What Are Rock Musicians?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Rock musicians are people who play musical instruments or sing music created within the rock and roll genre. These people may make their living by playing such music, though many rock musicians are hobbyists or semi-professional musicians who play music as a part time job or even occasional occupation. The specific instruments these musicians will play can vary significantly, though guitar, bass, and drums are perhaps the most common instruments associated with the rock and roll genre. Piano and keyboards are also commonly played by musicians of the rock genre.

Within the genre of rock and roll, the rock musicians may blend many different styles of music to develop a distinct sound. Rock and roll is derived from other genres such as the blues, jazz, and even gospel, and the genre constantly evolves to introduce new sounds and talents. Sub-genres within the rock and roll genre exist as well, further narrowing the type of music rock musicians will play. Examples of sub-genres include alternative, nu-metal, folk rock, emo music, and so on. Many of these genres are also powered primarily by guitar playing and drums, though variations are quite possible and prevalent.


Professional rock musicians often tour certain countries or even the world to promote albums they have recorded. Sometimes the musicians are signed to record labels who support the musicians while on tour, though the level to which the rock musicians are financially supported can vary. It is from this touring, often on a shoestring budget, that the term "Rock and Roll Lifestyle" comes from: this lifestyle can be difficult, tiring, and nomadic. Drugs and alcohol, as well as sexual promiscuity, are practices often associated with rock musicians living the Rock and Roll Lifestyle.

Musicians in the rock genre often form rock bands, which are collections of musicians who play together to create a distinct and unique sound. Each musician in the band will play at least one instrument, or they may sing, and many musicians in the band may be multi-instrumentalists. It is common for rock bands to start as garage bands, playing for fun or for practice for a bigger career move by playing in a small space that is often rent-free or very inexpensive to rent. Garage bands are known to be amateur bands, though many have aspirations to grow success from these humble beginnings. This process has become sort of a mythology of rock and roll, with many of the most famous bands in the world starting just this way.


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Post 3

Picture a rock musician in your head. Let me guess, it is a man. Figures. The sad simple truth is that we still have a tough time accepting the idea of a female rock musician. It is harder for all girl or female fronted bands to get record deals, large concert stages, radio play and press coverage. And when they do get coverage it is often more for their looks than for their musical chops.

Rock music has always been very sexist and this is unfortunate because the feelings and ideas expressed in rock are universal. And if there is any doubt the women can rock just look at all the great examples, Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, Heart, Courtney Love and recently the Joy Formidable. Girls can bring it just as hard as boys.

Post 2

For me Axel Rose from Guns and Roses will also be the quintessential rock star. He was wild, crazy, unhinged and boy could the guy sing. When he was up on stage you could not help but stare at him. He was like this ball of energy radiating out into the crown.

I was a huge GnR fan back in the 80s and I saw them live a half a dozen times. They were always amazing. I have been really disappointed to see how much Axel has let himself go. He is a shell of his former self and not much of a rock star at all.

Post 1

When people think of rock musicians they often think of wild guys with long hair, guitars and hair down to their wastes. And while these guys are rock starts for sure, the title actually encompasses a number of different looks and styles. There are the outsized rock musicians of the 80s that we often think of.

But there are also quite, small sensitive looking men and women who play what can only be called rock music. You might mistake them for librarians but they are certainly rock musicians. My point is just that there is not one kind of rock musician. Anyone can be a rock start no matter how they dress or act.

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