Getting Older, Rocking Out

Wed 4/11/2007

I have not been getting much sleep lately. I'm NOT complaining, it's just a fact. And as usually happens when I am up all night working, I have been hitting the rock music pretty hard.

At about 6am on Monday morning I put on The Blue Album (after working all night) and I had a strange sort of realization while listening to it.

Rivers sounds really YOUNG.

It was sort of a strange thought. I mean, so much of my experience with The Blue Album is nostalgia. I put it on, I turn it up and I am 14 or 15 again, rocking out and feeling alive. It never really occurred to me that it is a RECORDING. And thus, it is a captured, frozen moment in time. It was recorded at Electric Lady Studios, right here in New York City, in 1993. Rivers Cuomo was 23 years old.


I mean, at the time, this was not weird. When the album came out, Rivers was 23 and I was 13. And at that age it seems totally resonable that a 23 year-old's creative output could completely blow my mind and fundamentally change how I think about and experience music for the rest of my life.

But now I'm 27... do you know what I mean?

If I was down in Greenwich Village tonight and I ran into some 23 year-old guy and he was like, "Oh, I'm in a band." I would be like, "Oh that's cool" (thinking: "PFFF. Whatever! Who ISN'T in a band?!")

A quick lap around Wikipedia provides the following, sort of humbling data about some of my all-time favorite albums:

  • Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - John Lennon: 27
  • The Bends - Thom Yorke: 27
  • In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Jeff Mangum: 27
  • Elliott Smith - Elliott Smith: 26

As a fellow creative person (though not really a musician...) it's hard not look at numbers like these and feel a little panic, like, "ACK! I need to get to WORK!" Whenever I feel that way though, I remind myself that George Lucas didn't make Star Wars until he was 33 and Jim Henson didn't really solidify the Muppets until he was 40. Maybe my greatest creations have not even formed in my mind yet, and I'm working towards them now, even as I type these words... (let's hope).

Anyways, it's just strange that I'm going to keep growing older, but this recording will always stay the same. How weird will it be to listen to Weezer when I'm 40? Or 70??? Rivers will just sound like a kid!

5 comments on this entry

Also keep in mind how many musicians have peaked and then DIED at 27... Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, etc. I think the standard in music is that you peak in your 20's but in comics most people really peak in their mid-30's or mid-40's. So even though I have these thoughts sometimes myself (Jeez I'm 27 and what have I accomplished compared to all these other people when they were my age?!?!?) it comforts me that cartoonists generally reach their "peak" much later in life so I (and you) shouldn't really be holding myself to the same standard as a musician. So relax, you have a solid ten to thirteen years ahead of you to accomplish things! That is a buttload of time!

Liz Apr11

Ha ha, good point Liz! Comics is definitely a different game...

P.S. sorry I missed you at SVA the other week. I had to dash off to meet a friend after the class, so I couldn't swing by your office. Maybe another time!

Alec Apr11

Not only that, but Michelangelo completed his Pieta at age 24! What the heck!?

Bill Apr11

Don't forget though that Orson Wells wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane when he was 24. It is facts like that that make it easy to feel like a loser

Duane Apr13

I hate to think that we allot ourselves only a precious piece of time to do something wondrous for the world to talk about after we die rather than live our lives happily because we're doing what we love.

Arlene Apr14

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