Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue (But Not Into the Black, Yet).

by Michael Maynard

October 4, 2011

Dear Neil Young - it’s not better to burn out than it is to rust and you’re a prime example of that.

Yes, you and I were part of the first generation of rock’n’roll. At that time, we didn’t trust anyone over 40 and most of us thought we wouldn’t live past age 35, myself included. Who didn’t play in a rock band, however badly, but loudly, growing up?

If you told me when I was 18 whether I’d still be listening to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones when I’m nearing 60 years old, I would have told you that you’re crazy. If you told me then that Keith Richards would still be alive and a house husband raising daughters to boot, I would have thought you had been inhaling too many of the same substances that Richards once did. And if you told me that the Stones were still touring around the world, I knew that you’d had a bad LSD trip that fried your brain along the way. Yet, many of the rock legends are still performing, making great music and selling out concerts around the world.

I saw Sting (a/k/a Gordon Sumner) last night on the David Letterman show. Sting has come out with a box set retrospective of his 25 years of rock and popular music hits. Sting made a comment that took me by surprise. It’s public knowledge about his lifestyle choices: yoga, Tantric sex, vegetarianism, which many of us tried - if only because it was the “in thing” to do at the time. Sting has just celebrated his 60th birthday and says that he feelsbetter and is enjoying life now more than he ever did.

The once future of rock’n’roll, Bruce Springsteen, is 62 years old and is out on another worldwide tour. Springsteen was recently on the cover of AARP magazine. Yes, Springsteen was on the cover of the American Association for Retired People magazine.

Mick Jagger is 68 years old. He’s still the personification of cool - the band ,Maroon 5, has a hit song idolizing him, “Move Like Jagger”. He’s formed a super-band, “SuperHeavy”, featuring Joss Stone and Damian Marley, 40 and 35 years his junior. And the Stones constantly tour..

Paul McCartney is 69 YEARS OLD! And he’s getting married again, this time to a woman almost 20 years younger. No, he’s not living the life of “When I’m Sixty-Four”.

Neil Young is 66 and still an angry social activist. And he’s starting a new worldwide tour.

Sting said something on the Letterman Show that took me aback. He said he tries to enjoy his life more now that he has fewer days to be alive than he has lived previously. Thank you for stating the harsh reality, Mr. Summers.

Yes, me and my generation are rapidly becoming senior citizens, in age, but not in spirit. I still get up out of bed and think about getting ready for first period algebra class, until I hear my knees creak. But I’m comparatively much younger at this age than my parents, for which I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. My life has had its ups and downs, but whose life hasn’t when you are over 50 years old? On the whole, my life is good. Certainly, not perfect, but good.

Maybe it’s the spirit of rock’n’roll that has kept us all young and nations together. There was the recent revelation that the younger Soviet leaders listened to the Beatles and rock’n’roll in the Kremlin during the 60's. Who knew rock’n-roll may have had a greater impact on world peace than statesmanship? And it has spanned and brings together generations: the ageless wonder Tony Bennett has out an album of duets, one with Lady Gaga.

Hey, Hey. My, My. - Rock’n’roll will never die, even when Sting, Neil Young, and the rest of my generation does We will be out of the blue and into the black, but the music and the spirit that it has spawned will live on.

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