July 29, 2009

Dr. Feelgood, 20 Years On

On Saturday night for some inexplicable reason my wife and I were sitting around watching a Motley Crue concert on VH-1.

Beth: You know, this is kinda sad.
Me: On a lot of levels. But why specifically?
Beth: Because, look at the crowd. There are inexplicably a lot of totally hot women and a lot of totally looser-ish guys.
Me: Yeah?
Beth: It's got to be frustrating for them being surround by all that hotness and knowing that they're never going to take any of it home.
Me: Yeah. That would be frustrating. Maybe they're just hot Crue-loving women who like looser-ish guys.
Beth: No. Look at that guy.
Me: Point taken.

And a few minutes later because we were for some unknown reason still watching...

Beth: That guy looks scary.
Me: Who, the guitarist?
Beth: Yeah, whatever his name is...
Me: That's. Uh. What the hell is his name?
Beth: Don't ask me.
Me: Let's see. Tommy Lee on drums, Vince Neal singing, and Nikki Sixx playing bass.
Beth: You had one more than I had. Which is pretty good for me.
Me: That is pretty good. But what the fuck is that guy's name?
Beth: Sounds like a job for Wikipedia.
Me: I hate to give up that easily.
Beth: It's not like anyone's going to think less of you. I mean, you already got three of them so I'm pretty sure you're already a dork.
Me: True.
...Wikipedia is searched...
Me: Mick Mars! Fucking Mick Mars!
Beth: Great. If you say so.
Me: Christ, do you know how old Mick Mars is? 61! Sixty-fucking-one.
Beth: What's wrong with that? The Rolling Stones are still doing it and they're, like, 80.
Me: Yeah, but they're the Rolling Stones. They're not exactly playing metal. Or getting lapdances from strippers while soloing.
Beth: Okay. You've got a point.

I was as big a fan of hair metal as the next guy. Okay, I was a bigger fan than the next guy because the next guy probably doesn't have a basement full of it. That's beside the point. The actual point? These guys were once cool. Now they're just old.

Earlier in the evening, I'd caught a ZZ Top performance, Wikipediad them and learned they were 61 and grandfathers. Then Beth told me she'd seen Phil Collins and he was bald and fat. So it occurred to me that all my heroes are getting old. I suppose this has something to do with the fact that I'm getting old. It then occurred to me that some of the people I'd once thought of as heroes are no longer heroes, not because they tossed midgets or banged hookers but because I have changed. I'd rather have dinner with Nick Hornby than jam with, I don't know, INXS (though I never really liked them anyway but I'm too embarrassed to cop to liking Wham and Wham never did anything close to jamming). I'd still like to sit down and have a long conversation with Peter Gabriel but Aaron Sorkin trumps Gene Roddenberry these days.

If my 20 year-old self saw my 36 year-old self, he'd think I was so uncool. But he'd dig my extensive hair metal collection and think my wife is pretty hot.

Who are and were your heroes? How have they changed?

Posted by Chris at July 29, 2009 6:53 AM

Growing up sucks. You've got six years on me, but I'm feeling pretty old these days.

I never had musicians or anyone famous as my hero. My paternal grandmother has always been my hero (and don't take that as me being some sort of nerdy child...I was a world of trouble and mayhem from the age of 13-21). She has struggled a lot throughout her life, raised six wonderful kids (sadly outlived two of them), kept my grandfather at home with her for five years while he was deep in the throes of Alzehimers and when he finally went to a nursing home she drove the hour round trip drive three times a day to have meals with him. I have never heard her say a bad word about anyone, she's 88 and still walks 3 miles a day, mows her lawn, shovels her drive, I'm convinced she is going to outlive everyone.

Posted by: js at July 29, 2009 7:18 AM

Roger McGuinn is 67, David Crosby is 69, and I have a couple of years on both of them (who you may have never heard of). And you feel old?

Posted by: Ann Adams at July 29, 2009 7:32 AM

I went and saw Billy Joel (60!) and Elton John (62!). I was prepared for two fat old guys. Elton does fulfill the fat part but covered it with a robe-suit thing. They both actually sang great.

My other hero is Merle Haggard (72!). I was afraid to see him for a long time for fear the voice would be gone and I would be disappointed. I finally broke down and went and saw him at the racetrack. He still sounded excellent.

