Tonawanda News

Columns

June 21, 2013

ADAMCZYK: The bus pulls up and the band limps out

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — I don’t know. I get enough of these bands on the radio. Do the majority of local FM radio stations have “album-oriented oldies” formats these days? Is it the quality of the music that directs listeners there? (Classic rock is classic rock because it’s classic and it rocks.) Maybe it’s just inertia, the way a body on the couch tends to stay on the couch.

Granted, the astute listener searching for whatever improves upon the bands of his or her idealized past will hit a number of impasses. It explains, I suspect, the explosive growth of country music, beginning in the 1970s. Rock went punk and disco, and certain fans went where guitars and lyrics were still prominent parts of a song; a song had two verses, a chorus, a guitar solo and a fadeout; the words, when not about trucks, were about beer and relationships, grownup stuff, to match the weltanschauung of those who outgrew rock.

Those grizzled old bands, still on the road after all these years, now play fields and wharfs instead of stadiums. Some play the casino circuit, a godsend to those bowing under the pressures of lawyer’s fees, alimony and rehab. A letdown and a decline of sorts, I suppose, but they probably did not expect to live this long, anyway, and an aging musician will appreciate a loyal fan wherever he finds one, even if it’s on Webster Street or under the Skyway.

In the summer it gets hot out here. More to the point, in the winter it gets cold, which is why the summer schedule is crowded with attractions like bands that haven’t done anything relevant since the Nixon administration but nonetheless live on, in memory, on the radio, with royalty checks and in a relatively novel payday — placing a tune in a movie. A tune recorded two generations ago, obtaining a new life before a new audience in a film from now. Don’t tell me we geezers don’t understand recycling.

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