I would listen to the same 10 artists if it weren’t for the loving people in my life. I am a classic rock girl and I’d rather listen to Exile on Main Street or Nothing’s Shocking for the nine millionth time than have to get to know someone new. Really, I can count on one hand the new bands that I like, and my friends and family regularly mock me for it.
Drew, who is ten years younger than me and infinitely cooler and more plugged in, has finally come up with a solution. He just puts new stuff on my Ipod without asking, and when I listen to it on shuffle I get hit with a new song every once in a while. Then I get all freaked out for a moment before taking a breath and reassuring myself that it’s only new music and it won’t hurt me. It’s musical shock therapy for the stubborn and retarded.
So recently I told him with a straight face that I believe Nirvana killed the rock and roll party. He burst out laughing and said, “You are UNBELIEVABLE! And did you decide this before or after you downloaded that crap Cinderella album onto the Ipod?” Well, way before of course.
Now before you start squawking, let me clarify. I actually LIKE Nirvana. But I remember the moment the video for Smells Like Teen Spirit hit. My sister (in a burst of uncharacteristic good taste–she usually listens to Enya or Marillion) got all excited about it and insisted I watch it when it came on MTV. Anyway, the album was, as we all know, great. But you could almost hear the good time gears grinding to a halt as soon as it hit the airwaves. Within months Vogue was featuring flannel shirts on uglified models and the last gasp era of the glamorous rock star died.
Rock and roll was my whole life focus from the time I was 13, maybe even earlier. My mother says that when I was a baby I would dance in front of the TV when the Beatles or Stones came on. It truly did save my soul as I was stuck in a small town and totally hating life and the people around me. Rock music and the gorgeous creatures who created it helped me to finally feel connected to something. Suddenly I wasn’t alone anymore, and I put up posters all over my room and stayed up all night listening to Aerosmith (this was well before the pods took them) over and over and over again in those giant headphones. So the 80’s rock scene was an extension of that early teen energy for me, and it was the period that I landed in NY and got to be a part of the thing I had always lived for and adored.
When grunge happened I didn’t mind that hair volume went down or that guys toned down the makeup usage, as things were getting a little stupid at that point (Britny Fox, anyone?). But I really enjoyed the long haired boys (some might say too much on that one), the local rock scene and the balls-out enthusiasm it contained. There were so many people hanging out on any given night back then that you could fill the Limelight full of people on a Sunday with local bands performing. Don Hill and I still moan sadly over shots of tequila about the Cat Club Wednesdays. Sure it was a bit cheesy, but it was a fucking blast! Now you can’t even fill Continental or CB’s with any regularity. Of course I don’t blame this on grunge, I actually blame it on hip hop. All I’m saying is that the flannel heralded the impending end of the kegger.
So now here I am, a total dinosaur, lumbering around complaining about the complete lack of rock stars in the world and yelling at the kids I work with that they wouldn’t know a good time or decent music if it bit them in the ass. They roll their eyes and let me play Bowie or BRMC (thanks, Drew!) for a little while, and then put Mariah Carey or Beyonce back on when they think I’m not paying attention. It’s so sad. When did I become extinct? I’m like someone’s out-of-date parent. And on a side note—how can people possibly enjoy listening to Mariah Carey? I swear to God every time I hear her sing I feel like my soul is being punctured. And then one of the kids actually had the audacity to tell me that Beyonce is his generation’s Tina Turner. I had to double over and breathe slowly on that one.
Once in a while something comes along that makes me feel the rock, like the last QOTSA show or Motorhead. But most of the time I’m at the bar grumbling while whatever lame non-rocking rock band fiddles about onstage, looking and sounding all normal with their beige shoes and short hair. I wanna watch a hot rock star once in a while, dammit, not the guy who fixes my computer. I think all bands should contain at least one person you want to fuck. I think you shouldn’t be able to go from the stage to the grocery store with nary a second glance from the shoppers. I love Marilyn Manson because he takes the time to put some lipstick on. I think Zeppelin rules and I yearn for a pre-breakdown Axl Rose. I yearn for the death of hip hop and modern R & B, I yearn for the kids I work with to stop torturing me with Madonna, and I suppose, yes…I yearn for my youth.