My old man was born to rock. He’s still tryin’ to beat the clock.-Tom Petty
This has not been a great year to be an original classic rock fan. David Bowie passed away, marking the beginning of the twilight of the rock gods. Those surviving gods, in turn, have been using the Desert Trip festival-aka Oldchella-as a venue for themselves and their own aging fans. But not all of them are geriatrics:
Tucked away in the tent city of on-site camping was an oasis of relative youth that could have passed for Coachella proper, with beer pong and arcade games. The main difference was the soundtrack.
“It’s not like someone puts on Kendrick Lamar and then half the people give an eye roll,” Mr. Cervony, who traveled from Louisiana State University, said with a positive-vibes lilt. “Everybody loves the same music.” But even among the fresher contingent, his baby face stood out.
While most of Mr. Cervony and Mr. Kray’s peers are deep into rap and electronic dance music — the core music festival audience this century — the two bonded over classic rock and playing guitar during high school in Minnesota. (Getting into counterculture via the Beat generation and “Highway 61 Revisited” never quite goes out of style.)
Rock and roll has always been a younger generation’s game at heart, even as the original rockers enter their retirement years. The Stones are, after all, still around, even if they’re collectively older than the United States of America, they also have a new blues album, going back to the music that inspired them and the first generation of rock and rollers.
But back to the age thing. Do you have to be old to appreciate Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, or the Stones? Do you have to be a twenty something to not appreciate Mom and Dad’s old albums (you know, those things they used way back before iTunes). An older rock lover might be forgiven for thinking that all today’s kids care about is music that only existed within their brief lifetimes. But even old rockers can teach kids new tricks, even if they themselves are in some cases literally becoming too old to rock. Rock on while you can, dudes-your grand-kids will appreciate it.