A meeting of rock music’s middle-aged guard took place earlier this week when Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready interviewed Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea on SiriusXM’s Pearl Jam Radio. In a portion of the interview transcribed by Alternative Nation, Flea takes a moment to bemoan the current state of rock music, comparing it unfavorably to what it was like to play in a rock band in the early ‘90s:
“I just remember being so excited that we were playing with [Pearl Jam] and with Smashing Pumpkins, because it was just an exciting time for rock music. A lot of times, especially recently, I look at rock music as kind of a dead form in a lot of ways. Nothing to take away from us and [Pearl Jam], because obviously I believe we’re relevant bands that come with a real energy. But if you’re a kid today, and you get in a rock band, it’s like – when we were kids, when I said I want to be in a rock band and that’s what I’m doing for my life, that’s what I was going to do, no question. You’d get: ‘You are a fucking lunatic, you are crazy. You’re never going to get a decent job in your life. What are you doing? You’re ruining your life.’
I was like fuck it, I don’t care, this is what I want to do, this means everything to me, I found a home. I’ve been a weird, neurotic, loner kid all my life, I was always the kid you called fag in high school, punk rock gave me a home. But nowadays, you decide you want to be in a rock band it’s like, ‘Oh great, let’s get you an image consultant, and a lawyer, and a manager, and let’s see what we can do here. It’s a great money making opportunity for you junior.’
To anyone who has actually been paying attention to the current state of rock music, Flea’s assessment comes off as reductive at best and reactionary at worst. There is in fact no shortage of young, hungry bands making music far more relevant than Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose forthcoming album The Getaway isn’t exactly out to start a revolution. Not to disparage the immense contributions bands like Pearl Jam and RHCP have made to the genre, but you have to be living in a cave (or attending one too many courtside Lakers games) to really think that rock music died with your generation.
To listen to the full interview, click here. In other news: