What Does Doom Rock Have in Common with Mainstream Rock?

For the longest time, a lot of people who are into the doom rock scene have taken it upon themselves to come up with something so different from mainstream rock. In their minds, the sound that they're aiming for must be so different, so new and so revolutionary that it could not be mistaken from mainstream rock.

Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the whole source of this kind of assumption is that there is something fundamentally wrong with mainstream or corporate or alternative rock. This is the typical rebellious aspect of any kind of youth culture.

But unfortunately, that kind of thinking misses the point. We have gone past the point where we have to be different just for the sake of being different. That is really kind of boring. It's a cliche, really.

In fact, you can see that in the alternative music scene. There are tons of people trying to be individualists and trying to march to the beat of their own personal drummer but they're actually doing the same thing.

I know, it sounds kind of sad and pathetic and ironic, but it's true. Go to San Francisco and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. There are all these people gathered in one place trying to be as individualistic and nonconformist as possible, but when you look at the way they look and the way they talk and the things they talk about, it's as if everybody's doing the same thing.

It's like it is no different from joining a fraternity or going to some sort of country club and playing golf with millionaires. There is this sense of subculture identity. And that's exactly the kind of group think that a lot of early doom rock pioneers try to break away from, but at the end of the day, they end up reaching the same place.

I know, it's kind of funny and ironic at the same time. It's like you're trying to run away from something and you end up embracing that thing or becoming that thing. I know it's crazy, but that's what happened.

And that's why, if you ask doom rock music critics and journalists now, they're not as apprehensive or conflicted about the similarities between doom rock and mainstream rock music.

We believe in melody, we believe in chord progressions, we believe that music should sound good, we believe that lyrics should have some sort of musical vehicle so it can reach more people and have a broader impact. These are mainstream rock objectives. And in my mind, this is really what makes doom rock so interesting.

It doesn't try to stand out. It doesn't try to be different for the sake of being different. Believe me, those kinds of people can be very annoying.

Have you ever come across a goth person in high school? Maybe it's the first person you have met who is into the goth scene? How do you think they responded back then? Usually, if your experience is anywhere near mine, they probably would make a big deal of how different they are.

I remember my first goth friend Jessica. She would make a big deal of the fact that all her clothes were hand sewn by her. She would make a big deal of the fact that she ate a lot of bone marrow. So what? It's not what you do or the uniform that you wear that makes you different. It's how you think.

And that is really the level of maturity that doom rock is on. It's about individual differences as far as thinking patterns and assumptions and expectations go. And that's why it's one of the few pockets of excitement in the greater landscape of alternative rock genres.