On Rockin’ and Rollin’, Classically,


How I learned I might be spared from Classic Rock drudgery after all.

For starters, let me just say that I DO, in fact, READ. I have noticed in the last couple of years that from time to time I feel woefully under-read in the important books, the classics, the pop-culturally significant tomes of gibberish, the Non-fictional histories of ridiculous modern trends, the things most OTHER people seem to be reading. I like fiction, greatly, and I like popular fiction, and I am unapologetic about it. Most of the time it doesn’t bother that my shelves creak with Steven King, but are lacking in volumes of non-fiction attacking the establishment, or the people who make and eat fast-food. I enjoy trashy novels, sci-fi, and I have in recent years begun again to read comic books. Not Graphic Novels about self important Brits who have lifestyle issues, but the big-pecs, spandex-clad Comics I enjoyed as a pre-teen (and as a teenager, for that matter. Frankly, there were only a few years that I was OFF comics). That said, I do pick up new ideas form time to time, and when someone was recently shocked by the fact that I had only occasionally read Chuck Klosterman in ESPN (The) Magazine and GQ, I picked up Fargo Rock City.

I enjoyed it, and will only briefly expound on my thoughts on Chuck’s view of “Metal.” I lived in the same era Mr. Klosterman did, and enjoyed many of the same bands, though I have discovered my tastes and ideas about Metal differed from his in the following ways: 1) In the (ahem) political spectrum of Metal, I was much more Right Wing than ol’ Chucky, as I rarely if ever gave credence to such metal pretenders as Cinderella and Poison, Metallica and their British peers Motorhead and Iron Maiden being a bit more my style, and 2) Metal did not rule my life. I was also a bit Punker-than-Thou in 1988, having discovered the Ramones through the aforementioned Mr. King. I bought and consumed feverishly every rap album I could possibly get my hands on, and it was around this time that I began an almost decade long unbroken streak of owning a pair of white Adidas Superstars. I also enjoyed, even then, older country music. In the midst of the Public Enemy and the Anthrax, Willie and Merle’s cover of Townes’ “Pancho and Lefty” became my favorite song during the late ‘80’s, and it remains so to this day.

So, all that said, I enjoyed the book. I also agree with his supposition that Guns ‘N Roses’ debut album Appetite for Destruction was not only the best album of the genre, but certainly the most definitive, and I think, the one that stands the test of time. I still have it on regular rotation in my iTunes. Not only that, I’ve been hearing it in lots of other places lately, mostly radio.

Now, I listen to a lot of CRAP on the radio lately. I do, after all, have two pre-teen step-daughters, and they like … well, … really AWFUL crap. I love them deeply, and I know they are young and growing into their tastes, but only Gracie so far seems to have any appreciation for anything other than the Top-40 garbage her friends are listening to. Yet, that’s where I’ve been hearing G’N’R lately. On VIVI’s radio stations (defined as the ones she asks for regularly, and who mostly feature Ke$ha, Kanye, and Justin Bieber. And, for the record, I enjoy Kanye sometimes.) I believed at first that they were playing “Sweet Child of Mine” and “Paradise City” with a certain sense of irony, and that may have been the goal in the beginning, but I think that irony is lost on the listeners themselves. Recently, at the Pacifica Fog Fest (any excuse for a street fair is a good one, even fog I suppose) the local radio tent played it right after playing an old school Michael Jackson number, and the kids around (I actually saw this with my own eyes) were ROCKING OUT to both. BOTH! This pleases me, in that at the very least, my tastes have been validated by twelve year olds. Yeah, they like shit, but they recognize great tunes when they hear them. As I believe you aren’t ALLOWED to understand real irony before the age of 16 or so, they aren’t giggling at it, as some sort of fluke, or old guy’s tune. They genuinely enjoy Axel and Slash.

Makes me feel better.

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