Rockers dépendants: faut-il les prendre chez soi ? (Aging rockers: How far can you take youthful rebellion and age denial when you’re way past your expiration date and qualify for senior discounts?)

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/t1/q71/1604780_10151906148861219_1924074961_n.jpgHope I die before I get old. (…) Why don’t you all fade away ? The Who
Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights. Roger Waters
I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they [the Palestinians] are treated.  Johnny « Rotten » Lydon
We’ve arrived at this happy situation for several reasons, among them the growing realization, as articulated by John Lydon, that there is something absurd about boycotting Israel when the states that surround it engage in egregious human rights violations. Waters won’t play in Israel, but he was quite happy to play in Dubai in 2007 – an Arab city almost entirely built by slave labor imported from Muslim countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. If other stars grasp the appalling hypocrisy this represents, then having Roger Waters indulge his hatred of Israel at every opportunity is a price worth paying. Ben Cohen
It’s like hearing that your grandparents still have sex: bully for them, but spare us the details. (…) After 40, it’s time to lose the sequins, unless you’re Liberace. The NYT
I hate the idea of attending a show just for the morbidity factor: ‘This guy is so old /so ill we might not see him again.’ Marianne
I will donate $1,000 to #121212Concert if Roger Daltry  buttons his shirt. Alan Zweibel (comedy writer, 62)
Rock stars, after all, face the same battles with crow’s feet and sagging jowls that everyone else eventually does. But their visible aging happens under the microscope, and seems somehow more tragic since they toil in a business built on youthful rebellion, and contrasts so sharply with our shared cultural images of them, frozen in youthful glory. The issue takes on added relevance for graying fans from the baby boom and Generation X who grew up taking style cues from these rock heroes (and continue to make geriatric acts like Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters some of the biggest draws in the concert business). If rock immortals can’t accept with a certain grace the ravages of time, what does this portend for the rest of us? Perhaps this is why so many of the concert’s 19 million American viewers turned into fashion critics during the show, zapping the rockers on blogs and Twitter not just for looking old, but for their occasionally clumsy efforts to appear young. The quickest route to ridicule, it seems, is for aging rockers to proceed as if nothing has changed. The truth is, years have passed, and to deny this is a form of visual dishonesty. With his shirt thrown open during a rousing rendition of “Baba O’Riley” Mr. Daltrey — a specimen for his age, to be sure — unfortunately invited comparisons to his groupie-magnet self from the “Tommy” era. In doing so, he violated an obvious dictum for seniors: keep your clothes on in public. But he is not the only offender. At 65, Iggy Pop still takes the stage wearing no shirt, just jeans, as if it’s 1972. It’s not that his body is not freakishly impressive for a man his age. Aside from a few sags and bulging veins, his torso generally looks as lithe as a Joffrey dancer’s. The problem is not the image itself, so much as the image suggested, as if these aging sex symbols are still attracting hordes of groupies to the cozy confines of their tour buses. That may well be true, of course, but when these flesh-baring rockers are men of Viagra-taking age, that’s a visual most people could do without. It’s like hearing that your grandparents still have sex: bully for them, but spare us the details. Hair is complicated for seemingly anyone over 40 — to dye or not to dye, that is question. But it is a tougher call for rock stars like Mr. Bon Jovi, whose hair has always been a key element of his brand. If, one day, the pop-metal crooner were to appear singing “Lay Your Hands on Me” sporting a professor emeritus shock of white hair, as the fellow “12-12-12” performer Mr. Waters of Pink Floyd did, would anyone heed his siren call? (I guess we should be grateful that Mr. Bon Jovi hasn’t gone the route of Roy Orbison, who maintained his jet-black coif well into his 50s, giving him the unfortunate look of an aging blackjack dealer at a lesser Vegas casino.) Given the raised eyebrows that Mr. Jagger and Mr. McCartney attract with their ever-chocolate locks (though at least Mr. Jagger’s wrinkled magnificence suggested his face had been untouched by a surgeon’s blade), it is no wonder the new tonsorial compromise of choice for aging rockers is strategic baldness. A close-cropped buzz cut or shaven head simply erases all visible evidence of follicular aging, as well as lending them a vague bouncerish tough guy appeal. It works for Phil Collins, Moby and Seal. With his shaved head, Paul Shaffer, the David Letterman foil, looked nearly as age-ambiguous playing piano behind Adam Sandler on the comedian’s “Hallelujah” parody during the “12-12-12” as he did playing in the “Saturday Night Live” house band in the late ’70s. It would have worked for Michael Stipe, too, if he hadn’t chosen to tarnish the effect with a silver Robert E. Lee beard. Ultimately, there is little to be done about graying temples or sagging jowls (short of medical intervention, anyway). This leaves clothing as the prime area for rock stars to experiment with age denial, without looking plastic. Most fading rock gods seem to intuit that overly sexualized stage outfits turn into clown costumes after a certain age. David Lee Roth, who scissor-kicked his way through the ’80s in skintight tiger-stripe jumpsuits, took the stage on a recent Van Halen tour dressed more like a groom atop a biker wedding cake: black leather pants, shiny blue shirt, black pinstripe vest. Take a lesson from Eric Clapton and his well-fitting suits: after 40, it’s time to lose the sequins, unless you’re Liberace. Sometimes, though, even a keen fashion sense is not enough to ward off the jibes. At the “12-12-12” concert, Mick Jagger took the stage in a subtly snazzy gray python jacket, a Bordeaux taffeta shirt and black jeans. The jacket and shirt, designed by his longtime companion L’Wren Scott, were a far cry from his sequined jumpsuits of the ’70s, but that did not stop the wisecracks. “Mick Jagger looks like your aunt trying to be cool at a wedding,” tweeted Gregg Hughes, known as “Opie,” the SiriusXM radio shock-jock. But Mr. Jagger, who at 69 still bounds and gyrates through unimaginably athletic, 2 1/2-hour sets, has a built-in response at the ready. As he put it long ago, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” The NYT
