Sunday, August 29, 2010

Purple Shirt of the Week: Elvis has entered the building

I'm a big fan of the show Austin City Limits. Even the artists I'm
not crazy about I'll watch, because there is something about the
intimate nature of the show, even though I'm watching a recording of
it, that just offers a little bit more insight into an artist. Here's
a classy rocker guy I saw wearing a classy purple chapeau.

It seems that some genres of rock just breed some artists more easily
that will grow old gracefully. After all, rock and roll, at it's
heart, celebrates youth and vitality. It is easy to make rock and
roll grandpa jokes about the Rolling Stones, because their songs, by
and large, are really only appropriate coming out of the mouths of
bands much younger than them. And come on, Charlie Watts starred on
HBO as the Cryptkeeper. (See what I mean?) Do you really want to SEE
the Beach Boys sing about Barbara Ann and fast cars? Though, to be
fair, it's probably now more like a group of men at the nursing home
reminiscing about their singing group and the girls back around the
Great War. Maybe this is why Robert Plant didn't reunite with Zep
long term. Is it more appropriate for a man his age to be singing
Black Dog or Living Loving Maid, or to be singing Killing the Blues
with Alison Krauss?

Love him or hate him, I don't think you'll ever get people pointing
fingers at someone like Leonard Cohen saying "hang it up". The man
just oozes class. He's 74 years old this year, and has done just as
many drugs and drank as many Red Needle tequilas as any other man
who's been on stage since the '60s. But the man can WEAR a suit. And
still tours heavier than bands a quarter his age. (Of course, one has
to when their business partner steals all of their money...)

Saw Elvis Costello a few years ago. While he did not wear this purple
hat (and I wish he had), he was still a spitfire on stage for an hour,
all by himself. But at no point did it seem questionable for a 55
year old man to do what he was doing.

So, while one can debate that growing old in the rock and roll world
can yield questions bordering on ageism, you can't deny that some are
taking the high road and removing themselves from the equation. Or
rather, didn't write themselves into a corner when they were younger.

2 comments: said...

I am also fond of Austin City Limits! How do you like his last starring the show! I find it really hilarious and amusing!

talkingtobrian said...

Yeah, he's great. Wow, hadn't read this post in a loooong time and it resonates today.