Monday, August 27, 2012

August Rock Block: New Age of Technology

By HOLLY SHANKS of the Forum

 The new age of communication is influencing many aspects of a person’s life. Hours on end spent gaming, texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, web surfing and YouTubing give a person an alternate world to live inside. Friends and significant others are met, chatted with, and relationships maintained, sometimes only on-line. News and information sources suited towards every belief system, political ideology or interest anyone has can be found and followed inside a virtual world without any outside contradictions. 
 Music and how it is created, marketed and purchased is no exception in the advancing technological world we live in. Within our current virtual age are the musicians of yesterday’s technology that created the anthems of timeless melodies that still grace sporting events and lend the dramatic, adrenalin-pumping sound elements to the movies that continue to be fan favorites. The Iron Man movies have Robert Downey Jr. in action scenes accompanied by AC/DC music and the Broadway stage show Rock of Ages was currently made into a Hollywood movie starring Tom Cruise singing some of Def Leppard’s classics.
 Quite a bit of debate surrounds the idea of true musical performance in the recording studio and the idea of using today’s technology of audio tools that allows the music to be altered to make musicians and singers sound flawless. Gone are the days of being forced to buy an entire album for just one or two songs since an individual recording can be bought one at a time from places, such as, and itunes. Some older bands and musicians fade away, but others embrace and adjust to the newer and advancing technology and continue to reinvent and remarket themselves or their music for newer generations.
 Def Leppard’s front man Joe Elliot said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter recently that the band is re-recording some of their past hits like, “Rock of Ages” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” to sell digitally because of disagreements with their record label. Elliot stated that Def Leppard has some contractual control of their music and the band was not being paid a fair amount for their music being sold digitally vs. the price they are paid for their CD’s. The duplicate recordings will be as close as they can get them to the originals, but the equipment used while recording in the 1980’s is no longer used.
 Def Leppard is a powerhouse of the past, but they are a band taking control of their own careers and adjusting to today’s technology by stepping up to the new preferred method of purchasing music.  They are doing it on their own and for themselves, which might not be possible without the use of the new virtual, super-access world of technology.
 Rock music giant and Eagles band member Joe Walsh, who just released a new solo album called “Analog Man,” is also using the business and promotion side of social media and technology. But keeping the recording studio a true performance based medium. Walsh stated in an interview on the Howard Stern show that the “hazard and temptation of using pro-tools and virtual instruments in the studio is that you can fix anything and sometimes you don’t need to.” While talking about recording his song “Rocky Mountain Way” Walsh said that “one of the things that makes it magic is it’s a bunch of guys playing in a room…that groove you can’t do with pro-tool.”  Walsh is offering not only CD’s for sale on his website,, but also vinyl albums as well.
 No matter which side of the digital music-making fence you fall on, the use of technology is here to stay and the rock legends like Walsh and Def Leppard are going to be with us a while longer. They are adjusting and using the pieces of the virtual world that make sense for them while sticking to what they believe in.
The repercussions of the new age of social media and the pro’s and con’s of the flux in how people communicate have yet to come full circle, but with time, debate and experimentation hopefully a mixture of old and new in the recording studio will surface to keep rock and roll alive and living well past the test of time.

Links for the following music and interview are below:

Analog Man by Joe Walsh

Def Leppard Interview with The Hollywood Reporter

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