Unlike the bluntly bluesy garage-band sound of the Stones, Mr. Fagen’s music is a rich-textured, harmonically oblique amalgam of rock, jazz and soul. It is, in a word, music for grown-ups—with lyrics to match. What is especially interesting about Mr. Fagen, though, is that unlike most of his contemporaries, he has always made music for grown-ups. Steely Dan, the group that he co-founded with Walter Becker in 1972, never did go in for kid stuff, and doesn’t now. Jazz heavies like Wayne Shorter and Phil Woods have long popped up from time to time on Steely Dan’s albums, playing solos that don’t sound even slightly out of place. Needless to say, musical complexity is not the same thing as maturity. What makes Mr. Fagen’s music stand out is its coolly detached point of view. He knows full well that the narrator of « Slinky Thing » is a comic figure and deserves to be. Nor does he lapse into the breast-baring confessionalism that is the blight of second-rate singer-songwriters. He’s a portrait artist, and even when the subject is himself, he wields a razor-sharp brush. Mr. Fagen, who turns 65 on Thursday, is about the same age as the 69-year-old Mr. Jagger. The difference is that he acts his age. Wall Street Journal contributor Marc Myers put it well when he wrote on JazzWax, his blog, that Mr. Fagen’s music « fully embraces the male aging process, which is what makes him cool. » The WSJ
Does the music of protest have to be accompanied by bounding across the stage, gyrations and age-denying cosmetic interventions? This is not a remote issue: the “You are My Sunshine” days of sing-along music activities in long-term care settings are coming to an end. We need to think about how the next wave may want to spend their time enjoying music in groups when they are not listening to iPods or rock wall climbing. (…) Let me introduce the concept of “trait transformation” as a proposed solution that allows aging boomers to rock on without engaging in age denial. This finding in developmental psychology helps to explain how people develop and get more complex, but stay the same person. Trait transformation is the process that takes place as a result of development and maturation when a lifelong trait changes how it appears in a person’s behavior. For example, infants who were very good at following a moving picture of a human face were superior socializers at three months, but then they didn’t seem to want to follow the picture anymore. They had moved on; the trait that was being measured had transformed from tracking a picture to interacting with a human being. The Experience Corps is full of retirees who use their traits to help others although they no longer work in their old jobs. If the music boomers grew up on is still meaningful, then enjoying its essence—its many meanings—as we age will have to be available without the distractions of age-denying cosmetic overlays that the stars use. Rockers can get old and still rock on, and that will be the “new normal.” The message of the ’60s and ’70s was not about only about sexual revolution and protest, it also was about protesting the status quo that limits the diversity of individual expression of who we were and what we could become, aging rockers have much to contribute to how boomers will experience aging. If they would only accept that they don’t have to deny their aging to be relevant. For many of their aging fans, the next era of life will depart from the conformity that an ageist, declinist approach to aging dictates. You won’t need to take off your shirt or dye your hair to be an icon of cool aging or to sing songs about what was (and is) important. Because what’s cool looks different as a person ages, but cool remains a trait. Judah L. Ronch
All those matey thumbs-up gestures and ghastly peace signs. All that dated slang and frankly feeble inter-song patter. There’s an argument for saying that Paul was always that way. But the difference was that back in the Sixties that gawky lack of street cred seemed puppyishly charming. Now it looks lame and desperate – a sixtyish man trying unsuccessfully to show he’s still one of the lads. What you also notice – and this annoyance is by no means confined to Macca – is how very different the song you’re hearing sounds from the one on your old LPs. As a diehard fan – and you wouldn’t be there if you weren’t a diehard fan – you want your favourite hits to be played exactly as they are on the record. Yet the ageing rocker gives you anything but. First, he can’t hit the high notes like he once could. Second, he has played this song so many times before that he finds it demeaning and boring to do it in the old-fashioned way. Instead, he wants to show you how adventurous and inventive he still is 30 or 40 years on. And if you don’t like it – well, tough, because he’s the star and you’re not, and you should be damn grateful he’s playing it at all. Bob Dylan is a particular master of this art. I remember watching him play a set of classics including Lay, Lady, Lay, Like A Rolling Stone, and Mr Tambourine Man – and the only reason I discovered which songs they were was because I asked the person next to me. (…) But what it does mean is that the version we’ll always have in our heads is the pristine studio version from the original album, recorded when Robert Plant was a snake-hipped, leather-larynxed rock god of 23. What we don’t want to hear is the version he sang on Monday at the age of 59, when the Valkyrie shrieking of yore sounded more like a rutting bull moose. And lyrics such as « If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow don’t be alarmed now – it’s just a spring clean for the May Queen » sound a little undignified for a man well on the way to his free bus pass. It’s a cliche that rock ‘n’ roll is a young man’s game. But it’s a cliche because it’s true. Try, if you can, to think of a single rock act which has made a half-way decent album past the age of 35. I can think of only one, Johnny Cash, who actually got better the more he began resembling the Old Testament prophet he was so clearly born to be. For the majority of rock acts – harsh but true – by far the more sensible course of action if you want to be viewed kindly by posterity is to get yourself killed tragically young. (…) « Ah, but what of the Rolling Stones? » some will ask. Aren’t they still going strong after all these years? Well, up to point. But the reason we queue to see them today has less to do with their continued greatness than the extraordinary freak-show value that a band with the combined age of Methuselah can yet go on performing without the aid of respirators and cardiac nurses. Pete Townshend had it right, of course, when in 1965 he wrote « Hope I die before I get old » – lines he has lived increasingly to regret the older he has grown. Perhaps it would be too much to ask for an official culling system to be introduced, in the manner of the science fiction film Logan’s Run, where all rock stars are quietly exterminated at the age of 30. But surely they owe it to their fans and their own sense of dignity to realise when enough is enough? It’s not as though they got a particularly raw deal in life. Long before middle age, they have earned more money and enjoyed more sex than most of us could manage in several lifetimes. In return, they should accept that part of the package includes early retirement. The Daily Mail

A l’heure où, entre deux concerts anti-Israël, nos rockers viellissants ont du mal à s’assumer seuls, la question de les accueillir à notre domicile peut se poser.

