Friday, September 19, 2008

Doctor's Orders: NO TOURING!!!
...a case of having to say "NO" to a "YES-man"...

Weren't we all young once? I used to be, in a time long ago and far, far away. All of my favorite rock performers were young, full of life and energy, and living like there was tomorrow. But along the way, with the passing of the years, we're all getting old. Frail. Feeble. And We Need Rest, says the Doctor. And our favorite classic rockers had better watch how they move onstage, lest a leaping scissors-kick-jump while holding a microphone blows out a hip joint...

It turns out that one Rock singer who has aged very gracefully, Jon Anderson of YES, he of the high voice and mystical lyrics, has been told to rest for at least six months due to an acute respiratory condition he's developed. Anderson's voice is amazing; I have a couple of fairly recent "Yes" concerts on DVD, and on those, his voice is still high, mighty and pure. Usually as a singer ages, he/she loses some of their high register...but not Anderson. He still sounds GREAT. At least, on recent concert DVD's I have, he does. And from what I can tell of his stage presence, he seems to be a Very Nice Person. His picture is below...

I've always respected the musicianship of the members of YES. They play so effortlessly, so relaxed, and they make it look so easy; yet, the group's music is intricate; it abounds with almost impossible-to-play time signatures, and lyrics that don't really state much of anything concrete at all, but perhaps this is part of Yes' Master Plan. As intricate as the group's music is, so are the lyrics. They're the kind of lyrics you could read twenty times and get twenty different meanings from. In short, 'Yes' is a group I really like, although I'm never sure of what they're actually singing about. But one thing for sure; Jon Anderson's voice is not just a voice; it's an instrument that insures "Yes" music sounds otherworldly and mystical. In the group's concerts, Anderson would also strum rhythm guitar and help out with various percussion instruments. Hopefully, with time, his voice will get to soar again.

YES was all set to do their 40th anniversary tour this year, (can you imagine a musical group that's been together that long? Going on half a century!) but initially the group had to cancel, because of Anderson's medical situation. I read today that the group will go ahead and tour; in Anderson's place is a singer from a "Yes Tribute Band"; YES found about him through a YouTube video. The Computer Age Indeed.

This posting comes largely from a news article I read today; admittedly, Friday had crawled around and I only had one post for this week. (I feel a 'sense of duty' to 'something'...). But also, some of it comes from my having watched some of my favorite classic rockers on a VHS tape I recorded of the 2005 'Live 8' concerts. It's amazing, it really is, what age does to us. It shrinks us; it wrinkles us; it sucks all the color out of our hair...and causes all kinds of 'dysfunctions'. I mean, my favorite rockers were absolutely FEARLESS. They were young, flashy, balls-to-the-wall rebels. Well, while some of them still sound good, All of them are Getting Old.

For instance, "The Who" played at 'Live 8'. Pete Townshend, guitarist and chief songwriter, is totally Bald. And he didn't do the "windmill" thing ONE SINGLE TIME. (When he was younger, he would swing his arm clockwise, 'round and 'round and simultaneously bash his guitar, while doing aerobic jumping scissors-kicks.) Townshend now has to wear earplugs or some such thing onstage, because he's become at least partially deaf from the loud rock and roll his band specialized in over the years. I think at one time, The Who were voted "World's Loudest Rock Band". Or, was that "Blue Cheer"? Maybe it was "Deep Purple". Or a legion of others. In any case, they were ALL pretty loud. (In a GOOD way.)

Another band that played at 'Live 8' was Pink Floyd. David Gilmour, the group's guitarist, has lost almost all of his hair, but he still can sure play really good. Of course, 'The Floyd' never got all that wild in concert, so Gilmour never did leaping scissors-kicks onstage to begin with, which is probably a good thing. And of course, Rick Wright, keyboardist of that group, passed away this week (see post below this one). Cancer got him. Of course, in a lot of old Rock Band photos taken in the '60s and '70s, almost all of them feature group members holding cigarettes. And I'm sure inhalation of 'some kind of smoke', whether legit or illegal, has built up over the years and weakened the systems of those who partook 'til they withered away. Sad...

