It’s my birthday and I’m turning 33 years old. Yesterday morning, someone told me that it’s my ‘Jesus' birthday. That’s a sobering thought - think about all the things Jesus accomplished by the age of 33. Salvation of mankind? Resurrection? The best I can offer on my life resume is that I won my NBA fantasy league last year.
When I was in my late 20s, I remember having a conversation with my fellow bandmates about old dudes who didn’t give up the rock star dream. These guys, with their jowls, and their beer bellies, would march up on stage and give us a taste of whatever was popular in their hey-day. There was always something so sad about the dudes with the tucked-in shirts, trying to relive their youth on stage. My bandmates and I all agreed that we would NOT become those guys.
I remember reading an article once that argued that most people stop listening to new music when they turn 33. Apparently that’s the age when you stop getting excited about what’s happening on the airwaves and start buying up all of your childhood favourites again. There is a kernel of truth in there, I think, and I wonder if you can apply the same principle to the creative tendencies of artists. Now that I’m 33 years old, am I less likely to embrace new styles and sounds? Am I looking back to the past, instead of looking to the future?
The answer is probably yes. I definitely look at the music of my youth (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Tool…and Lisa Loeb) for inspiration and when I’m working on new tracks that sound like No Diggity, there is a 70% greater likelihood of goosebumps.
For whatever reason, I feel like that’s not okay. Maybe I should be listening to Trap and spending every waking hour programming music on my computer. That’s what my head tells me I should be doing. My heart, however, is telling me that I should be rocking a mullet and ripping super wanky guitar solos on a BC Rich guitar.
With the internet speeding up our digestion of music and shortening the span between trends coming and going, it’s really hard to stay current. When you’re a teenager, it’s really easy to stay plugged in because you don’t have to do anything else. For me, there are weeks when I won’t listen to anything except Ambrosia (look them up) and between work and family responsibilities, there is zero time to spend investigating the latest trends.
Thankfully, I have some youthful dudes to play with and I’m hoping that they will keep me up to date. If that doesn’t work, I am in serious danger of becoming one of the jowly guys.
[Next month: Steve recounts the 3 minutes when he was on the cutting edge…]