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The Guardian (04/13/2005), Is it the new rock'n'roll? < Mick Fleetwood < Main Page

The Guardian (04/13/2005), Is it the new rock'n'roll?

The Guardian, April 13, 2005

Is it the new rock'n'roll?
Fleetwood Mac drummer's quiet revolution
by Dan Glaister in Los Angeles

Old rockers don't die, they just lose their hearing. But for baby boomers and assorted sixtysomethings who once believed that rock'n'roll should be mean, dirty and above all loud, help is at hand: quiet rock.

Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood unveiled the rock equivalent of a museum audio guide this week at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Around 100 people stood in polite silence listening to Fleetwood's band for the day, Eagles of Death Metal, perform two songs. But instead of blasting out through stacks of Marshall amps, the sound from the thrashing musicians was tidily channelled to headsets worn by the audience. The reaction was suitably modest and decidedly un-rock'n'roll. Some nodded in appreciation, others merely smiled.

After two songs attempting to prove that quiet is indeed the new loud, the band plugged into its stack of amplifiers and played three songs to provide its audience with a more conventional listening experience. This time the reaction was one more commonly associated with a rock concert than a recital as people started to jump around.

Fleetwood, 57, who suffers from partial hearing loss caused by playing in a rock band, said: "I hope this makes the point that you can wear ear protection at concerts and still enjoy the concert."

Would the quiet revolution catch on?

"Who's to say? Could you see 18,000 people someday listening to Pink Floyd on head phones? Maybe, with a weird magic wand."

Billed as the world's quietest rock concert, the first half of the gig was measured at 62 decibels by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The second half reached 124 decibels, similar to the noise of a jet engine.

But while organisers were keen to stress that "It's hip to hear", quiet rock would remove one of the best aspects of listening to rock music: annoying the neighbours.

Date: 2005-04-13         Number of views: 2060

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