Monday, February 28, 2011

I know it's only Rock and Roll, but I like it.

Lessons from life and Rock and Roll from someone who's old enough to have experienced a bit of both.

I know that rock and roll takes a back seat to jazz, that jazz is high art. Its musicians are among the most technically skilled, its arrangements complex, and its' melodies superior to those of the basic four beats-to-the-bar of rock and roll (although I sometimes have trouble following them). When Roy McKelvey, a jazz aficionado whose work station is right outside my office puts on jazz, I frequently find myself opening my door and turning down my music to listen to his music. I picked up a Miles Davis CD, took it home and gave it a listen, and was blown away. I put it on my iPod and went out into the yard, but it just didn't seem conducive to yard work, and I soon found myself flipping over to The Stones’, "I know it's only Rock and Roll but I like it" with a rake as a phantom guitar.

For Christmas my youngest, Seth, got us tickets to go see Man Man and Gogol Bordello. I love both bands. He got balcony seats, assuming (I believe) that I was probably too old to survive the mosh pit. When Man Man hit their first note, both of us jumped up -- an action we repeated with the second song and so on. A third of the way through the concert I looked around and everyone behind us had moved, because we were blocking their view. I took another look and noticed that the balcony was full of people who were just sitting there. I asked Seth what was wrong with these people, "how can they can just sit there". I then asked if he wanted to move out into the isle where we could jump up without bothering those around us. He said he was "down for it". Which I interpreted as he was "down for getting up".

We had great time. On the way home I thought about why I'm so attracted to Rock and Roll. Jazz, like classical music, requires that you pay attention and listen,while Rock and Roll requires you to participate. It's a full contact sport. It requires that you jump up, play an air guitar, bang your head, or dance (even if you can't dance).

The point is that whatever you choose to do, don't do it passively.