Rock is dead…

One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusions of integrity…

One can argue that rock and roll has never been pure – that it’s always been perverted by the record industry and the radio industry. The early years were marred by payola, and there has always been tension between the desires of management and the on-air staff, but when I was growing up, the on-air staff on rock stations – and typically, some of the management – always kept a certain edge, a certain rawness.

KISW was the premiere rock station for most of the past 25 years in the Seattle area. They competed early with KZOK, but KZOK decided to move to classic rock, and KISW was back on top. Until the mid-80s, when a bunch of staff defected to start up KXRX, which walked all over KISW for a few years, and then dissolved.

So, KISW has been part of my music experience for a long time. I don’t listen as much as I used to, but I still listen from time to time. On the way home from the club tonight, I switched on the radio just as American Idiot came on…

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new mania.
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind “bleep” America.


Well maybe I’m the “bleep” America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia.

At that point I turned to a different station.

Rock stations have been pretending that songs don’t have dirty words in them for years. That’s part of that “edge” that I was talking about before. But apparently those days are gone. The second edit is particularly bothersome. First, the word isn’t on the classic list of words you can’t use. Second, it’s more than a little ironic that they chose this song to censor, given what the song is about.


Long live rock, I need it every night,
Long live rock, come on and join the line,
Long live rock, be it dead or alive.

Comments (11)

  1. Yeah, it’s "funny" to watch/listen to anything American produced.

    What’s up with all those "beep"s?! Is it to make the show more interacting, like some sort of guess-competition? "Find the missing word in this sentence and win $$$!!" Or do they really believe that people won’t learn "dirty" words if kids learn to say "beep" instead? 🙂

    The best thing is that it is soo scary to show a tit on the screen. Aren’t American women supposed to have that? 😛

  2. T says:


    It’s "new media", not "new mania"

    Make more sense now?

  3. Hi Eric – check out, an excellent rock/metal radio station.

  4. Ricky Dhatt says:

    I used to listen to KISW exclusively…and now I’ve given up. Funny thing is, with the new "K-ROCK" (KRQI), The End (KNDD) has gotten waaay better. I usually switch between them and KZOK-during the moments they aren’t playing Zep or Floyd.

  5. Phylyp says:

    Funny you title this "Rock is dead". That’s the name of a Marilyn Manson song that also holds the line: "God is in the TV". That seems so true considering that anything caught on TV is big!

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