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Age Before Beauty
March 19, 2014 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I think about that a lot these days, as now, I’m 37 and uh…I ain’t OLD like your pappy or anything, but for a guy in a punk rock band, 37 is old. This is a game played mostly by people aged 23-33. You fall on one side or the other of that spectrum, your age suddenly becomes an interesting factor in who you are and what you’re doing, particularly the farther away you get.
posted by josher71 (88 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this is why I think The National is a funny band, even though they seem to have a lot of fans?
posted by ReeMonster at 10:42 AM on March 19


I, too, think The National is kinda funny.
posted by Madamina at 10:46 AM on March 19


As a representative of an insurgent subculture, “dad” is not the greatest look.

Hey now! I… Oh. *moue*
posted by wenestvedt at 10:51 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


I wonder if Mick Jagger had thoughts like this back in 1980?
posted by Longtime Listener at 10:57 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


If you just do you, and you do it well, you will define what relevant is. If you’re trying to pretend nothing has changed, or worse, trying to grab onto something, anything at all, you’re a pathetic old loser and people will see that and be sad for you. That’s how it works.

I had a conversation today about whether to chase trends or do what makes you tick. My biz isn't the music biz but it's the same conversations we are having. It is about authenticity and about knowing who you are as a creative. And at a certain stage you just reach the point where capturing (or being) the zeitgeist just isn't authentically you because you realise capturing the zeitgeist doesn't mean anything.

Interesting link. Thanks.
posted by kariebookish at 11:00 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


I think, no, he did not.
posted by thelonius at 11:00 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


If you just do you, and you do it well, you will define what relevant is.

I'm going to list three things dumber than the widespread use of "relevant" as a term of praise. OK, here goes. Uh, one. Wait.
posted by thelonius at 11:01 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I'm always interested in these sorts of stories -- the stories of aging in a world where aging wasn't really in the cards, either because it wasn't considered or because you probably weren't going to make it.

It's one of the reasons I like the American western. It was such a long-lasting genre, and it's stars were around for so long, that it was forced to address the question of turning into an old man in the American frontier, a place where the narrative was one of gunfights and cattle skirmishes and Indian wars. What happens when you outlive them when you didn't think you would? What happens when the frontier closes and you're still around?

John Wayne was 32 when he did Stagecoach, which meant that his progression forward as a celebrity meant that he would be a middle-aged man as a movie star, and then creep toward being an old man. Matt Dillion was on the air for 20 full years, meaning James Arness was 52 when the show went off the air. So you wind up with a lot of stories of older gunmen coming to terms with their own past and with who they are going to be -- The Outlaw Josie Wales is a terrific example of this, and then, much later, Unforgiven.

And you saw this with the early rock and rollers. Some of them went on to be a sort of permanent waxwork exhibit of their early work, but many transitioned into a version of their music that had aged with them. I remember the pop music of the 70s and 80s seemed to have a lot of music written by middle aged artists for middle aged artists -- Paul Simon's work explicitly addressed his growing older, ad did Carol King's.

I suppose this interests me because I am in my mid-40s, and, like a lot of middle aged people, I am discovering that Fitzgerald's "There are no second acts in American lives" was only really true of Fitzgerald. I see the second half of my life spreading before me, and have to wonder what it will consist of, and it always pleases me when artists ask themselves the same questions.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:14 AM on March 19 [39 favorites]


but for a guy in a punk rock band, 37 is old

In 1977, you could be a guy in a punk rock band. This guy was born in 1977.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:16 AM on March 19 [9 favorites]


I wonder if Mick Jagger had thoughts like this back in 1980?

Even before, perhaps. In 1975, he famously said, "I'd rather be dead than sing Satisfaction when I'm 45."

For reference, Jagger will turn 71 this summer; that is the same age Sergei Prokofiev was when the Stones played their first gig.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:18 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


In 1977, you could be a guy in a punk rock band. This guy was born in 1977.

Oh look, it's the hipper-than-thou arbitrary line-drawing bullshit that killed punk the first three times.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:21 AM on March 19 [67 favorites]


To build on what kariebookish said, my take is that "Authenticity" is remaining true to yourself, not to some particular cultural trend. People grow and change; anyone who gets too stuck on a specific thing (such as "This is a game played mostly by people aged 23-33") becomes inauthentic because they're stuck in that mode of thinking, not because they got older.

