Am I a classic?

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Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of new music, and am definitely not stuck in the ’90s, but these bands were around during my coming-of-age, and so they have a special place in my life. I grew up with them, and it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was barely done growing up.

It’s just that I can’t be old enough to have listened to “classics” that were new while I was in high school.

I discussed this with a good friend of about the same age a couple weeks ago on the golf course. He agreed that it was really weird hearing these bands on the radio, being passed off as classic rock when it wasn’t that long ago that they came out.

How can this be? Do we really get old so fast? I catch myself (and cringe) when I talk about the (good old?) days when gas was around $1-a-gallon. I can remember the only slightly-annoyed sighs from people when gas would rise just over that $1-a-gallon mark.

I stopped myself recently from mentioning to someone younger than me that I used to pay $1.35 (!) a pack for Camel Lights (close to $4 a pack now). I can remember a time when the Internet was unheard of; when it was more the stuff of science-fiction that technically exists but not a part of everyday existence. I can remember my parents listening to records, actual vinyl records, when I was younger. I remember freaking 8-track tapes in the drawers of the desk in our living room.

I remember looking through my dad’s junk box as a kid, checking out his high school-era mementos and feeling like I was looking at ancient artifacts, joking that he was older than dirt, etc. He was about the same age then that I am now. Sorry dad.

At least I’m still young enough for this to freak me out, so I guess it’s not too bad. Someday I’ll be so accustomed to this sort of thing that it won’t even bother me anymore. I’ll unabashedly tell younger people “when I was your age” stories. I’ll probably tell them things like, “I remember a time when Delta didn’t even fly to the moon,” or “I remember when you needed an actual piece of computer equipment to surf the web,” or “Used to be an ID was a card with your photo on it and not something embedded in your wrist.”

And by then I’m sure I’ll be cranking Nirvana on the full-fledged “Golden Oldies” stations.

(photo by Will Ellis)

Does this mean I’m getting old? Lately, as I’ve been flipping through stations on the radio, I’ve heard a lot of songs by bands that I enjoyed as a teenager playing on classic rock station 102.5 The Bone.

“Come on, I’m only 31! This can’t be considered classic rock,” I plead to the stifling air in the car’s cabin the first time I heard The Bone play a Metallica tune.

That’s only how it started. Metallica? OK, I guess. I mean, they’ve been together since the early ’80s and burst onto the scene in ‘83 with Kill Em’ All. I guess a band that’s been around that long could be considered a “classic.” After all, it was 25 years ago. (Hard to believe, right?)

But then I was even more alarmed when I started hearing bands from the ’90s being passed off as classic rock: Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, among others. I was so freaked out I almost stopped listening to the radio. But then I realized I would be listening to those same bands on CD (in my car) or on tape (at home; yes, I still have a tape collection for some reason), and it was too late to stop the “am-I-really-getting- old-enough- for-this-to-happen-to-me?” question from entering my head.

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