Everybody ages. It’s the nature of all life. Days pass, months, years. A couple of weeks ago I had another birthday and it seems I never need a calendar to tell me that. I feel older. The pain threshold gets tested to a new level. The brain doesn’t react the same. It’s the natural degradation of things.
In music, I look for inspiration. What is better as it ages? Several bands out there now have either maintained their power and intensity over the years (Saxon, George Lynch of Dokken/Sweet Lynch fame, or Billy Sheehan of Mr Big/David Lee Roth/Winery Dogs) or have gotten even better (Stryper, Europe, Winger or Marty Friedman).
As inspiring as these artists can be, I am occasionally confronted by the mortality of music. Recently, classic hard rock/metal/punk icons Mötorhead has had to cancel a series of shows due to the health of frontman Lemmy. As a man who’s lived hard through his years in the music business, it’s almost surprising that he’s survived as long as he has. It’s still somewhat sad to see someone of his stature in the history of rock start to decline to a point that you worry about him dying on stage.
Fellow rock icon Black Sabbath have also announced their impending exit from music. When a band has approached 50 years on tour, you have to wonder about their overall health as well. Main songwriter/guitarist, Tony Iommi, has battled cancer recently and has said that the grind of touring (which is mandatory in the business) takes its toll on him physically now and worries that it will tax his health to a point of his cancer returning so they are planning a farewell tour.
While I like to see the perspective of anyone I encounter, it’s deeply troubling to see favourites age and fade away or to be killed by one thing or another (drugs, suicide, plane/bus crashes). I have learned a lot about human mortality through the music I’ve listened to. It’s encouraging to see some artists thrive as they age, it gives me a positive point of reference amidst my musical choices. I just wake up every day, try to find purpose and work to the best of my ability, an often my degree of physicality and get better. Even if the increments are becoming smaller.