The Rock Scene Worldwide

In the last month I’ve been travelling a lot. First I went to Germany for Oktoberfest (and boy, am I still hungover… don’t know how they do it every year!) and then went off to France, and then London.

I’ve gotta say, there’s nothing quite like travelling after a few years of being at home. The new sights and sounds and smells are just so invigorating. Germany’s bread and beer are just amazing. France’s wines and cheese – out of this world. And in London you just can’t beat a traditional pub lunch.

I had a great time.

But one thing that really stood out to me in each place was that there is a thriving underground music scene.

In Berlin, they’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Wall coming down. What an incredible moment in their history. And it shows, this momentous occasion, in how the people carry themselves. The energy of that city is palpable. The people are tough as nails, defiant and ready to challenge you on everything… but once you’re a familiar face, they become really hospitable, and take you in as one of their own.

Their music has that same raging energy… with the undertone of a shared experience, a common enemy and a cause to live for. It’s invigorating.

In France, there is still a surprising amount of racial tension. Africans and Middle Eastern people struggle to be accepted by the French community, and the dissatisfaction from both sides is obvious to see.

And again, it comes out in their music.

There’s so much anger in the rap music being played, and such frantic desperation in the rock and traditional genres.

People are letting all the uncertainty, fear and rejection wash out of them through their music, and it’s fascinating.

London, once the capital of the world, has really become subdued in recent years. While it’s still thriving – it always will be – the music scene has become much more inclusive than it once was.

Where in years past you would never get into secret venues if you didn’t have a mohawk and multiple facial piercings, nowadays everyone’s welcome.

And while I was a bit nostalgic for the anti-establishment raging of the 70s and 80s, it was great to see young people getting in and experiencing something different to their usual musical fare.

It was an eye-opening trip, and I’m encouraged that the future of music is not as bleak as I’d been worrying.

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Lifestyle

Real rockers just get away with the most outrageous behaviour – stuff that would get most mere mortals thrown directly into prison.

There seem to be no limits to what these larger-than-life characters can get up to. And what people will forgive them for! They seem to have no problem breaking the law, taking their life into their hands, taking other peoples’ lives into their hands, or alienating all the world. It’s like the risk just doesn’t register.

A site about rock and roll is simply not complete without a little homage to the most notorious hell-raisers this checkered industry has seen. So without further adue, let’s pay them their dues.

Ozzy Osbourne

Most famous for: Biting the head off a dove in a board meeting, bit the head off a bat on stage, trying to strangle his wife.

Keith Richards

Most notorious for: Being tried 5 times on drug offences, falling out of a tree and breaking his head.

John Lennon

Most notorious for: Staying in bed for a week to campaign against the Vietnam War, being such a threat to Nixon that the FBI tried to deport him from the US.

Johnny Rotten

Most notorious for: Calling Bill Grundy a ‘f*&^ing rotter’ on UK live TV, very public criticism of political leaders

Pete Doherty

Most notorious for: Dating Kate Moss, amounts of drug use that would kill several elephants

Of course, there are many, many rockers who go down these wild paths and never return. Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Kurt Cobain… the list goes on and on. It’s not a healthy lifestyle.

Which is why the survivors typically try to swear it all off. They go green, become activists, have regular reiki treatments on their personal massage tables and take up meditation. It all seems a bit odd.

But when you look at it, it makes perfect sense. These are some of the most extreme people the world has ever seen. It stands to reason that no one can maintain the manic, explosive energy over the long haul – especially not when it’s being channelled into destruction.

They’ve got to put their considerable resources towards something productive. I guess it’s the full circle of the rock and roll lifestyle.