Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Older Musicians: Keepers of a Lost Art

I was recently talking to a friend of mine, a musician, who lives in Buffalo, now. We used to be in an original band together, in the late 80s.

(The pic to the left is a cover band I was in in the 90s -- different one.) 

We were talking about the irony of how we work more now than we did as young musicians. (In fact, we are borderline working too much for comfort with our day jobs.) On one hand, this seems surprising. On the other, it's not, at all.

We're keepers of a lost art. Kids rarely form bands in high school, now. Why? There are no bands for kids to look up to -- not in the popular lens. (I know there are a ton of you who can point me to good and even great indy bands -- I believe you that they are out there. But kids don't always see them. Growing up, I couldn't throw a Wiffleball over my shoulder without hitting a great band on the head: Journey, Genesis, Rush, The Police, U2...even bands I wasn't particularly into were bands who could play their instruments and who wrote their own stuff: Zep, VH, Heart, etc, etc...)

Who's going to inspire a kid to play an instrument now? Taylor Swift? Lady Gaga? Ed Sheeran? Sure, they are good enough pop musicians, but...musical inspirations? I heard Neil Peart play on "Tom Sawyer" and asked my parents for a drum set that afternoon after school. My friends heard Eddie or Jimmy Page and had to pick up a guitar. My dad heard Harry James and started on a trumpet his parents couldn't really afford.

So, of course we're working. Where else is live music, outside of $300 (plus) seats in stadiums going to come from? Are you well-off enough to fly out to Vegas and pay $1,000 to see U2 at The Sphere? Cool. I'm not.

You can play the old records over and over, but we're out there delivering a living history show. We're recreating the magic of musicians playing together and moving air with our voices and our "axes." And maybe moving you to move, too.

So keep hiring us, because when we croak, you're out of luck.

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