I Get Older And Rock n Roll Stays The Same Age
I must admit I have reached a stage in my life that I had fought off for years, but now in my early forties it seems to have sadly arrived - I no longer feel informed or aware of younger bands coming out in the rock, punk, and heavy metal landscape.
While I am still wildly passionate about music and rock n roll, in particular, I seemed to have hit that point in life where I now mainly recycle and revisit artists that I grew up with or discovered in my twenties, the zenith of my musical explorations. This also applies to attending shows now too, which I still love to do, but I mainly do so now with acts I am highly familiar with from years of appreciation.
It is a phenomenon I have witnessed happen to many close music loving friends, but I always swore it would never be me. I always thought I would remain current, plugged in, and aware of all the new sounds and styles of rock n roll breaking in the world. Having left the music industry and no longer being surrounded by twenty-somethings in a music industry office has left me susceptible to acting and feeling like the typical forty-something-year-old that I truly am.
My Remaining Hope
There is one lone exception to the cementing of my old man status. It is a band hailing from the rock and punk landscape that is single handedly keeping me young at heart. That band is The Story So Far from Walnut Creek, California.
The Story So Far typically get mentioned in the world of Pop Punk, but I think that genre and description are way too limiting, as genre tags typically often are. For me, when I think of Pop Punk, right or wrong, I tend to think of lighthearted fun at a singular upbeat pace. For The Story So Far, there is nothing humorous going on with their music. There are no sophomoric or ironic song titles and no cookie cutter pop punk song structures either. What The Story So Far does provide is a powerful dose of angst and urgency that is wrapped up sonically with plenty of groove and ambitious dual guitar work.
Their lyrical themes cover despondence, heartbreak, and the general awfulness of life at times, but never in a trivial or shallow manner. The Story So Far convey pain but drape it in soaring melody. It is this dichotomy, the raw emotion of life set against the melodic hooks, that resonate with me on a gut level and has created a legion of kids who passionately support the band.
Making A Worldwide Impact
For such a young band, The Story So Far are rather accomplished with three full-length albums under their belt. Their first full-length album was released in 2011 with their most recent offering being a self-titled release from 2015. They have completed numerous worldwide tours including multiple appearances on the long-running iconic summer touring series The Warped Tour.
I have seen The Story So Far play live a handful of times now and they are clearly presiding over a movement with kids. I am well aware that this is a movement and a force for a generation other than mine, but I revel in any opportunity I get to observe and be inspired from the back of the room.
Seeing kids go wild and manically singing the words back to frontman Parker Cannon is a true joy for me. I know what it is like to be young and on the ground floor with a band that is coming into their own seemingly right in front of your eyes. Their songs become more than just the backdrop or soundtrack to your youth. You begin to connect and identify with the band and their songs on a visceral level.
Going to a show by The Story So Far is that rare and fleeting opportunity for me to have my soul come alive again. In a venue amongst all those kids, there is no need to attempt to recapture emotions from my youth. Instead, the band and their songs ignite my spirit anew.
My Last Chance To Dance?
Sadly, I may be down to the final stages of discovering new artists to have these types of experiences with. If that is so, I am thankfully going out with a band in The Story So Far that delivers all the heart, substance, and energy of the artists I so cherished in my youth.
If I can somehow hold on for a few more years, perhaps my young son can pick up and carry forward the rock n roll torch for our family and lead me to all sorts of new artist discoveries. In the meanwhile, I am more than happy to be the oldest guy in the room, in the way back of the room, at any and all The Story So Far shows coming anywhere near me.
The Story So Far are out on tour with Good Charlotte right now. Check out their tour dates, catch a show yourself, and fight back with me against old man status.
The Story So Far Online: