Black Rock city, the hub of Black Rock culture, is home to a vast array of iconic artists.
But it is also home to the only surviving black rock concert in history, the infamous Black Rock Revue in 1972.
The venue, where a band called the Black Rock Stars performed from 1973 to 1981, has been in the spotlight since its demolition in 2017.
But this year, an artist who is perhaps best known for his solo music has made the trek from his home in Los Angeles to Black Rock and brought his passion for the music and the art of rock to a larger audience.
“When I started out, I was a little more of a hardcore punk,” says R.E.M. frontman James Hetfield.
“I started out in Los Angles with a bunch of people that I didn’t like.
And I wanted to go out and have a blast, so I kind of started going to places like that.”
Hetfields roots in the 90s Black Rock Era are rooted in punk, which was born out of an underground scene that existed at the turn of the millennium.
These bands, which included The Breeders, Black Flag, The Monkees, the Ramones, and many others, would travel the country and perform in venues like the Paramount Theatre in Los Alamos and the Fillmore in San Francisco.
But their sound was not as melodic and aggressive as the bands of the time.
“That was definitely something I didn/didn’t want to do,” Hetfords self-titled debut album says.
“It was very much a punk band at the time, but I was definitely not a hardcore fan.
It was more a grunge sound.
I wanted the kind of sound that a punk would have, but also a very mellow sound.”
HETFORD’S ORIGINAL MUSIC Hetford grew up in the South, and as a teenager, he spent time in the music scene at his high school in Los Feliz.
After graduating high school, he began working as a recording engineer for a band, and he got his first job as a drummer with the band, The Black Rock Cowboys.
He later worked with The Monkeys, who were on the verge of making the transition from punk to rock and roll.
“At the time we were doing the whole punk thing, and it was kind of the hippie phase of punk, so it was like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna be rock n roll people now,’ and I was like ‘That’s great, man,'” Hetridge says.
When the band started performing at local venues like Fillmore and the Paramount, Het fended off the pressure to be the rock and Roll of the 80s.
“There were all these clubs, and they were like, you gotta play in this big arena with these big sound systems, you have to be able to dance and sing,” Hett says.
“[At Fillmore] they had a bunch more equipment than I did, and I just kept trying to do the same thing.”
Hett remembers one night when he went up to the stage with a drum kit and a guitar, only to be met by the crowd of people who didn’t recognize him.
“They were just like, Who the hell are you?,” Heter says.
He remembers that feeling of being ignored and misunderstood.
“So I just sort of tried to be like, I’m here to give this stuff to you,” he says.
Eventually, Hett and the band moved to a new venue in Los Gatos, which became known as Black Rock Village, and continued to tour.
Het was still living in Los, but he had his band and was still a part of the scene.
“One of the songs that we recorded for Black Rock was called ‘Satisfied,’ and we played that on the radio, and the song was so popular that we decided to tour it,” Hette says.
The band had a very diverse lineup, but they didn’t play many concerts together.
“We were always touring and working with different artists, but there was never any real real close relationship, and that was very liberating for me,” Hetz says.
HET FANS IN LA The most recognizable face in the rock music world is James Hett, who has had a huge influence on pop, jazz, country, and hip-hop.
He was born in 1965 in Los Los Angeles and raised in the East Bay.
Hett had a dream of becoming a singer and guitarist, and when he was 10, he got a gig as a guitarist in a band at a garage in Hollywood.
After the band disbanded, Hetz spent a year in school before moving to Los Angeles.
He went to UCLA and became a student of the music of Bob Marley, Prince, and The Doors.
“If I was going to make it to college, I wanted it to be a very creative environment,” Hets self