One of my absolute Heroes, someone I really treasure, Neil Young, had an operation for a brain aneurysm a few years back. Between his diagnosis and his operation, he recorded a concert DVD; he wanted to perform his music with a lot of his special musical friends just in case he didn't survive. Aneurysms, of course, can strike at any age, but still, when I'd read about Neil, it made me think a little bit more of my own mortality. But yet, I keep on breathing, eating, getting up every day...as John Lennon once said, "where there's life, there's hope". He said that in his last-ever interview back in 1980...

Look at the deaths of Rock and Rollers when they were Young. Car Crashes. Drug Overdoses. Electrocutions. Alcohol-induced poisoning. Plane Crashes. General Foolishness. And, tragically, assassinations and suicides. Long about the time Beatles guitarist George Harrison passed away in 2001 due to cancer, a news report I'd heard back then made me begin to realize that as Rockers age, they're going to go thru, what any of us who are over 50 and alive, as well as relatives and everyone else who's ever lived will be going thru or Has gone through. Things like Cancer. Respiratory Ailments. Broken Hips. Heart Attacks. Old Age. Not the devastatingly sudden Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin-type deaths anymore. Instead, unspectacular age-related cessations of life. The kind of things that'll happen to folks like Joe and Jane Six-pack who've worked 40-hour weeks all their lives and perhaps bought a few rock albums along with their basic life-sustaining necessities. "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive", sang Hank Williams, one of the last songs he ever wrote. He, a victim of alcohol poisoning on New Years' Day, 1953.

There. THAT oughta put you in a really great mood as you start your weekend. Hey, all I know is, even though my bad back makes it difficult to tote them boxes of records I have laying around the living room, the music still really, really sounds good...so my ears work, even if the rest of me malfunctions every now and then.

____________________

This is a post that built itself from the ground up, beginning with the article on the group YES. And it just kinda grew from there. So I can rest easy, knowing I've filled my '2 posts a week' quota. Until Monday or Tuesday, anyway...

5 Comments:

Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Yep we are all getting old lol

Ive seen the who..... years ago, and they are still young in my head with keith moon bashing the drums :)

That bloke in the photo you have posted dont look old at all.....

oh my creaking back LOL gotta go and find me glasses and hearing aid and change me 'bag' LOL

x

8:17 AM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Marmie...I'm not sure what "change your bag" IS...and I'm not sure I wanna know...ack...actually, Jon Anderson looks pretty good. I don't know if you remember Steve Winwood of Traffic, but he's pretty ageless, too. And you got to see The Who in all their original fury...for that, I shall worship you forever...although if I get down on my knees, I'm not sure if I can get back up again...

11:51 PM  
Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Idaho - I was about 15, and I was an extra in the film Tommy that they filmed here on the southcoast, they also set our pier alight (by accident lol), it was a daft film but it also had Elton John in it and was directed by Ken Russell..... do you remember the song 'Pinball Wizard' thats from the filming where I was involved LOL......

The production team came to our school and asked for extras, and to us it was great, 4 days off school filming on the south coast..... our payment was to be fed and watered and then tickets to see THE WHO in concert at Portsmouth Guildhall..... its a time always in my memory banks, it was just a fantastic few days.....

I also have all their autographs including Eltons and Ken Russels.... the film was called TOMMY.... I watched it again only a few months ago, its total CRAP lmfao..

x

12:07 AM  
Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

ps...... 'a bag' is, you know, an Auntie Nora LMFAO, now you should now what an auntie nora is *laffing*

x

12:09 AM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Dear Marmie...what's an "Auntie Nora" and how does that relate to a bag? I'm still in the dark...

I didn't see "Tommy" but when I worked in radio, I played Elton's version on the radio. Everyone says how great a work "Tommy" is; well, I've heard The Who do it, and I think it's rather dull. I'd much rather listen to "Who's Next"...

9:29 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home