Why must old artists be uncreative?

WARNING: Rant & Extreme Rambling About To Ensue!

I’m really getting tired of this trend. Great, but older, bands like Styx, REO Speedwagon. Journey, Night Ranger… They are putting out new materiel (finally!) and no one likes it. But me.


Because it’s creative!

Look at Styx’s 2003 Cyclorama. It’s missing Dennis DeYoung, but Laurence Gowan IS my favorite piano/keyboardist and an amazing vocalist, and I must say he makes a great addition to Styx. The album is different from Styx’s 70s/80s hits- of course as we, as people, mature, our music will change. I love that album and it’s my favorite Styx album.

But people just HATE it. I’ve read maybe 10 good review of it and at least 20-30 horrible and even downright nasty or rude comments/reviews.

Why in the world? How could you hate it? You must admit that the lyrics are very well written even if you dislike their direction in music. At least some of the lyrics you should think are… at least one or two?… but no.

People keep comparing it to “classic Styx”. They kept saying things like “This doesn’t sound like Styx” or “this just isn’t the classics” or “this is weak and so unlike the Styx I grew up with”. Some even said Styx should accept that they can’t rock anymore and should just give up music altogether because nobody wants to hear a bunch of old people trying to play music that doesn’t fit the mainstream anyway.

Excuse me. I was not aware that what we do in the past sets the bar for everything we do in the future.

That is a horrible analogy for life- no one would give that life advice! “Always stick to what you did in the past, decades ago, especially if it worked.”

Yeah. How inspiring.

These people, these artists, are musicians and songwriters. In my experience, (not much for me though), once you’re a songwriter, you’ll always be one. I highly doubt that great musicians and songwriters like Laurence Gowan, Tommy Shaw, Ricky Phillips (I know he wasn’t on Cyclorama, that was Glen Burtinik), James “JY” Young, and Todd Sucherman can just be like “Okay, I guess we don’t sound exactly like we did 30 years ago so let’s just give up. We won’t let any more creative juices or song ideas happen, or if we do we won’t do anything with them.”

I guess what I’m getting at, is how come there’s a double standard?

Let’s take Triumph, my favorite band. In my experience, people love to say Triumph is a faceless, identical but worse Rush. They say it sounds the same. They also complain that “all of Triumph’s songs sound the same.” (I’m always a fan of things nobody else likes… why?) This is apparently a problem for them, that it “sounds the same.”

But heaven forbid Styx have a slightly different sound than they did ages ago. They insist Styx stay the same. Heaven forbid REO Speedwagon’s Find Your Own Way Home album (one of my all time favorite albums from any artist) be a little different than it was. Heaven forbid Night Ranger changes.

What do people want? Should you sound the same or not?

Of course I don’t think Triumph’s songs sound the same at all, but you get the idea.

Here’s where we get a bit off topic….I noticed a lot of people gave it a 0 rating because Dennis DeYoung was not on it.

I have nothing against Dennis Deyoung. I’m sure he’s very nice, and he is a great vocalist and keyboardist. I can respect him for what he does. However, he is not really in my style. Castle Walls and This Old Man are some of the few DDY ballads of the 70s/80s I could go for- sorry. But that’s another post. The point is that I saw a lot of people hating the album because DDY was not on it. That goes beyond my comprehension.

One of my favorite drummers is Stan Lynch. But even so, I can get into Tom Petty stuff after he left. Many of my favorite Journey stuff was from the days of Greg Rolie. But I still love a lot of their stuff after he left. The point is that while you may miss a member from a band, I think it would be a rare case that a band is totally ruined without a member.

I don’t get into Triumph after Rik left, but I don’t hate it. Many of Gil’s songs aren’t bad at all. It’s Phil X’s numbers that are a little… odd to me, but the album, while not something I have, is something I stream now and again. That is saying something to me as Rik is my favorite guitarist.

All I’m saying is that even without Denis it’s a wonderful album, and it should be able to stand on its own out of his shadow. I would have thought most people could handle that.

How about Laurence Gowan?

I saw a couple people saying he had no talent or was “trying too hard to take over the show” (referring to how energetic he is live and his things of standing on the keyboard- that’s right. Standing on it, it’s a special built one that spins around when you push it and you can stand on it…) I find that odd. I really think that’s just him. He’s not trying to do anything weird, he’s just that energetic, and also nuts and full of random jokes in interviews.  People say Styx needs DDY’s showmanship back but I must say Laurence has quite a lot of it.

A couple people said he “has a weak voice at best.”

How about this old solo performance? It just doesn’t sound like a weak voice at best to me…

Even when I can’t get into the the style of (some) music I can appreciate what the artists do. Exception for some modern country and hiphop/rap/pop/crap of the current mainstream, but mostly.


To get back on track…

  • I think It’s silly for people to want bands to sound the same all the time.
  • I think music is not an inanimate object; it is a part of the people who create it- and as people change and mature, so does their music.
  • I think Band members changing shouldn’t “kill” the band
  • I think this should have gotten radio airplay. Along with all the other classic rock band’s new albums.

This post rambled too much, but there you go.

Why do people want bands top be un-creative?

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