Mais attention, il faut y être prêt.

Quelques conseils glanés dans la presse anglo-saxonne …

God save us from ageing rockers!

The Daily Mail

Led Zeppelin were the greatest rock band in the universe: so loud, raunchy and virile they made the Rolling Stones look like Trappist monks; so epic, majestic and inventive they made The Beatles sound like choirboys.

They were so rich, extravagant and outrageous with their private jets and TVs-chucked-from-hotel-bedrooms that they made the meanest gangsta rappers look like Steptoe and Son.

But note that use of the past tense. Led Zeppelin were the greatest rock band in the world.

But they’re not any more. Not by a mile – as the more honest among the 20,000 punters who saw them perform at London’s O2 Arena on Monday night ought surely now to have the good sense to admit.

No matter how proficient Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, the three survivors of the Seventies’ heyday, played, no matter how good it is to see them back on stage still breathing and vaguely compos mentis, there is something deeply sad and unedifying about rockers who go on rocking past their natural sell-by date.

It was something I noticed a few years ago, seeing Paul McCartney trotting through his old hits at the Glastonbury festival.

Your immediate response is pure jubilation: « I’m standing here watching Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane being performed by the actual Beatle who wrote them! » you think.

It isn’t long, though, before the niggling doubts creep in.

You notice, for example, how painfully and embarrassingly uncool this alleged rock legend is.

All those matey thumbs-up gestures and ghastly peace signs. All that dated slang and frankly feeble inter-song patter.

There’s an argument for saying that Paul was always that way. But the difference was that back in the Sixties that gawky lack of street cred seemed puppyishly charming.

Now it looks lame and desperate – a sixtyish man trying unsuccessfully to show he’s still one of the lads.

What you also notice – and this annoyance is by no means confined to Macca – is how very different the song you’re hearing sounds from the one on your old LPs.

As a diehard fan – and you wouldn’t be there if you weren’t a diehard fan – you want your favourite hits to be played exactly as they are on the record.

Yet the ageing rocker gives you anything but. First, he can’t hit the high notes like he once could.

Second, he has played this song so many times before that he finds it demeaning and boring to do it in the old-fashioned way.

Instead, he wants to show you how adventurous and inventive he still is 30 or 40 years on.

And if you don’t like it – well, tough, because he’s the star and you’re not, and you should be damn grateful he’s playing it at all.

Bob Dylan is a particular master of this art. I remember watching him play a set of classics including Lay, Lady, Lay, Like A Rolling Stone, and Mr Tambourine Man – and the only reason I discovered which songs they were was because I asked the person next to me.

If you’re really unlucky, your ageing rock band will have a new record to promote – as The Eagles had recently with their flabby, eco-breast-beating, sublimely awful Long Road Out Of Eden.

For every song you want to hear, there’ll be another introduced by those dread words « and here’s one from the new album ».

And you have to listen politely, and applaud enthusiastically at the end, when all you’re really thinking throughout is: « Oh, for Heaven’s sake! Get on and play Ziggy Stardust/Hotel California/Sympathy For The Devil/Stairway To Heaven will you? »

Ah yes, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven. Let us suppose, as many think, that it really is the greatest rock song ever written.

Is that sufficient justification for its three surviving originators – one now looking like an accountant, one like a Muppet in a white fright wig, one like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz – to creak back on stage and play it not quite as excitingly as they could in 1971, 1972 or 1973 for an audience of mostly staid, pot-bellied, middle-aged men in a smokeless environment named after a mobile phone company?

And if they insist on doing so, shouldn’t it be renamed Stannah Stairlift To Heaven?

The only proper place for Stairway To Heaven to be played live by Led Zeppelin today is in the fond, addled memories of ageing hippies.

This might seem harsh on people such as me, too young to have caught Led Zep in their heyday.

But what it does mean is that the version we’ll always have in our heads is the pristine studio version from the original album, recorded when Robert Plant was a snake-hipped, leather-larynxed rock god of 23.

What we don’t want to hear is the version he sang on Monday at the age of 59, when the Valkyrie shrieking of yore sounded more like a rutting bull moose.

And lyrics such as « If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow don’t be alarmed now – it’s just a spring clean for the May Queen » sound a little undignified for a man well on the way to his free bus pass.

It’s a cliche that rock ‘n’ roll is a young man’s game. But it’s a cliche because it’s true.

Try, if you can, to think of a single rock act which has made a half-way decent album past the age of 35.

I can think of only one, Johnny Cash, who actually got better the more he began resembling the Old Testament prophet he was so clearly born to be.

For the majority of rock acts – harsh but true – by far the more sensible course of action if you want to be viewed kindly by posterity is to get yourself killed tragically young.

Would we revere Marc Bolan nearly so much if he hadn’t driven into that tree? Would we Hell. As it was, he could barely play three chords.

« Ah, but what of the Rolling Stones? » some will ask. Aren’t they still going strong after all these years?

