How to Rock and Roll

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By Charlotte Latvala

So, you’ve got your well-worn copy of “Houses of the Holy” (or “Rumours,” or “London Calling,” or whatever gem you declared your absolute favorite life-defining album 30-plus years ago.) You thank God for the vinyl-only satellite radio station. You boast a collection of ticket stubs that triggers warm and fuzzy memories of great shows gone by.

Here at How to be 50, we believe there’s nothing wrong with an occasional – or even daily – wallow in the past. But you don’t want to become the cranky old coot who mutters “you kids and your filthy rap music” every time you hear someone humming the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. With that in mind:

  1. Don’t automatically dismiss everything recorded after 1995. The music didn’t die when Kurt Cobain did.
  2. Psst! Genres have morphed in the past few decades. What’s now called country was rock in the 1970s. Green Day is Broadway. Rap is mainstream. (In other news, Simon and Garfunkel still hate each other.)
  3. Press pause when you find yourself thinking thoughts like, “What kind of weirdo is named Waka Flocka Flame?” (You, after all, once declared Echo and the Bunnymen the greatest British band of the eighties.)
  4. Don’t dismiss an entire genre – Americana, EDM, trap – till you’ve given it an honest chance. Then, dismiss away!
  5. Dig out your old concert T-shirts. You won’t fit into them, but perhaps you can make a quilt.
  6. Ban the word “classic” from your vocabulary. Some songs and bands aren’t really classics, they’re just old. (That’s right – we know about your “Triumph rocks!” phase.)
  7. Take in an annual live show to demonstrate your passion for music. (Also, keep in mind that the VJ-era rockers are not getting any younger and “I’ll see them next time” may not be a realistic option.)
  8. At the concert, release your inner crank: Complain loudly about the moron in front of you, who refuses to sit down and is singing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” loudly and off-key. Refuse to pay ridiculously inflated prices for beer, saying “I’d rather shrivel up and die of thirst.” Leave in the middle of the first encore to beat traffic.
  9. Don’t forget to take earplugs and antacids. And visit the restroom before you find your seat, because who wants to climb over a whole row of drunk people?
  10. Above all, keep it at 11. Always. Because you’re not going to hear it any other way.

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Filed under concerts, humor, mid-life, music, rock and roll

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