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I retired after 38 years as a software developer. I was very happy to leave the day-to-day schedule behind and to work at my own pace doing what I want to do. Classic rock bands contain people that seem to be made up of a different genetic code. They are performers in their sixties and seventies that still move from city to city and from hotel to hotel on tour with the band. Why do they do it? What drives them to keep up the grueling pace when they could be relaxing and living a life that only exists in our dreams?
During their careers many classic rockers have written and sung about being on the road. There were great songs like Jackson Brown’s “Stay” and Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page.” They give us a hint to the feeling of being up on stage and the rush it brings. I can understand that and it must be great but is that enough to make a person want to be constantly on the road through their sixties and into their seventies?
I know classic rock is still a big business. You have internet radio classic rock, classic rock online, and streaming classic rock. Classic rock t-shirts and classic rock ringtones are still big sellers, but how much money do these people need? I guess some of the bands that may have only had one big CD or, in the old days album, may not have the big money but bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones certainly can’t be doing it because they need to pay the mortgage.
I’ve heard two stories about classic rockers. One rumor was that Charlie Watts, one of my favorite drummers of all time, was going to quit The Rolling Stones. Charlie is pushing seventy and I think he has had enough Sticky Fingers for several lifetimes. I hope he does have sense enough to give himself a few years to relax in the fourth quarter of his life. The other rumor was hinting that Aerosmith might break up. This is a great band and one of my favorites but Steve Tyler’s beautiful and talented daughter Liv will likely retire before he does.
Is it the rush? I guess if you are great at what you do that it is hard to give it up. I could understand staying in the business and doing one or two appearances a year and working in the studio, but to be out going from city to city eating hotel food, no matter how fancy, and never being settled has got to be hard on performers over sixty. I also have to admit that some of them are getting to look rather silly in their rocker stage costumes.