Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Daily Riff: The Aging Musician

From a 2012 interview with Prakash John, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member and bassist with the late Lou Reed:

The Stones and The Beach Boys recently celebrated fifty years of performing. Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Chuck Berry, BB King; they’re all still performing. What kind of challenges do aging musicians face?

The biggest challenge is to be fit enough to be able to endure a set. To be able to play at the intense level that you used to play at. You need to stay in shape to get there in the first place, and then you realize you are old! You find this out a little bit later than an athlete. You can survive longer than an athlete; you have longer window. I get tired. No matter when I practice, if I don’t play with Jordan at least three or four times a week, you just fall off the cliff. Sometimes it’s really hot in the place. Before this summer the heat never bothered me. You need to keep your concentration.


N. Jay Burr said...

There also appears to be another issue within the subtext of this topic: when to retire gracefully. There has been ample press regarding BB King and a recent St. Louis MO concert where BB was incoherent, and unable to perform. Ticket holders were not issued a refund and leaves a stain on elderly performers not knowing when to retire when one can still be regarded as 'at the top of their game'. As a performing musician, I expect to know exactly when I can no longer perform my duties and exit stage left in lieu of being rolled out on a gurney.

Glen T Brown said...

You're absolutely right Jay. The recent retirement of Glenn Campbell from stage with full support of his family is a good example.
On a related note; I happened to see the Beach Boys on the Queen Latifah TV show a few days ago. Man, even though they could still sing and play, the visual incongruity was hard to get over! They should be renamed something other than The Beach Boys (The Beach Retirees?)