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when i was 15, moby was a dick
does getting older mean turning the volume down?
by juli mccarthy
8.14.00
music


Getting old sucks.

I can accept getting older. My years don’t bother me. Once you hit double digits, you pretty much figure that the number is only going to get bigger anyway. Nor am I terribly concerned about aging physically. As a fairly small adult person, I looked forward to the grey hair and wrinkles that would offset my size and lend me a more mature appearance. Thirty-five years of living has given me experience and polish, and I can be taken out in public without fear of embarrassment. But getting old -- anachronous, outdated, archaic -- getting OLD sucks. And nowhere is the evidence of my old age more pronounced than in my nostalgic attitude about music.

When I was younger, I was considered pretty cutting edge. I was into stadium bands and punk rock while my peers lagged behind, still listening to Donny Osmond. You know, back when David Bowie was considered fresh, raw and avant-garde. When I see the respected composer David Bowie is today, I weep for the glitter-spangled glam boy he used to be. When I mention Elton John, and realize that while I was talking about a balding shock-rocker in a sequined baseball uniform and oversized eyeglasses, my audience has conjured the mental image of a portly, balladeering knight-in-shining-toupee. I'm telling you, it gets me right there.

I thought I was still pretty hip for an old broad. I considered it only right and proper to pass the torch to a new generation, and introduced my daughter to the music of Queen, Heart and Tom Waits. She does her best to keep me up-to-date, too. Because of her, I know the names of each and every member of N*Sync (Joey, JC, Lance, Justin and Chris, in case you were wondering) and I can tell the difference between Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears (Britney is the one who makes my gorge rise). But somewhere along the line, I missed something. There is a whole generation of music I didn’t know about. My daughter is too young to know it; I am too old. The people in that generation are between 14 and 26, and they think I am an idiot. They might be right.

It took me a year to realize that Eminem is NOT the milk chocolate candy that melts in your mouth and not in your hand. I remember when Everlast and Everclear were, respectively, a manufacturer of boxing equipment and a grain alcohol. And in my day, a Limp Bizkit was what you got if you ladled too much gravy on your breakfast.

Maybe it happens when you become a parent. When you’re concentrating on Raffi and Sesame Street, it’s easy to let the real music get away from you. I know my own mother still thinks Tom Jones is da bomb and those young men in the Beatles ought to consider haircuts. I didn’t think it would happen to me -- I’m the chick who tried to sneak into Billy Idol’s hotel room from the fire escape. In other words, a Whole Lot Cooler than Mom.

Thirty-five is by no means elderly. I have a lot of good years ahead of me and I plan to spend them rocking and rolling. I may not be up-to-the minute musically, but as long as Bob Seger and Aerosmith have a home on the oldies station, I’m happy. Maybe I will never appreciate the finer qualities of Harvey Danger, but Mom never understood Pink Floyd, either. She used to say things like, "You call THAT music?" and "Which one is Pink?" and "TURN THAT CRAP DOWN!" -- but then I was fifteen and she was an old crone of...umm. Huh. What do you know, Mom was thirty-five herself then.

Maybe I am not too old after all. So tell me one more time...which one is Harvey?


ABOUT JULI MCCARTHY

A whole gallon of attitude, poured into a pint container.

more about juli mccarthy

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COMMENTS

adam kraemer
8.14.00 @ 9:48a

I was actually in a music store not too long ago and found myself amused that a group of three 15-year-olds in the aisle across from me, including one of the store employees, couldn't figure out why Harvey Danger wasn't filed under "D" (the 90's equivalent of looking for Jethro Tull under "T"). I figured they'd eventually find it, but it still made me feel pretty cool knowing that I was still a step ahead of these teenagers.

juli mccarthy
8.15.00 @ 1:45a

Swell. A guy ten years younger than I am feels old and wise compared to "these kids today". I think I'll just go wash my Geritol down with some prune juice and call it a day.

tim lockwood
8.15.00 @ 11:05a

There, there. It's not so bad, Juli. Tell you what, why don't we go grab something to eat at the Old Country Buffet? My treat. Hey, I can afford it, now that you qualify for the senior discount (hee hee hee). Ow! Quit hitting me! Stop it! I'm just kidding! Ow!

adam kraemer
8.15.00 @ 2:00p

No - my point was that I still felt a little hip. Just a little. But I know the name of the lead singer of Limp Bizkit, so it's all good.

juli mccarthy
8.15.00 @ 7:25p

At my age, "hip" refers to anatomy rather than style. (rimshot)

adam kraemer
8.16.00 @ 9:19a

Actually, if I'm not mistaken, the word "hip" itself is unhip. I just couldn't think of a better one. Phat?

jeffrey walker
8.25.00 @ 7:20p

I found out why kids listen to music so much louder! The muscles controlling the drum, anvil, etc. in the ear are still very tight. When the music is loud, they can feel the bass against their skin while their little eardrums retract to protect from the actual volume. As you get older, the muscles are weaker as well as slower in reacting. When it is loud, we only hear loud. (Yes, I am lumping myself in with the older crowd. Loud music makes my teeth grind these days)

troy harris
8.26.00 @ 3:45p

Did I *hear* Jeff say that loud music makes his teeth grind? I've yet to reach that phase and I realize that in our aging generation its probably a rarity. Hearing YOU make that statement leads me to believe I'll be a LOUD audiphile for enternity. Scarey. I got a $50 citation for excessive noise last Monday.... I think that'll be my first column here.



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