Well, up to point. But the reason we queue to see them today has less to do with their continued greatness than the extraordinary freak-show value that a band with the combined age of Methuselah can yet go on performing without the aid of respirators and cardiac nurses.

Pete Townshend had it right, of course, when in 1965 he wrote « Hope I die before I get old » – lines he has lived increasingly to regret the older he has grown.

Perhaps it would be too much to ask for an official culling system to be introduced, in the manner of the science fiction film Logan’s Run, where all rock stars are quietly exterminated at the age of 30.

But surely they owe it to their fans and their own sense of dignity to realise when enough is enough? It’s not as though they got a particularly raw deal in life.

Long before middle age, they have earned more money and enjoyed more sex than most of us could manage in several lifetimes. In return, they should accept that part of the package includes early retirement.

Voir aussi:

The Music Is Timeless, but About the Rockers …

Alex Williams

The New York Times

December 19, 2012

THERE was Roger Daltrey, 68, with his open shirt revealing a Palm Beach perma-tan, and abs so snare-tight that they immediately raised suspicion. (“Implants!” charged a few skeptical members of the Twittersphere.)

There was Jon Bon Jovi, 50, with his flowing mane now a shade of coppery gold that only a hairdresser could love.

There was Paul McCartney, 70, with his unlined face retaining an eerie degree of his Beatlemania-era boyishness.

Last week’s star-studded “12-12-12” concert — a showcase of retirement-age rock icons like the Rolling Stones, the Who and Eric Clapton — not only raised millions to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy, but as the “the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden,” as Mick Jagger joked onstage, it also inspired viewer debate about whether is it possible to look cool and rebellious after 50 without looking foolish?

Rock stars, after all, face the same battles with crow’s feet and sagging jowls that everyone else eventually does. But their visible aging happens under the microscope, and seems somehow more tragic since they toil in a business built on youthful rebellion, and contrasts so sharply with our shared cultural images of them, frozen in youthful glory.

The issue takes on added relevance for graying fans from the baby boom and Generation X who grew up taking style cues from these rock heroes (and continue to make geriatric acts like Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters some of the biggest draws in the concert business). If rock immortals can’t accept with a certain grace the ravages of time, what does this portend for the rest of us?

Perhaps this is why so many of the concert’s 19 million American viewers turned into fashion critics during the show, zapping the rockers on blogs and Twitter not just for looking old, but for their occasionally clumsy efforts to appear young.

“I want to re-knight Sir Paul for those next-level dad jeans,” tweeted Julieanne Smolinski, 29, a New York writer, in reference to Sir Paul’s crisp, pre-faded dungarees, which looked like Gap deadstock from 1991.

“I will donate $1,000 to #121212Concert if Roger Daltry buttons his shirt,” tweeted Alan Zweibel, 62, a comedy writer.

The quickest route to ridicule, it seems, is for aging rockers to proceed as if nothing has changed. The truth is, years have passed, and to deny this is a form of visual dishonesty. With his shirt thrown open during a rousing rendition of “Baba O’Riley” Mr. Daltrey — a specimen for his age, to be sure — unfortunately invited comparisons to his groupie-magnet self from the “Tommy” era. In doing so, he violated an obvious dictum for seniors: keep your clothes on in public.

But he is not the only offender. At 65, Iggy Pop still takes the stage wearing no shirt, just jeans, as if it’s 1972. It’s not that his body is not freakishly impressive for a man his age. Aside from a few sags and bulging veins, his torso generally looks as lithe as a Joffrey dancer’s.

The problem is not the image itself, so much as the image suggested, as if these aging sex symbols are still attracting hordes of groupies to the cozy confines of their tour buses.

That may well be true, of course, but when these flesh-baring rockers are men of Viagra-taking age, that’s a visual most people could do without. It’s like hearing that your grandparents still have sex: bully for them, but spare us the details.

Hair is complicated for seemingly anyone over 40 — to dye or not to dye, that is question. But it is a tougher call for rock stars like Mr. Bon Jovi, whose hair has always been a key element of his brand. If, one day, the pop-metal crooner were to appear singing “Lay Your Hands on Me” sporting a professor emeritus shock of white hair, as the fellow “12-12-12” performer Mr. Waters of Pink Floyd did, would anyone heed his siren call? (I guess we should be grateful that Mr. Bon Jovi hasn’t gone the route of Roy Orbison, who maintained his jet-black coif well into his 50s, giving him the unfortunate look of an aging blackjack dealer at a lesser Vegas casino.)

Given the raised eyebrows that Mr. Jagger and Mr. McCartney attract with their ever-chocolate locks (though at least Mr. Jagger’s wrinkled magnificence suggested his face had been untouched by a surgeon’s blade), it is no wonder the new tonsorial compromise of choice for aging rockers is strategic baldness. A close-cropped buzz cut or shaven head simply erases all visible evidence of follicular aging, as well as lending them a vague bouncerish tough guy appeal. It works for Phil Collins, Moby and Seal. With his shaved head, Paul Shaffer, the David Letterman foil, looked nearly as age-ambiguous playing piano behind Adam Sandler on the comedian’s “Hallelujah” parody during the “12-12-12” as he did playing in the “Saturday Night Live” house band in the late ’70s. It would have worked for Michael Stipe, too, if he hadn’t chosen to tarnish the effect with a silver Robert E. Lee beard. Ultimately, there is little to be done about graying temples or sagging jowls (short of medical intervention, anyway). This leaves clothing as the prime area for rock stars to experiment with age denial, without looking plastic.

Most fading rock gods seem to intuit that overly sexualized stage outfits turn into clown costumes after a certain age. David Lee Roth, who scissor-kicked his way through the ’80s in skintight tiger-stripe jumpsuits, took the stage on a recent Van Halen tour dressed more like a groom atop a biker wedding cake: black leather pants, shiny blue shirt, black pinstripe vest.

