February 11, 2002
I had another speech out in Sun City yesterday. Standing room only, probably about 250 at the West Valley Art Museum. Talked about being "surrounded" by Geronimo, who appeared on four different paintings in the hall where I was speaking. I mentioned how offensive this would be to the original pioneers of Arizona. That it would be tantamount to having Osama bin Laden hanging here. That got their attention.
On the way home I was listening to all the bad rock on the radio and I had an epiphany, which I turned into an open letter to my son (he's 21) and his generation. Here it is:
I was coming home from a speech out in Sun City yesterday, listening to all the bad rock on the radio and it hit me: one of the reasons rock is fading and hip-hop is so strong is because "rock" is accepted and taught in school. When I was in high school (1962-65), the band teacher would not allow rock to even be played or discussed in class. That put rock and roll outside of acceptable, and of course made it so appealing to rebels and misfits like myself and the Beatles. Ha.
But today, you've got band teachers showing the nerdy kids how to play Led Zep, etc. and you end up with all those ernest, pretentious bands you hate (Korn?) who I believe were probably "trained" in high school and, or, college.
Hip-hop meanwhile is today's outlaw music and outside the bounds of acceptable. There are members of my generation (okay, I'm one of them) who keep clinging to the false hope that Hip-hop and rap are just a passing fad, but rap is 25 years old. And I realized that's what my parent's generation was hoping for with rock. I remember commentators laughing and saying rock was going to last about as long as the hoola-hoop craze.
It's kind of sad and scary to me that the three guitars and a drummer template may be an endangered species, but there you have it. The world keeps on turning and if you live long enough, your entire world dies in front of your eyes. When you and Deena were just toddlers (1984) we went to Iowa and picked up my grandmother Bell who was 92 at the time. As we drove over to visit Doris, her daughter and my aunt (Poppie's sister), Minnie Hauan Bell started singing a song and she kind of wanted us to sing along but it was some old dittie we had never heard of, but there she was belting out some Norskie Classic Viking tune and we were looking at her like she was some ancient holdover from another world (and she was).
Here's a warning for you: that's probably me in about twenty years, belting out "Communication Breakdown" in some old people's home and your mother is mooning everyone in the hall. Get ready son, it will be embarrassing.
"You do not notice changes in what is always before you."
—Old Vaquero Saying
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