Posted by: Debbie at July 29, 2009 7:58 AM

Lots of people think your wife is hot. But even heroes die.

Posted by: Knot at July 29, 2009 8:03 AM

Wasn't Phil Collins always bald? I can't recall ever seeing him with hair.

If it makes you feel better, I'm six years older than you.

The only "hero" I ever had was my grandmother. She was the only one I thought of in those terms. As silly as it sounds, I've written countless book dedications and acceptance speeches featuring her.

I guess the only people I admired who came close to being heroes would be the photographers. It is a long list, so I will spare you.

I did do/follow the whole 80s Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Prince, Hair Metal, etc. scene here in NYC. You know hanging out in Greenwich Village, club hopping, hanging out on the lower eastside, etc. I still like the music because it brings back sweet memories.

I still admire the photographers, but I've added a few more: parents who truly like their children (I was in my 20s when I met such a man for the first time), people who create things that endure (e.g., people who help others, parents, architects, etc.), artists, and people who triumph in the face of adversity.

Posted by: MariaV at July 29, 2009 8:09 AM

Wake Me up before you Go Go WAS a jam.

Posted by: William at July 29, 2009 8:11 AM

It is said that I was a huge New Kids on the Block fan when I was about 5.. about the same time I adored hot pink. These days, I wouldn't recognize the music if I heard it. :)

Posted by: Hannah at July 29, 2009 8:21 AM

This is too much thinking for early in the morning. But I will admit to being a big Motley Crue and REM fan at the same time. Just chalk it up to school years in rural Kansas and summers in progressive Minnesota I guess.

Posted by: Heather at July 29, 2009 9:23 AM

I went to a Motley Crue concert in 2001. The drummer was Hole's drummer (a chick), and that was kind of a cool dynamic to see.

I'm not an astronaut.
I'm living in L.A.
I'm a lawyer.
I have dark hair and tan skin.
I rock climb.
I'm married.

Not so much disappointed as my younger self just wouldn't believe it.

Posted by: alektra at July 29, 2009 9:30 AM

Oh, and my heroes were Mother Theresa and JPII. I don't think I really had any musically, so my heroes aren't on the planet anymore...

Posted by: alektra at July 29, 2009 9:31 AM

I can't believe you spaced on Mick Mars. My image of you is totally shot.

Posted by: kalisa at July 29, 2009 10:12 AM

You have a basement full of hair? Ick.

Posted by: Rosie at July 29, 2009 10:13 AM

I have hockey heroes, and they are class acts. I have musical heroes and they just keep getting better (Reznor). I think the only people who fell from grace are the ones who defined 3 or 4 years of life like Poison, Warrant, Soundgarden or Dave Matthews. They were each meaningful at the time but didn't really take hold.

I do think it's fascinating how music defines specific periods in our lives though.

Posted by: Brad at July 29, 2009 10:13 AM

How's this for dorkitude? I was sitting here saying "It's Mick Mars" before you got the Wikipedia part. I know this because of some Crue special I watched on VH1 about how he got sick and wouldn't leave the house and the rest of the Crue had to go save him so they could go on tour again. Or something like that. It was actually a pretty sweet moment in a documentary that mostly made them look like self-involved over dramatic jerks.

20 year old me would be surprised by the way my life has turned out, particularly by my very corporate job, but I don't think she'd be disappointed in me.

Posted by: bad penguin at July 29, 2009 10:51 AM

We went to see Jackson Browne a couple weeks ago (shutup) and as we were sitting there we looked around and realized that 20-years from now it's possible that all those current tweens will be in that exact same spot watching an elderly John Mayer.

Well, one can hope.

Posted by: Pocklock at July 29, 2009 11:00 AM

Did you ever hear the WHAM! Rap? They covered *all* the bases.

Not a *huge* Crue fan, but that said, the concert I went to in 19mrfmrf with my then boyfriend (put it this way: we've been married 16 years) still sits as the best concert *ever*. Also, "Kickstart My Heart" is the best song to run with on the iPod.

People get old. I'm taking the fact that the Stones are like 80 (they're not, but they've always been older than my dad - who also likes them) and still rockin as a sign that getting older doesn't mean shelving the stuff I *thought* was fun & great and starting to put ships in bottles. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Also? 36? I WISH I was 36 again!!! :-P

Posted by: harmzie at July 29, 2009 11:23 AM

Brace yourself. Tom Cruise.

