The crowd is seen prior to the start of the Concert for SARS Relief at Downsview Park in Toronto Wednesday July 30, 2003. The Rolling Stones along with more than 15 other acts are expected to draw more than 450,000 people . (CP PHOTO/Kevin Frayer).
I’m going to tread lightly with this column, hoping to avoid any negative trappings of ageism or inter-generational bashing. But the fact is we evolve as music fans throughout our lives. The more we listen, collect, and observe, the more knowledgeable we become.
At the same time, we develop preferences, biases, prejudices, and all manner of psychic baggage when it comes to music. And at some inevitable point, we mutter to ourselves that today’s music is nowhere near as good as it was when we were younger.
Every generation believes that the music of their youth was the greatest music of all time. You may not be down with the kids anymore and that noise they call music, but your elders thought the same of your music back in the day. And it was the same for your parents, too. Nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s the cycle of life.
Story continues below advertisement
Actually, the kind of musical knowledge and expertise that only comes with age should be celebrated and cherished. When you start thinking about how music has entered (and occasionally exited) your life, you begin to realize that it’s been a long, strange, wonderful journey, filled with magnificent memories.
This test will help determine just how experienced a music fan you are. Give yourself a point for each “yes” answer. And don’t forget to tally up the bonus points. (Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy and “You may be a redneck if…” routines.)
You might be an experienced music fan if…
You ever had a car with an under-dash tape player. Give yourself one bonus point if it was made by Craig or Jensen, three bonus points if it was from Muntz.
Your favourite part of The Hilarious House of Frightenstein was when the Wolfman played a song and then danced with Igor.
You or someone next to you lit up a cigarette at a concert and no one said anything.
You ever bought a new record at a furniture store, drug store, or department store.
You ever taped songs off the radio. A bonus point if it was off an AM radio.
You know how to program the presets on a push-button radio.
You remember when a new Rolling Stones album was a very big deal.
You ever stood in line overnight at a box office in order to get the best possible seats to a concert.
You thought the big Mach 1 speakers sold at Radio Shack were pretty good, but you really wanted a set of JBLs or Cerwin-Vegas. A bonus point if you lusted after anything made by Magneplanar.
You thought planetarium laser rock shows were cool.
Concert crowds tossed around Frisbees or beach balls before and between sets and security didn’t care.
You bought concert tickets at ABO, CBO, or Ticketron. A bonus point if you bought tickets at your favourite record store.
You doodled band names and logos in the back of your notebooks instead of paying attention in school.
You understand why the best Beatles album is Revolver.
You saw The Who with Keith Moon.
People gazed covetously at the white headphone cord leading to your iPod.
You agreed with all the critics who said that Led Zeppelin was crap.
You went through a hate phase regarding synthesizer-based bands because “that wasn’t real music.”
Punk was the scariest music out there.
You still have a collection of music magazines because you just can’t bear to throw them out.
You remember what you were doing when you heard that (one point) Kurt Cobain died; (two points) John Lennon died; (three points) Elvis Presley died.
You collected the weekly charts published by your favourite radio station.
You were in front of a TV when The Beatles played Ed Sullivan for the first time on Feb. 9, 1974. One bonus point if you immediately vowed to form your own band. Three bonus points if you did.
You can name the Paris cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried. A full ten bonus points if you’ve ever visited his grave.
K-Tel records were THE BEST!
You went broke buying D-cell batteries for your boombox.
You had to settle for a Sanyo portable cassette player instead of the Sony Walkman that you really wanted.
There was a console stereo in the living room. One bonus point if it also had a built-in TV.
An FM radio in the car was once exotic and cool.
You have MP3s older than your kids. One bonus point if you got at least five of them using the original Napster.
You could total up all those points if you wanted to, but if you answered “yes” to at least half of those statements, congratulations on all your experience. You may now lord it over a younger generation if you wish, but they’ll just look at you and ask “What are you talking about?”
Story continues below advertisement
Got any other things that define experience? Leave ’em in the comments. And feel free to share this list with all the other experienced music fans you know.
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.