The last couple of weeks have been particularly brutal for the Baby Boomers and more specifically to those of us with a history in the music industry. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Natalie Cole, and Lemmy from Motörhead. Then there’s drummer Buffin Griffin, from Mott The Hoople, and behind-the-scenes people like Celine Dion’s gracious husband, Rene Anglil, and the BeeGee’s and Cream impresario and film maven Robert Stigwood. All gone. And we’re staggered.
Then, we hear about the passing of Crosby, Stills, and Nash drummer Dallas Taylor, but, wait, he died a year ago! Jeez, just as I’m overwhelmed with death, someone, who happened to have missed it, reports another death that happened last year or three years ago. Christ, stop piling on! Stay current with the obits people! It’s the new red carpet.
Look, I can’t keep track of this shit. We’re now living (or dying) in this unreal world called Facebook. Who is dead? Who is alive? Frankly, I’m not feeling too good myself! Am I still here? Tip me if you’ve heard any rumors. About me. Was that Rod Serling standing in the doorway?
I thought I’d write an occasion blog story, quirky stories about the music industry’s glory days. And what happens? I’m trumped! Completely upstaged by reality. Dismissed by the sadly consumed legacies of a world of people who collectively built music culture over the past 50 or 60 years.
Nice week to start 2016, right? Well, baby, get ready, cause we’re going to have a lot of ’em just like this.
So I escaped the surreal reality of Facebook and sought refuge at Ancestory.com. I explored my roots. I traced back hundreds of years and immersed myself in the romance and fantasy of generations past. It’s painless. They were all dead, and that was a comforting certainty.
I discover that a great uncle eight times removed inspired a hit song of his generation. Thank you, I guess I did belong in the music business! Yep, his name was Thomas Fitch, and he was the leader of a rag-tag militia that was laughed at by the British. They wrote a song about him called “Yankee Doodle.” And suddenly, it all makes sense, and I flash back to the present. My sage advice is that some young songwriter get busy about these guys in Oregon at the birdwatchers site. Maybe you’ll write a standard!
Man, getting older is more hallucinogenic than mushrooms from the ’60s. Yeah, now we’re learning what tripping really is!
So I go to my basement where the walls are lined with gold and platinum plaques. I can only imagine what those big, round garish 12″ disks mean to a younger generation. Suddenly it feels so old.
Famous people are dying. They have been dying for years and years. … but these are OUR famous people! And suddenly, we are discovering they are human. And in that discovery, we are finding our own humanness. We are finding our own inevitable vulnerability.
We’re seeing friends becoming frail. We’re seeing giants disappear.
Who is dead and who is alive is just a temporary evaluation. The equation changes soon.
It’s okay though! Because, as Facebook has taught us, we don’t know who is alive and who is dead. Maybe there really is no difference. I’d like to believe that our spirits live on…