Admit it, as Rock and Roll Animals, we all discriminate against old folks. Right?
You can deny it, but it’s true. Journey is touring again this year. They are supporting Eclipse, their new studio release, and playing each night in front of thousands of fans, yet no one has bought the album or heard any of the new songs. Eclipse has been out for four months, written by long-time members Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain and featuring the vocals of Amel Pineda (who sounds as good as old Steve Perry). Have you heard any of the tunes? Of course not. Why? Because they band members are old now.
Radio stations treat them as an oldies band playing their old hits, and fans aren’t much better. (For the record, the album is decent middle-of-the-road Journey stuff). We’ll all go out there and sing the Glee-ly rejuvenated “Don’t Stop Believing,” and then run to the beer counters and bathrooms when they kick into their new rocker “City of Hope.”
The Cars have also released Move Like This, their new album this summer, . “Sad Song” was the first single and it’s an excellent song. But, you’d have to take my word, because no one plays it. I have a feature on my XM radio that notifies me when a favorite band is played anywhere on their network, They have about a dozen stations where the song would fit the format. Since setting The Cars as a favorite, I’ve seen about 100 notifications that they were being played. Only once was the notification for “Sad Song” and the station that played it? Out – their gay music station. Maybe you need to be gay to appreciate the old rockers out there? (not that there’s anything wrong with that)
If they had marketed that song as Rick Ocasek’s son and his hot new band, we’d have Ryan Seacreast fawning all over it. Take a few minutes to listen to it, and see if it’s not carbon copy 80’s hit music. Half of the new bands are trying to emulate 80’s rockers, and now we have the real thing emulating themselves, and no one is paying attention???
So, this all gets me started reminiscing about the curious English band the Poppy Fields.
Back in 2004, they came smashing onto the UK music scene with an infectious punk rock tribute to the Clash called “45 RPM.” The group put out a video featuring the early 20 punk rockers bouncing around the stage. The song took off. All fo the big Dj’s across the pond loved it,Virgin Music Stores sold out all of their stock, and it hit the charts at #28. The young lads had captured a sound similar to the popular Welsh band The Alarm, with vocals eerily reminiscent of Mike Peters, The Alarm’s original front man.
Word somehow leaked out that there was good reason for the similarities. The guys in the video were actors, the real musicians? Mike Peters and The Alarm! So what happened when everyone learned of the old switcheroo? Radio stopped playing it, people stopped buying it and it became another new song by an old band. The music never changed, but the image of the guys strumming the guitars, beating the drums and belting out the lyrics changed. That’s kind of sad. Sad, and a lame reflection on the music buying public (us).
Mike Peters mentioned afterwards that consumers assumed old guys couldn’t write meaningful new songs anymore (he was in his early 40’s), and he was afraid that image trumped talent. He was right.
I found this Mike Peters interview about the whole incident. As you watch the music video snippets, they’ve interspersed the original video with the young actors, with the real 40 something band. Oddly, the music sounds the same in both cases.
So, let’s try to change this a little bit, ok? Give a listen to the new stuff by the older bands, especially if you’re going to be seeing them live on their next tour. C’mon that’s the least we can do, right? Ah, forget it, we’ll all need a respite from the hits at their next concert for our race to the concession stands…
The Cars: Move Like This
The Alarm performing 45 RPM