This essay strikes me as being written someone who just...well, maybe hasn't started acquiring maturity, but has maybe just stumbled onto the concept of "maturity" (as opposed to "callow youth"), and hasn't quite sorted himself out yet.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:23 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


killed punk the first three times.

I get to do that. I was there the first time.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:24 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Unless you were a member of Crass, you're making decisions above your station.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:35 AM on March 19 [11 favorites]


The whole age thing in music is just bizarre.

I have a friend who's 57 and has a full time, longtime day job in a respectable professional career where he leads a group of other fully developed professionals. But because he identifies primarily as A Musician (sic) and his professional environment deals exclusively with music, he cannot bring himself to divulge his age to nearly anyone. Certainly he would never dream of being forthright about his age with his direct working group. I can't decide whether it's hilarious or just sad.

On the other hand, he has enormous respect for another musician he's worked closely with who is a woman about to turn 70, who's still productive and innovative and full of energy and glamour...

Reminds me of the quote attributed to John Wayne, to the effect that at first you lie about your age and then you start to brag about it!
posted by Sublimity at 11:39 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I'm 42 and I often find myself pleasantly surprised at how many young kids don't seem to judge me too harshly for it. Post-1960s there just isn't that unbridgeable gap between 'us' and 'them' in terms of age any more. I just wish I could still drink heavily.
posted by colie at 11:40 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


I've really loved The Falcon and The Lawrence Arms, but haven't really kept up with them lately. His post on how to succeed in a band is a good read. I liked this excerpt:

To get back to hospitality for a sec, if you’re a headlining band, hook up your touring openers. They’re out there not making much money or getting much in terms of hospitality, you should be nice and let them share your beer and deli trays and shit. If you’re out with just one band, every once in a while, get em a room at your hotel so you guys can hang without them having to sell blood for gas.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:58 AM on March 19


"The difference between a real punk and a fake punk simply comes down to lived experience. Teenage gutter-punks think that their stories of living in a car for two months when their asshole dad kicked them out are the most righteous tales of punkness in history, but it only takes a real punk thirty seconds to live in a car for two months."
posted by Iridic at 12:02 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


He's about 6 weeks younger than me and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
posted by chillmost at 12:03 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


Two words: Iggy Pop.
posted by billiebee at 12:03 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I wonder if Mick Jagger had thoughts like this back in 1980?

Oh, I think inevitably. People went on and on and on about the Stones being old has-beens back then. It's interesting to read this Rolling Stone piece on a Stones tour from 1975, a surprising amount of which is about whether Jagger is still young enough to cut it, with a clear implication that he can't keep doing it much longer. Jagger was 32 at the time.
posted by yoink at 12:09 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


"The difference between a real punk and a fake punk simply comes down to lived experience. Teenage gutter-punks think that their stories of living in a car for two months when their asshole dad kicked them out are the most righteous tales of punkness in history, but it only takes a real punk thirty seconds to live in a car for two months."

So my takeaway from this is that being intensely anxious is the way to be punk best of all, because sitting in my car wondering when the rain will letup long enough for me to dash inside is like living in my car for two months.

Woo devil horns I'm punk as fuck!
posted by winna at 12:09 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Mick Jagger had thoughts like this back in 1980?

I seem to remember a lot of "Can the music of youth survive middle age?" articles around that time. Especially when Lennon turned 40.

At the time 40 seemed impossibly old to me.
posted by octothorpe at 12:15 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I really like this article, thanks. Could have done with a bit less profanity, though.

There is one thing I couldn't figure out even after reading three times (and looking up 'labret'); is he saying James Hetfield is cool... or not?

posted by mmrtnt at 12:16 PM on March 19


You know, blues, R&B and country singers don't get all neurotic about this (last night I saw an over-50 Rosanne Cash and she was great). Maybe rock and roll needs to ditch the youth obsession already.
posted by jonmc at 12:17 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


Anyone else remember the Internet navel-gazing around When I'm 64 when McCartney turned 64?
posted by Itaxpica at 12:18 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I get to do that. I was there the first time.

"No, I think you had two fifties and moved right into the seventies."
— Annie Kinsella
posted by yerfatma at 12:19 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


but it only takes a real punk thirty seconds to live in a car for two months.

