The new generation of Aussie rock is going unheard. That’s the claim being put forward by a group of local music activists from Melbourne.
Members of The Hard Rock Society, who are behind community TV program The Hard Rock Show and online radio station THRS Radio, are fed up with some of their favourite local rock acts, many of whom are doing well overseas, being ignored in their own country. And they’ve banded together to call on Australia’s premier rock station, Triple M, to help do something about it.
They’ve launched a Facebook campaign, dubbed Triple M Give Us Back Our Rock Music, to lobby the commercial broadcaster to step up its support of homegrown rock.
“Genuine rock music is alive and well, people just need to know it’s out there,” explains Hard Rock Show presenter, Andrew Brown. “The Gene Simmons and Rob Halfords of the world may be crying out that ‘rock is dead’ or that ‘we’re not replenishing the ranks’ but the fact is they are very wrong. It’s simply that the media doesn’t give them the time of day anymore, which leads to a false impression that it’s gone very quiet.”
Brown cites Melbourne bands like Airbourne, MASSIVE and Twenty Two Hundred as some of the quality Aussie rock acts who are currently killing it overseas but simply don’t get enough support on home turf. And the Hard Rock Soc are urging the M’s to throw these bands a lifeline because, according to Brown, the j’s just won’t.
“Triple j, while they are clearly very good at what they do (the figures are all out there) they simply don’t and won’t cover the bands we are most passionate about. Gritty, real rock is simply not on their list,” he says.
“Out of all the bands we’ve interviewed [on The Hard Rock Show] since 2011, triple j has been of little to no help at all, even with their Unearthed set up… They haven’t truly supported rock for quite some time… The sense we get about triple j is that the door is firmly shut when it comes to the music we love so much.”
With the launch of Triple M’s new digital arm last year, Triple M Modern Rock Digital, station boss Mike Fitzpatrick even echoed those same sentiments, slamming the j’s for their alleged musical elitism, trend-chasing and failure to support modern rock music.
“Cut Triple M open and we bleed rock music,” Fitzpatrick stated at the time.
Now, in an open letter to Triple M, the Hard Rock Society are urging Fitzpatrick to put his money where his mouth is, by upping the station’s commitment to local content outside of its 2-hour weekly Homegrown slot, and expanding its prime time playlist to include local bands that don’t get the support they need on the j’s,
Their letter reads, in part:
Dear Triple M,
Australia and the genre of rock music go back a long way. To say Aussies are passionate about rock is an understatement…
But over the past few years (or even longer) you seem to have lost your way. Sure, there’s the odd great, classic song but overall you have become bland, boring and horribly “safe.”
In other words, everything that rock should not be!
Have you heard of that large rock festival called Soundwave that regularly sells out and attract tens of thousands of people?
How many of the bands that play at that festival get played on Triple M?
How many people who attend that festival listen to Triple M, Australia’s biggest rock station?
Unfortunately not many, if any… think there might be a problem here?
Also did you know that Australia has some of the best, new rock bands in the world?
Sadly these bands are getting far more radio play overseas than in Australia.
Isn’t that a real shame? Would there be any harm in increasing your Aussie music quota and supporting local talent?
Lovers of rock music in Australia respectfully request that Triple M starts playing actual rock music again and increases its Aussie music quota.
Brown believes that a bigger commitment to Aussie rock would not just benefit local bands, but the station itself, by allowing Triple M to corner an otherwise untapped market here is Aus.
“You can be as talented as you like but Vance Joy is not rock no matter how good the songs are. I’m now hearing Triple M playing songs that are much closer to pop or indie than rock,” he says.
“Triple M was once the beacon in the night for rock fans, the rebellious one that had the ‘edge’… Now it’s contributing to the homogenisation of rock music and becoming a shallow and pale crossover between what [Melbourne-based classic hits station] Gold 104.3 and triple j are most known for…
“Triple M could and should be playing tracks that neither of those networks will touch. There is a huge market out there and this is what they used to do, as well as giving home grown talent a place to shine bright.”
The Triple M Give Us Back Our Rock Music Facebook page has attracted over 2,000 supporters since launching this week.
At the time of writing, the station has reportedly not responded to the campaign leaders’ phone calls.
Watch: Airbourne – Back In The Game