Def Leppard’s Phil Collen Thinks ‘TikTok + YouTube Crowd’ Is ‘A Problem’ in Rock Today
The hot question for years has been about what rock's future will look like once its multi-platinum mega stars of decades past retire and which new bands will be the ones to fill that void. For Collen, that future appears to be quite bleak as he isn't able to identify which artists may be in the mix to proverbially pass the baton to, as revealed in an interview with 'Listen Next' (and transcribed by Blabbermouth).
"I'm still waiting, actually," says the guitarist of the idea of a newer band coming to claim massive headliner opportunities. "You hear a lot of stuff out there, but it's few and far between," he continued, theorizing on why that might be when adding, "There's a problem, I think, and I think it's the TikTok and YouTube crowd."
It seems he doesn't think the people and/or musicians who populate that crowd are in music for the right reasons, so to speak, and instead are fame-hungry and not true to honest artistic intentions.
"When bands or artists would write before, it would be because they wanted to be an artist and wanted to express themselves and write songs and share them and go, 'Wow. Check this out', as opposed to, 'Wow. Look at me. Please love me,'" he continued. "I don't want to sound like an old dude, but that's what I noticed. And I'm still waiting for someone like Prince or [Led] Zeppelin or something that has a bit more something to it. There's very little stuff," Collen goes on.
He then name-checked Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Sex Pistols as artists who basically blew up their respective scenes with historic albums, lamenting that he hasn't seen this quality in the new age of rock music — "I don't see that anymore. I don't see that star power. I don't see that kind of thing, so that's what I'm waiting for."
Riding the theme, Collen also supplied comments on the future headliner dilemma as fans and artists have spent decades entertaining what that landscape will look like.
"I don't hear anything. I hear derivative stuff and stuff that's not inspired. You want to get inspired. So, yeah, I'm still waiting. It's like in every genre of music. In hip-hop, it's the same deal. You're waiting to hear… Or R&B. You listen to the old R&B — you listen to Stevie Wonder, you listen to Marvin Gaye and stuff like that — nothing is like that anymore and that kind of soul and vibe and everything. I think we've kind of comfortably got into something else that doesn't really demand that kind of excellence. It's rare that that kind of talent comes along."
The hip-hop stance is rather curious as the genre notoriously does not face the same problem that has plagued rock and metal in that new stars rise very quickly and often overtake the popularity of many of the artists who preceded them. They're also among the biggest musical artists of any genre and are headliners at the most premiere and widely attended festivals on the planet.
Rock's search, however, continues.
Catch Def Leppard on the last of the remaining Stadium Tour dates with Motley Crue, Poison, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and newcomer rock act Classless Act. See the dates here and, for tickets, head to this location.