A little while ago, I was beleagering a younger friend about her supposed love of early Rush, which I noisily decried to be “too long ago” for her to know about. Or appreciate?
It’s funny—the same accusation would totally rile me.
In fact it did once, a few years ago. I was at the State Fair, gaping over the bitchery and pomp heralded by the many horse shows. I think I was paying witness to a particularly fruity Saddlebred Horse Show, which featured a cavalcade of jaunty tunes played on a colossal organ, live, everybody! Anyway, I was fascinated and sought out the organ player, who was sequestered in a corner of the showring seats, alone at his organ. I kind of hung around and watched him do his gig. He was not a jaunty man—in fact, he ended up being more of a vituperative, bitter grump. I know this because at one point he started playing “Cherish,” by The Association—a song that I knew but couldn’t place at that moment. So I asked him about it and he spit back this bile: “Ah, it’s before your time…” The guy was positively sour. And I there I was, trying to connect with him.
I wanted to say: “Oh, dude—you so don’t know of that which you speak.”
Because that’s a funny thing about music fandom: Loving music is a timeless habit. I happen to be a big fan of The Association, despite having been barely born during their heydey; Similarly, some of my 22-year-old noise-rock friends probably know more about John Cage than some scholars; And it’s possible—entirely possible—that my friend-in-question might love Rush’s “Fly By Night” as much as somebody significantly older than her.
Anyway, I guess the reminder for me is: watch it with the “it’s before your time” thing. When it comes to a love of music, it often a bad idea to judge a fan based on age.