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TheGreatDuck
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PostSubject: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:04 pm

Throughout the history of rock music, there have been many trends and popular genres, with many older bands following them in an attempt to stay relevant.

For example, the late '70s and the early '80s, witnessed the rise of AOR, a genre that would be adopted by many older hard rock and prog rock acts. Actually, some of the bands that defined the genre were former hard rock and prog rock bands such as Styx, Journey and REO Speedwagon, who would also become mostly known for the music they made in these genre. Other bands that were among the defining AOR artists, but whose members played different music before, included Foreigner, Toto and Asia. Then there were also bands who are better known for their earlier work, but still managed to have some success and score some hits with their AOR music, such as Rainbow, Jefferson Starship or Kansas. And of course, there were also bands like Gentle Giant, ELP, Uriah Heep or Lucifer's Friend whose AOR albums didn't really fare well, and are nowadays mostly forgotten.

Then, a few years later, we saw the rise of glam metal. Today, Whitesnake and Def Leppard are often considered to be among the defining bands of the genre, while others, such as Europe or TNT, had most commercial success as hair metal acts and mostly remain known for their hair metal hits. Kiss, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper revived their careers by joining the hair metal scene, and Scorpions, Heart, MSG, Ozzy, The Cult and Yngwie Malmsteen had some of their best known hits during that period. While Judas Priest's Turbo usually isn't counted among their best albums, a few songs from that album remained popular. Then there were also bands that didn't have much success with the change of style, such as Uriah Heep, Saxon, Raven, Tygers of Pan Tang, Celtic Frost, TSOL, Discharge, Tokyo Blade or Foreigner.

In the '90s, glam metal began losing popularity, with grunge and alternative music becoming mainstream. Thus, in the mid-'late 90s we witnessed a number of attempts at alternative from bands such as Warrant, Bulletboys, Dokken, Danger Danger, Scorpions, Dangerous Toys, Slik Toxik, Motley Crue - and all of these albums seem to be heavily disliked and maligned, alienating the old fans, while failing to attract any new audiences.

Why is that?
I know most of us here will agree the music sucked - but then, some would probably say AOR and glam also sucked, yet a lot of bands managed to stay successfull with these genres.
Just like there were many new shitty post-grunge acts with similar sound that came during this era, yet managed to score hits.
Why did the older bands fail then?
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Required Fields
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:39 pm

If one looked at the audiences the majority of the bands you mentioned had (if not all of them), pretty much their whole audience HATED grunge/alt-rock of the 1990s. Did the bands really think it would go over well with them?
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:16 pm

Great points there, Duck. And very well presented. I think honestly it's probably b/c those bands (or any band that has an established sound and following) made a radical departure from what they normally did. It either pissed off fans for the change in style (sellout to stay relevant) or pissed them off b/c they stopped flying the flag of what they used to do. Look at any longtime famous band (eg. Stones or Zep) and their sound changed. I'm sure there is some fans of those bands or Tull, Heep, Thin Lizzy, etc. who decries the change in sound and style from the early days to the latter days. As for your point about the bands being known for their hits during the "hair" days, the spotlight was bright and a ton of bands/artists got highlighted.
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glassprison
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:50 pm

I agree with RF. I like some of the material that the bands you mentioned put out, but it really didn't have a chance at the time given the fan base the bands had already built. If they really wanted to pursue the grunge sound and have any shot at success with it they likely would have had to change their name and try to reinvent themselves from scratch, not just assume that the success they already established in the glam genre would follow them seamlessly.

If you listen to Warrant bootlegs from the Ultraphobic/Belly to Belly years, the new songs sound completely out of place, and in some shows Jani comes close to apologizing to the fans for playing the new material and promising that they will get to Uncle Tom's Cabin and Cherry Pie soon enough. It was an awkward time for a lot of these bands.




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Lari
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:30 am

Grunge fans generally disliked 80's bands, so they weren't going to just accept these bands even if they tried to change their sound to be similar to Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains.
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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:07 am

The kids listening to grunge weren't interested in "old" bands.

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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:04 am

Because it wasn't about the style of the music, but the killing/ending of what was seen as a shallow, commercialized version of rock. Alternative Warrant was still Warrant as far as those fans were concerned.

