Ooh. That headline puts a sad on me like taps in the air at a soldiers memorial.
But it’s a choice I’ve made.
First, the oldies for me are what I listened to as a kid, teenager, and young man:
the late 60s, 70s, 80s, and some of the early 90s.
Everything from classic and hard rock to what has become known as yacht rock. I even got into the late 80s and 90s country for a time.
But I absolutely love the oldies.
Everything from bands like Rush, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Aerosmith, Foreigner, Van Halen, April Wine, Boston, Kansas, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Pink Floyd and those bands…
To U2, Journey, Human League, George Michael, Elton John, Mike and the Mechanics, Heart, Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Doobbie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, Poco, Prince, John Denver, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Johnson, Michael McDonald…
To country artists like Lone Star, Confederate Railroad, Kentucky Headhunters, Clint Black, Joe Diffie, Suzy Bogguss, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Johnny Cash, Alabama, Restless Heart, The Judds, Vince Gill…
It goes on and on to blues and more obscure bands like Lake, Nazareth, Uriah Heep, Sweet, Ace Frehely and more.
I love the music. To me it’s like grabbing a bowl of comfort food and eating my fill. Or, like freezing cold on a snowy winter’s day, and someone throws a pre-heated blanket over you.
It puts me right back at my youthful days.
The days where there was so much road in the windshield you couldn’t see to the end, and the rearview still had mom and dad’s driveway in view.
So, why did I dig a shallow grave and bury them?
For the exact same reasons as above.
Music is a powerful emotional anchor.
When I listen to Jamie’s Crying or The Cradle Will Rock by Van Halen? I’m a 17-year old kid, munching a Whatchamacallit candy bar, looking out the window of a bus headed out to the woods for forestry class.
When I hear Is There Anybody Out There off of Pink Floyd’s The Wal album, I’m 16-years old, sitting on the edge of my waterbed, moving the needle on the turntable setting on top of my huge Ampex guitar amp sporting 4 fifteen-inch speakers, picking off the acoustic fingerstyle guitar part.
When I hear Talking Heads, Burning Down the House, I’m walking the cool damp air along the marina in Menominee Michigan, the smell of funnel cakes in the air, stepping over power cords, the sound of screams coming from carnival rides, and a nervous love sprouting off my left arm as we took it all in.
When I hear Nazareth’s, Love Hurts or Hair of the Dog, I’m with my older brother and his buddy Junior. I’m 15-years old, no license, already downed some suds, driving in a city I’d never driven before…
Of course I hadn’t, I didn’t have a driver’s license.
By night’s end I was yelling, “When’s the band going to play!”
I didn’t even know Nazareth was done with their gig.
Am I endorsing substance abuse recalling this?
But all of the above are fingerprints of my youth, bookmarked by the music I listened to.
And for that it brings me fond memories of a life yet to be lived. Days where the biggest concern is getting your first car. Hoping she’ll say yes when you ask her out. What is happening on the weekend. And learning that cool riff on guitar.
And while those tunes are so comforting, bringing such a great feeling to me…
It also holds me there like a blind-folded hostage.
It keeps me emotionally anchored to a point in life I’m not anymore.
It seems like it should empower me. Wah me over with feel-good feelings. Everybody does better when they are high in emotion.
But, it brings me back to a reality I’m not sixteen anymore.
Each time I come back from those memories, I feel the shortness in the road ahead of me.
I’m reminded of my regrets. Things I should have done. Things I’d wanted to do but never took the risk.
Now, I’m a long way from being retired to the pasture.
I have a lot of living yet to do, and in many ways, my best days are yet ahead.
But music is such a powerful anchor for me, I don’t want it reaching in and pulling me back to the past, preventing me from emotionally moving forward.
Science knows, the maturity of unrecovered alcoholics is severely suppressed.
I honestly feel continually feeding your mind with emotional anchors, back to an earlier time of life, has the same affect.
At least for me. At least now.
But even more importantly, if I only listen to the oldies, two things happen.
First, I then have no musical fingerprint for the life I’m living today.
What songs will I hear then and fondly look back at today?
There is music out there which is different than I grew up on. I can hide from it, or embrace what I like, and use it as musical bread crumbs back to the life I’m making right now.
I can use it to influence my songwriting.
Secondly, if I only listen to the oldies, the life I’m living today is competing with the life I lived when those songs were new, fresh, and powerful.
By listening to them today on a regular basis, I’m only diluting old memories with new ones of today.
I’m only reducing the value they bring to me when I want them.
But, why would I even care if I buried them?
If you noticed, I buried them in a shallow grave.
I’m free to dig them up on occasion.
Maybe sitting out back with my sweetie ,chatting over a glass of red wine. The Kamado Joe smolders up a brisket, or sizzling up some rib eyes. The finches up in the willow are competing for air time with Steve Perry singing, Still They Ride, (one of my favorite Journey songs).
For now though, when I’m sitting at my desk writing for a living, it might be Native American flute music, meditation music, or a coffeehouse station.
But, it won’t be the oldies.
When I’m doing chores around the house, it’ll be what’s current in blues, pop, or maybe country.
That way, when I’m 85-years old I can pop up Gabby Barrett’s, I Hope, and think if my writing this blog.