My takeaway from this is that a real punk can get a crappy old 70's station wagon with fake wood paneling and a missing hubcap up to within a hair's breadth of the speed of light.

I am so horrible at being punk. Just awful.
posted by Naberius at 12:29 PM on March 19


Shut up, shut up, shut up!!! Some of us are turning 33 in a few weeks...
posted by Sys Rq at 12:43 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


When my kids were young teens (in the aughts), I used to take them to the clubs (9:30 and Black Cat in D.C.) to see punk bands. I was the oldest audience member by several decades, but no one made anything of it -- all the kids were cool.
posted by JimDe at 12:45 PM on March 19


Some of us are turning 33 in a few weeks...

Over-50 MeFites: "That's cute."
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:12 PM on March 19 [18 favorites]


Sadly, Rock and Roll as a genre is "old people music" to a certain extent these days. Makes it easier for those of us who are 30+ to keep doing it, but it's not exactly what "the kids" are listening to these days, at least not like it was in previous generations. There are still lots of cool kids into rock, but plenty more for whom it's just another genre, and not a defining "this is *my* music" thing.
posted by stenseng at 1:15 PM on March 19


Shut up, shut up, shut up!!! Some of us are turning 33 in a few weeks...

Pretty soon you'll be Long Playing.
posted by yoink at 1:33 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Just another unintended consequence of people living longer healthier lives through chemistry, good habits or whatever. American lives not only have second acts, they're working on thirds.
posted by tspae at 1:37 PM on March 19


... they're working on thirds.

In more ways than one.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:51 PM on March 19


Play Salieri.

Iggy Pop QFT.
posted by petebest at 1:53 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


There are still lots of cool kids into rock, but plenty more for whom it's just another genre, and not a defining "this is *my* music" thing.

I suspect some of that is because the meaning of the word "rock" means different things to different people. When I was in high school in the 90s, "rock" was people like Bryan Adams. See, we listened to Grunge, or Metal, or Alternative. Which in retrospect is all pretty much the same damned thing, but at the time it meant so much to be into that and not "rock"
posted by Hoopo at 1:54 PM on March 19


American lives not only have second acts, they're working on thirds.

Well it's sort of a derail but it's actually pretty relevant- my understanding (which I thought was the general understanding, which is why I'd expect a playwright to know it) is that he was talking about a 3-act play structure, and referring to himself. He went from 0-60 very early in life, was a young famous writer who immediately proceeded to spend the rest of his life hitting the wall, in slow motion, tragically drunk and unable to write. Rise and fall, no gradual maturing, no time to enjoy it, nothing in between.

So either you're young, or you're out of it. Being mature- in your late 30's, in a band, but not rich and famous, or dead - is a weird place to be in the culture.
posted by hap_hazard at 1:56 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


A lot of the punk bands I saw in the early/mid 80s were just a couple of years older than I was at the time. 23 was considered on the old side. But it was a different time, people didn't expect to make a career out of playing punk rock as they do today.
posted by cazoo at 1:58 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I suspect some of that is because the meaning of the word "rock" means different things to different people. When I was in high school in the 90s, "rock" was people like Bryan Adams. See, we listened to Grunge, or Metal, or Alternative. Which in retrospect is all pretty much the same damned thing, but at the time it meant so much to be into that and not "rock"


In this context, I mean rock to be pretty much any guitar-centric music - anything primarily consisting of a core arrangement of electric guitar(s)/bass guitar/drum kit type thing.
posted by stenseng at 2:00 PM on March 19


I'm in my 40s and I put a 40 song album together last year, full of goofy shit.
posted by PHINC at 2:07 PM on March 19


Taking my son to Berlin for his birthday last year I found myself king of the dancefloor
in the clubs: The kids would by me beers then line up for a photo shoot with me.
A lot more fun than going out here at home (Stockholm).
But I was a year younger then.
Now I'm pushing it. 73 fer chrissake.
posted by jan murray at 2:12 PM on March 19 [10 favorites]


I would like to hear more about these over 50 people around here. Because of, um, wisdom. And respect! And not this whole '33' thing.
posted by Sequence at 2:13 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Even before, perhaps. In 1975, he famously said, "I'd rather be dead than sing Satisfaction when I'm 45."

maybe he just meant he hoped that by 45 he would be able to get some satisfaction, because up til then he couldn't get no.

