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When Old Rockers Say Dumb Stuff

I loved my Grandpa on my Mom's side. I never knew my paternal Grandfather, Domingo, who was born in Mexico, but I spent a considerable amount of time with my Mom's Dad, who lived in Brooklyn, but would stay with us a couple of times a year, and would usually come over for the big holidays. He loved his Brooklyn Dodgers, (and later we bonded over the new National League team, the NY Mets) and when he visited he'd give me a buck to buy the NY Daily News & the NY Times. That would leave me with a take of 83 cents per day, so after a standard Grandpa visit, I was rich!

Like many men of his generation, Grandpa liked a shot and a beer every afternoon. It was "Rheingold," the Mets beer, and often after an afternoon boilermaker, he'd start to say some really ugly stuff, racial mostly, and I remember my Mom taking me aside and explaining to me that Grandpa grew up "differently" than we did, we didn't believe the nonsense he was spewing, and sometimes older people say the wrong thing, because they're not completely in control of their faculties. But we still love Grandpa. Her point was, we could berate him and argue until we were blue in the face, but Grandpa was going to believe what Grandpa was going to believe. And he was family.

I was reminded of this a few days ago. I was having a discussion with a young, local musician, who claimed that US 41 was somewhat responsible for spreading, "disinformation" because we play artists like Eric Clapton, whose opinions have been met with derision on social media and in some press reports. He said we should "get those old fuckers off the air" and replace them with younger, more socially conscious rockers. I told him, I'll GLADLY play anything that's got a hooky chorus and a good beat, but there was NO WAY I was going to remove the work of those aging Rockers from the US 41 airwaves. If you investigated, and micro-managed virtually every musician who's ever taken a stage or released a recording, I'm sure you could come up with SOMETHING objectionable about every single one of them. I don't ask about your politics before I put you on the air. All I want to know is will your song motivate me to think, feel joy, dance or get horny...PERIOD!

We went back and forth for a few minutes, and we were at an impasse. To him, US 41, and all we stand for, is completely irrelevant. Then, I hit him with the "Grandpa Analogy." I said, "How old is your Grandpa?" He replied, "70 something, and he's always saying dumb shit, but he's my Gramps." I think for a second this young drummer was picking up what I was putting down, but he still hasn't sent me his bands music, so maybe he was just humoring THIS old man.

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