The InsiderOne Daily Report
Wednesday, May 30, 2001
Younger Than Yesterday
InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: I rarely listen to "old" albums, the recordings I grew up on. You won't often hear Bob Dylan or the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or John Mayall, Van Morrison or The Band or The Byrds playing at my house. It's not that I don't still love that music (and I'm not saying you'll never hear any of it, 'cause that's not true either). But the sad truth is that when I play the music of my youth, it makes me feel old. Not like wheelchair/old folks' home old, but still, well, old. Disconnected. I'm not sure, exactly, when this concept of some music making me feel old while other music made me feel young first entered my consciousness. Certainly I never thought about it in my 20s, when I mixed it all up, listening to Dylan and the Ramones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the Who, Steve Forbert and the Stones, James Brown and Jonathan Richman, the Five Royales and the Cars. I made a point, then, of locating albums by rockabilly artists and other '50s/early '60s musicians to broaden my understanding of the past (plus it was all so exotic and sounded awesome!). I don't think it crossed my mind during my early and mid-30s either that time was all a rush of Rolling Stone assignments, writing about Wire Train one day and Lindsey Buckingham or Rick James another. I think it was in my late 30s, when I veered off into blues and jazz for a while, and woke up one day to realize that the indie-rock underground of the '80s had materialized and blossomed while I wasn't really paying attention. (I mean, it wasn't like I wasn't paying any attention I wrote about Black Flag and Hüsker Dü and Flipper and the Minutemen and the Replacements in Rolling Stone in the mid-'80s, and tried to get stories on the Swans and Sonic Youth published.) Still, I'd have to say that Nirvana's Nevermind was the turning point, the album that plunged me headfirst back into the present. And I believe it was when I launched Addicted To Noise in '94 that the "old/young" thing really emerged for me. The ATN staff members were, in some cases, half my age! That was a good thing. It is easy, as one ages, to get cut off in one's own mind, to start resisting what is new and different. I still hear people say that music just isn't like it was in the '60s (some of those who say that are in their early 20s, but many are 35-plus). During '94, as I discovered Pavement, the Mono Men, Kill Creek, Soul Coughing and others, and into '95, as Wilco and Garbage's first albums were released, it was like I came down to earth, got closer to the source. Tortoise, DJ Shadow, the Bay Area DJs, the Elephant Six groups (including Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control) were all mid-'90s artists who drew me into the now. For nearly a decade since, it is the newest of the new (as well as new work from artists such as Mark Eitzel, Cat Power, Solex and a lot of others) that really gets me excited. I've been told more than once that I combine the enthusiasm of a teenager with the experience of age. I was amused the other day when my son, who is in his early 20s and is out visiting from New York, came back from the record store with CDs by Dylan and the Beatles and the Who. He didn't seem to have any problem mixing up Guided By Voices and the Kinks, Modest Mouse and the Beatles. I wonder if that'll still be the case in 20 years?
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Michael Goldberg is the president of insiderone.net. He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.