I mean rock to be pretty much any guitar-centric music - anything primarily consisting of a core arrangement of electric guitar(s)/bass guitar/drum kit type thing

I get that, but "rock" has been changing significantly in regards to the core instruments used too. Guys like Nine Inch Nails are firmly under the "rock" umbrella and have no shortage of songs where it's drum machines and synths and no guitar (or at least not leaned on heavily). And he's been around for ages.
posted by Hoopo at 2:13 PM on March 19


I had an interesting conversation with a 40-something former indie rock star friend of mine who was amazed that I, at 37, still listened to new music. He felt entirely unable to metabolize anything post-1990's. I, on the other hand, have had a growing appetite for new music for the last decade.

Also, I don't feel big, gross and old. Maybe that is part of it?
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:42 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


...just keep rockin'
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:00 PM on March 19


Having passed the Crone Threshold at 40 a few years ago (well, I assume that's where it is; maybe it's at 50. I still haven't gotten my black shawl and sensible shoes in the mail) I still like new music, so long as it's not utter shit, and even utter shit is sometimes catchy enough I'll hum to it.

Here's the thing though, when I was a kid I was into all kinds of weird music, although I knew the current hits because you could not escape them, and some of them weren't horrible anyway. But my friends would bitch if I tried to make them listen to anything that wasn't a current hit. "Ew you like that old stuff?" was a common refrain, or "This is weird, let's put Madonna back on."

So really, lots of people were always old farts, it just took a few decades for them to look the part. Most people still think I have weird musical taste, and I do, and it has nothing to do with age. Having never been hip, I am free from worrying about losing my hipness.
posted by emjaybee at 3:06 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


The problem I have with music now that I'm in my mid forties is that there's just so damn much of it. I'm constantly listening to and downloading and buying new music, but I'm sipping from a firehose. Thanks Obama.
posted by Auden at 3:12 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


You can't trust older people's preference for the music they listened to when they were 20 because they were just young then and can't see past the gauze of Youth. No, instead you should blindly love what young people are listening to now...when they're...er...20.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:14 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


This article correctly identifies that there is something incongruous about being in a "punk" band today in 2014, yet he is not sufficiently self-aware (and insufficiently literate) to express what it is like being a member of Beatlemania. We were wise to pre-arrange the ridicule of people who would perform historical re-enactments of Punk.

Despite my better judgment, I decided to take another look at his semi-literate screed, and informed by the comments here, I am still unable to tell how the author feels about playing in the Lawrence Welk band.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:32 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


As I slip through the sky in my Lear, quaffing Dom Perignon, I am reminded of "Meet the new boss Same as the old boss". Age, for example.
posted by breadbox at 3:33 PM on March 19


We were wise to pre-arrange the ridicule of people who would perform historical re-enactments of Punk.

Oh for... I'm kind of tempted to create a stunt account called Bitterest Oldest Punk, but I'd rather spend the 5 bucks on beer, so...

Yeah punk is dead, but the kids don't know it, but yeah they do (I remember seeing 'punk's not dead' t-shirts no later than '84, probably they were around in '77 too but I was 11, oh well.) As a revolution, it failed except for making bondage pants seem socially acceptable for about 10 minutes and giving John Lydon some kind of lifetime sinecure.

And the tragedy is that stuff like the Raincoats, and X-Ray Spex never got a foothold, because before it got turned into a musical genre as such, punk was a pretty big tent. (Or in the US, yes the Ramones but also Television and Richard Hell in general and Suicide and a whole bunch of other people who never went on to influence Green Day, probably.)

But then it turned into a musical genre, and them's the breaks. Be all prescriptivist if you wanna, scoff at 13-year-olds in Misfits shirts- lord knows I do- but seriously, there's something there that some people seem to need, and good luck to 'em! Alls I know is if you can go to a Fucked Up show and not have a good time, then you might want to recalibrate whether it's you or 'punk' that's currently deceased.

