Today’s post was supposed to be about Switchfoot and Relient K, two bands I will see in concert tonight. For Switchfoot I think it will be the first time in Ottawa in about a decade – and I don’t think Relient K have ever played here before.
I have a history of sorts with both bands, stories to tell, but today I am not really in the mood for reminiscences. Do you ever have days like that? There are things you think you ought to do, but you don’t because your mood changes.
My plan was to talk about the importance of staying musically fresh by being willing to listen to new bands. And I was going to mention Switchfoot and Relient K as examples. Then it hit me. Switchfoot released their first album in 1997. Relient K almost as long ago. These aren’t fresh-faced young rockers, these are family men with wives, children and mortgages. They may not qualify as middle aged, but they are pretty close. You don’t see things the same way at 40 as you do at 20. So my theme for today doesn’t work, these aren’t new bands that I am listening to to stay current. I could pretend the theme never existed and write about the two bands anyway. Offhand no other topic comes to mind.
Rock and roll is the music of rebellion. Its early practitioners never expected to grow old with their music. Mick Jagger, singer for the Rolling Stones, famously stated that he would rather be dead than sing “Satisfaction” when he was 40. Now that he is 73 he has a different viewpoint on the band’s biggest hit.
It doesn’t seem right somehow for middle-aged people to be playing rock and roll. Or senior citizens in Jagger’s case. Certainly that sort of thing never happened in my youth. Mind you, back then rock and roll was still in its infancy. And those 1960 musicians led hard lives – they didn’t expect to live that long (and many didn’t).
So tonight I will take in a performance that defies the conventions of rock and roll by musicians no longer young. Which is a good thing since rock music was never supposed to have conventions. It is an especially good thing when you realize that Switchfoot and Relient K both have gotten better with age.
Switchfoot have always engaged me with their lyrics, a timeless exploration of the human condition. Relient K’s music has always seemed a little more frivolous. Songs that were once fun now seem dated. Stuck in a particular place and time, those tunes haven’t aged well for me.
Tonight though I am looking forward to hearing some of their new material and seeing how the band has made the transition to adulthood. I’ll bet their quirky sense of humour is still there.
Someday, maybe soon, I’ll let you see the post I had originally written for today, or at least the part where I compare Switchfoot favourably with U2. Today though I’m not I the mood for that story. I am really looking forward to the concert though.