Tag Archives: Elton John

Everyone old is new again

15 Oct

I just got a little trophy icon from WordPress congratulating me on my third anniversary of being a blogger. I’m not sure how to celebrate this sort of milestone, other than toasting my success in the same way I do my writing: alone. That said, if you are looking for ways to mark the occasion, the traditional third anniversary gift is leather, which connects nicely to the rock theme in many, many ways.

Here's a 3rd anniversary present idea, in case you need ideas ...

Here’s a third anniversary present idea, in case you need one …

I started this blog because aging rock musicians fascinate me. The genre was built by rebellious teenagers and iconoclastic outsiders who became historical figures despite their best efforts. Every few years a new performer grabs the headlines and the old guard carps that she’s too vulgar/ talentless/ tasteless to be taken seriously … and the new kid crows that she is in on the joke … then the newbie becomes an oldie, the bar for crassness is raised (lowered?) and the cycle begins again.

Yet the classic rockers rarely go quietly. This month brought the latest albums from Elton John and Cher, with Paul McCartney’s new disc (named, uh, New) coming out this week. Sir Elton is coming to Detroit on tour soon, and his billboards promise “all the hits.” Cher makes “If I Could Turn Back Time” the centerpiece of her shows. And Sir Paul is famous for marathon concerts (in baseball stadiums, still), exhausting his audience as well as the Beatles catalogue. They’re all still here to prove that they’re still here.

Here’s what Cher thought she and her fellow divas Elton John, Bette Midler and Flip Wilson would be doing in their twilight years, in spectacular Bob Mackey fashion:

And here’s what they’re doing in reality. Cher is trying to recapture the magic:

And Elton is trying to go back to his roots:

I admire them. I am glad that they are still in the world. I can’t wait to read their memoirs, should they ever write them. But it’s unlikely I’ll ever buy another one of their songs. The sparkling, shocking flamboyance of their earlier careers that jolted me every time I heard them on AM radio during my childhood can’t be replicated, least of all by them. That’s because their stiffest competition isn’t the Mileys and the Gagas and the Biebers. It’s their younger selves.

Instead, my new favorite band is one my British friend at Every Record Tells a Story turned me on to – and if you add up the ages of all four lads they would still be younger than either Cher or Elton John. Ladies and gentlemen of America, I give you The Strypes:

Who do they remind you of: The Kinks? The Box Tops? Maybe a bit of Beatles? They sing without AutoTune and play their own instruments scarily well … how shocking is that nowadays?

Thanks for making the first three years such a great ride – keep those comments coming, and

See you on the flip side …

Pop Rocks

22 May

Not long ago, I got a text during school hours from my older daughter. Here’s the actual exchange, taking all of 30 seconds:

I’m glad they don’t have a Thor donut … I bet you’d find long blond hair in the icing


Because if we eat them we will be as large as the Hulk


I shudder to think what the fillings are …


Go back to class dear …


And please stop shouting …

This is not dissimilar to a text I received a few days later:

How can so much fabulousness be contained in just one band?


In both cases, she was alerting me to something outrageously colorful and fantastically delicious we both adore that, sadly, I have to say “no” to. See, we can’t go to the Scissor Sisters‘ concert because already have tickets for another show that evening: The Hives, who are touring with a new album and making a stop in Pontiac.

Two great bands both playing the same night within a few miles of our leafy Michigan suburb … this is a good example of a First World Problem.

My daughter and I are pretty stoked to see our punky friends from Scandinavia. I had seen them on David Letterman several years back and was impressed by their sound–screaming, bouncy garage rock–and their look–all dressed the same, always in black and white. And what great stage names, although I do wonder how “Howlin’ Pete Almqvist” and “Nicholaus Arson” sound in Swedish. Once “Tick Tick Boom” exploded over a montage of action movies at the 2009 Academy Awards, we became avid fans. We got a copy of Veni Vidi Vicious and settled in to listen to the album. Thirty minutes later, it was done. The Ramones are a jam band by comparison.

The best thing to come out of Sweden since Ikea meatballs …

But it’s killing us that we will miss our flamboyant friends from New York for the second time. When Scissor Sisters came to town two years ago between tour stops on Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour, we stayed home to watch the Oscars instead. I figured we were substituting one gay-friendly entertainment experience for another, but it was hardly an even exchange. (The 2011 Academy Awards, hosted by dissolute James Franco and overeager Anne Hathaway, was so terrible they did the impossible: screw up the In Memorium segment.) I’m still kicking myself.

Scissor Sisters burrowed into my brain in the summer of 2004, when “Take Your Mama” came out, rainbow flag a-flying. The song sounds like it was crafted by Elton John in full-feathered regalia: truly groovy and unforgettable. As colorful as The Hives are monochrome, the band’s showmanship and style ensures their concerts are a hoot and a half … not that I’d know from personal experience … kick, kick, kick …

There may be hope. My daughter raised a good point: if The Hives’ concert is as short as their albums, perhaps we can do both shows in one night.

If you’re seeing The Hives on June 27, see you there … and if you’re seeing Scissor Sisters that night, tell me all about it!

See you on the flip side …

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