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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:22 am

glassprison wrote:
I agree with RF. I like some of the material that the bands you mentioned put out, but it really didn't have a chance at the time given the fan base the bands had already built. If they really wanted to pursue the grunge sound and have any shot at success with it they likely would have had to change their name and try to reinvent themselves from scratch, not just assume that the success they already established in the glam genre would follow them seamlessly.

If you listen to Warrant bootlegs from the Ultraphobic/Belly to Belly years, the new songs sound completely out of place, and in some shows Jani comes close to apologizing to the fans for playing the new material and promising that they will get to Uncle Tom's Cabin and Cherry Pie soon enough. It was an awkward time for a lot of these bands.





Wow. I had no idea about that. Good info, brother.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:40 am

Of course it failed. They alienated their remaining old fanbases - who were the only people interested in them - and they failed to attract any new fans because they were viewed as being old and corny. It was a completely disingenuous move.

Contrast these colossal failures with the few bands that stuck to their guns and maintained their core sound - Saxon, Overkill, Motorhead, Testament, etc... Those bands all survived the 90s and because of their perseverance, gained legendary status that none of them had in the 80s.
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TheGreatDuck
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:21 am

Required Fields wrote:
If one looked at the audiences the majority of the bands you mentioned had (if not all of them), pretty much their whole audience HATED grunge/alt-rock of the 1990s. Did the bands really think it would go over well with them?

But the same could be said about AOR and hair metal.
Don't you think a fan of the early, proggy and heavy Journey albums would have been heavily disappointed upon hearing the Steve Perry songs?
Or a fan of Rainbow's early, proggy epic hard rock and heavy metal after hearing stuff like All Night Long or Stone Cold? Yet those songs were hits for the band.

Or, hell, just look at Def Leppard and read Ult's reviews of their albums - I imagine a fan of the early DL albums must have been really alienated by Pyro and especially Hysteria.

Besides, I read a lot of posts on various forums, Youtube and Facebook from people who were around in the late '80s/early '90s saying they were originally into pop metal, but then suddenly that style stopped being cool, so they just went with the flow and got into grunge and alternative.

the sentinel wrote:
Great points there, Duck. And very well presented. I think honestly it's probably b/c those bands (or any band that has an established sound and following) made a radical departure from what they normally did. It either pissed off fans for the change in style (sellout to stay relevant) or pissed them off b/c they stopped flying the flag of what they used to do. Look at any longtime famous band (eg. Stones or Zep) and their sound changed. I'm sure there is some fans of those bands or Tull, Heep, Thin Lizzy, etc. who decries the change in sound and style from the early days to the latter days. As for your point about the bands being known for their hits during the "hair" days, the spotlight was bright and a ton of bands/artists got highlighted.

The bands you named are the ones that were less successfull. I.e. the "70s hard/prog bands that attempted to stay relevant in the 80s and failed".
OTOH, there are also many cases of the reverse, i. e. the "80s arena rock giants who used to play hard rock or prog before becoming famous."

glassprison wrote:
I agree with RF. I like some of the material that the bands you mentioned put out, but it really didn't have a chance at the time given the fan base the bands had already built. If they really wanted to pursue the grunge sound and have any shot at success with it they likely would have had to change their name and try to reinvent themselves from scratch, not just assume that the success they already established in the glam genre would follow them seamlessly.

If you listen to Warrant bootlegs from the Ultraphobic/Belly to Belly years, the new songs sound completely out of place, and in some shows Jani comes close to apologizing to the fans for playing the new material and promising that they will get to Uncle Tom's Cabin and Cherry Pie soon enough. It was an awkward time for a lot of these bands.



Well, Def Leppard actually did play some of the early songs on their later tours, and they also sound pretty out of place among the later, more commercial stuff (i.e. compare Rock Brigade or Mirror Mirror to Hysteria, Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar on Me).

Lari wrote:
Grunge fans generally disliked 80's bands, so they weren't going to just accept these bands even if they tried to change their sound to be similar to Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains.

Fat Freddy wrote:
The kids listening to grunge weren't interested in "old" bands.