The elephant in the room in all of this is that music doesn't really drive the culture any more, and rather than circling our antique wagons, rehashing arguments older than most of the people on this website, people of an age or disposition to really give a shit about it ought to feel the solidarity instead. Because out there in the world it just doesn't seem to mean that much any more to that many people.

apropos of nothing, whoa, Bob Forrest is still alive?
posted by hap_hazard at 3:59 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I'm going to list three things dumber than the widespread use of "relevant" as a term of praise.
This is great. One less adjective I have to worry about.
posted by surplus at 4:06 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


1980. That was 2 years after the Stones went disco.

Nah. I don't think Mick spent a lot of time worrying about aging then.
posted by surplus at 4:09 PM on March 19


Back in my day, we used to crank up some static on the wireless and smash crockery over each others' heads, that was punk. And instead of you having a Mohawk, Bing Crosby fans would cave your skull in with a 9-iron, and you'd love it! But then along came the Victrola and that whole 'recorded music' fooforaw and it ruint everything! Blaargh!

posted by BitterestOldestPunk at 4:09 PM on March 19 [+] [!]

posted by hap_hazard at 4:20 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Nah. I don't think Mick spent a lot of time worrying about aging then.

That seems a non-sequitur. Surely the Stones "going disco" was definitive proof that they were worrying about aging?

And "Miss You" is a great song, disco or not. The whole of Some Girls is drenched with a kind of ubi sunt consciousness of having played the string out to near the end, actually. The song "Some Girls" itself is anything but a young man's song. The cover of "Just My Imagination"--itself already a profoundly wistful song--encodes a sense of time having slipped away, and gestures towards the Stones' origins as a band covering black American music: the unrequited yearning of the lover in the song becoming a kind of proxy for the young white British boys' yearning for an alternate cultural reality back in the early 60s.

I think in many ways that realization of being somewhat out of time (in more than one sense of that phrase) is what makes Some Girls the last really good Stones album and something of sad road not followed in their later career, which seems all about living in almost complete denial of their advancing age and increasing cultural irrelevance.
posted by yoink at 4:25 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


This article correctly identifies that there is something incongruous about being in a "punk" band today in 2014, yet he is not sufficiently self-aware (and insufficiently literate) to express what it is like being a member of Beatlemania

I don't understand why punk gets this treatment, and not, say, rock or hip hop. No one says "Look at this guy, rapping. It's 2014! Melle Mel did that in 82, poseur" or "you don't play 'rock', I was there for Chuck Berry and you weren't even born so you're just playing dressup." My theory is that it has something to do with insufferable bores.
posted by Hoopo at 4:37 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I dunno.I saw the 'old fart' stones in '89 at Shea Stadium and it was still pretty amazing. Was it like being there in '69? Probably not, but so what? I've seen several of the old guard classic rock acts live (ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, KISS) and they all gave it their all and left a satisfied audience. FWIW. (and what are these bands supposed to do anyway, go work as WalMart greeters? They get paid (handsomely) to play rock and roll live, which is fun as hell anyway. Why shouldnt they keep doing it?
posted by jonmc at 4:53 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


A thread on aging rockers needs this Grinderman.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 4:55 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why punk gets this treatment

My perspective, which is probably totally wrong, is that it's a stagnating and shrinking subculture, music genre and style of fashion. It would be like being in a "goth" band in 2014 (of course some "goth" is rooted in the punk family tree).
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 4:56 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Why shouldnt they keep doing it.

No reason at all, but there's also not much reason for me to care that they're still doing it. Whereas I can imagine all kinds of much more unpredictable projects they could have taken on that would have, of course, played to a much smaller audience, but would also have been both much more artistically fulfilling for them. I mean, they never talk with any particular passion about any of their last several decades worth of albums. Surely they were all as rich as God anyway--why not do something they found really interesting and challenging rather than just turning out yet more "stuff that sounds like a Stones album"?

Mind you, I'm talking about what they did in the studio more than I'm talking about their live act, so we might be talking past each other.
posted by yoink at 5:01 PM on March 19


Mind you, I'm talking about what they did in the studio more than I'm talking about their live act, so we might be talking past each other.

Thre you go. I don't think the Stones will do another Exile on Main Street (although who the hell knows), but on stage they still brought it, at least back then.

