1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Old people suck.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, May 24, 2004.

  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I read an interview with David Bowie recently where he was lamenting the fact that radio stations don't play any of his new material. It seems that they will only play the "old" stuff, even though he puts out a new album about every year or so. His last few albums have been absolutely fantastic (especially Heathen and Reality)! Heathen went platinum without any radio play; I wonder how many more people would have bought it if radio actually supported it.

    I've also heard that on his current tour, supporting Reality, the crowds are showing a very lackluster response to any of his new stuff (which is arguably his best work). When he plays his old material, they go nuts, but when he plays a new song, every body sits down or goes to get a beer.

    David Bowie is just an example of this kind of behavior. It seems to happen to every band; even though they are continally putting out superb work, the public doesn't seem to want to hear it. Tom Petty, REM, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchel, Rolling Stones, etc.... it happens to the best of them.

    What do you think causes this phenomenon? Is this a localised thing in America, where we are so obsessed with youth that our elders are forgotten? Does talent deteriorate with age? :eyebrow: Or is it that the audiences aren't smart enough to follow artists through their changes, or perhaps aren't willing to allow them to change?

    I'm seeing this as a lack of respect for the aged, in a way. Our culture is so obessesed with youth that I've been turned away from joining bands because I'm too old, and I'm only 27! It ticks me off that some of my favorite new CDs are from guys over 40 and 50, and nobody seems to care. I'm sick of the "Play the hits!" mentality. I want to see an artist grow and change - their experience translates into better art most of the time. But guys like Bowie are at some point put into the box of "classic rock", and aren't allowed to put out new material (or at least nobody will listen to it).

    Ok, I feel a little better now. [/rant]

    Comments from the youngsters? The elderly? The ancient (Bruce?)?
  2. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    'tis the ...."Revenge on the Baby-Boomers!"
    Now playing on your local radio!
  3. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    For one thing, kids want stuff that relates to them. If you take a look at bands like NOFX, Bad Religion and the Descendents, these are 40 year old guys playing short, loud, raucous songs about girls, food, (vague, sloganeered) politics. Kids don't want to buy albums with songs about old age and facing one's mortality. In addition there's the fact that youths want something to identify as there own, even if it is a load of crap, if it helps give their lives some definition as they trudge through high school, then all the better. They'll probably like some old "hits" stuff, but often because of its youthful arrogance/naivete and energy.

    Secondly, older bands do fine, if not better than younger ones. Many of them are riding the nostalgia ticket *cough* Lynrd Skynrd *hack*, but some do grow and evolve. The thing is that youths have one of the highest marginal propensities to expend: so most of the money they get, they spend. As such they're a very profitable demographic to target, as a result, artists whose audience is older don't get as much press or radio time, except for shows designated adult contemporary whatever. Because youths are more dilligent in tuning into shows they like than older people, they're also a key group for radio and TV stations.

    As for whether the artists you mention remain relevant and growing...well, it's all in the ears of the beholder. Maybe some people can't appreciate Bowie's new stuff, its just a fact that sometimes "the old stuff was better", for some people.

    At the same time, though, there is a surge in the popularity of older bands. Bon Jovi and Aerosmith remain chart toppers (though they, arguably, aren't releasing their best material) and groups like Mission to Burma and the Flaming Lips are just reaching the peak of their popularity both of whom are well in their late 30's early 40s.
  4. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I think that it's more " the tv told me to, the tv is my messiah, all praise the glowing box, flow or be muted", the problem for me is I never cared what is popular, it's all crap until proven otherwise.

    The only place that I have ever lived or have been that radio didn't suck monkeys was Berkley ca, and then It was only one station. Up and over here in the land of rain and flannel, every time I turn the radio on I here the same 4 things: Heart, Led zep, Doobie Brothers and Joe Walsh, or that horrid blues show the play that same songs every week, or what ever is on “mtv” and some rabies infected blabber mouth. So unless some one forces me to, I don't listen to the radio any more.

    Most people are not as hip as the media tells them they are. Take Lawrence Whelk, throughout middle america more people actually liked his show and concerts more then beatles or any one else; fricken Lawrence Whelk. Most people just want to fit in, so they do what what ever SEEMS cool at the time, regardless of how they will look at it tomorrow. The more americana is ultra commercialized the quicker themes and trends will come and go. The whole point is to pinpoint the pockets of teenagers of the middle class, so things move faster then anyone can catch on to before it gone. So they have tv shows and web pages, and rags to tell you what to think, so you don't have to bother, so you don't have to think for your self, so you don't have to care.

    When I was 13 all the cool bands were about the same age that I am now, and for a short time popular music had soul. And then the teenpop cancer oozed over every thing turning it plastic and sterile. And now were back to the mid 80's all over again; bad pop, lame rock, pop country and uninspired metal. So has anything really changed?
  5. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    So do older people buy less music? Or does that wane as you get old too?
  6. Jarrod


    Jan 1, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    most people go to shows to hear their favorite songs played live... and the fact of the matter is, Bowie's work from the 70's is more famous than his latest work, which is why people are more interested in hearing the old stuff. simple.

