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Ahh Youth!
By Mick Polich - 09/05/2013 - 07:08 PM EDT

Here's a grandpa story : back in the mid 1980's ,I was working for Rieman Music,a pretty predominant music store chain in central Iowa. Each year, the Iowa Bandmaster Association hosts several music competitions around the state.Well, our store was asked to deliver a sound system to one competition in Atlantic,Iowa. I went  there with said system,and my buddy,the late Bob Palm,road salesman extraordinaire. As we were unloading the equipment, I noticed several high school kids sitting around the atrium at the school we were having the fest at - somebody had cranked "I Love Rock And Roll" by Joan Jett on a blaster,and the kids were getting into it. I walked over to the action, smiled, and checked things out. The kids who were sitting on the floor, nodding furiously to Joan,looked up at me.

Not as a friend,but an intruder....I was the 'old dude' cutting into their gig.
My first sign of my serving of the 'generation gap'.

Oh yes, been there several times since,but hell, I was in my mid-twenties,not THAT much older,right?  

Yes,that much older.

You know, that's o.k.,and at this point in life,there's no need to be a curmudgeon about it. Just glance back when you were that age ( and I mean,look objectively).Adults liking the SAME music I did? YUCK.

As a music instructor,I go through this dance weekly  each week,there's some new Spotify/You Tube musical discovery that my students want me to listen to, and want to figure out how to sing and play their song. Truth is,I enjoy this ritual  I had a few teachers who used to hip me up to new music,expand my horizons,and push me musically.I also had a few great teachers that were very opinionated, and ingrained a sense of how wrong it was to listen to the type of music I was listening to. I'm all for the jazz/rock/country/blues/whatever pundits preserving the traditional strains of music,but really,my musical taste works like a Cuisinart  mashing and blending every musical form I can think of.  This is me,and at this point,it's o.k. to be me.

Ah,youth – all the old cliches about being wasted on the young. And yes, I get reminded – from my peers with now-older kids that survived the teen years,to my own father – that you too, indeedy do, were that young once,with unsurpassable knowledge and power. You were right, and your folks were WRONG – especially about music.

A couple of things: I enjoyed my folks' music. Yep, Dean Martin, Herb Alpert and the TJB ( especially the “Whipped Cream And Other delights” album cover – yowsah!), Sarah Vaughan – I enjoyed that music (still do). Plus, I liked the fact my dad dug the Beatles and Stevie Wonder , which put him into the 'secretly cool' category back when I was 16.I really didn't want any separation of church and state when it came to my music – why have a cultural war? It didn't matter then,and it didn't matter now – very low-grade on that scale.

Fast forward to now: two teen-aged boys under our roof at this point – my 14 year old son, and our  17 year old Italian foreign exchange student – different musical tastes unto themselves, and me ( not counting the classic rock stuff,which seems to be the DMZ). They have their music,which really, I can crossover, and enjoy more easily than they coming over to my camp. And do they NEED to listen to my tastes in Turkish trance music ,Iraqi heavy metal,or Indian DJ remixes? No – not required. But the door is open if they should choose to enter.

In the end ,it doesn't matter – music is music, and hip is a matter of taste. Personally,whatever 'coolness' factor you might have usually lasts until you're 25,anyway( I can hear the war cries now...).

But looking back,I have no regrets about having regrets regarding my youth,misspent or otherwise – it's been a well-traveled, and well-worn journey. So,dear reader, I will leave you with this – don't worry about hipness, or youth, just keep on the path.....

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