Check out a typical ’50s rock and roll movie and you’ll see teenagers…usually portrayed by actors who look to be 25 or 30…and parents who just don’t get all this wild gyratin’ and hip shakin’ that’s corrupting the young folks. There’s a generation gap as wide as the Grand Canyon.
The intention was to suggest than anyone over 40…or maybe 30…couldn’t possibly like music that teens were buying: Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and, likely the squarest rock and roller in history, Bill Haley. The Comets rocked but Haley was rather stiff, especially in movies like Don’t Knock the Rock.
Many rock fans my age haven’t listened to anything new since Guns ‘N Roses. Appetite for Destruction was released in 1987, when I was 25 and on the verge of aging hipster-ism. I remember carpooling with a lady who was four years older than me and, when I popped a cassette into the car deck and Def Leppard blasted from the speakers, this woman turned to me and said, “How old are you, 16?”
So, by my mid-20s, I was apparently too old for modern rock.
I wasn’t ready for Phillip Glass…or even Phil Collins (never will be) but in true rock and roll fashion, I thought “fuck it.”
Check out my CD collection and you’ll see albums by Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Green Day and Evanescence. I was 41 the first time I heard Amy Lee singing Bring Me to Life and I thought it was awesome. A powerful soprano voice soaring above hard rock guitars…heaven to these ears!
But i’m not supposed to like that, am I? No, thanks to focus groups I must live and die with classic rock radio and play air guitar to the same 200 songs every week. Yes, classic rock. The format that makes you hate songs you used to love. Fuck classic rock. I cherish Won’t Get Fooled Again, Layla, Free Bird, Walk this Way, Hotel California and Sweet Child O Mine. I don’t want to hear them every day.
I am not, to paraphrase Lenny Kravitz, going to go their way (and he’s probably considered to be classic rock, as is Nirvana).
When folks who have rocked gently and slowly into the next phase of life accuse me of being an aging hipster it must mean I’m a fan of Kanye West. Sorry, his voice is bland and, other than the Elvis of his day…Eminem…and some old school rap by Public Enemy and Cypress Hill, I haven’t really gotten into hip hop.
No, I am a music lover. Doesn’t matter if it was recorded in 1949, or 2013, if it gives me a feeling of “Wow, what is that?” I want more. It’s not a desire to stay current, but an ability to appreciate current music. Well, gotta go. Lorde’s Royals is playing and I can’t get enough of that tune.