Mick Jagger is a great-grandfather. Yet I suppose he still gets up on every tour date and sings about how he can’t get no satisfaction.
There are countless bands and older musicians who (despite being well past their prime) still go out and play the hits: Journey, Paul McCartney, KISS, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith.
From one point of view, this is a sad sort of thing. It would appear that all of these older gentlemen are trying like hell to hold on to something that belongs to the early years of their lives – after all, sex, drugs, and the whole rock n roll thing are believable in 20-somethings but not so appealing in 60-somethings.
But that’s not the only way to see these venerable old players and singers. I see inklings of something different.
I see musicians enjoying what they love, age be damned. I see rock bands that used to scowl instead choosing to smile. I see rockers that use to live self-destructively instead choosing clean living and creative engagement.
Some of these rock and rollers have seriously matured. They’ve gained wisdom – the kind of wisdom that makes it hard to pretend to be badass and edgy for points with the public. Sure, they indulge in the rock and roll aesthetic, but they aren’t getting high on their own supply anymore.
They’re going out and rocking hard. Then they’re going home and (presumably) playing with their grandchildren.
I couldn’t hope for a better example of how to live well, particularly in an artist’s path. These players show us that it’s possible to enjoy something youthful without the pretense and arrogance of youth, and that age doesn’t have to be the end of art.