Take a lesson from Eric Clapton and his well-fitting suits: after 40, it’s time to lose the sequins, unless you’re Liberace.

Sometimes, though, even a keen fashion sense is not enough to ward off the jibes.

At the “12-12-12” concert, Mick Jagger took the stage in a subtly snazzy gray python jacket, a Bordeaux taffeta shirt and black jeans. The jacket and shirt, designed by his longtime companion L’Wren Scott, were a far cry from his sequined jumpsuits of the ’70s, but that did not stop the wisecracks. “Mick Jagger looks like your aunt trying to be cool at a wedding,” tweeted Gregg Hughes, known as “Opie,” the SiriusXM radio shock-jock.

But Mr. Jagger, who at 69 still bounds and gyrates through unimaginably athletic, 2 1/2-hour sets, has a built-in response at the ready. As he put it long ago, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”

Voir également:

Should aging rockers ever stop?

Joanna Weiss

Boston.com

June 20, 2013

So maybe getting old isn’t a drag after all. Last week, the Rolling Stones swung through the TD Garden on their « Fifty and Counting » tour, kicking off a Boston summer filled with what might be called vintage rock. Sir Paul McCartney is playing Fenway Park next month. The Rascals, Zombies, and Monkees are coming to town. Steven Tyler, 65, is making noise about a solo album.

On the occasion of the Stones show, Globe columnist Scot Lehigh mused on aging rockers and the people who will spend $600 per ticket to see them. At a time when 70 is clearly the new 50, long careers are something to celebrate. But does age change expectations? Does a certain kind of performance — say, Mick Jagger’s feral prance — feel different when a rocker qualifies for senior discounts? Or should rockers flaunt what they’ve got for as long as they can? Below are some thoughts on the Stones and other rockers with longevity. Add yours to the comments below, or tweet at the hashtag #stillrocking.

This could be the last time?

Lehigh mug.jpgA self-proclaimed goodbye tour is a time-tested audience-enhancer for flagging bands, but that doesn’t describe the Stones. They aren’t talking about calling it a day — not openly, at least. Their last real album, “A Bigger Bang,” was their best in years. Their recent performances have gotten deservedly strong reviews. But the-end-is-near fear hangs palpably over the band’s 50th anniversary expedition. It’s not that Mick and Keith, both 69, are old. Not by today’s standards…. Rather, it’s that they are pressing hard against our expectations for rock musicians. You can’t be skipping around the stage singing “Sympathy for the Devil” at 75, at 80…can you?

Scot Lehigh, Globe columnist

‘Swan Song Angst,’ June 19, 2013

In the Senate, they’d be in their prime

IMG_2212.JPGDianne Feinstein is 80 years old as of Saturday. But in the United States Senate, where she was just elected to another six-year-term, she’s more powerful than ever, and every bit as active. Indeed, senators are presumed to be on top of their game in their 70s, with John McCain (77 in August) leading the charge on immigration reform while crisscrossing the world on military issues. John Kerry, who just took over as Secretary of State, turns 70 in December – a week before Keith Richards, as it turns out. But Richards is the only one getting flak for continuing to work. Actually, rock stars who keep up a full touring schedule, replete with gyrating dance moves and soaring vocals, are doing everyone else a favor. They’re demonstrating that people who keep on working in their 70s aren’t in denial about their declining abilities; they’re fully engaged and just as inspired as when they were younger.

Peter Canellos, Editorial Page Editor

The Boston Globe

Unstoppable

Be kind to your fans

IMG_2213.JPGYes, the Rolling Stones should quit touring — if only as a humane gesture to their loyal fans. It’s not that the band can’t still put on a show: last week’s concerts at the TD Garden proved that. But their relationship with concert-goers has become exploitative. Scot Lehigh wrote that he went to the Stones concert partly because the band members are now so old: seeing Mick and Keith strut around on stage made the fantasy of postponing the inevitable seem feasible. Lehigh probably wasn’t the only fan who felt that way. But that turns the twilight of the band’s career into a sad spectacle — a kind of Baby Boomer coping ritual, a group rage against the dying of the light. Surely, the Stones have harvested enough money from the Boomers already that they could stop cashing in on their angst.

Alan Wirzbicki

Globe editorial writer

Don’t go for the ‘morbidity factor’

geoff edgers mug.jpgLike any true hypocrite, I’ll go see the Rascals and Zombies this summer out of curiosity. But you won’t see me at the TD Garden this week throwing down $600 plus to shuffle to “One More Shot.” Been there, done that. [My friend] Marianne wrote: “I hate the idea of attending a show just for the morbidity factor: ‘This guy is so old /so ill we might not see him again.’ ” On this one, I’m with you.

Geoff Edgers, Globe arts writer

The Stones still have it

James Reed mug.jpgTo answer the questions you no doubt have: Yes, Mick sounded great, strutted like a feral alley cat, and he’s still skinnier than you and I will ever be. Yes, Keith Richards is the most unbelievable pirate guitarist who ever lived. Yes, Ronnie Wood looks like he’s having more fun than anyone else on stage. And yes, Charlie Watts remains the underrated statesman of the band, keeping the beat and regal in a polo shirt while his cohorts looked every inch the rock stars they are.

James Reed, Globe music critic

Concert review, June 13, 2013

Voir encore:

How to Be an Aging Rocker

Terry Teachout

The WSJ

Jan. 3, 2013

What does it mean to say that a work of art is « dated »? I know people who sincerely believe that Shakespeare’s plays are dated because of the way in which they portray women, a point of view that says far more about the complainants in question than it does about Shakespeare. On the other hand, countless once-popular artists were so desperate to stay up to the minute that their art barely outlived them. An artist, however talented, who goes out of his way to be « with it » is foreordained to end up looking blush-makingly quaint sooner or later, usually sooner.

