Makin’ A Mix Tape

2 06 2013

tumblr_m897iomgrl1ry1h5go1_500_large“Hope I die before I get old.” – The Who… 1965

I don’t understand that lyric now, and didn’t then. In all fairness I was a cute, little 5-year-old. So what did I know?

I delight in all types of music. My iPod carries a huge range of genres, from classical to punk rock. As I start to write this at the end of a long work day, I’m listening to Steve Forbert. But throughout the day I was visited (via shuffle) by ELO, The Black Keys, Billie Holiday, Counting Crows, Queen, Louis Prima and, of course Elvis Costello. I’m amazed at the power of music… that when a song comes on that I haven’t heard in decades, I remember the words and sing along. Stunning to me, as most days I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast!

Back to that cute, little 5-year-old…

In 65 I was already in possession of my first record album, “Meet The Beatles”… and awesome present from my cousin Mary on a visit from Ireland. I still have that record. She officially started my love for music. Much later I recognized “My Generation” as a great song but always got stuck on that famous line. According the rock legend, that verse from was written by Pete Townshend on his 20th birthday. “My Generation’ was very much about trying to find a place in society,” Townsend told Rolling Stone in 1987. “I was very, very lost. The band was young then. It was believed that its career would be incredibly brief.” Blissfully ignorant of the irony… the song is still played today by the two remaining members of The Who.

I have fond memories of Jersey shore cover bands baiting the sweaty crowds with songs like this, and the required fists punching the air to the beat of each catchphrase. “Hey! Teacher! Leave those kids alone!” or “… and this bird you’ll never chaaaange!” Great, great stuff for that point in time. Later into the 80’s, my musical tastes became more sophisticated, but no less rebellious. The songs I liked were more intense, less opus… more poetic, less anthemic.

At some point in everyone’s life they stop gobbling up new music and begin to rely on the stuff that got them this far. It happened to me in the mid to late 90’s. My kids would call it Dad’s music – I did. And I’m fine with that. Once in a while a new band or singer gets my ear, and I still love that feeling of discovery and sharing.

So I wonder what Pete Townsend thinks of that verse today. Given his long career and list of accomplishments, I’m betting he thinks it is a bit silly. Most of the things I thought about in my twenties were exactly that. Maybe he should issue a retraction!!

As for the cute little 53-year-old… after hundreds of concerts, thousands of albums and songs, I have no plans to die before I get old. Not necessarily a bold statement as I stand near that precipice. I “joked” with my son once that I was planning to be a burden to my children. He quickly assured me that I already was…

I’m reluctant to give up on discoveries I will make… musical and life. Not while there is some space left on my iPod. Maybe Jethro Tull has provided me with the epitaph I was looking for in my previous post…

“He was too old to rock ‘n’ roll. And he was too young to die.”

Let’s see those fists pumping. Wave your hands in the aaaair, like you just don’t caaaare…