Monday, June 1, 2009

My rock is now "classic"

I've been noticing this for a while. It's been slowly going on around me. But, now it appears as though it’s official:

The music I listened to as a kid is now "classic rock."

As I got older, I occasionally wondered when this would happen with "my" music. Several years ago, I had a realization. It seems obvious right now, but at the time it wasn’t:

My mom liked classic rock when I was a kid. In the early 90's, she was listening to music from the 70's and 80's. Don't get me wrong - I love that music. I appreciate it (people who live in the Princeton area will know what I’m talking about here - my favorite radio station is 100.9). At the time - when I was 5 or 6 - all I knew was that my mom was listening to "old" music. As I got older and started to love music from that era, I realized something. To my mom, this wasn’t "old" music - this was the music she grew up with.

My mom loved the Rolling Stones, Kiss, Boston, Aerosmith, and tons more. My mom was born in 1964. Those bands arguably peaked when she was a teenager/young adult. When she listens to that music, she's not hearing something that was "before her time." She’s reliving her youth.

While we’re on this subject, here’s some random trivia I like telling people about my mom's birthday - she was born February 7, 1964. That was the same day The Beatles arrived in America (that famous video clip where the band is walking off a boat waving at people).

About a month ago, I was driving to the bank. I was listening to the classic rock station and was jamming to the Allman Brothers Band. They’re not my favorite band, but you have to listen to an occasional Allman Brothers tune in order to get to the Led Zeppelin, Stones, Who, and whatnot. As the Allman Brothers song came to an end, I awaited the next track. The recognizable opening of Nirvana’s "Come as You Are" started.

I was aghast. I couldn’t believe it.

My music. From my childhood. Is classic rock.

Now, the proverbial “early 90’s alt/rock floodgate” has been opened, as I have now heard the following bands on the classic rock station: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Bush, and the Black Crows, to name a few.

And, now, I don’t just listen to these classic rock songs. Now when I hear "Glycerine," or "My Hero," I don’t just hear the music. It takes me back to where I was when I first heard that tune. It brings me back to my childhood.

I had already theorized that my grandpa felt this way about music he liked; I just never really thought it would happen to me. My grandpa (or “Pap” as he’s called) was born in 1938. He was becoming an adult when rock ’n’ roll was created. He was pretty much the same age as Buddy Holly.

He was kind of conservative when it came to music. He never got into “heavy” rock from the 60’s - bands like The Doors or Cream or anything like that. His two favorite acts were Elvis and Johnny Cash.

The first time I ever thought about this was a few years ago when Pap had a Johnny Cash “greatest hits” album. This was around the time Johnny Cash's "Hurt" came out and he was experiencing a wave of popularity again. I listened to it and I liked all the songs pretty much. It spanned Cash's music from the early 60's until 2003.

We put the CD in and were listening to it. As the songs played, Pap would talk about going someplace and hearing that. He would talk about what he was doing at the time (which usually involved wearing a leather jacket and driving a motorcycle).

Johnny Cash didn’t have much of a career in the 80's. So, we basically went from the late 70's to the early 90's with one song. All of a sudden, his mood changed. He didn’t like the “new” stuff. And, I realized why. What story would Pap tell - “Well, when this song came out, I had three grandkids, my mom had recently died, and I was thinking more and more about retirement.”

That doesn’t sound quite as good as, "I got on my bike and went out to the diner with your grandma. We danced all night."

I don’t have any "hell-raising" memories of old songs like my grandpa does (yet), but I have nice memories. Memories of when life was easier. When I hear "Learn to Fly," on the classic rock station on my way home from a hard day at work, I think back to when I was watching that on VH1's Top Ten Countdown during summer break before the eighth grade.

I guess the "deep" issue with this entry is that time goes by quickly. There are times when I sit back and think, "I've been out of high school for five years. That’s crazy." I recently messaged a girl on Facebook who I went to Day-Care with when we were 5, 6, 7 years old. The last time we ever talked to each other was when we were in the same fifth grade class. I moved, we never talked again. I saw her on Facebook and realized I hadn’t talked to her in nearly 13 years. It turns out she's graduated from Marshall, gotten married, and is looking for a house.

I guess music is a great indicator of how quickly time passes. The music that I listened to as a child is now "classic." I guess this means I’m growing up. Well, I guess it means I’m supposed to be growing up. One of these days I'll get around to that. Until then, it just means that the music I listened to as a child is old.


  1. Classic rock? Come on Chris, it's time to get that boom boom pow.