Rock is frequently a fight between the lead singer and the lead guitarist for the spotlight. Not, of course, a literal fight, especially if it involves David Coverdale, Ritchie Blackmore and a plate of spaghetti. But it’s a dynamic of the lead guitar and the lead vocal as a foil for one another that’s a big part of what makes rock exciting for me.
It’s also why I find a lot of “indie” and “alternative” guitar music less interesting, because they tend to relegate the guitar to a supporting role, with the vocals as the only source of melody and everything else purely for rhythm. It’s possibly why it’s hard for a band to do a successful indie/rock crossover, because audiences want different things. Many indie and alternative fans loathe guitar solos with a passion. Strip out the solos to appease them without putting anything else in their place, and rock fans will find the results unsatisfying.
Of course, some metal has gone the other way and marginalised the vocals in favour of the guitars. Where are today’s Ronnie Dios and Rob Halfords?