Don’t be afraid. This page isn’t about fundamentalist Christian rock, though it is out there and some of it is very good indeed, vintage especially. Try Bloodgood’s Crucify, for example, or Barren Cross’s Sick. No, what we have in mind is core rock—an essential musical identity and preference that can’t be bothered with all those “We Will Rock You”-type bands. It’s about a core passion for the authentic rock style rather than that dire dilution perpetuated by heavily commercialised profit margins and sugary chart music influences.
If this isn’t monkey gibberish to you then you’ll know what I’m getting at.
In 1976 NASA’s Viking 2 landed very expensively on Mars, Agatha Christie died, the UK suffered a drought (and The Eurovision Song Contest’s “Save Your Kisses For Me”), Big Ben broke down, Ford launched the Fiesta, the Apple Computer Company began, and Microsoft was officially registered with the Office of the Secretary of the State of New Mexico… And I was 17.
Each Friday afternoon I was in the habit of stopping off at my local record shop, eagerly fingering my slim wage packet. I remember my bald-headed sagely works manager telling me, “You’ll grow out of it and regret wasting all that money.” Well, how wrong can you be! In fact, I grew into it.
As the decades have hammered mercilessly by I’ve come to appreciate guitar-driven gutsy rock more and more. I hope my ears hold out. I certainly like other genres, orchestral to Irish traditional, Sinatra to Glenn Miller. (I just can’t get into jazz. Sounds like an orchestra warming up.) But I’m a rocker at heart. Not that anybody cares.
These days the record shop on the corner of the high street is ancient history. It’s all happening online. Every 6 months or so I use Spotify for free (muting away every tiresome ad) to trawl through a ton of albums in the hope I’m going to find something that strikes a chord, if you’ll pardon the pun. Then I go looking for it on Amazon. My entire music collection is now stored as MP3 files and gets Bluetoothed to an amplifier that’s wired to decent speakers. I also use a surprisingly good portable mini-speaker to avoid electrocution in the shower.
There are definitions of rock music out there that are too daft for words. It is what it is. When you dig into it from the roots up you’ll hopefully want to bypass the mainstream populist imposters, talented though they may be. There are rockers who will instinctively gravitate to those styles that exhibit the raw energy and ardent pulsating grooves that paste a big smile on their faces.
Regardless of types, a mainstay of fundie rock has to be lead guitar. I’ve heard polished rock and more hardcore genre styles that thrust the listener towards a tasty climax that never arrives: the lead guitar break goes AWOL. If you’re starting a rockers’ rock band, obsessively scour the planet until you find someone who plays lead guitar properly. It doesn’t matter if he communicates in monosyllables and sleeps in tatty jeans. Don’t be chained to chords alone.
A fundie rock band without a competent lead guitarist is like an Aston Martin DB11 fitted with a 56mph limiter.
So, here’s to fundie rock.