Tagged: headbanger’s ball

You can’t stop rock’n’roll

You can’t stop rock’n’roll – classic words from Twisted Sister dated 1983.

Rock has managed to rediscover and reinvent itself, I see it everywhere I go.
At least here in Sweden it’s very evident. And it’s such a relief, cause I still remember the identity crisis that rock’n’roll went through in the mid- and late 90’s.

I came home to Sweden after having lived in NY for a year and was bummed that there were no rock-clubs anywhere. It was The Great Rock’n’Roll Depression if you ask me – the post-Nirvana and pre-nothing period.

The golden era of rock died over night. They all just disappeared – all those bands who sold out arenas worldwide, had those huge over-the-top stage-productions, topped the Billboard-list…
It was the exclusive time when hard rock actually had its own show on MTV (remember MTV when it actually WAS Music-TV??).

Europe had Headbanger’s Ball with Vanessa Warwick. The US had Headbanger’s Ball with Adam Curry and later Riki Rachtman. I loved that era. You can laugh about the hair, the spandex, the glitter and the lipstick today, but rock’n’roll was alive and kicking!

Then came Nirvana and everything just went downhill. I’m sure there are people out there who beg to differ, but that’s my humble opinion.

Rock clubs closed, there was nothing nowhere… Rockers cut their hair and stayed at home in their flannel shirts being depressed.

It was a nightmare.

Something had to change, and eventhough you can’t change everything – you can always change something.
I decided to do something about it.

I wrote to my favorite nightclub at the time, Heartbreak Hotel, and tried to convince them to open a hard rock club.

To make it easier for them, I included a bunch of ideas, probably two pages full of brainstorming – and sent it to the owner. He called me the next day and next thing I know, I was in charge of the rock club Hard Break at Heartbreak.That hadn’t been my plan, I just wanted a place to go to, not run it, but what the hell – I took on the challenge.

On the day of the premiere there was no doubt that people had been STARVING for rock’n’roll! The owner couldn’t believe it – he had been struggling to stay in business and figured that my idea at least couldn’t make things any worse

The opening night of Hard Break – there were people lining up, rockers as far as the eye could see! People couldn’t even get in – an hour or two after we had opened the doors it was already crowded! A club with a 800-guests capacity, nobody really believed me when I said that it would work.
I knew it would.

Rockers didn’t just suddenly stop loving their music. They just didn’t have anywhere to go. It felt good to prove everybody wrong – rock’n’roll was very much alive, it was just hidden, surpressed and temporarily beaten.
But you can’t stop rock’n’roll – it’s an undefeatable force!

This clip is from a TV-interview after the premiere of Hard Break:


Things have changed a lot since then. When I look around now, there are rock clubs and rock pubs/bars on every corner. You can even choose your particular niche – from AOR to death metal. Take a pick. It’s all there.

Even fashion is now rock’n’roll. The catwalks are hailing black clothes, chains and studs. Shoes are cool again, high heels, straps, studs, just very metal in general. Hard rock is “okay” now. It’s the first time in 30 years I think, that I can say that rock has finally been accepted.

Since Finnish rockers Lordi won the Eurovision Song Contest with “Hard Rock Hallelujah” a few years ago, you suddenly have rockers competing in mainstream music competitions (such as the Eurovision), which was totally unheard of ten years ago.

Hard rock never really died. It was more like a sleeping grizzly in its den. And it’s just such a kick to see it back on track with full force!

Bands are out touring again, clubs are up and running, rock radio is getting just as many listeners as regular mainstream stations. Years ago people would have laughed and said that that could never happen. They had another thing comin’…!