The End Of The Seventies And
I mean, don´t get me wrong, they are all musical geniuses, but really did we need another virtuoso band with five-minute solos of each instrument? I don´t think so. The seventies were a great decade for the punk rock attitude to come forward in the form of simpler songs and melodies and that “I just don´t care about your legacy” kind of thought. The punk rock revolution that started in the seventies was pretty much the first kick that the eighties finally assimilated and turned into beautiful songs.
Now, back to the prog-thing; the complexity to which popular music had gotten in the late seventies was completely outrageous and, in my point of view, elitist. You had to be locked in your room fourteen hours a day to get that speed, those solos and then go out to play with your mates, who had all this awkward tempo and million parts ready for every song. I remember listening to those records and going “can you make me happy with a major chord or sad with a minor one but stop adding ninths and sevenths and diminished stuff!” Luckily for some of us, that era came to an end with the end of the decade and the good stuff passed on to the eighties (the bad stuff too, just focusing on the good)
The Eighties, The Beginning Of Goth Rock
Yes! The eighties were the decade in which the whole world turned and cherished the Goth Rock starting to shine through. If I have to put the start somewhere, I would say without a shadow of a doubt that “Bela Lugosi is Dead” by the Bauhaus was the first mainstream Goth Rock Album of all times. Although is arguable that Nico didn´t start the revolution in Velvet Underground as well as her solo career with records like “The Marble Index” from 1969. But going down that memory lane, there are many others high exponents of darkness that can be pushed into the gothic rock territory and are not essentially goth rock bands like Marc Bolan, Iggy Pop, The Doors or even David Bowie at times. Also, the literary influences of J.G. Ballard, Baudelaire and Rimbaud can easily be traced. But I would put all of these past glories as influences, not as Gothic Rock acts themselves.
The father of the theatrical gothic scene could be Alice Cooper because of the darkness and the performance with that dark-humor twist, but to me, musically, he is too bright and shiny. The arrangements to his songs are way too loud and closer to heavy metal than to Gothic Rock. So, back to the Bauhaus record, it is not loud, nor bright or shiny, right from the cover to the songs to the atmosphere. There is some kind of rhythm in the back as well as a guitar and a reverb-fuelled voice that is hypnotic. Also, the “Juju” album by Siouxsie and the Banshees or that amazing three-album sequence that put The Cure in the map “Seventeen Seconds”, “Faith” and “Pornography” 1980/81/82 respectively. Finally, my own dark hero that is still performing with a killer live act today is Nick Cave, who had his project called The Birthday Party in which he dressed with that gothic outfits and represented the great classics of literature in his lyrics. Songs like “Junkyard” and his own appearance like the dark prince of rock music were just mesmerizing.