250_23750261354_2817_nI’ve done previous columns about the vacuous business that has become nostalgia-peddling so I have no interest in rehashing that…but I’m fascinated by the idea that people cling to it so desperately. The Boomer Generation has become really good at criticizing the newest trends in music but cannot shine the mirror back on their own sacred cows and say, in all honesty, “Hey, wait a minute. I’m getting half as much entertainment value as I used to at triple the price.” Folks would rather see (and hear) a simulation of The Who’s former selves with its surviving members doing the 32nd anniversary tour of their final show in various stages of disability (Townshend’s deafness and Daltrey’s failing vocal range) for $500 than something new and organic for $10 at the local pub. They’d rather watch the decrepit mummified remains of The Rolling Stones trot out predictable, laughable, cartoonish interpretations of their own back catalog and pay 10x the price for the insult because they copped their first boobie feel during ‘Angie’ in the 1970s.

During The Rolling Stones’ last gate receipt record-setting tour Mick Jagger went as far as to insult the fans from the stage in one of the sold out London shows by saying, “How is it in the cheap seats? Oh, wait…there are no cheap seats!”

Why is this acceptable and even lauded? You would never put up with this half-assed, cynical shit from an athlete, or a movie star, or ballet dancer, or a bloody politician…but it’s okay for pop artists, decades past their expiration dates to insult you and shred a little more of their Taylor Swiftown dignity all in the name of continuing to siphon money out of your past.

This regurgitation machine leaves new artists – who have been inspired by your heroes – banging their heads against a glass ceiling of expectations. You’ve already pre-judged and disposed of them without ever listening to what they have to offer. The refrain usually goes like this: “New music sucks. Rap is crap. Taylor Swift eats donkey balls.” Which all may or may not be true.

But remember this, Grasshopper: You thought disco was bad and new wave was bad too and yet you didn’t toss out all music when that stuff became popular, did you? And the reason is alice_in_wonderland01that it was music that didn’t interest you – so you avoided it. So, why are you judging new music as if it was all made by Jay-Z and Justin Bieber? You want rock like you used to listen to? Then follow the clues. Do a search on Google for “Bands influenced by Aerosmith or Led Zeppelin or Grateful Dead”. You will be sent down a wonderful Alice In Wonderland-like rabbit hole of choices. You can taste from the buffet without having to wait for the DJ to back-announce a new song you can’t seem to get enough of once every 7 hours from your favourite radio station.

That bygone world where you flipped on the radio and heard back-to-back rocking ‘new’ music by AC/DC, Boston, Cheap Trick, etc. no longer exists. It’s not handed to you on an FM silver platter anymore where you could ingest hit after hit while cruising on a Sunday afternoon with your friends in a beat-up 4-door Maverick. Now you have to make an effort. Now it takes some responsibility on the part of music fans to seek out and absorb. It’s how music fans did it before the Beatles exploded; researching, sharing, and investing in your favourite artists. Ironically, the internet makes it easier than ever and all I hear is the whining and complaining about how hard it is to find good music. Stop lying to yourself and stop bullshitting the world. "Rock, Hard Place" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.Many of my contemporaries and I have discovered great new music, so why haven’t you? It’s time to get yourself a new music wardrobe.  There are sign-posts you can follow. It will take an investment in your time and tolerance – because there’s no getting around the fact that, yes, there is shite music out there now (just like there was crap like “Sugar Shack”, “Palisades Park” and “My Ding-A-Ling” before it).

College radio, Satellite radio, and web radio a ala http://www.radiothatdoesntsuck.com all have freeform and pinpoint genre channels to chose from.

classic_rock_coverYou’ll also be surprised to find that Classic Rock magazine out of England is filled with nothing but music that you like. Lots of old guard stuff you’re familiar with and lots of new acts who are carrying the torch.

I also recommend you read the rest of the columns in the daily ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ blog franchise particularly from Segarini, Cam Carpenter, and Frank Gutch Jr. These gents are finely aged and still get boners for music coming from kids 1/3 their age. Hell, so do I. Expand your tastes. You don’t have to like Electronica, Hip Hop or Tween pop. And why would you anyway? That music was never made for you. But a lot of other new music is made for you – regardless of whether you’ve mellowed out or still expect Who-like stage antics and histrionics.

Wheelchair girl
The only thing standing between you and great new music is your own unwavering snobbery and, let’s face it, outright laziness. Below is a few clues. Go to the videos. If you don’t dig what you hear, click on the suggestions posted next to the videos from the YouTube page. The rabbit hole will take you to something you may finally like. If you don’t, then maybe it’s time to get your wheelchair out and turn your hearing aid off because, obviously, your refusal to change and your constant need to scream “get off my lawn” to upcoming talent is nothing but a bitter pill you have swallowed since the music passed you by.

big wreckBIG WRECK – “Ghosts”

KONGOS  – “Come With Me Now”

THE RIVAL SONS – “Electric Man”


TrewsTHE TREWS – “Rise In the Wake”


THE RESPECTABLES – “Sugar” (featuring Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar)

ELBOW – “Grounds For Divorce”

EnemyTHE ENEMY – “This Is Real”

CLUTCH – “Electric Worry”

RED FANG – “Wires”

TexasHippieCoalitionTEXAS HIPPIE COALITION – “Pissed Off And Mad About It”

UNSUN – “Whispers”

BLACK KEYS – “Turn Blue”

KINGS OF LEON – “Supersoaker”

Terry DraperTERRY DRAPER (ex-KLAATU) – “Carry On”


SHEEPDOGS – “Feeling Good”

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA


Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday.
Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 35 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 17 of those years. He is also the author of the Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ both of which are available at Amazon.com or http://www.bullseyecanada.com



  1. Jim Chisholm in Cambell River Says:

    Jaimie, that’s a good rant and a great start with Big Wreck. I liked them from the get go. Nice vid.

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