Nov 152010

So, I’m sitting at work listening to Tokyo Police Club, who I kinda dig. The reason being, they play super energetic, fun, angular pop-punk, which is kinda my sweet spot. But it brings up a concern I have (or rather a realization) that, after bands get to a certain age, I kinda turn off to them.

This is due to a number of reasons: I think once bands get to a certain age, they understandably mellow and get a larger world view, which, while I respect, I don’t necessarily want from my rock and roll. Is it that all these young bands churning out three-chord rock and singing about love in a naive way really rock in way that older bands … can’t??? Then, as these same bands age, they just don’t come to the plate with that kind of energy. I probably wouldn’t want to have dinner with these young-uns but I respect their youthful musical zeal.

Am I becoming a rock Roman Polanski? Anyone else feel the same way?


  16 Responses to “Am I a rock pervert?”

  1. BigSteve

    Yes, you are a rock pervert.

  2. This is an age-old struggle for me that’s been at the fore of my mind as I work on trying to write some new songs. I don’t feel like a kid that often anymore – not a “rock ‘n roll kid,” that is. If I could write songs about collecting baseball cards, seeing if I could hit a rock with a baseball bat over some big trees across a field at my grandparents’ farm, and doing other really nerdy things I did as a child I’d have no shortage of things to write about, but that preteen stuff is about as non-rock ‘n roll, as you are characterizing it, as my present-day attempts at writing about coaching my son’s soccer team and feeling like nothing in the world is ever black & white anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for the power and passion of youth, but it rarely rings true for me anymore.

    My son was asking me why it’s harder for musicians to write as well as they age (we’d been listening to the Stones and Dylan). I told him, when you’re younger you can get pissed at your parents and write “I’m Pissed at My Parents” with all your anger in it. You can meet a girl and write “I’m In Love With This Girl I Just Met” with all your heart in it. The girl doesn’t give you the time of day and you write “She Doesn’t Love Me Anymore” with all the regret you can muster.

    At our age, though, I’m not ever close to writing that stuff anymore. If I let myself feel things so readily to that degree I couldn’t manage my life. My wife and I had a little argument over the printer last night. Twenty-two year old me, if I even had a serious girlfriend and a printer, would have found some time to myself to blast her AND the printer in song. The song would have kicked ass, and I would likely have been so empowered by my new song that I would be a complete dick for the next couple of days and end the relationship. These days I need to process that stuff a different way – and then finding a way to turn my hissy fit over a jammed printer into a meaningful, powerful song that will not overpower my actual life and cause the end of our marriage? I don’t know if I have those powers.

    As a listener, then, I also find myself failing to be impressed by the stance of young rockers as readily as I used to. I wish I could remember what I was listening to recently – some new band that had a good deal of passion. At first I was into it, and then I started to think, “Grow up, dude! It’s not that bad.” Sometimes I wish I could get carried away by that stuff, but when I look and listen hard enough I find that I can stumble across the occasional song by an older artist that speaks to who I am today. Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that most of the stuff I felt passionately about as a young guy still speaks to me. It’s tuning into today’s young music that I have trouble doing. More power to you, machinery, for being able to be a rock ‘n roll Polanski. It’s probably not the worst thing.

  3. misterioso

    Mmm, maybe. But I can’t say I feel the same way. I share Mod’s feeling, “I’m happy to say that most of the stuff I felt passionately about as a young guy still speaks to me. It’s tuning into today’s young music that I have trouble doing.” I don’t feel the slightest guilt or remorse over my inability to do so, since I haven’t felt tuned into it for a long time. It makes no difference to me, really, one way or the other.

    It is true that aging rockers do not have a huge body of quality work. This is one of the reasons I find Dylan’s recent records especially impressive. I think, after a long time of fighting it, and trying to make records that he thought a younger audience would like, he started again to just make records expressing what he himself wanted to express or about what he was experiencing and how he saw things at this point.

  4. machinery

    I appreciate Mr. Mod coming at this from a songwriter’s POV. And I can imagine how hard it must be to channel day-to-day angst into a song.

    I still get a kick out of hearing and digging new music, though admittedly, there are less and less bands that ring my bell. But even going through my favs, here’s my example: Although I recognize that Imperial Bedroom might indeed be Costello’s greatest, it was with a little sadness that I realized he would never be as biting as say, This Year’s Model. And I can’t bring myself to get into any new Costello. Did he get less talented? Doubtful. He’s just not writing stuff in a way I dig anymore.

    That’s probably more a knock on me than Costello.

  5. jeangray

    Dude! It’s mos’ definetly Costello, not you.

