27 February 2008

Preservation Dolls?

Actually, this is not a review of Tuesday night's New York Dolls show at the Gothic Theatre.

I was thinking about it though. I mean, New York Dolls! I love that band. A great band in their day, and those recordings still hold up as great today. Even if you take issue with that opinion, you can't deny them their status as a Highly Influential Punk Band. The glam and the hair, yes, the attitude and the music... all the genuine article.

I love so many bands from that era. Even though I wasn't of that era. Well, I was around but when these bands were writing their songs, I was just a baby learning to read. Still, when I got wind of this punk rock thing in the early 80s...it was life changing stuff. When I saw Iggy Pop and the Pretenders, it was great, but still the experience felt diminished by virtue of the fact that I was only seeing them in 1987. Again with the Ramones and Blondie and Tom Tom Club on their "Escape from New York" tour in 1990. One of the best line ups I've ever witnessed, great shows, great bands, but still steeped in slightly bitter "after the fact." I looking over my shoulder watching out for that creepy feeling of "nostalgia."

'Round about 1990 I took a trip to New Orleans and went to the Preservation Hall. I didn't know too much about it except that it was some old jazz dive where the serious old jazz bands used to play. Cool. Except that I was surrounded by a bunch of sandaled midwesterners in hawaiian shirts weilding flashing Minoltas. The musicians performing were old black jazz musicians and I felt bad for them making their living in this surreal way. The music was good, but in that context, it felt all wrong.

Nowadays I get to feeling uneasy when some of my favorite old bands start the tour bus up and well, I'd like to see them perform, but then I wonder if I really want to see them right now. It's tricky. Although twenty years ago was closer to the fact than now, I got into some of the the early punk rock bands because it was somewhat preserved, in audio recordings and such, so why do I feel so uneasy about these cats coming back around again for more kids to get into?

I don't have a definite answer. I have been and expect I will be struggling with this troublesome aging rocker issue for a while. I've no doubts I've got company too.

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