Not Gospel: Don’t Fear The Reaper


Time, they say, is a great healer.

Unfortunately, as has been so visibly proved this year, it can exact a heavy cost. The world of rock and roll has lost a handful of the greats, with Lemmy, Bowie, The Eagles’ Glen Frey, and Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner all going to that great gig in the sky within a matter of weeks.

But is there anything sinister about all this? After all, people day every day, and occasionally, some of them are rock stars. But with a certain section of the rock fraternity all approaching a certain age, we can be sure that the following months will most likely add a few more band members to the house band in the afterlife.

I’m being flippant, of course, and this stuff has affected people greatly, provoking genuine moments of shared emotion. And, as is part of the Circle of Life, it’s prompted a whole generation to send a bunch of classic rock bands right back into the upper echelons of the charts. And with the best will in the world, I have to wonder whether there’s a few concerned citizens of a certain age wondering if their commercial stock is about to become much more valuable.

That generation who essentially invented the rock and roll wheel back in the 60s are largely at an age when organs stop working, and nature takes its course. But they were great in number, and it’s not unreasonable to expect the album charts to be heavily populated by the Class of ’66 over the course of the rest of this year.

And whilst it’s always sad to lose another soldier, our sympathies must lie with the younger generation, those creative types whose only crime was being born too late. How will Jack Garratt react when Neil Young steals his thunder? What will Jess Glynne do when Bob Dylan is keeping her off the top spot? What’s left for Little Mix when Patti Smith destroys all comers?


The upshot of this is that there are more people under the age of 30 at this exact time who know who Motorhead are than at any point in human history. David Bowie’s oeuvre is about to inspire a whole new generation to reinvent themselves and take us all on a fantastic voyage. And even if it’s just for a short while, The Eagles are kind of cool.

As popular music continues to devour itself, a new branch has appeared on the grand old tree of rock, with a 2016 sensibility reinventing ‘60s and ‘70s rock, with all the boundaries removed. For the first time ever, someone can like Justin Bieber and Jefferson Airplane, and take equal inspiration from both.

So strap yourself in. As the Grim Reaper prepares himself for a busy stretch, rock and roll is about to get gloriously weird. Steven Rainey

Illustration by Noel Anderson. 

is the co-editor / photo editor. She also contributes photos and illustrations to The Thin Air print magazine.