So would you guys say the 80s mainstream audiences who were into arena rock and pop metal were generally more accepting of older bands adopting newer, more mainstream sounds?
Would that be the reason why there were no alternative "Pyromanias", but mostly just alternative "Cold Lakes"?
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:13 am

Brother Cane adopted grunge and it spawned a popular single.

"Load" and "Reload" sold a ton of copies.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:03 pm

Were Brother Cane even hair metal in the first place? Most of what i've heard of their music sounds more like Southern rock to me.
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Lari
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:18 pm

TheGreatDuck wrote:

So would you guys say the 80s mainstream audiences who were into arena rock and pop metal were generally more accepting of older bands adopting newer, more mainstream sounds?
Would that be the reason why there were no alternative "Pyromanias", but mostly just alternative "Cold Lakes"?

I think you're on to something. I think among the 80's glam metal fans, the 70's and 60's bands were considered the roots of rock, and thus had a certain amount of respect by default, even if you didn't actively listen to them. But the heavy metal genre exploded in the 80's, and suddenly what was before didn't have a straight connection to what you liked now. You had a thousand subgenres. Not all 80's metal and rock was considered good anymore in the 90's, because you could pick and choose from different (sometimes non-mainstream) "roots".
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:00 pm

It might have worked if they did it gradually. Lets use an example from the hair metal scene. Great White started out as a normal hair metal band (albiet on the heavier side like Ratt and Dokken), but the next two albums added elements of blues with songs like What Do You Do and Mistreater, which paved the way for Twice Shy to be basically completely bluesy songs (which is what they've done throughout their career, no attempt at grunge here). With these bands you had bands completely changing their sound with no warning.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:05 pm

It was seen as unauthentic. Even KISS tried to do it on Carnival of Souls, but they soon realized it was not who they are. And I'm sure most of the fans didn't like it.


Last edited by Troublezone on Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:09 pm

Not too many bands can pull off a drastic style change. Pantera is probably the most famous band that reinvented their sound and image almost overnight and were successful.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:37 pm

TheGreatDuck wrote:
Well, Def Leppard actually did play some of the early songs on their later tours, and they also sound pretty out of place among the later, more commercial stuff (i.e. compare Rock Brigade or Mirror Mirror to Hysteria, Love Bites and Pour Some Sugar on Me).

I remembered looking at concert set lists.

On the tour for Pyromania, they would typically play three or four songs from On Through the Night, and at least half of High 'n' Dry. On the tour for Hysteria, there was not a single show they played anything from On Through the Night, and the only regular song from High 'n' Dry was the ballad, Bringin' on the Heartbreak. They were clearly trying to pander to the newer fans, the whole "out with the old, in with the new" regime.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:12 am

Troublezone wrote:
Not too many bands can pull off a drastic style change. Pantera is probably the most famous band that reinvented their sound and image almost overnight and were successful.

...and they were able to pull it off because outside of their home area (the Southwestern US), they were pretty much unknowns. So when they released "Cowboys" most people thought they were a "new" band.

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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:51 am

Hadley wrote:
Were Brother Cane even hair metal in the first place? Most of what i've heard of their music sounds more like Southern rock to me.

It was still a big shift in style from Collective Soul-ish/Black Crowes-ish stuff to move into the grunge era.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:54 pm

Witchfinder wrote:
Overkill, Testament, etc... †Those bands all survived the 90s and because of their perseverance, gained legendary status that none of them had in the 80s.

Well, it took several years of making peanuts to get there though.

Blitz gave a lengthy interview years ago where he talked about the lean years of the 90s.

I would argue that if it wasn't for Overkill's 80s classic songs then they would not be considered legendary nowadays. When I saw them live those were the ones people clearly were excited to hear.

Testament were clearly struggling a lot post-Low and pre-The Gathering. "Demonic" really seemed like a low point in many ways.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:55 pm

Required Fields wrote:
If one looked at the audiences the majority of the bands you mentioned had (if not all of them), pretty much their whole audience HATED grunge/alt-rock of the 1990s. Did the bands really think it would go over well with them?

