Sean Lennon: Rock and Roll is dead?

I really find this article very odd.  It’s so strange to me that Sean Lennon would be commenting on the state of rock in this day and age.  You would think that he simply doesn’t care.  You would think that after releasing his often miunderstood debut album that Sean would simply just make music for himself.  Call it what you will, self indulgent, self-serving, whatever.  I would think that Sean Lennon would take a page out of George Harrison’s playbook, or even borrow a page out of his father’s.  I would tend to think that Sean would be at the point professionally that he would create music outside of the music system , and simply create it for himself.

I find it odd that he even really cares about the business machinations of the music industry.  It’s a little odd, but it looks like the youngest Lennon is chiming in on his thoughts of the music industry.  I do agree with one thing though.  Something must be done to save the music industry.  I’m not sure what the answer if but some innovations needs to be injected.  If that’s even possible. 

Here’s what we’ve read.

The death of rock ‘n roll has been greatly exaggerated before, but when John Lennon’s son says it’s in a perilous state, maybe it is time to worry.

Singer Sean Lennon told a news conference on Friday that there is little room for innovation in the genre that his father helped make famous as a member of The Beatles.

“I mean rock ‘n roll is already kind of played out,” he said at a news conference at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

“I wouldn’t even be doing it if my mission was to be a pioneer.”

The real appeal of rock ‘n roll for Lennon lies more in the aesthetic challenges of songwriting than in the desire to forge new sounds.

“I’m only worried about creating beautiful songs,” he said. “I’m not trying to reinvent songwriting.”

The singer will play at the city’s annual jazz festival while also promoting his new album “Friendly Fire” – his first since the 1998 release of Into the Sun.

In a cramped hotel room overlooking the festival’s main outdoor stages, Lennon parried questions in both English and French, touching on subjects as diverse as his mother’s parenting tactics, post-modern capitalist economies and the history of artistic individuality.

He even apologized at one point for the cerebral turn his news conference took.

“I’m sorry if what I’m saying is boring,” he said, before returning to the current state of music.

“Pop music and rock ‘n roll, it’s not such a vital art form anymore in the way that it was in the ’60s,” Lennon said.

He points to the Internet as a medium where cutting-edge work is being done. And while admitting that his music has a niche appeal, Lennon hesitates about placing himself within contemporary musical currents.

“I’m trying to do something more classical,” he says. “I’m trying to continue a tradition that I inherited from my family.”

Lennon’s new album is indeed more of a turn inward than socially engaged, expressing the emotional turmoil of a tragic love affair.

Given the introspective nature of the album, it comes as little surprise that Lennon reserves a healthy dose of skepticism for political songwriting, though it may come as a shock to those reared on music from the 1960s era.

“I generally find political art to be pretentious and stupid,” he said. “I think it takes a really clever person to sing about politics and not be pedantic.”

Bob Dylan and his father were able to pull it off, he admits.

But in today’s era of Hollywood activism, beauty should be the artist’s only concern.

“I think that art that doesn’t have a purpose, that’s just really beautiful, is a useful thing.”

So maybe rock ‘n roll isn’t dying, but in the hands of its progeny it has adopted a different attitude since it defined a generation 40 years ago.

Lennon will play concerts in Montreal on Saturday and in Toronto on Sunday.

The Montreal jazz festival runs until July 8.

Source: JAM

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10 Responses

  1. well,i like these points of view of this boy!he is really intelligent cause in my opinion he told a true thing!rock today is not really dying but it isn’t like many years ago,anymore.but in general,i think all the music is changing and i think in a worse way!people who sing,play etc do it just for economic purpose,so which is the good music?where is it?c’mon,i know that many years ago people playied or sang and earned money,but today?money is the onlyreason,with fame,and everything’s all behind!about political,i agree about everything he said,because like he told political art is stupid and pretentious and too much ambitious i would adding,then he told about art and beauty,well Oscar Wilde always said:”All art is beauty,beauty is art art is beauty”i agree with it.(but i mean the real art!)p.s. well,Sean if your dad was a rocker why are you playing in a jazz festival????and you told that you would like to play classical music because you has inherited to your family:i can understand if you are referring to your mummy,ok,but your father always liked rock’n’roll!he listened some classical pieces by Bethoveen,Mozart….but John didn’t played classical music!!!never!!!!

  2. the only classics john loved were….roll over beethoven, rock and roll music, by that famous ol’ conducter, charles berry.

  3. for all friends nicknamed:Chuck!!! 😉

  4. for awc1967:he loved Chuck Berry,Bob Dylan!but also he listened some Classical music’s pieces for example you know the beginning of the song “Because”,right?that made it at the piano,once,he listened Yoko playing that classical piece taken up from “the moonlight sonata”for piano by Chopin(a classical French music writer)and he liked very much then he decided to put the beginninginto”because”but at the contrary!

  5. I am 15 years old, and a member of the xyz generation or whatever you want to call it. I am offended hearing that rock and roll is dead, because its not!!! its my life! yes, maybe if your listening to star 99.9 youll think its all about money and not for a real purpose like it was, but no one likes that. everyone decent my age hates that music. rock and roll lives on in johns music and all he was inspoired by, but also in present music like my second favorite band after the beatles, green day. i beleive that however over-economized the music industry gets, there will still be music that touches us and adresses the classic things about life that need to be dealt with. real music willllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll a lways asssssssssssssssssssssssss exist anad never die. trust me, my generation knoiws the music.

  6. Ulla… Beethoven wrote Piano Sonata No. 14, not Chopin.
    Because is slightly based off of Moonlight Sonata but backwards.
    Also, Rock & Roll isn’t dead, it’s just that nothing else can be done with it. Like the Barenaked Ladies said “It’s all been done (woo hoo hoo).”

  7. for Aaron:oh,thanks for helping me!

  8. I think what Sean is saying is that there is nowhere for rock n roll to go anymore, on an artisitic, innovative level. Anyway, that’s how I feel. The 60’s was the first whole decade of rock n roll. It was finding and perfecting itself. There really isn’t anywhere for it to go now. Today, it is extremely rare for a band to hit the scene and for people to say, “Now that’s totally different. That’s so good it’s mindblowing.” I think Nirvana came closest and that’s already been over 15 years ago. And we know how that ended. Unlike the 60s, it is no longer possible for a band to chnage the culture, change the music, be innovative. Too many other mediums now do that.

  9. Rock is not dead nor has it ever been. It’s on reserve right now, still played in the homes and gararges of the world. It will rise up to the airwaves once again..once the other garbage has completely wore on the generation. (some dummies know no different) Pop, hip hop and rap suck & hold no artistic value and will ultimately fall off the edge of the earth. (How many Brittany Spears songs will we hum to or even remember in 10 years?) We all know this and talk about it every day it seems..it’s a matter of time before the idiots who control the industry see a sharp decline w/ techno bubblegum tunes and goes back to a proven winner-Rock and Roll. Got a band? Start one up if that’s what you like to do. Never go by trends. If Rock’s in your blood then bleed away! It’s all about money and rock and roll will recycle like everything else. You wanna talk dead or boring? Try most of today’s artists..they could’nt play cards, let alone an instrument!

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