I have a friend, let’s call her Etsy, that is really, really into 80’s rockers. Her Top Five starts with Tommy Lee and goes downhill from there. Tommy Lee. A man I wouldn’t touch with a HAZMAT suit, who is probably a case study in STD’s, and is the textbook definition of “skeevy.” If a guy looks like a coked out death zombie with bad hair and who hasn’t bathed since Reagan was in office, Etsy will gleefully throw her panties at him.
Etsy just went to see Rick Springfield. She gleefully posted pictures of herself rubbing his sweaty back. (I hope there is a shot for that.) Now, let’s do a little math. Jessie’s Girl came out in 1981. Giving old Rick the benefit of the doubt that the girl in question (never named, because let’s face it, the fact that she is Jessie’s is what makes her desirable, not any actual quality she possesses in her own right) was of legal age and you add the full thirty years since that song came out, then if I do my math right, Jessie’s girl is getting ready to turn 50. Do you feel old yet?
What I wonder is this - what do those aging rockers see when they look into the current crowd? Back in their heyday, their fans were bra-less teenagers and come hither 20-somethings. Now? Not so much. There isn’t a bra in the world that could help most of his current fans pass the pencil test. That goes for all the aging rockers out there. I went to see Duran Duran back in college. Even back in those dark ages, we thought they were retro - and they are still touring! Can you imagine night after night after night after night having to sing the same songs, with the same level of enthusiasm, all while watching your audience creep toward middle age right along with you? That’s got to be a level of hell created solely for musicians.
For nostalgia purposes, let’s discuss New Kids On The Block. I wasn’t into them, but many of my friends were. They were only a few years older, so their concerts must have looked like all-you-could-shag buffets. What did it look like this past summer? I can’t imagine they gained a new crop of teenage fans, so it’s those same women who had their posters on the wall all those years ago, relieving their high school years singing along to all the worlds. That buffet must look pretty damn unappetizing.
So, do you think they rockers play make believe? Do you think they still send out security to find the youngest, prettiest girls to send back to their dressing rooms? The ones who still think sleeping with Rick Springfield would be a notch on their bedpost and not an immediate appointment to a clinic? I know half of them must be married by now, with kids, and the only thing they find interesting in their fans pants is their wallets. But the other half, the ones with the plastic faces that barely move who still struggle into leather pants and vests? How much longer can Rick look out into the crowd and sing about Jessie’s girl without said girl being hauled up onstage in a wheelchair?
It’s a sad, sad fate to be an aging rocker. Sadder still to be Etsy, the girl whose love for them will never, ever die.