Rock And Roll Hotel

The New York Times reports on how the rock hotel aesthetic has shifted from destructive partying to soothing, upper-middle class pampering:

Of course, rock history — and hotels — are littered with stories of room demolitions and groupie escapades. In the ’70s, Led Zeppelin and the Who were infamous for hurling television sets out hotel windows and cementing furniture to ceilings.

Today, such stories are unlikely to be repeated. During a stay at the Soho Grand, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin asked for a kiddie pool for his son; at the London NYC, the Who hit the gym. Today’s rock stars, said Paul Stallings, the owner of the Hotel on Rivington, are “more into yoga than drugs.”

…When asked about instances of rocker mischief, hotel managers were mum — partly to protect their guests’ privacy, and partly because there aren’t many stories to spill.

“I’m still waiting for one good something,” joked Jason Pomeranc, an owner of 60 Thompson — a past host, he says, to the Rolling Stones and Velvet Revolver. “Someone hanging off a balcony, something. The new generation of bands, they’re all nice boys.”

This is not exactly news. Jim Morrison died 37 years ago, and while early 90s grunge may have had its share of needle addicts, Sufjan Stevens just doesn’t seem like much of a TV-tosser. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll has become yoga, bottled water, and indie rock.

I suspect that part of this is the VH1 effect. Violent rock antics are a cliché, and if there’s anything that’s deeply uncool these days, it’s being a cliché.

It’s also that indie rock, and rock in general, has increasingly become the domain of the twee, literate class. Reihan informs us of indie rockers working at the New York Review of Books. Vampire Weekend’s latest video features the boys playing on a sailboat while decked out in a way that would surely make Jeffrey Hart proud.

The good boys at Buddyhead may be bummed, but Guns and Roses are not going to be wrecking any suites any time soon.

This is to be expected. Music changes with the times; it’s a product of its environment. The topsy-turvy social upheaval that dominated the political scene of the 60s and 70s has been replaced with fairly mild lifestyle anxiety. Youth culture now revolves around consumer choices. It’s comfortable and cozy, just like the hotel rooms of its icons.