Over at Confessions Of A Fanboy, Josh Hathaway got me to thinking about this whole "rock stars too old" thing. In a Listening Room entry, he brought up the "Stones too old" cliché that's been tossed their way on what seems like nearly every release since Brian Jones left the earth.
This has always bothered me. Sure, rock is supposedly a young man's game but hey, it goes both ways. The listener can lose it as well. For every band that hangs on too long, releasing material that seems flat in its infancy, there are millions of listeners who have stopped caring about checking out anything new. It's a sad thing. People move on past their teen years, become entangled in the adult world, and decide that nothing is worth bothering with...that nothing can compare to that Blue Oyster Cult 8-track they listened to in the van on that Friday night in 1978.
So sometimes, it's tough to decide: has a band lost it or are most of the ears so jaded and/or switched off that the criticism misses the mark?
Though I'm pretty sure that I had heard some Rush on the radio back in the 70's, my first extended listening experience was with a cassette copy of All The World's A Stage that I borrowed for an entire summer. Oh yeah, that album helped me through many a brutal Cumberland Farms opening shift (I had to open the store at 6am). At first, I didn't know what to think. I loved the drums. I loved the guitar. I was perplexed with Geddy Lee's voice. After listening to the record just about every day for three months, it had become a part of me.
Now all these years later, Rush releases a new album. Yep, they're a lot older. Yep, I'm a lot older. People have been saying that the band should have given up after every post-Moving Pictures release. This seems crazy to me. Artists do work that's both a part of and a reflection of their lives. It's called "the creative process." The process itself is sometimes interesting to examine, which is why I continue to buy records by The Rolling Stones and Rush.