  6. Agreed. You haven’t missed much at all!

  7. 2000 Man

    I like plenty of new stuff, and I like some stuff by older artists, but I think the more successful an artist was in his youth, the more he brings less to the table in his later years. Using my favorite band, The Stones as an example, their old stuff is beyond reproach, but outside of pockets of goodness, not greatness, they haven’t been too hot since 1983 (I think Undercover is a great album, definitely one of my favorites). Some of their tours have been fantastic, but that’s different.

    But someone that never really had that huge success seems much more able to keep my interest. I like a lot of Paul Westerberg’s stuff as much as his Replacements stuff, though I don’t like his current Internet only position. Peter Case of Nerves/Plimsouls fame put out a terrific album this year called Wig, with DJ Bonebrake on drums. It’s just kick ass blues rawk. I think I like Paul Collins almost as much, but he can add some dumb stuff in with his brilliant stuff. He always was spotty, but his good stuff is just SO good!

    But the stars of the Classic Rock era have aged terribly. Really, even Dylan’s new stuff all sounds the same. Buy any one new album and you’re good. The Who have been embarrassingly bad since Keith Moon died, Paul McCartney is just awful, Robert Plant is well, Robert Plant. It’s probably because they’re still trying to write for a huge audience instead of just for themselves and their small fan base.

  8. And after you register with the rock offender database, we will know how many of you rock perverts live in our neighborhood.

  9. misterioso

    I would more or less agree that there is an apparent sameness to the sound of Dylan’s Love & Theft and Modern Times (an apparent sameness that disappears after a few listenings). Whereas Time Out of Mind and Together Through Life, for better or for worse, have their own quite distinctive sounds. This is, of course, only to consider the issue of sound, rather than the content of the songs themselves.

    I’m not quite so down on McCartney who has, I think, quietly put out a few decent records in the past decade or more. I had given up Westerberg as totally lost at one time but was wrong as he has rebounded rather well.

    On the other hand, I am fascinated–or, rather, flabbergasted–at the idea that Undercover is anyone’s favorite anything or a great record. It’s not a terrible record. I always liked the title track and a few others. They are still showing signs of effort, I will give them that. But the lack of strong songs and crappy production keep this from getting more than the (maybe) once a year airing. I would welcome your detailed opinion. Seriously.

  10. I second misterioso’s call for a detailed, dedicated thread on the topic of Undercover. You are truly the man for the job, 2K! At your leisure…

  11. alexmagic

    Undercover is better than Pipes of Peace in 1983, and both the Stones and McCartney were equally lost from 1984-1987, but I’ll take McCartney’s 1989-current discography over the Stones from the same era any day. And from 1997 to now, McCartney has a very solid batting average compared the anemic Stones output.

    I’d also be interested in an exploration of Undercover, and it’d be as good a time as any for a tie-in Once And For All thread that I’ve wanted to see for some time since a weird haircut experience where someone was playing a Stones collection that only had late-period songs on it: Once And For All – reissues, remixes and live songs excluded – what is the best Rolling Stones single from 1984 on?

  12. misterioso

    I love a good weird haircut experience story. But do you mean best Stones single or single best Stones song post-1984?

    If the former, then I think I will go with Mixed Emotions. It is not a great batch to choose among. If the latter, then more thought is required.

  13. alexmagic

    Yeah, I was thinking of actual, released singles.

    Once that was determined, a discussion of whether there were any hidden gems among the late period releases would be natural. Followed, of course, by a heated week long showdown of post Tattoo You Stones vs. post Pet Sounds Beach Boys, capped by a Harlem Shuffle vs. Kokomo deathmatch.

  14. GAME ON! See the new post I just launched in honor of this brilliant concept. Thanks!

  15. 2000 Man

    Harlem Shuffle vs. Kokomo death match? Wow that’s gonna be a slow, slow death (as Roy Loney might have put it).

    I’ll write up why I like Undercover so much, no problem. I’ll even include some sound and video if I can find the video. That singles challenge is gonna be tough, though. There’s better songs on the albums than the singles, but that’s not the question, is it?

  16. Very interesting Mr M. One thing I’ve observed is aging rockers tend to take themselves too seriously. A good example is Sting. I can’t listen to him anymore.

    I have the opposite reaction to your explanation to your son although I get your point. When I was 20ish and in love, I couldn’t think of anything else to write about. I wanted to be more insightful, clever and worldly but all I could think about was booty. I also lacked discipline. So often getting high will spark the inspiration needed to stumble onto a really good melody, lyric or concept. That’s great but without the discipline to work that magic into a tangible result it’s useless. For me, I feel like I’m a way better song writer now than ever.

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