Consider, if it doesn’t embarrass you too much to do so, the rock music of the 1960s and ’70s. How much of it holds up today? I was raised on rock and took it with supreme seriousness, but most of the albums with which my high-school playlist was clotted now strike me as jejune at best, horrendous at worst. I don’t know about anybody else, but I haven’t been able to listen to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Jefferson Airplane for decades.

One of the reasons why so much first- and second-generation rock ‘n’ roll has aged so badly is that most of it was created by young people for consumption by even younger people. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing—if you’re a teenager. But if you’re not, why would you want to listen to it now? And what has happened to its makers now that they’re over the demographic hill? Have they anything new to say to us, or are they simply going through the motions?

The Rolling Stones, who recently embarked on their 50th-anniversary tour, can still play up a storm—but so what? When not recycling the hits of their long-lost youth, Sir Mick Jagger and his venerable colleagues trot out « new » songs that sound as though they’d been written in 1962.

Compare these two lyrics:

« Everybody’s talking / Showing off their wit / The moon is yellow but I’m not Jell-O / Staring down your tits. »

« We went to a party / Everybody stood around / Thinkin’: Hey what’s she doin’ / With a burned-out hippie clown. »

The first quatrain is from « Oh No, Not You Again, » written by Mr. Jagger and Keith Richards and recorded by the Stones on « A Bigger Bang, » their most recent album, released in 2005. The second is from « Slinky Thing, » the first track on « Sunken Condos, » Donald Fagen’s new solo album, which came out in October. It’s a sly, ironic portrait of a Goethe-quoting 60-something gent who is dating a considerably younger woman, much to the sardonic amusement of her friends. And which song sounds fresher? « Slinky Thing, » by the longest of long shots.

Unlike the bluntly bluesy garage-band sound of the Stones, Mr. Fagen’s music is a rich-textured, harmonically oblique amalgam of rock, jazz and soul. It is, in a word, music for grown-ups—with lyrics to match. What is especially interesting about Mr. Fagen, though, is that unlike most of his contemporaries, he has always made music for grown-ups. Steely Dan, the group that he co-founded with Walter Becker in 1972, never did go in for kid stuff, and doesn’t now. Jazz heavies like Wayne Shorter and Phil Woods have long popped up from time to time on Steely Dan’s albums, playing solos that don’t sound even slightly out of place.

Needless to say, musical complexity is not the same thing as maturity. What makes Mr. Fagen’s music stand out is its coolly detached point of view. He knows full well that the narrator of « Slinky Thing » is a comic figure and deserves to be. Nor does he lapse into the breast-baring confessionalism that is the blight of second-rate singer-songwriters. He’s a portrait artist, and even when the subject is himself, he wields a razor-sharp brush. Mr. Fagen, who turns 65 on Thursday, is about the same age as the 69-year-old Mr. Jagger. The difference is that he acts his age. Wall Street Journal contributor Marc Myers put it well when he wrote on JazzWax, his blog, that Mr. Fagen’s music « fully embraces the male aging process, which is what makes him cool. »

The British author V.S. Pritchett, who was as good a critic as he was a short-story writer, had a particular affinity for the works of novelists « who are not driven back by life, who are not shattered by the discovery that it is a thing bounded by unsought limits, by interests as well as by hopes, and that it ripens under restriction. Such writers accept. They think that acceptance is the duty of a man. » No doubt it would have surprised him to hear his words applied to a gray-haired rocker, but they couldn’t be more relevant to the music of Donald Fagen. Not only does he accept life’s limits, but he smiles wryly at them—and when he does, so do we.

—Mr. Teachout, the Journal’s drama critic, writes « Sightings » every` other Friday. He is the author of « Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. » Write to him at tteachout@wsj.com.

Voir de plus:

Aging well or just aging: The rockers of my youth

Judah L. Ronch, PhD

Itlmagazine

January 2, 2013

I was one of the estimated 50 million people who watched the “12-12-12” concert for Hurricane Sandy relief and I had two reactions. The first was that event was especially poignant because, as the New York Times reported, more than 40% of the fatalities of this storm were people over age 65. Many drowned in their homes or died when help couldn’t reach them in time to get medical care. (I think this is really a comment about aging in community vs. aging in place.) But, this is an issue beyond my ken to solve. I am not a politician or a policy person. What I am, though, is a “child who’s grown old” with rock and roll music as the soundtrack of my life, and I saw this in stark detail during the broadcast.

An article by Alex Williams headlined: The music is timeless, but about the rockers… was the second thing I reacted to. Here were the groups that helped me get through the turbulence of the 1960s and ’70s. They were largely, as Mick Jagger so aptly quipped, “…the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden.” (Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Billy Joel were there too, and while they are younger they were termed “geriatric” in the article.)

The old English musicians were about my age or younger! Williams’ article looked at the critical issue of whether it is “possible to look cool and rebellious after 50 without looking foolish.” In other words, do those aging rock stars who dyed their hair and bared their bellies have to fade away when they no longer have the youthful images that are the calling card of youthful rebellion?

There was much reaction to Roger Daltrey showing his midriff during The Who’s energetic set of classics (remember their hit “My Generation,” with the line “Hope I die before I get old.”?), and of the color of Bon Jovi’s and Paul McCartney’s hair. These and other icons were reported to have been the subjects of snarky Tweets. And Jagger still struts like he did when he was in his twenties, but it looked odd to me doing it at almost 70. So why do some aging rockers have to use age denial to perpetuate their rebellious bona fides?