But maybe the Stones arent the best example, but plenty of old classic rock (and punk rock, and indie rock and R&B and whatever are still making the rounds and they'll still rock you out if you give them half a chance.
posted by jonmc at 5:08 PM on March 19


I decided to visit my least favorite Web site in the world and grab a handful of names from the front page to see how their age representation was faring at this exact moment. I came up with:

Daft Punk (39, 40)
Wu-Tang Clan (44, 43, 47, 43, 44, 43)
Iggy Pop (66)
Tame Impala (all mid-late 20s)
Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) (37)
Twin Shadow (31)
Mac deMarco (23)
Tune-yards (34)
Craig Leon (62)
Simian Mobile Disco (34 or 35)
Owen Pallett (34)
Hannibal Buress (31)

Even if you shave off the outliers, you're still left with most everyone being pretty close to this guy's ostensibly death-defying 37. Granted, I couldn't come up with a much more stereotypically P4K list of bands if I tried, but that's what they're featuring at 0020GMT on Thursday 20 March 2014.

As cited in this relevant AskMe, I personally find it more helpful to consider the Helsinki Bus Station Theory when thinking about my work, not whether some arbitrary age group is gonna find it cool or not. That way lies madness.
posted by mykescipark at 5:20 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I'm amused by Pruitt-Igoe's comment about goths because the article immediately brought to mind the release today of the cover for the newest issue of a Goth mag - my ex, at 45, who should have worn a shirt. Still chasin' the dream, doing odd jobs, living with his parents. Bless his heart.
posted by _paegan_ at 5:42 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


No one says "Look at this guy, rapping. It's 2014! Melle Mel did that in 82, poseur" or "you don't play 'rock', I was there for Chuck Berry and you weren't even born so you're just playing dressup."

Oh my god, except they totally do. I've heard the first one almost verbatim. Rap nerds are no less relentless in their snobbery than anyone else. And my dad would have replaced "Chuck Berry" with "The Beatles" but otherwise the sentiment would be identical.

These threads always make me, a person of early 30s-ness, want to paraphrase Homer Simpson.
"I can't like HIS music. I can't like my OWN music. Why don't I just lay down and DIE."

Don't like things young people do! They're fake and derivative!

Don't like the original things, either, though, because those are mine and I saw it first paws off you couldn't possibly understand..

Both of which are pretty antithetical to the attitude of Brendan Kelly's article, which seems to be "hey, I totally thought that everything good would end when I got older, but it doesn't! And somehow, that doesn't invalidate every young person who exists!"
posted by like_a_friend at 5:46 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


'Miss You' is not really disco, although of course we thought it was at the time
posted by thelonius at 5:52 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


'Miss You' is not really disco,

the 12-inch extended mix certainly is/was
posted by philip-random at 6:05 PM on March 19


I've really loved The Falcon and The Lawrence Arms

Talk about burying the lede. I was probably going to skip by this one, except I thought '37? I'm 37. What am I too old for now?'

The Lawrence Arms are great. The Falcon is also very, very good. I still listen to Slapstick. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:13 PM on March 19


thelonius: "'Miss You' is not really disco, although of course we thought it was at the time"

Still sounds like disco to me. Also just about the last Stones song that I like.
posted by octothorpe at 6:23 PM on March 19


The Jolly Boys scoff at this.
posted by Tom-B at 6:43 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


A thread on aging rockers needs this Grinderman Geico commercial?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:44 PM on March 19


It would be like being in a "goth" band in 2014 (of course some "goth" is rooted in the punk family tree).

Pff. There's a group of teens in my area who just started a Goth band like two years ago, and they're going strong. There's no time like the present to go Goth. Start whatever kind of band you want, at any time, at any age. Who the fuck cares?
posted by limeonaire at 8:28 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why punk gets this treatment, and not, say, rock or hip hop.

Punk was a short-lived sociopolitical movement with major art and musical efforts, in reaction to the bleak Thatcher and Carter era of The Great Malaise. That dates it from about 1976 to 1981. Some latecomers (like the West Coast Punks) dragged on through about 84. It was the only realistic action available to kids who had no future, no money, and nothing to do with their lives: anarchy and nihilism. But the entire world was hostile to the punks, who were mostly harmless kids with nothing in their lives but misery. What else is there to do but make a lot of noise? Noise annoys.

It seems like there is an impenetrable barrier set up at about age 50, and all the punks hit it and go splat. The first I noticed was my idol Wendy O Williams, oh what a tragic story. Then there was Dee Dee, Joey, and Joe Strummer, all dead at exactly 50 years old. And the list goes on.

