Let Our Stars Fade

Let Our Stars FadeGrammy Night: The guitarists strummed their guitars with great force and speed. Flames were bursting out all around the stage. In the middle of this loud dramatic scene stood Alice Cooper. He of the black makeup around his eyes as if he were a ghoul with music serving as his prey.

One question – Why can’t we let our stars fade?

Alice Cooper reached the zenith of his fame in the 70’s. The man is now nearly 70 years old. His cheeks are puffy, and he looks annoyed. At one point, the pissed-off look was probably part of his persona – the angry bad ass rocker. Now, I imagine he’s more like Krusty the Klown. He gets off stage and is hacking and cranky – for real.

The whole thing seemed pitiful. I don’t blame Alice. I’m sure he was professional and performed to the best of his ability. My guess is that Alice might even love this. After all, he’s been playing and performing since his teen years. This is what he does. This is who he is.

It’s we, the public, who are pitiful. We can’t let our stars fade.

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The Anniversary of My Rock N’ Roll Initiation

Springsteen Concert Ticket - Celebrating the anniversary of my rock n' roll initiationI recently had my 30th anniversary. No, not for my marriage–coming up on 14 years for that, thank you very much. I’m talking about the anniversary of my first concert. Do you remember your first concert? The excitement, the curiosity, the thrill?

Of course, if your first concert was in the ’80s like mine was, the amount you paid for the ticket wouldn’t even buy a T-shirt these days. You saw bands whose musical legacies are still influential, such as U2, REM, Guns N’ Roses, The Police or obscure individuals like Michael Jackson or Madonna.

 Anyway, the band I saw was already considered classic rock in the ’80s and were old by the standards I applied as a teenager. Yet, I could not have made a better choice for my rock ‘n’ roll initiation.

“I got tickets for the Springsteen show.”

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Happy Birthday Bruce, The Future of Rock and Roll

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen in concert.

I remember the day rock and roll began for me. It was on a Thursday night in August of 1985. Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band were in the midst of the Born in the USA tour.  I was part of the 50,000 plus fans who sang along to each song and listened raptly as Bruce went into one of his stories.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Bruce is a story teller, and it doesn’t end with the songs. Periodically, he’ll tell a story with some musical accompaniment playing softly in the background that will lead into the next song.

One such story he told that warm August night has remained with me, and it’s particularly pertinent today. You see our rock n roll hero was telling us how old he was and that he was losing it.  We were not having it and let Bruce know we disagreed with his assessment. However, he longed for his ‘Glory Days,’ and that’s just what he gave us.

You know how old Bruce was? He was 35, soon to be 36. And now he is 65.

Bruce Springsteen, my rock n roll hero is 65 freaken years old. This is the man who Jon Landau, then an influential music critic, saw in May of 1974 in Boston.  In his review, Landau said, “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

That guy – rock and roll’s future – is 65 freaken years old.  Isn’t rock and roll youth and rebellion? Now Bruce may have been born to run but now is closer to moving to Florida, eating dinner at 4 p.m., and needing a comb over.

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Restless & Still – A Song For My Mood

Did you ever flip through the radio and hear the exact song that fits the thoughts in your head?

Traveling Rucksack.

MMK circa 1995 in a London hotel. Notice the rucksack – a staple during my traveling days.

Recently, I was driving home after doing the weekly food shopping. The road I took was nearly empty, but my head was filled. It was then that I heard the song, Learn to be Still, by the Eagles.

I am a restless sort by nature.

Two days after my 22nd birthday and four days after I completed a summer course for my undergraduate degree, I was on a plane.  It would be the first of four summers that I spent far far from home. Other shorter trips would follow over the years.

Rather than quieting my restlessness, my travels instead breathed greater life into it. You see before those journeys, I thought Born to Run was a great song and not potential mantra for life.

Yes, my 20’s were all about travel. And growth. And change.

Since then, I have been the opposite of a rambling man.

I am the picture of permanency. If I were to give myself a title for my life from my early 30’s and into my 40’s, it would be Mr. Stability.

I’ve been married for over 12 years. I’ve been in the same job for nearly 11 years. My family and I’ve been in our home for close to seven years.

Responsible adult MMK.

Responsible, adult, parent MMK.

Can you get more stable than that?

And there in the issue may lie.

I’m going batty.

Lately, I wake up and I feel like I am living the Bill Murray movie of Groundhog Day. I just haven’t learned how to speak French, driven my car in front of a train, or eaten fattening desserts without gaining weight.

But the sameness is there.

And the boredom that comes along with it.

Maybe, this can be attributed to the brutal winter we went through. One day you’ll find tomorrow will come and I’ll follow the sun.

Maybe, it’s that time of year on the school calendar. I’m feeling worn down and the thought of June is revitalizing. Show me summer.

Or maybe this is what adulthood is.

Being an adult means being responsible. Responsibility is not always fun. I don’t want to clean the toilet, I don’t want to get up early, I don’t want to make the bed.

But I have to.

I have to learn to be still.

Yet, I feel a need to break out, go crazy, and blow off some of this restlessness. I want to grow, experience, and imagine.  What would life be like without such things?

So am I Born to Run?

Well, maybe not that either. After all, I got two kids and a wife, a job, and a mortgage.

I’m an adult with responsibilities.

Yet growth and adventure can and must still occur. However, these days, such developments are more subtle.

I am not sure any song title sums up where I am. Maybe, it’s something about being in the middle, about balancing, about recognizing ones obligations and desires and still moving on.

Know any songs like that?