Cock rock: the return

So here we are, in 2007, with a big bunch of hairy, oversexed rock behemoths swaggering our way. Yes, if the harbingers are to be believed, power rock is back. We do not know yet if there will be much new music from the rockers – let’s face it, Axl Rose is not a man you can trust on this matter. But the rock revival is on the way nonetheless, and coming to you complete with hairspray, spandex, animal print, leather trousers, and, God knows,  probably some wrinkles and hip replacements to boot.

Rolling Stone, still America’s most influential music magazine, recently put Guns N’ Roses on their cover to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the release of Appetite for Destruction. Van Halen have announced an extensive American tour in late 2007. Led Zeppelin, the grandest rockers of all, are reforming for one London show in November. Meanwhile, the most exciting scene at the recent MTV Video Music Awards happened backstage, where Tommy Lee and Kid Rock – both former loves of Pamela Anderson – reportedly came to blows.

Resistance, as someone Star Trek-related once said, is futile. And who wants to resist anyway? Certainly not the estimated 20 million fans who rushed to buy tickets to the Led Zeppelin show, causing internet chaos as they attempted to register for tickets at a rate of 80,000 per minute. Nor the delighted Van Halen fans who have been swooning about their guitar heroes. Nor the music industry, thrilled that something – anything – is working for them again, and they’re actually selling tickets and albums, even if they are old albums.

Yes, it seems that while we’ve been worshipping the likes of Keane and Coldplay, and dutifully attending their concerts for the environment and what-not, what we have been secretly craving is the Messianic presence of a man in skin-tight, future children-denying trousers, who looks at us rather dangerously and threatens to do all manner of things to us. (Or perhaps that’s just me.)

Already, the newly reformed rockers are fast showing the Blur vs. Oasis feud up for the slightly pathetic, NME-hyped, schoolboy row that it was. Recently it was revealed that Van Halen‘s bassist Michael Anthony – who also sings backing vocals on tracks like Panama and Running with the Devil – has been fired from the band and replaced by Eddie Van Halen‘s 16-year-old son Wolfgang. Anthony found out the news not in a conversation with the band or the management, but via the internet. “It was kind of funny when I first heard about it being aVan Halen ‘reunion’,” Anthony has since said dryly of the band’s touring plans.

Now, while this is a truly horrible development for Anthony, it is also, by my reckoning, exactly the kind of bitchy, newsy and horribly enthralling story that you couldn’t imagine ever happening in a world populated only by kind and well meaning musicians like Chris Martin. For cock rockers like Van Halen, it’s just not easy to mature gracefully when your job involves wearing animal print, spandex and doing big scissor kicks across the stage. And, sometimes, being ridiculously immature in a public capacity is important. People can relate to it.

So I confess, that while I’m not yet ready to shimmy into utterly skin-tight jeans, pump up my hair until it resembles Sheena Easton in the 1980s and hit the shops in search of a leather jacket with buckles, I am rather warming to the trend.

This morning, I spent some quality time on Youtube.com, the website where embarrassments can be found and treasured, checking out the video for Van Halen‘s Jump. In the clip, David Lee Roth, clad in a red vest, a pair of leather trousers with zips, and a sort of Superman-style pair of red underpants over the trousers, engages in a feast of self-adoration that is truly remarkable. The look on his face, as he gets down on his knees and begins crawling, Shakira-style, towards the camera, is completely and utterly priceless.

Power rock: it’s not big and it’s not clever, but it is tremendous fun. Welcome back to the jungle, you say? I’ll go with pleasure.

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