The Golden Years

Last night it dawned on me that Sepultura’s ‘Roots’ album is 16 years old. 16. SIXTEEN?! What? How? I don’t feel old enough to know the albums from my teens are that old, but I need to start realising this. I mean Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ is 21 years old in September, and whilst this wasn’t a defining album for me personally, it is one that I was aware of. There was a girl called Anna in my form class at school and she was obsessed by Kurt and Courtney whilst everyone else around us seemed to care about the whole britpop war between Blur and Oasis. I hope she is still as cool as she was then.

Around that time for me I was really in to the brit rock scene. Terrorvision were my first love and I still love them now, although I have held off from seeing them live now they are back together for fear of tarnished memories. Rock stars get older, some with less grace than others but it’s almost like they live in some bubble of time that can’t be changed. I remember seeing VAST a few years ago at the Islington Academy (these were very much a defining band for me) and I met them on my 21st birthday outside Nottingham Rock City – they played the tiny room in there and I still remember how amazing the gig was to this day…..

Me with Jon Crosby from VAST on my 21st birthday - Starstruck much?
How starstruck do I look exactly? Again though, VAST’s debut album was released in 1998, 14 years old. It’s frightening how time moves, but I saw them a few years ago and Jon seemed so much more mellow than he was (He was lovely when I met him, and very calm, but different on stage, as most lead singers tend to be in my experience). He actually looked like someone’s Dad on stage (in fairness to him, he probably is someone’s Dad by now!). I believe he was wearing a brown sweater on stage. I remember nearly crying in to my friend Steven’s shoulder going on about the unfairness of rock stars ageing in this manner. On the flip side of this ideal though, we don’t want to see our rock star heroes destroy themselves. What would Kurt Cobain be like now? There are certain people that remain timeless but at the same time, preparing yourself for ageing alongside the music that formed you is a weird experience.

As I write this I’m listening to Filter, another band who, for me, recent output has been somewhat lacking but between the years of 1996 – 2002 were essential for me. The bands that stick out for me most of this time were VAST, Orgy, Filter, Stabbing Westward, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Gravity Kills, God Lives Underwater (I remember the first time I saw their video for ‘From Your Mouth’ with outstanding clarity) – basically I was a fangirl for industrial rock/metal, and I still am, and these bands certainly explain how I got in to noise, and more defined industrial bands like Skinny Puppy and Ministry.

I had a chat with someone a few days ago and they didn’t really know much Pantera. I was honestly surprised and felt my age. I listened to them a lot when I was younger as well, and when people say they’re not aware of these bands it makes me feel old! It’s almost like the albums that formed me need to be sent down to the generation below me, like a treasure. Listening to the bands that formed who I am now feels beautiful to me and still very relevant. They feel timeless, whereas someone who’s 16-18 now would probably look at me and think what is this old bastard music whilst they go off and listen to whatever screamo band is popular now. Athough I really hope this is not the case, and kids show more respect than I think they would. I’m even starting to sound old talking about this, like I expect to be disrespected for my tastes!

Coping with ageing when I don’t feel old in the slightest is an odd thing, and it’s strange that music is what has made me aware of it. Should I be a grown up? I don’t know. The rock stars I loved will easily be in their 40s/50s now (Seriously strange meeting Ryan and Amir from Julien K, who used to be in Orgy) and are they grown up? Does the music that makes them timeless in my eyes, make them feel timeless as well? Does music keep you young? Do I feel like 18 year old Kate – no, and I am very glad that I don’t to be honest (Regardless of my minor, in the scheme of things, issues, I’ve generally aged much better!) but at the same time, I still feel this teenage obsession with this music to the very day. I look forward to introducing nieces, nephews, god children (I doubt I shall be a parent if I’m perfectly honest, as much as I’d like to be) to this sort of thing and seeing how they react, and maybe see if their is another coming of this sort of music and what those who are younger than me do with it.

Music is timeless. Even if the people who make it and listen to it might not be.

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