Dance music has another well known and respected personality taking a potshot at it. Rock legend and “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” inductee Tom Petty has laid down his opinion on dance music, and compared the whole scene to a drug party.
Talking to USA Today, he said “Watch people play records?” he says. “That’s stupid. You couldn’t pay me to go. I’m not oversimplifying it. That’s what’s going on. I don’t think it would be any fun without the drugs. It’s a drug party.”
Talking further about EDC Las Vegas, where two attendees died, he said “You take that many kids to Vegas in the summer, what could go wrong?” Petty says. “I knew it as soon as I saw the ad. I went, ‘Ooh, dead people.’ Do you need the money so bad that you’ll put some kid’s life at risk?”
Tom Petty’s comments do reflect on the stereotypical view of people who are not aware of dance music, that the whole culture is about drugs. That is something that people need to be educated about. Dance music isn’t about drugs or a DJ just playing a CD on stage. It’s about creating an experience, where people forget about everything and have a great time. At the end of the day, isn’t that what music is all about?
Though it cannot be denied that there are people who resort to drugs to enhance their music experience, but isn’t that the case with every music genre out there? And mind you, some of the greatest musicians ever (Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse etc.) have all resorted to substance abuse and written some of their best works. Bands like Pink Floyd, Tool, Deftones, The Doors etc. have had a profound effect on the listeners when listened to under the influence. Nobody ever brings that up. But now that dance music is the next big thing, everyone is blaming it for drugs and trying to take it down. Maybe if lot of the doubters and haters would be taken to an Above & Beyond show, perhaps their opinions would change.
Pasquale Rotella, founder and CEO of Insomniac, had this to say about Tom Petty’s comments “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about records, DJs and dance music, including Tom Petty. We’re living in a very electronic era with constantly evolving forms of entertainment, which may be a daunting thing for a classic rocker in search of contemporary social relevancy as he starts promoting new music. But I would think that someone who played shows with Dylan and the Dead—someone who lived through and actively contributed to the counterculture era of the ’60s and ’70s—wouldn’t be so quick to drink the overhyped media Kool-Aid about our festival experience. If he wants to come to EDC Vegas next year and see what it’s really about, we’ve got a ticket with his name on it. If he doesn’t want to wait that long, Nocturnal Wonderland is right around the corner. My Mama Irene would be stoked to meet him! Who knows? He might just have a “Change of Heart.”
I personally believe that more people need to listen to music with open minds, be more perceptive towards other genres and artist, experiment with what they listen to. That only helps in broadening of horizons in a musical sense, a better understanding of different music genres and their culture, and less bashing of every other music genre and artists out there.