Darby and Sid got off easy: early. Me? I've been whistling past the graveyard for 5 years now.

I don't see how any of this could possibly apply to other popular musical genres, except maybe Hardcore, and that was an anti-Reagan political drive that pretty much fizzled out after Reagan did. Certainly there was no equivalent in rock or hip hop. Even the hippie peas and love movement didn't drive rock the way Punk did.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:39 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Oops. YouTube links commercials? Let's try this again.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 12:13 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


"Miss You" is inspired by disco - I think they recorded that album in New York, and Jagger was making the club scene hard - but I think the drums keep it in rock territory, since disco (circa 1978) would have a double time pulse compared to it. The four-on-the-floor and the loping octave bass line are pretty disco-like, though.

It doesn't really matter, it is a great song. I'm just interested in little details of rhythm parts, since I got obsessed with practicing bass again.
posted by thelonius at 4:50 AM on March 20


Punk was a short-lived sociopolitical movement with major art and musical efforts

In retrospect. At the time, like most musical efforts, it was an opportunity to meet members of the opposite sex and get wasted. I came across this piece from Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers this morning and it seems apropos:
". . . things turn to my thoughts on the merits or lack of in today’s pop music. Sometimes I think they want me to reassure them that they are not just turning into old assholes. Saying the same things old assholes said about them and their music. In order to determine if you’re turning into an old asshole, you have to accept the fact that the rate at which a society progresses can be measured by the rate at which it’s old assholes die or accept their irrelevance."
posted by yerfatma at 4:58 AM on March 20


Phony Iggymania has bitten the dust!
posted by thelonius at 5:01 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


I was thirty when I got in my first and only band in 1985. Half the band was over 30 the other half under 20. The mix worked for it's naiveté and experience. We lasted 10 years, toured and put out 3 albums, age almost never came up...best times of my life.
posted by judson at 9:41 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


"Miss You" is inspired by disco - I think they recorded that album in New York, and Jagger was making the club scene hard - but I think the drums keep it in rock territory, since disco (circa 1978) would have a double time pulse compared to it.

if Disco is a definition arrived at by some kind of mathematical formula, then you're probably right. If instead, it's just whatever got played to death in the discos of 1977-78 (and on relevant radio stations), then trust me that Miss You was disco as f***.
posted by philip-random at 9:49 AM on March 20


Over-50 MeFites: "That's cute."

I'm surprised the over-60 crowd hasn't given me some sort of corresponding "Bitch, please!" smackdown by now. Then again, people's reflexes do slow down when they get old...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:32 AM on March 20


Oh look, it's the hipper-than-thou arbitrary line-drawing bullshit that killed punk the first three times.

Is that what killed it? I thought it was never supposed to be an institution in the first place.

I don't understand why punk gets this treatment, and not, say, rock or hip hop. No one says "Look at this guy, rapping. It's 2014! Melle Mel did that in 82, poseur" or "you don't play 'rock', I was there for Chuck Berry and you weren't even born so you're just playing dressup."

Obviously we don’t hang out. There is a slight difference with Punk having to do with the original intent.
posted by bongo_x at 11:27 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


At the beginning, punk was awfully complicated. The punk scene in Hollywood was mostly about old movies, the punk scene in New York drew heavily from the garage rock of the 60s (a lot of the early punks listened to the Pebbled collection obsessively.) Some of it got pretty political.

Some of it probably couldn't age well -- the punk that celebrated callow youth. But if you're into trashy b-movies or leftist politics, hell, you can still celebrate that at age 100.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:31 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I guess the real question is, are we talking about a scene, a movement, a musical style or a marketing category. Because all those things are in play, but everything tends to end up as the latter, and that's not even necessarily a bad thing. But if we're going to be talking about whether entire styles of music have a shelf-life, it sure the hell isn't just punk.

Nobody knows when the blues started, but we know about 'em because when dudes started showing up all over the south with recording equipment they found a generation of guys like Charlie Patton and Son House and Skip James who'd honed their skills playing in turpentine camps and whorehouses- playing 8-hour gigs, pounding out dance music - and for some reason some of those records sold, into the millions. It was basically all over- radio killed the market- well before Robert Johnson recorded in '37. Whatever people started doing after WWII in Chicago and Detroit was, it sure the hell wasn't the same thing.

