Why do old guys play old music?

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Why do old guys play old music?

Post by bassjones »

Seriously, what is it about some people that think music began and ended when they were 16-18? I grew up in the 80's and most of the music from that era I laugh at now - some of it is pretty good, but most of it's horrid. Musicians my age all seem to be playing in classic rock bands or 80's tribute bands.

Not me. I want fresh and new - creativity reigns. Don't get me wrong, I think 99% of popular music right now is absolutely wretched. I'm talking about pushing the creative envelope. Too many of us want to rest on our laurels. I use Miles as a source of inspiration. He never stopped pushing and creating (well, except for that drugged out period when he didn't do much of anything). He'd had a 20-year career when he released Bitches Brew/Silent Way/Jack Johnson, yet he was always hearing something new. That's how I want to be remembered as a musician, even if it is on a small scale. Everybody in my band is 10 years younger than me - except our singer - and even though we're just starting up as a band we're already disatisfied and starting to try and push the music further. I hope I'm still in that state of mind when I'm 50 and 60.

Not that I don't like some older music. You all know I love Steely Dan, and I'm also a big fan of older jazz (especially the early Bebop era), traditional Country, and early folk music, but only as a source for inspiration for something new.

If you ever see me in an oldies band, just shoot me. Might as well, I'll already be dead.
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Post by LC Pwince »

Most of the Wombat guys are mid '30's, and we're not playing old guy rock. Being a bit older does help give us some perspective on the stuff we like/liked as kids, but I think that's kind of a big generalization. Maybe some of the older guys doing '80's tribute stuff are the ones who got frustrated trying to get their originals heard, and saw that there's more money to be made in covers.
Being older generally also means more responsibilities (mortgage payment, a career vs. a job, kids, wives, etc.), and to do original music well, you've got to put the time into it.

My $.02
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Post by lbanks »

My bandmates like older tunes and I'm flexible. I just like to play.
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Post by bassjones »

I'm not necessarily talking about playing some of the old songs - many of which are great songs - but more not growing musically anymore and playing the same ol', same ol' all the time. I can play a cover a maximum of 4 times before I'm bored with it and ready to move on to something else. Or at least change the song up to make it fresh.

It even infects the original artists though. All these great bands that turn into oldies relics or bad parodies of themselves instead of growing and changing. Zappa was pushing the edge right up to the day he died. Joe Zawinul's band is in their 20's and he's in his 60's. Lots of examples from the jazz world. Why can't rock guys do the same thing?
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Post by Silencio »

bassjones wrote:Why can't rock guys do the same thing?
They can and do. You're making a sweeping generalization.
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Post by bassjones »

Silencio wrote:
bassjones wrote:Why can't rock guys do the same thing?
They can and do. You're making a sweeping generalization.
I know. There are some examples - Steve Earle comes to mind. Dylan in all honesty. The Rolling Stones to me sound like a parody. They're not even the most glaring example.
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Post by Silencio »

I wasn't even thinking of rock stars. Hell, I'm in my 50's and my work over the past year has included house and trance, acid jazz, instrumental tracks inspired by tracks by Pinback, La Femme D'Argent and Kings of Convenience, not to mention Chinese folk music and Rose Royce. I don't own a single John Melonhead or Jimi Hendrix album, and the last time I was in a bar and the band started palying Skynyrd, I left.

You wanna know why rock guys fail to grow? Because most of them aren't interested in music. They're not players, they're posers, interested exclusively in fashion. They didn't pick up an instrument because they loved the sound of music, they did it because they saw some other guy do it and he looked real f*ckin' cool.

Least ways, that's how I reckon it, young feller.
Last edited by Silencio on Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by MrSpall »

bassjones wrote:Or at least change the song up to make it fresh.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
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Post by bassjones »

Silencio wrote:I wasn't even thinking of rock stars. Hell, I'm in my 50's and my work over the past year has included house and trance, acid jazz, instrumental tracks inspired by tracks by Pinback, La Femme D'Argent and Kings of Convenience, not to mention Chinese folk music and Rose Royce. I don't own a single John Melonhead or Jimi Hendrix album, and the last time I was in a bar and the band started palying Skynyrd, I left.

You wanna know why rock guys fail to grow? Because most of them aren't interested in music. They're not players, they're posers, interested exclusively in fashion. They didn't pick up an instrument because they loved the sound of music, they did it because they saw some other guy do it and he looked real f*ckin' cool.

Least ways, that's how I reckon it, young feller.
I love Hendrix - especially the non-radio stuff...

You're probably the exception to the rule though wouldn't you agree? Of course, there are a lot of old jazz guys still playing the same 20 standards the same way they played them 30 years ago...
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Post by Silencio »

Eeee-yep. For every Zawinul there were a thousand guys ploughing through 14 choruses of "All The Things You Are" every Friday night.

I'm sick of Hendrix, especially the whole Emperor's-new-clothes "Greatest Guitarist Of All Time" thing. The guitar player I'm most intrigued with right now is Oz Noy. There are clips on YouTube if you haven't heard him. Makes Hendrix look like he learned to play through the Suzuki method.
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Post by bassjones »

Oz Noy is incredible!! I also dig Jimmy Herring quite a bit. Keller Williams is on my currently inspiring list as well.
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Post by =^-..-^= »

Jones, I've wondered this for the last 25 years!

I've got great, talented musician friends that think everyone stopped writing new songs in 1979. When you start talking about any group that recorded after that, their eyes glaze over.

I know the MTV musical movement after 1981 was like a revolution in music. Some of it was crap, but there was a lot of great stuff, and it was fresh! The weirdness of the videos put a lot of people off. I can remember from watching the videos at the time, I thought INXS was pretty radical. . . INXS!!! (Don't even get me started on how really out there David Byrne was.)

Some reasons I can come up with:
•The videos put a lot of 70's heads off
•They music they listened to was coupled with intense high school memories. That music is a trigger for that, more than being a good or bad song on it's own.
•When they got married and had kids, the new music purchases dwindled for economic reasons. I know it happened to me.
• A lot of new stuff is derivative of another group.
•To hear good new stuff, you have to sift through a LOT of crap, where 104 plays what they are familiar with.

Man, I am ALWAYS looking for new music! I can't believe all the cool stuff I would have missed if I had tuned out in 1979.

One thing that puts me off, though, is all the foul language in new music. It usually indicates a lack of talent/ideas, or like in Ben Folds case, he wouldn't have got radio's attention if he didn't do it, though he has talent to spare. That's just the sad state of media today.
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Post by Steel String Bender »

bassjones wrote:I also dig Jimmy Herring quite a bit.
+1 on Jimmy Herring. I also really enjoy Gerry Leonard, Duke Levine, Buddy Miller, & Greg V.
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Post by Sankofa »

Brother is the reason old guys play music.
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Post by sevesd93 »

Sankofa wrote:Brother is the reason old guys play music.
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