Tom was my all-time celebrity crush since 6th grade. He wrestled Brad Pitt for the top spot a little bit in college before Brad completely took over. It was easy then because after Jerry Maguire I lost him altogether. Then he went nuts. Heh.

Posted by: oakley at July 29, 2009 11:33 AM

Well, Warrant is playing in my town in October, so I'll let you know after that, heh heh. Although, I used to think Lonn Friend, former editor of RIP magazine, was one cool dude, but I recently read his book, "Life on Planet Rock", and I was kind of saddened by how hard he seemed to be trying to look cool. 'Cause I thought he was cool when he wasn't saying, "Look how cool I am." Sigh.

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at July 29, 2009 1:22 PM

Well, my favorite band is Hanson (I hear you laughing, stop that). I've been a fan since 1997 when I was 13, and back then they were young and happy and goofy. Now they're all married, all daddies, and the biggest losers I can imagine. They are still my favorite band, but as people I can't stand them.

Posted by: Stephanie at July 29, 2009 1:44 PM

My Husband and I saw one of those only on TV things for 80's rock ballads and we knew every word! Did you hear that....EVERY WORD. I definatley know what your talking about


Posted by: Alexandra at July 29, 2009 3:00 PM

My Husband and I saw one of those only on TV things for 80's rock ballads and we knew every word! Did you hear that....EVERY WORD. I definatley know what your talking about!!!

Posted by: Alexandra at July 29, 2009 3:00 PM

My heroes have always been family members. Especially my parents. They fought to adopt me. I have never taken that for granted.

I think my younger self would be surprised by how I turned out. Yet pleased.

Posted by: debb at July 29, 2009 3:04 PM

My hero is my older sister, who, despite being very sick for years, still has a lot of spunk and a good attitude.

Posted by: justrambling at July 29, 2009 3:16 PM

There is nothing wrong with liking Wham! They may not have jammed, but they totally rocked out.

Posted by: Dawn at July 29, 2009 3:35 PM

Yay Aaron Sorkin!!! (Season 3, disc 2 right now and oh, so so good. Just watched "Women of Qumar" and CJ gets so emotional about it and I love her!)
I didn't have a lot of heroes growing up and I don't now, other than my mom (but that still doesn't mean I want to be exactly like her haha!) I admire people who have talent and use it well, people who put their families first, and people who do their part to change the world.
Come to think of it, that might just put you on the list ;)

Posted by: Heather at July 29, 2009 9:35 PM

I was very into Silverchair. Especially Ben Gillies. :)

Posted by: Aurelia at July 30, 2009 3:01 AM

I totally rocked a Wham! concert in 1984, then Tears for Fears, and Sting, none of whom I'd go see today. But I'd walk over broken glass to hang out with Nick Hornby or Aaron Sorkin. Or Ben Folds. Or Joss Whedon, or Ani Di Franco.

I reckon the 15yo me would have thought these dudes were seriously cool, but if you'd told her she'd be hanging out at home with three kids and not a fighter pilot with a research science degree she'd have had a stroke.

Posted by: Jo MacD at July 30, 2009 3:37 AM

Wow, my husband and I had a similar conversation earlier this evening.

Him: I really liked a lot of the music that was coming out until about...2000? 2003? After that it's pretty much all just a bunch of crap. I don't know what happened.

Me: I think what happened is we got old.

Him: *sigh* Yeah, I guess you're right.

Posted by: Dreamybee at July 30, 2009 6:35 AM

I never had to worry about my heroes getting old, because, um, they tended to have died before I was born (Albert Camus and the like).

I don't know about old being a negator of cool, though. I mean, waving a middle finger at a culture that is making sex symbols of 14- and 15-year-olds is very cool, non?

Posted by: Kat at July 30, 2009 6:38 AM

Wasn't Phil Collins always bald and fat?
I can't think of any heroes... sad no?

Bono has become... well fucking Bono.
Robert Smith still wear too much lipstick but now it smears into his wrinkles...

And well, Depeche Mode... kind of look older. And soberer...

Posted by: Nat at July 30, 2009 7:55 PM

I'm going to start coming over just to watch tv with you guys.

I loved Nikki Sixx.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at August 4, 2009 5:15 PM