I was just standing there, minding my own business.
The music was loud – very loud. My wife and I had gone to see some local metal bands in Rockford and these guys were trying to compete with a nuclear explosion when it came to volume.
The good news is that my hearing is so bad these days that it didn’t really bother me.
I have long been a fan of loud, aggressive music. Yes, I love melodies and harmonies and appreciate beautiful music as well. But I also love the rush of loud rock music and always have.
I also still play loud rock music myself. And as a musician, I love to go out and see other bands. And on this occasion, we went to see some very brutal stuff, lots of screaming and volume.
Again, no problem.
So, I was standing there enjoying the bands – mostly younger people giving it all they have. Yes, it was hit or miss, but I always appreciate the passion. But I was there to enjoy the music and I was.
A big guy with a beard stopped and stood next to me as a band blared away 30 feet away. I recognized him as the “singer” in the band that had just finished. I say singer, because it has more in common with painful yelling than singing, but that was the genre of bands playing that night.
He looked at me and said it was so cool that a guy my age came out to watch these bands. I smiled and yelled something back, over the din. I can’t remember exactly what it was.
Then he dropped a bomb on me. He moved in closer and said, “I wish my dad would come out and see us play.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks: He thought I was the dad of some dude in a band here to support my kid as he chased a dream his mom and I thought was stupid.
I just smiled at the guy, pretty much speechless. I forget that I am an aging rock guy and in a room with younger rock guys, I certainly look like someone’s dad. Or, worse yet, someone’s grandpa.
It can be jarring when I remember how old I am sometimes. You always kind of feel like a kid, so looking in the mirror can be a shocking experience at times.
Many of us, as we age, still love to do the things we did when we were teens. It can be playing music, or sports or even collecting things like Hot Wheels or Barbies.
For me I love to hang with friends, I love to play and enjoy loud music. I love to bang my head and tip a few adult beverages from time to time.
The problem? My recovery time has gone from hours to days. After a gig, where I run around the stage and bang my head, my body – especially my neck – hurt for days. Every time before a show I remind myself of this, and every time I forget about it the second the first song starts.
I don’t mind being the older dude watching a band or playing in a band. It’s what I do and it’s who I am. My hope is that all of you also still do the things you enjoy if you can.
I also hope the younger people now in bands or simply enjoying going out to see live music can do it as long as I have. And I don’t have any plans to stop.