I think a lot of metalheads loved Alice in Chains and probably liked Soundgarden too, especially "Bad Motor Finger".
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:00 pm

TheGreatDuck wrote:
In the '90s, glam metal began losing popularity, with grunge and alternative music becoming mainstream. Thus, in the mid-'late 90s we witnessed a number of attempts at alternative from bands such as Warrant, Bulletboys, Dokken, Danger Danger, Scorpions, Dangerous Toys, Slik Toxik, Motley Crue - and all of these albums seem to be heavily disliked and maligned, alienating the old fans, while failing to attract any new audiences.

Why is that?

I think it would be better to say "this song should've been a hit" and then we could've analyzed why it wasn't.

AFAIK none of those releases had any good songs on them, so it's clear why they didn't break through.


Quote :
I know most of us here will agree the music sucked - but then, some would probably say AOR and glam also sucked, yet a lot of bands managed to stay successfull with these genres. †

Nah. It's no mystery why Jefferson Starship / Starship caught on, for one example. Or why glammed-out Whitesnake found a huge audience in America.

Quote :
Just like there were many new shitty post-grunge acts with similar sound that came during this era, yet managed to score hits.

Like who? Are we talking about Candlebox, Life of Agony, etc.?

Why did the older bands fail then? [/quote]

Great topic Mr. Duck!
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:01 pm

Fat Freddy wrote:
The kids listening to grunge weren't interested in "old" bands.

True. But I bet the old songwriters could've left, gotten a makeover, and formed a new band and fooled them.

A lot of hair metal guys were undercover in those grunge bands.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:08 pm

TheGreatDuck wrote:

Don't you think a fan of the early, proggy and heavy Journey albums would have been heavily disappointed upon hearing the Steve Perry songs?

I'm not sure those albums really had a ton of die-hard fans TBH. A lot of bands were just coasting in the 70s.

Quote :
Or a fan of Rainbow's early, proggy epic hard rock and heavy metal after hearing stuff like All Night Long or Stone Cold? Yet those songs were hits for the band.

True, but pretty minor hits.

Quote :
Or, hell, just look at Def Leppard and read Ult's reviews of their albums - I imagine a fan of the early DL albums must have been really alienated by Pyro and especially Hysteria.

I don't think so. Most everyone loved that stuff at the time as I recall.

Quote :
Besides, I read a lot of posts on various forums, Youtube and Facebook from people who were around in the late '80s/early '90s saying they were originally into pop metal, but then suddenly that style stopped being cool, so they just went with the flow and got into grunge and alternative.

True. Music as a fashion statement is still very much in effect today.

glassprison wrote:
I agree with RF. I like some of the material that the bands you mentioned put out, but it really didn't have a chance at the time given the fan base the bands had already built. If they really wanted to pursue the grunge sound and have any shot at success with it they likely would have had to change their name and try to reinvent themselves from scratch, not just assume that the success they already established in the glam genre would follow them seamlessly.

Great point. I'm sure no one who's worked that hard for years to build up a recognizable brand wants to through it out the window. They were probably in denial that they could just pivot and not have to start over.

Quote :
So would you guys say the 80s mainstream audiences who were into arena rock and pop metal were generally more accepting of older bands adopting newer, more mainstream sounds?

I think this is a valid observation. 80s mainstream audiences are into the sound/fashion and the grunge ones were more into "the cause, man".

Quote :
Would that be the reason why there were no alternative "Pyromanias", but mostly just alternative "Cold Lakes"?

You lost me here.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did all attempts at grunge/alternative by older bands end up being such a failure?   Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:11 pm

Fat Freddy wrote:
Troublezone wrote:
Not too many bands can pull off a drastic style change. Pantera is probably the most famous band that reinvented their sound and image almost overnight and were successful.

...and they were able to pull it off because outside of their home area (the Southwestern US), they were pretty much unknowns. So when they released "Cowboys" most people thought they were a "new" band.

Exactly. †Not to mention that there was a gradual style shift on all the albums:

pre-Phil albums -> PM -> CFH -> VDoP -> FBD (#1 on Billboard)

Each continuing to get more aggressive. †No overnight change at all IMHO.
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