We had the good fortune of connecting with Johnny Saffire and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Johnny, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Although the “New Rock Music Revolution” isn’t officially a business, it is something I started and value highly. However, before I dig in, let me give you a little background on what the New Rock Music Revolution is and why I started it. What I keep hearing most from people who love music is how much music today sucks. The biggest complaint is always that it all sounds the same. To the average listener, it’s hard to distinguish one song from another. Although this might be just another generational difference of opinion, an AI study done in Spain, the Million Song Dataset, looked at nearly half a million songs from the 1950s to 2010, and concluded that contemporary pop music is indeed louder, less diverse, and more basic than it has ever been. “We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse,” Joan Serra, first author of the research and artificial intelligence specialist at the Spanish National Research Council, told Reuters. The Simple Explanation is songs are sounding more and more similar to each other every year, and relying on the same simplistic structures and tones.
This is due to the fact that the same handful of writers and producers are writing and producing the vast majority of music being promoted by the music industry. The few big labels who still have money and clout have cornered the market and their gatekeepers make sure only the music they are vested in is given top priority. They have turned music into a commodity and only focus on what they believe will sell. They dump huge sums of money into the artist they sign and do everything possible to ensure their artist succeed. Creativity, originality and artistic expression are merely and after thought. What these labels don’t seem to understand is that any great band given enough exposure can succeed. MTV proved that in the early 80’s. MTV launched so many new bands in the early 80’s it literally turned super groups like Led Zeppelin, Queen and Aerosmith into dinosaurs overnight. MTV being constantly in need of fresh content (new videos) provided a platform for new bands to expose themselves to a national audience. I am hard pressed to think of one band who was in heavy rotation that didn’t succeed. In the beginning, any band with a good song and a good video got a shot. In the Beatles day it was Ed Sullivan and later American Bandstand, Soul Train and The Midnight Special. Everybody watched MTV in those days and when new videos were debuted it was an event. When MTV became Reality TV, that forum disappeared and a national platform for new bands to get the kind of mainstream exposure MTV initially provided no longer existed. YouTube is fine but it’s too big and there are too many choices to be cohesive and it lacks a VJ. Bring back the original MTV format and you’ll see an explosion of highly creative new music hit the airwaves. I would go as far as to say that the big labels stranglehold on the music industry is literally robbing the world of its ability to evolve socially. Music is and always has been the primary driver of social change, so when you remove art from the equation, you suppress creativity and music becomes stagnant, repetitive and boring. Modern Hip Hop and R & B are the perfect example of music becoming dumbed down and unimaginative.
What I hear most from people who love rock n’ roll is that rock music is dead. If you watch any establishment programming, like the Grammy’s, MTV Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards etc., that would seem to be the case. However, what I’ve discovered is that rock n roll is definitely not dead, it just went underground, where it started. There are many new rock n roll bands out there playing great rock n’ roll music, they just don’t have any representation and people who love rock n’ roll don’t have a platform where they can discover new rock music. There is no rock scene to be a part of and nowhere to go if you want to see new rock bands strut their stuff.
Therefore, to do my part to alleviate this problem, what I am proposing is the creation of a virtual rock music scene I call the “NEW ROCK MUSIC REVOLUTION” which initially, will consist of a Spotify playlist where you can find new rock music. This playlist will be updated with new music as it is discovered or recommended and we hope to eventually build a community around this endeavor, whose mission it is to reintroduce hard rock music to the public at large and eventually reignite an authentic live music scene where rock n roll bands can play. You can download Spotify for free to your phone or desktop computer. It’s free to listen with commercials or without with a premium subscription. I don’t work for Spotify and don’t get paid by Spotify, it’s just that the social media features built into the app make it a great place to discover, listen to and share new music.
Although I initially ignored streaming platforms like Spotify, once I discovered its versatility, I realized that it could be used for more than just listening to music. And while many of you might reject Spotify because it has been unfair to musicians and I agree Spotify should pay artists what they consider a fair royalty, from a musicians stand point it should be viewed as only one piece of a much larger puzzle and not the end all be all of your musical aspirations.
From what I hear in the way of new bands, I believe hard rock music has a bright future. As Huey Louis so eloquently put it, “the old boy may be barely breathing, but the heart of rock and roll is still beating.” Rock music is a living, breathing entity unto itself and will eventually defy those who have prematurely proclaimed its demise. Although it might be hard for the aged to remember what it feels like to be young. What rock n’ roll is and always has been is the passion and fury that comes with being young, being in lust and being free. And that slice of life never grows old and never dies.
However, I can’t do this without your help. Hard rock music won’t thrive or survive unless you the fans and the bands actively participate. So, to that end, I am asking everyone who loves hard rock music to do their part to support the “New Rock Music Revolution” by joining our playlist and following our blog. Prove to the mainstream media that rock n’ roll is alive and well and deserves a seat at the table.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I play in a band called Love Lyzardz. I think what excites me most about our music is where it will take us next, how far we might go, who we might meet and where it all ends up. That is all part of the fun. Every song we write and record is a little window into our feelings and emotions. Art in and of itself is a journey of self-discovery and we sometimes don’t truly understand the essence of what we’ve written until months are even years later. Our music in its simplest form is about escaping the darkness. The Love Lyzardz is our personal magical mystery tour…of life. Everyday your alive is a gift. Any day you have food, water, shelter and good health is a good day. Every note you play is as important as the one before it and after it, just like the minutes in a day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Our favorite place in Phoenix is Castles N’ Coasters, corndogs, cotton candy and good times are always on the menu there. We also like the Open Mic Night at Joe’s Grotto and the Sunday A’Fair in Old Town Scottsdale. Our favorite restaurants are Oregano’s and First Watch in Tempe. Our favorite hotel is without a doubt the Graduate Tempe with its fresh funky décor.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We would actually like dedicate our Shoutout to VoyagePhoenix. Their recognition and acknowledgement of our music and music career has meant the world to us. We would especially like to thank Jon Clark for his dedication and strong support.
New Rock Music Revolution Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1fdb6xunsdAT7rYcFDn6Cc?si=TCK52nz3TQq-1cMDyocvAg
Royalty Free Image