Meanwhile (arguably(!)) Ike Turner invents rock and roll in '51 with Rocket '88, and that scene lasts about until Elvis goes to Germany. It gets revived by a bunch of British fanboys, and rock (mostly without the roll) surfs a demographic wave up until they make the last 'classic rock' group, Pearl Jam, in about '92. As a world-uniting style of youth music, that's all about teenage excitement and liberation and bluejeans and whatever, it's gone and there won't be another Beatles because everybody would have to be listening to it for that to happen.

I could go on- reggae probably didn't survive Peter Tosh (I know, Bunny and Jimmy Cliff are still performing, but so is Ornette Coleman.) Speaking of which, you could easily make a case that jazz - as a scene, as a movement, as anything other than a museum piece- stopped about the time In A Silent Way came out, though I think the Marsalis' would say that most everything from bebop on was a perversion of everything Louis Armstrong meant it to be, and that's super-annoying but I can kind of see their point.

Punk was a social movement that was all about rebellion and rejection and... you do know that, like, the Jefferson Airplane thought they were actually about to start a revolution in '69 or so, and so did the MC5? Pretty sure the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, the Sonics, the Monks, Pere Ubu/Rocket From the Tombs, or Devo didn't really think so... but those impulses never went away at all. They crystallized in scenes in a couple of places, for a few years, and then either people got day jobs or died or went to jail and time happened, and whoever survived became an elder statesman or a crank (or both!)

So- everybody's right! The dudes who, when I was a teenager, were all like "Cream played my prom, you hadda been there!," were right, and I'm sure there was also nothing like seeing bobbysoxers have hysterical near-riots over Frank Sinatra, or being in Trenchtown when reggae was born, or having Darby Crash fall on top of you while he was trying to sing. But it depends on what you're trying to do- remember a period when the music 'meant something' to you, or market records, or feel like a part of a movement, or express yourself- you can do all of those things with music and be 'right' about it.

But so can anybody else.
posted by hap_hazard at 12:35 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Well, regarding this discussion, Sinatra is an interesting case. We barely remember the work he did when he was a hit among the Bobby Soxers. "It's Funny to Everyone but Me" and "On a Little Street in Singapore" don't get played anymore.

The works we now associate with him are his swinging solo and his torch song years, which both followed a decline in the late 40s, as Sinatra entered his 30s and there was a sort of general consensus that he was too old to appeal the the young people anymore. In fact, his career was restarted by his performance as Maggio, a soldier who is a little too old to be doing what he's doing, and then came a series of albums marked by songs like "In the Wee Small Hours" and "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)," which presented him as an aging, sometimes world-weary hepcat.

It was a deliberate reinvention of his earlier persona, a version that aged with Sinatra. I think this is the sort of question faced by aging punkers, and, hell, anybody whose early success was rooted in the idea that they were speaking to young people about being young, or speaking about something necessarily temporary.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:55 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Yes! That's why I brought up Sinatra, because it made me think about where those ideas came from, whether they were intentionally promulgated by the Music Industry, because if artists and genres are disposable and fad-driven, it makes musicians easier to exploit.

"One For My Baby," re: aging punkers- damn straight! Nothing wrong with being a saloon singer.

Or living past 27 or so. I fucking guess.
posted by hap_hazard at 1:35 PM on March 20


if Disco is a definition arrived at by some kind of mathematical formula

You do need to count to 4 to play it
posted by thelonius at 1:36 PM on March 20


It was a deliberate reinvention of his earlier persona, a version that aged with Sinatra.

Yes, exactly. A lot of people had written Sinatra off as a has-been before From Here to Eternity. Sinatra himself was so sure his career was over he attempted suicide. But then he steadily reinvented himself and produced what are now regarded as his greatest recordings--and not by simply trying to hop on the bandwagon and compete head to head with the younger crowd. I wish the Stones had been able to do a similar kind of mid-career reinvention.
posted by yoink at 1:46 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


It was the only realistic action available to kids who had no future, no money, and nothing to do with their lives: anarchy and nihilism.

Yeah, none of these apply today, that's for sure. That only happened the once. /s

What's the average debt load of a college grad again...? And the unemployment rate among young non-college workers is....?
posted by like_a_friend at 11:34 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


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