I really hate Aerosmith. No band causes me to change the radio faster than when I hear the first few notes of any Aerosmith song.
Unfortunately, of the many genres of music I enjoy, “classic rock” is one of the few you can find on the radio dial. And no matter where you go, it’s universal: classic rock radio is horrible.
Let me take a step back and explain why I listen to the radio at all. My daily driver is a 2002 SVT Focus. I love it, but it was born in the days after cassette, and before the dominance of the iPod. As such, there’s no way to connect an iPod, satellite radio, or any other 21st century audio source. Not without ripping out the head unit.
For that matter, I only spend, on average, 10 minutes in my car a day. NPR gets depressing, I’m not hip enough to consistently enjoy KCRW, and sometimes I’m bored with the CDs on hand. So I turn on either JACK FM (terrible for many reasons), or 100.3 “The Sound,” a reasonable hodgepodge of “rock,” mostly of the “classic” variety.
In that that 10-minute window, there will always, always be at least 1 Aerosmith song. Barf. So what is that, 6 Aerosmith songs an hour? 144 Aerosmith songs a day? They’ve recorded 15 albums and some 170+ songs total, so that’s the entire catalog every 30 hours or so? Of course, you never hear the new stuff, or even most of the old stuff.
And that is the core of the problem.
Look, I’m not saying Aerosmith is a bad band. I’m sure they're all very talented musically. If you like them, hell, even if they’re your favorite band, good on ya. My problem is this: I grew up in Boston.
There were three choices for music as a rock-oriented youth in Boston in the 80s and 90s: 107.3 WAAF, 104.1 WBCN, and 100.7 WZLX. It seemed that the music programmers for these stations thought, Hey! It’s Boston! Aerosmith is from Boston! Boston people must like Aerosmith! So daily programming consisted of 60% Aerosmith, 35% Boston (the band), and 5% “Edge of Seventeen” by The Goat (why that song, I don’t know, but FFS it plays CONSTANTLY EVERYWHERE).
So whatever interest I may have had with Aerosmith in my youth was rapidly beaten out by punishing overexposure. Overexposure not to the entire Aerosmith catalog mind you, but to the same 4 or 5 songs all the time.
Here’s what I don’t understand: with nearly 50 years of “classic rock” to draw from, or at least music that could logically be played on a “rock” radio station, why is there so much Aerosmith? Perhaps a wider question is even better: Why do you hear the same songs from the same bands all the time?
If you listen to any rock radio station, and if there’s a DJ (rare, I know), and they say “Hey, we’ve got so-and-so coming up!” how much would you put down that you know which song they’ll play. Surely Eric Clapton has recorded more than 3 songs? Did Queen? David Bowie? Didn’t Journey... yeah, OK, no, they really did just record two songs. But for everyone else, why does classic rock radio have to be the world’s worst greatest hits album, stuck on repeat?
Do radio stations think so little of their audience that they assume people will be upset hearing a song they haven’t heard a billion times before? Would anyone be saddened if they heard “More Than a Feeling” just once a week instead of once every other day? Or if they heard “One of These Days” instead of “Money”? Or if they never heard Foreigner ever again. Ever.
It’s not even the point if you like the bands playing, my question is, surely there are other songs you enjoy from that band?
Sadly, though, this is a lost cause. With audiences dwindling thanks to satellite radio, Pandora, and so on, radio stations have to go even harder for the lowest common denominator. They’re not like cable/satellite TV stations that can attract a big piece of a niche pie. “Classic Rock” radio is already a niche, and it they start playing Gram Parsons, Buffalo Tom, Bob Dylan, and The Sex Pistols, I might love it, but an audience of one doesn’t pay the bills.
So when it comes down to it, radio sucks, it will only get worse, and I am arrogantly the best DJ in the world (for me).
But I still hate Aerosmith.
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.