Does the music of protest have to be accompanied by bounding across the stage, gyrations and age-denying cosmetic interventions? This is not a remote issue: the “You are My Sunshine” days of sing-along music activities in long-term care settings are coming to an end. We need to think about how the next wave may want to spend their time enjoying music in groups when they are not listening to iPods or rock wall climbing.

Let me introduce the concept of “trait transformation” as a proposed solution that allows aging boomers to rock on without engaging in age denial. This finding in developmental psychology helps to explain how people develop and get more complex, but stay the same person. Trait transformation is the process that takes place as a result of development and maturation when a lifelong trait changes how it appears in a person’s behavior. For example, infants who were very good at following a moving picture of a human face were superior socializers at three months, but then they didn’t seem to want to follow the picture anymore. They had moved on; the trait that was being measured had transformed from tracking a picture to interacting with a human being. The Experience Corps is full of retirees who use their traits to help others although they no longer work in their old jobs.

If the music boomers grew up on is still meaningful, then enjoying its essence—its many meanings—as we age will have to be available without the distractions of age-denying cosmetic overlays that the stars use. Rockers can get old and still rock on, and that will be the “new normal.”

The message of the ’60s and ’70s was not about only about sexual revolution and protest, it also was about protesting the status quo that limits the diversity of individual expression of who we were and what we could become, aging rockers have much to contribute to how boomers will experience aging. If they would only accept that they don’t have to deny their aging to be relevant.

For many of their aging fans, the next era of life will depart from the conformity that an ageist, declinist approach to aging dictates. You won’t need to take off your shirt or dye your hair to be an icon of cool aging or to sing songs about what was (and is) important. Because what’s cool looks different as a person ages, but cool remains a trait.

Thanks to McCartney, Jagger and the old English musicians, the beat went on. That’s the soundtrack of the boomers’ lives. What will the music in your setting be in 2030, and what timeless music will people singing along with? I expect that people will still agree with Mick: “I know it’s only rock and roll but I like it.”

Voir aussi:

Neil Young Stuns With a Spellbinding Carnegie Hall Show

The marathon set featured a wealth of Seventies classics

Rolling stone

January 7, 2014

When Neil Young walked onstage for the first of his four-night stand at Carnegie Hall, nobody in the audience had any idea what sort of show he was about to present. His previous theater tour in 2010 was a bizarre (and ultimately unsatisfying) mixture of solo acoustic and solo electric tunes, concentrating on hits and selections from his then-unreleased LP Le Noise. The last time he launched a solo acoustic tour was eleven years ago in Europe, and those crowds heard a complete performance of his rock opera Greendale, which wouldn’t hit shelves for another four months. More recently, he played a set at Farm Aid last year that consisted almost entirely of other people’s songs. If the man’s anything, he’s unpredictable.

Thankfully, Neil Young had no such surprises for the capacity crowd at Carnegie Hall. Instead, he treated them to an absolutely jaw-dropping two hour and 20-minute show that focused largely on his golden period of 1966 to 1978. He only deviated from that era for two songs from 1992’s Harvest Moon, the 1989 obscurity « Someday » and a pair of covers by Phil Ochs and Bert Jansch. The opening notes of classics « Harvest, » « A Man Needs a Maid » and « On the Way Home » sent shockwaves of recognition and joy through the crowd, who then listened to them in near silence. It was, without a doubt, one of the greatest Neil Young shows of the past decade, at least when he wasn’t playing with Crazy Horse.

The first time Young played Carnegie Hall was a two-night stand in late 1970, capping off an incredible year where he recorded Deja Vu with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young as well as his solo album After the Gold Rush. « I was pretty jacked up [that night], » he said early on last night. « People started yelling out and doing all kinds of things. I said, ‘Listen, I know what I’m doing here. I’ve been dying to get into this place. I planned it out. I know exactly what I’m going to play and nothing you’re going to say is going to change my mind.’ Then I was playing this Buffalo Springfield song ‘Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing’ and somebody yelled out from the audience and I stopped and said, ‘Shit, I lost my concentration.’ Then I left. There wasn’t going to be an intermission, but there was. Tonight I planned on an intermission. I’m much more mellow now. »

It would be tough to be less mellow than Neil Young circa 1970, but there were no outbursts last night (though Carnegie Hall’s incredible acoustics made every knucklehead’s commentary perfectly audible to the entire auditorium). « You guys finished? » he asked calmly after a group of guys refused to stop demanding loudly that he play the extreme rarity « Don’t Be Denied. » « You paid real money to get in here, so you should be able to listen to each other. I hear a little voice, ‘Be nice, be nice.’ Thank you, sweetheart. »

Much like his stellar 1999 solo acoustic tour, there was a chair in the center of the stage surrounded by about eight acoustic guitars and a banjo. There were also two pianos and a pump organ, and sometimes between songs Young would wander around, pick up a guitar, briefly contemplate using it, and then opt for another. He was also in a chatty mood, sharing stories behind many of the instruments, including the legendary guitar that once belonged to Hank Williams.

But the night was largely devoted to classics from Young’s commercial peak in the early Seventies. It’s been years since he crammed this many hits into a set, playing over half the songs on Harvest (« Heart of Gold, » « Are You Ready for the Country, » « Old Man, » « The Needle and the Damage Done, » « A Man Needs A Maid » and « Harvest »), along with « Ohio, » « After the Gold Rush, » « Only Love Can Break Your Heart, » « Comes a Time, » « Long May You Run » and his first performance of « Southern Man » in nearly a decade.

Midway through the second set he broke out Bert Jansch’s 1965 classic « Needle of Death. » Young has claimed he lifted the chords of « Ambulance Blues » from the tune, and he emphasized the similarities between the two during the intro. He followed it up with the thematically similar « Needle and the Damage Done, » showing just how influential this single tune was on his songwriting.

