Rick con­sid­ers the past, present and fu­ture of a mu­si­cian’s life.

Prog - - Intro -

It’s an un­for­tu­nate fact of life that we all get old. One day, af­ter the old res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem has packed up, we’ll all head off to rock’n’ roll heaven or in some cases, rock’n’ roll hell, where I believe you’re forced to lis­ten to early coun­try and western for all eter­nity.

A mu­si­cian’s life changes as the years go by and it’s in­ter­est­ing to re­flect on how peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes towards us al­ter as we age. I’m sure some of this will res­onate with those of you who are still young enough to res­onate.

In your teens, you’re open to all kinds of mu­sic. It’s dur­ing these for­ma­tive years that your per­sonal taste starts to de­velop and move to the fore­front of what you play. It’s all very ex­cit­ing. Once you reach your 20s, you tend to fo­cus even more on your pre­ferred mu­si­cal style and now as­so­ciate with like-minded mu­si­cians. If you’re for­tu­nate enough, record com­pa­nies will clam­our for your sig­na­ture and your fan­base will grow by the day. You may even win a few awards for your craft.

In your 30s, you still play your mu­sic of choice but now you think that all other mu­sic has lit­tle rel­e­vance in your life along with the mu­si­cians who play it. Your record com­pany is no longer so keen on your sound and you may even be dropped. You fan­base starts to dwin­dle and the awards be­gin to dis­ap­pear.

Once you hit your 40s, it starts be­com­ing dif­fi­cult to earn a liv­ing play­ing the mu­sic you love, so you find your­self delv­ing into styles you’d pre­vi­ously dis­missed. Your record la­bel might re-sign you for a pit­tance and you’ll end up mak­ing an al­bum of their choice. There are no more awards and by the time you reach your 50s, you’re play­ing what­ever and wher­ever you can just to pay the mort­gage. You also be­moan the death of record stores and proper record com­pa­nies, but there will still be a hard core of fans to keep your mu­sic alive. Just.

By your 60s, many of your peers are no longer alive and you’re sim­ply grate­ful to still be breath­ing. You play what­ever peo­ple want to lis­ten to, any­where that will have you and you might even win your first life­time achieve­ment award. But by the time you reach your 70s, ev­ery agent around the world wants to book you and ev­ery record com­pany wants to sign you. Venues are full again, and CD and vinyl sales rocket. Dis­il­lu­sion­ment tells you that you’re in vogue again, but re­al­ity says that’s only because the au­di­ence now re­alise how old you are and want to see you be­fore you head off to rock’n’ roll heaven or coun­try and western hell.

As for me, I’ll keep go­ing for as long as I can because I can’t stand coun­try and western.

“By your 60s, many of your peers are no longer alive and you’re sim­ply grate­ful

to still be breath­ing.”

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