Fade to Black

The End of Frivolity as We Know It

I'm willing to bet, perhaps crassly, that a lot of current careers and genres were shredded as a result of last Tuesday. Some probably don't know it yet, but they're dead. It will take about half a year for the majors to sort out, but they're going to find they have a big salability problem. They will have their noses rubbed in the reality that music is still not quite like a pizza franchise.

I'd predict that large chunks of nü-metal's audience are going to suddenly disappear. Slipknot are finished. It might take a year for the trunk to rot and blow away, but it's been spiked. No one will have the belly to root for a band who wear fright masks, no matter how successful they've previously been with their anonymous let's-all-growl-at-the-mall thing.

Fred Durst is severely damaged, unless he can tap a Sammy Hagar/Ted Nugent faculty. But I don't believe he'll be able to sell anyone on a newborn jingo spirit.

Metallica would be ripe for a big resurgence. They've always had a strong and unphony element of the righteous. Righteous, obviously, is going to be resonant. Likewise, I would have left Axl Rose for dead, but he has just the kind of wounded but heavy psychic imprint for which an audience will still have patience.

So Tool will be a constant, but Rage Against the Machine is well stuck in the brambles. That was an easy call.

The Britney-Christina thing will have to take a long time off, unless the wardrobes are redone in red-white-and-blue bunting. Madonna OK; airy girly-girls kaput—another tough one, huh? Character, or the mere suspicion that one is lacking of it, is going to be a factor. Even for 12-year-olds.

Destiny's Child, regrettably, will survive. The press-the-flesh thing they're known for is hard to beat, no matter how lamentable the rest of it. And camo and helmets are probably still valid accoutrements, provided they don't smell like silly girl frivolity and airheadedness.

System of a Down, 75-25, destroyed along with their gear. People won't be able to get out of their mind the image of idiot fans rioting and stealing things in L.A. simply because they failed to get a freeconcert. Not the band's fault, but really a cosmically awful coincidence.

The independent and underground bands, no matter how risible, are too far under the radar to be affected. Even if the economy were to go into devastating depression, they don't get paid or ever receive usable royalties. But the majors are probably looking at their rosters of artists and promotional plans with growing horror and trepidation. I would not want to be in the shoes of someone trying to figure out how to sell something with a huge overhead based on principles used a year ago.

Those Rolling Stone magazine sales figures in the supermarket kiosks are going to be way off in the next quarter, too. The male college buyers will save their wampum for porn mags at the 7-11: Porn, like pizza, is catastrophe proof.

 
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