    Bad Religion on the other hand (to use will's example), has never been hugely famous, or had sold-out stadium tours, or had heavy radio play like Bowie did in his prime. So their fans are more likely to be loyal and supportive of ALL their work, including their newest work, even though the band is now in their 40's. And, their fans range from all ages.

    Bowie's fans are largely people in their 40's who want to hear their favorite radio hits from when they were young. If anyone at a Bowie concert is younger, they're probably casual fans like me who only want to hear his major hit material as well.

    mainstream music, regardless of the artistry involved, crystallizes with the time period and becomes forever associated with the era in which it was produced... whereas noncommercial music can stay timeless
  7. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I hope you don't mean me, cause you're older then I am :p
  8. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Thought for a second that I was going to have to hurt someone when I couldn't find my Best of Bowie cd. :D

    Ground Control to Major Tom
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on :bag: :bassist:
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    In my personal experience, most people stop buying music regularly after their 20s. Many will never own more than 20 or 30 albums, 100 is a "major collection". Their musical tastes are pretty much "locked in" during the teenage and early adult years. When they do buy music, it's often compilations or reissues of music from their youth.

    They listen to the radio a lot for music. Radio in the USA is targetted to specific age groups in order to reach the right demographic for the advertisers so folks don't get exposed to new and different stuff. Once the top 40 starts moving away from what they like, they search out "oldies" stations. There's already radio stations playing "oldies" from the 1990s!! You can fully expect in about 20 years that there will be "classic punk rock" radio.

    I'm a real exception to the rule. I'm going to be 50 in a few weeks. I listen to public radio (jazz, folk, blues, world music, underground rock and hip-hop, classical), not the top 40. I buy on average 2 or 3 CDs a week and have ever since I was a teenager in the late 60s (well vinyl back then). The end result is about 5000 LPs, 2000 CDs and boxes of 45s and cassettes all over my house. Most people (including my family) think I am deranged.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I'm another exception - I buy way more CDs now than I ever did as a teenager or even in my 20s - as I have more money mostly!! ;)

    But really, I have explored more and more types and genres of music as I have got older - so when I was younger, I only concentrated on very small areas of music and ignored the vast ranges of classical and world music for example.

    I don't reallty go to rock concerts now as I don't want to hear regurgitations of old classics - I'd much rather see a Jazz group at close quarters, playing music so new they often haven't even named it or played it before that night - and anyway, every performance is improvised and different from the last!!
  11. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i agree with Bruce; I have more money therfore i buy more cd's...much to my wife's chagrin !
  12. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Before I even knew what this thread was about, I looked at the title and I agree completely. ;)

    I really think that unless people are exposed (overexposed) to a song or songs by an artist, for some reason people aren't convinced that they are worthwhile. I strangely use to be under this mentality (then I use to play the bass). These people's CD collection will be filled with best ofs and will only listen to mainstream radio.

    And mainstream radio, of course, isn't willing to take a risk on this. We all have to remember that "One-Hit-Wonders" didn't have just one song (in most cases). But radio stations are handed best ofs and compilations and that's it anymore. It's like an endless cycle of 300 songs from the 1960s to whenever they "stopped making good music."

    What really amazes me is, people love this. They turn on the local rock station and listen to the songs that came out when they were kids. The songs they've heard over and over and over for twenty plus years.

    ... This is why I don't listen to the radio. ;)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I do recognise the phenomenon - but my experience is that this is usually people who don't actually like music, as such!!

    So - they are nostalgic for their youth and this stuff was the musical wallpaper for that and therefore has strong associations with it in their memories!

    So - when they are listening to the "hits of yesteryear" they are not thinking about how that is a neat chord progression or things like that - but rather : that was playing when I scored with that hot person of the opposite sex at the school dance - that was playing,the last time I was actually energetic and lively on the dance floor etc. etc.

    So - nothing to do with music as such, whatsoever!! :meh:
  14. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    I blame Clear Channel
  15. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    damn MTV
  16. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Honestly, you can't blame MTV or ClearChannel for giving people what they want. If everybody was sick of them, they'd be out of business, but they are not. This is more about human nature. "Play me the hits!" :rollno:

    I'm in agreement with Bruce; I am becoming more experimental with music in my *old* age. I find myself picking up more jazz, more experimental metal, and more King Crimson than ever before. I want to hear something new and exciting.

    Is the fact that I'm a musician makes me more open to new music? Do non-artists not want new and exciting stuff?
  17. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002
    Actually, I do blame CLear Channel a bit, they've pretty much pushed all alternative and indy stations off the air. Now no one can hear new music unless it's top 40. They don't get the opportunity to hear anything new. Who would go see some band they've never heard of, not many people.
  18. david bowie is from the future.

    back on topic: i have no idea what causes this phenomena, but it's silly. just plain silly.
  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    That's pretty much it in a nutshell.
  20. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    So what do you recommend? Force everybody to like their new music? It's not any of our responsibility to support something that we don't want to. Saying that a concertgoer is right or wrong by only sticking around for the hits is completely subjective. If he or she thinks they're getting their money's worth that way, then who are we to argue with that?
    :confused: :confused: