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To Be A Rock N' Roller in the Modern World
I am a young rock n’ roller in the modern world. I’m not talking about Imagine Dragons or Panic! At The Disco, though. I’m talking about the nitty-gritty, mono-stereo-type OG rockers. The ones playing on your Uncle Freddie’s turntable during family reunions. You hear the bass, the rhythm guitar, those drums… you know that’s good ol’ rock n’ roll.
As a teenager, having a rock n’ roll soul can be a bit frustrating. There are as many pros as there are cons. Yet I’m not only going to focus on the drawbacks. Plenty of good comes from it. You are about to start reading my personal write-up on what it’s like being a rock n’ roller in the modern world.
Being the only rocker in your peer group can make you feel out of place. While your friends are caught up in BTS or Billie Eilish, you’re thinking about your own band. It’s like they speak another language. You don’t understand a thing they are saying. But when you reference something by Queen, they shun you like a plague.
I am someone who judges my friends off their music taste. Why? Science has proven that *most* teenagers who listen to culturally and time diverse music are more stable and mature than those who don’t. Basically, if you don’t know who The Doors are, there’s no chance that we can be friends.
Being a young rock n’ roll fan means you have more reasources to learn! After hours of internet searching, book reading, magazine scanning, and watching YouTube, you should be all set. Nowadays it’s so much easier to find information on your favorite bands. You may not have learned from old newspaper articles, but you’ve got to learn somehow, right?
I personally struggle with this next one a lot. I am willing (and will) sit and cry over something that happened to a band years before I was born… but not over a tragedy that happened to my friend. Plus, you definitely know more background infromation about five random singers than all of your friends combined. Hey, what can you say? You’re a devoted fan.
On the bright side, you’re a saving grace to original fans! You are another one in 1.8 billion youth that knows the classics. You are living proof that older music means something to the world. The more young rock fans we have, the more the older generations will see us less of a dissapointment. Come on, they just have to be impressed by the gazillion tons of information you have about The Kinks.
For most of us, there are only a couple ways to hear the classics we love: the radio and vinyls. Unfortunately, vinyls cost a lifetime of allowance to buy. There are only about three radio stations dedicated to your bands. Band merch is limited and, if you find good merch, expensive. If you’re lucky, you can buy an Amazon Echo Dot and play all the artists you want!
Simultaniously, in your mind, you are aware that you are involved in a special community of youths. Somewhere in the world, there are many, probably millions, of youths just like you who share tastes in what you love! Isn’t that comforting? It’s one thing to become friends with the older generation of music fans, but it’s another to meet someone your own age who likes Steve Miller Band.
Meanwhile, you’re always going to find “fake fans”. These are the ones who call themselves Led Zepplin fans but only know “Stairway To Heaven” and “Immigrant Song”. It’s always a dissapointment to find someone wearing a band tee but find out they’re only doing it to be cool. On a side note, sadly, bands like Foo Fighters and Muse are considered classic rock.
I mentioned this earlier but you have a lot of information about bands. Probably too much. You know where George Harrison lived when he was a boy or what Brian Wilson’s decsent was. It may seem creepy to non-rock fans but, honestly, it’s the best feeling in the world to you! It’s almost extraterrestrial, the amount of background information you have. Maybe it is creepy but who cares? (Also, George Harrison lived at 12 Arnold Grove in Wavertree, Liverpool and Brian Wilson is of Dutch, English, German, Irish, and Swedish ancestry.)
If it isn’t obvious already, pretty much all your idols are dead. There are only a handful of them still alive. Ever heard of The 27 Club? Look it up, it’s pretty interesting (and depressing). Plus, it gives great insight on how many muscians have actually passed. Either taken by old age, murder (lookin’ at you, John Lennon), or bad habits, many beautiful souls have been taken too early. Meanwhile, you’re constantly fretting about the ones who are still alive. “Mick Jagger went into open heart surgery? IS HE ALRIGHT?”
To put this all in perspective, being a young rocker comes with many perks but disadvantages. But guess what? Somehow, we survive all of the struggles because you know, somewhere in the world, there are teenagers just like you. It’s comforting, y’know? Hopefully, if you aren’t already, you’ll join the little society youth has made for rock n’ roll too!
(Here’s a handful of songs to get you started! “People Are Strange” - The Doors, “Baba O’Reilly” - The Who, “You Really Got Me Going” - The Kinks, “Comfortably Numb” - Pink Floyd, “White Horses” - The Rolling Stones, “Hush” - Deep Purple, “Come Together” - The Beatles)