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Stoner rock

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Stoner rock

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Stoner rock
Stylistic origins: 1960s
Garage, acid rock
Heavy metal, psychedelic rock
Cultural origins: Mid 1970s United States and United Kingdom.
Typical instruments: Vocals Guitar Bass Drums
Mainstream popularity: Regional success during the early 1990s. Global success more recently.
Derivative forms: Sludge metal
Fusion genres
Stoner doom

Stoner rock and stoner metal are interchangeable terms describing sub-genres of rock and metal music. Stoner rock often fuses slow-to-mid tempo, bassy guitar riffs, psychedelic jams, melodic, often slightly raspy vocals and stripped down 'raw' production to figuratively melt "a hundredweight of hot desert sand into metal". (NME about showcase stoner rockers Kyuss [2].)


The Stoners

The progenitors of stoner rock, just like stoner rockers today, often share the characteristic that they and their audiences are stoners (i.e. recreational users of marijuana). While it would be grossly inaccurate to describe all fans and performers of the styles and bands listed on this page as marijuana users, it is certainly accepted that the effects of marijuana and the often low or psychedelic riffs of stoner music complement each other — which eventually lead to the common usage of the term "stoner rock" to define the genre.

Fans of stoner music are often associated with recreational use of marijuana. Fans of stoner music are often associated with recreational use of marijuana.

There are synonyms to stoner rock, some of them in part created to separate the art itself from stoner-clichés, e.g. the term "desert rock", which is so called primarily because of Palm Desert stoner pioneers Kyuss. While desert rock is so closely related to stoner metal as to be synonymous, other related but not identical genres include sludge metal and doom metal.

The kind of connection between stoner rock and the use of marijuana is not unique in music culture. Similar comparisons can be made between dance music and recreational drugs such as ecstasy. Various bands and artists who identify themselves as marijuana users, notably Pantera (who have included cannabis leaves on their t-shirts and other promotional items) and Green Day (whose band name is a reference for a day spent smoking marijuana) do not qualify as "stoner music" as the style of their musical output is largely outwith the genre.


The origins

Like most subgenres of music, the origins of stoner rock are hard to trace and pinpoint. Nevertheless, stoner rock has its known progenitors and signature songs that helped shape the genre. The notoriously influencing metal idols of Black Sabbath — especially due to their song "Sweet Leaf" — were a significant force in the evolution of stoner music.

As noted above, Black Sabbath were one of the first bands to popularize this type of music, although they were not the first to produce it, nor can they be accurately described as a stoner band. Various 60's and 70's bands experimented with guitar sounds that inspired future generations, with Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin firmly among them. Hendrix's "Band of Gypsys" pumped out riff-laden, jam session type tunes with obvious psychedelic overtones, while Led Zep's "Physical Graffiti" displayed a lighter side to the emerging genre. However, it wasn't until after the electropop of the 80's and eventually grunge of the early 90's had taken the stage that people noticed that a new style of music was being created... out in the desert, where different styles of rock would be melted into something new, that is nowadays known as stoner rock. AllMusic summarizes this fusion as follows:

"Stoner metal bands updated the long, mind-bending jams and ultra-heavy riffs of bands like Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Blue Öyster Cult, and Hawkwind by filtering their psychedelia-tinged metal and acid rock through the buzzing sound of early Sub Pop-style grunge." [3]

The Palm Desert Scene

Kyuss were the harbingers of modern stoner rock. Kyuss were the harbingers of modern stoner rock.

If any one band has become synonymous with a particular style or genre, Kyuss and stoner music are probably it. After a couple of EP releases they came rumbling out of Palm Desert with 1992's Blues for the Red Sun and a generation of kids who just didn't click with the grunge sound of Seattle (whose mainstream popularity peaked during that time) instantly knew they had found the answer. Kyuss were throughout their existence a rare thing in music - a band whose fans worshipped them, who received critical praise from all the right sources but never became over-exposed or pressured to conform - exactly what their fans wanted them to be.

Since their break-up, the success of Queens of the Stone Age and various other bands in the Kyuss family tree combined with internet file-sharing has seen the Kyuss back catalogue become more widely listened to and their fanbase has inevitably swelled. Their sound has also been continued on by descendant bands Unida, Hermano and Fu Manchu. Former Kyuss vocalist John Garcia appeared with old partner Josh Homme at a QOTSA gig in 2005 where they performed three Kyuss songs together. While rumours of a reunion may well be wide of the mark, stoners everywhere rejoiced that the chance to see Kyuss in the flesh might not have disappeared forever.

The New Era

Later bands such as Monster Magnet (pictured above) often play with stoner rock clichés: their debut was described as "the ultimate stoner goof".[1] Later bands such as Monster Magnet (pictured above) often play with stoner rock clichés: their debut was described as "the ultimate stoner goof".[1]

Debate abounds today about who qualifies as stoner music, and indeed if "stoner metal", "stoner rock" and "stoner music" are interchangeable or distinct. In a world confused by the myriad of genres, sub-genres, overlaps, collaborations and general eclecticism of the modern music scene, the question of attitude has become an important one in the minds of stoner music fans - which bands were jamming to Kyuss CD's in their garages and getting high after school 10 years ago? Commercial success has clearly visited QOTSA and Monster Magnet while Fireball Ministry are currently turning heads in stoner music circles

List of stoner rock bands

The bands mentioned so far represent a fraction of those who are significant acts in the genre. Others include, but are not limited to:

(note: This is a list of qualified bands, please check the talk page before making additions.)

Acid King
The Atomic Bitchwax
Brant Bjork
Colour Haze
Corrosion of Conformity
Electric Wizard
Fudge Tunnel
Fu Manchu
High on Fire
Karma To Burn
Masters of Reality
The Melvins
The Miracle Workers
The Mushroom River Band
Orange Goblin
Queens of the Stone Age
Scott Reeder
Slo Burn
Spirit Caravan
Spiritual Beggars
Thulsa Doom

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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