started coming apart in the '60's. 1963 was a particularly bad year for a certain legal decision that revealed the glimmerings of how deep the moral depravity and narcissism could go...



                            That would be Murray vs. Curlett ? School Prayer?

                            The decision that disallowed government-coerced school prayer "revealed the glimmerings of how deep the moral depravity and narcissism could go"?

                            Yeah, man, that's why music sucks all right!
                            Last edited by gingerbaker; 08-12-08, 03:49 PM.
                            Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jrcel
                              The aforementioned bands were groundbreaking acts, it had never been done before in that way, it was new. After 40 years and the endless knock-offs and bad impersonators it's all been seen a few times over and frankly it's boring. The dinosaur is dead, it just refuses to lay down and die well. There's too much money to be had.
                              But how does this explain an enduring appeal? It might explain a few record sales at first, but I can think of a number of 'new' acts over the last few years that were financially successful, had an appearance or two at the Grammy's, then poof, nothing. They couldn't hang together if they were a band, and they couldn't handle fame if they were a solo act. There's a bunch of pop acts that have come and gone, blazing bright but without enough inside to continue burning it up. We also have endless one-hit wonders that come in with something new but cannot sustain it.

                              We see similar effects in fields such as acting. How many actors/actresses come on strong only to fade in the stretch? How much of it has to do with lifestyles with which we disapprove and character that is lacking? You think a rock star that holds a baby out over the edge of a balcony (to name one fairly recent example) or goes to court on possible molestation charges is anything but a joke after that? Perhaps if they just make a mistake or two, then work hard to turn things around (like possibly Robert Downey Jr.) they'll be okay. But habitual bad character will catch up to a person one way or the other and tank the most promising or illustrious career.

                              Some comedians experience a certain amount of fame because of a filthy routine, but none of them experience enduring success because their 'new' stuff just wears on the nerves and is not widely appealing. People will not continue to pay them money, and they will never reach the stature of a Bob Hope or a George Burns. They just don't have the same character, in my opinion.

                              Besides, people with lack of character just can't build anything. If their word is worthless, they disrespect other people, and are the center of their own universe, no one else will want to help or even be around. And musicians need other people, including fans and band mates and managers and people with money to invest or they are worthless.

                              Fame and success are two different things.

                              Shalom
                              Bruce

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