Some of the best moments of the night came when he resurrected material from the Buffalo Springfield catalog. « On the Way Home » was absolutely spellbinding, and he proved why « Flying on the Ground Is Wrong » is one of his most under-appreciated masterpieces when he played it on the upright piano. But the most radically rearranged song of the night was « Mr. Soul, » which he played on the pump organ.

Other highlights included a banjo rendition of the Tonight’s the Night gem « Mellow My Mind, » a rollicking « Are You Ready for the Country? » and a climactic « After the Gold Rush, » both on the standup piano. The only real complaint is that he played so many early Seventies classics that he neglected all other eras of his long career. Not a single note of music was played from the past 22 years, nor did he go near anything from 1978 to 1989. The late Sixties and the Seventies were obviously the period when he produced his best work, but there’s been a lot of amazing stuff since then, and it would have been nice to hear just a little more of it.

It’s incredible to think that in the past five months, Young has played ridiculously loud, feedback-drenched marathon concerts with Crazy Horse all over Europe, reunited with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at the Bridge School Benefit and put together this gentle, nostalgic Carnegie Hall show. At age 68, his voice has lost only a bit of its range, and his guitar playing sounds just like it did the first time he played Carnegie Hall.

It’s unclear if he’s going to perform this show outside of Carnegie Hall and his four « Honor the Treaties » gigs in Canada later this month, but Neil Young fans should make every possible effort to see it while they can. This is the show they’ve been waiting to see for years and years.

Voir enfin:

Aging Rocker’s Failed Anti-Israel Crusade

Sarcasm aside, this is anti-Semitism of the ugliest, most primitive kind.

Ben Cohen

August 29th, 2013

Back in 1976, when the burgeoning punk movement began transforming the rock’n’roll landscapes of London and New York, a young punk rocker named John Lydon scrawled the words “I Hate…” on his Pink Floyd t-shirt.

With this one stroke, Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, demarcated the past from the future: eschewing the lengthy and ponderous compositions of Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, Rotten and his mates set about delivering sharp, angry tunes in a compact three-minute format. Almost 40 years later, popular music has undergone numerous other transformations, but Rotten (who now calls himself Lydon again) and Waters have remained polar opposites. And as Israelis know better than most, that’s true both inside and outside the recording studio.

Back in 2010, Lydon rounded on critics of his decision to play a gig in Tel Aviv by telling them, “I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they [the Palestinians] are treated.”

By contrast, Waters, outwardly, a much more refined and eloquent fellow, has firmly hitched himself to the movement pressing for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Waters’s support for BDS is thought to be the reason that his scheduled appearance at the 92nd Sreet Y in New York City was canceled back in April, while more recently he tussled with the Simon Wiesenthal Center over an accusation of anti-Semitism that stemmed from a feature of his live show, in which a Star of David is projected onto a flying inflatable pig.

In his response to the Wiesenthal Center, Waters denied he was an anti-Semite, coming out with the standard response that hating Zionism and hating Jews are completely distinct. But a subsequent letter written in August to “My Colleagues in Rock’n’Roll” – his legendary pomposity remains unaltered – is certain to revive the charge. This time, it’s hard to see how Waters can wriggle around it.

The letter begins by citing another British musician, the violinist Nigel Kennedy, who slammed Israeli “apartheid” during a recent concert that was recorded by the BBC. “Nothing unusual there you might think,” Waters wrote, “[but] then one Baroness Deech, (nee Fraenkel) disputed the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and prevailed upon the BBC to censor Kennedy’s performance by removing his statement.”

Why did Waters think it necessary to point out the maiden name of Baroness Ruth Deech, a noted academic and lawyer? The answer is obvious: before she was Deech, a name that resonates with English respectability, she was Fraenkel, a name that sounds positively, well, Jewish. And much as she might try to hide her origins, the intrepid Waters is determined to out her, along with her nefarious Jewish –sorry, I mean, Zionist – agenda.

Sarcasm aside, this is anti-Semitism of the ugliest, most primitive kind. Appropriately, Waters’s letter appeared first on the website of the Electronic Intifada, a U.S.-based outfit that has emerged as one of the prime organizing platforms of the BDS movement.

The Waters letter ends as follows: “Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.”

In case it’s not clear, in the BDS movement, such elaborate formulations are code for “until such time as the state of Israel, which was born in a state of original sin, is finally eliminated.”

Here’s the rub, though: ten years ago, when the BDS movement was a relatively new phenomenon, statements like these would have set off a minor panic in the Jewish world. These days, we’re far more sanguine, and we’ve learned that Israel can survive and flourish no matter how many graying prog-rockers like Waters dedicate their lives to removing the world’s only Jewish state from the map.

As unpalatable as this may be for Waters’s digestion, the plain truth is that the BDS movement has failed. Its original aim was to replicate the massive outcry against South African apartheid during the 1980s, when songs like “Free Nelson Mandela” and “(I Ain’t Gonna Play) Sun City” ruled the airwaves. Instead, it has remained a fringe movement, a minor irritant that has had precious little impact on Israel’s economic life and garners media attention only when someone like Waters decides to shoot his mouth off.

We’ve arrived at this happy situation for several reasons, among them the growing realization, as articulated by John Lydon, that there is something absurd about boycotting Israel when the states that surround it engage in egregious human rights violations. Waters won’t play in Israel, but he was quite happy to play in Dubai in 2007 – an Arab city almost entirely built by slave labor imported from Muslim countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. If other stars grasp the appalling hypocrisy this represents, then having Roger Waters indulge his hatred of Israel at every opportunity is a price worth paying.

About the Author: Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for JNS.org. His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications.

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