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croppedRod_Jerred

Rod Jerred

Old rock stars should be heard, not seen

I am not a fan of Geezer rock.
I was reminded of this as I watched the closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics and saw The Who’s last two surviving members, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, on stage Sunday night.
That same weekend, I stumbled upon a British Invasion concert on PBS and saw an aging lead singer of the Troggs from the ’60s singing “Wild Thing.”
There just seems something wrong with white-haired grandfathers belting out rock and roll anthems about teenage rebellion or how young girls make their hearts sing.
The first is sad. The second is creepy.
I have nothing against the music of The Who or the Troggs.
On the contrary, I am a big fan of their music, just as I am a fan of most rock music from the ’60s and ’70s.
Given a choice, I will tune into a radio station playing rock music from this era over any station playing today’s music.
I would just prefer not to see it played live by the original band members.
On this point, I am likely in the minority. Judging by the ability of The Who, the Rolling Stones and the Moody Blues to play in front of sold-out audiences on world tours, there are more than enough people willing to pay top dollar for tickets to see aging  rock stars perform their greatest hits.
Was I the only one to find it odd to hear The Who singing My Generation?
Townshend wrote the song in the mid-60s to express the frustration rebellious youth felt with the status quo of the ruling generation.
It is a theme that has been widely expressed by rock, reggae, folk, punk, and hip-hop artists over the past 47 years since The Who released their iconic single.
Perhaps no song sums  up this message best than the refrain from My Generation:
“People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation).”
But these words take on a whole new meaning when sung by the same band nearly five decades after it was written.
On Sunday night, I couldn’t help wondering which generation Daltrey was singing about – his or the youth of today.
“People try to put us down,” could easily refer to the senior gray-haired generation of Daltrey and Townshend and their alienation from modern society, as well as the rebellious youth it was originally written about.
“Just because we get around,” could sum up the feelings of anyone stuck behind a white-haired motorist on the QEW.
But hearing 70-year-old Daltrey sing “I hope I die before I get old,” is just plain weird.
I’ll be the first to admit my aversion to seeing the rock idols of my youth performing today probably has more to do with my own insecurities about getting old than their abilities to entertain.
When it comes to rock music, I would  rather take a nostalgic trip down memory lane on the radio, than come face-to-face with a visual reminder that time and age hasn’t been kind to many of my generation.
Hamilton Community News Managing Editor Rod Jerred can be reached at rjerred@hamiltonnews.com or follow him on Twitter @HCN_editor.

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