Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oldies Lite

I'm out with a few friends from a professional association, and one of them asks me how things are going with the band. I tell her about our Fountains gig. I recount how they were playing oldies from KTUC-AM on the speakers, and how it made me think about what they'll be playing when I'm ready for the old folks' home.

"KTUC," one of my friends says. "Isn't that the really conservative oldies station?"

Huh. I have no idea what the station's political leanings are, but come to think of it, they do play a very specific kind of old music. I look up their playlist later online. Here are a few of the songs they've broadcast tonight:

"Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin
"Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford
"Love and Marriage" by Frank Sinatra
"September Song" by Tony Bennett
"Teach me Tonight" by the De Castro sisters

You get the idea: oldies lite. There's no "Splish Splash," no "Rock Around the Clock," definitely no "Louie Louie," for damn sure no "My Generation."

If a station like this is around when I'm in my 90s, they won't be playing REM. They'll be playing Boyz II Men.

NOW I'm depressed.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


It's not like years ago
The fear of getting caught
The recklessness in water
They cannot see me naked
These things they go away
Replaced by every day

Kitchen chores beckon. Some people love to cook. I'm not one of them. To relieve the tedium of food prep, I decide to listen to an album as I chop and fry and clean. I pick REM's Automatic for the People because one of its tracks has been going through my head for the past few days.

It occurs to me that this album is more than two decades old. When I was a kid listening to the radio in the '70s and '80s, the stations that played '50s and '60s music were oldies stations.

Wow. REM is oldies now.

That doesn't seem right. 1992 feels like three lifetimes ago, but when I hear "Man in the Moon" it might as well be three days. For all it belongs to a distinct era, it doesn't sound nostalgic.

I had a similar line of thought last week when Ron the Drummer and I performed at the Fountains, an assisted living facility on the northwest side of town. Oldies station KTUC 1400 played on the speakers as we set up and broke down. The music of our audience's youth. What will nursing homes be playing when I move into a place like this? The Talking Heads? Nirvana? Sir Mix-a-Lot? Will those bands sound as hopelessly out of date to the visiting grandkids as Tony Bennett does to my generation?

Time marches on. I can accept that. I pretty much have to accept that. I just don't want it to march on without me.