There is NO Retiring in Rock and Roll
1/9/2013 12:14:00 PM
When it comes to rock and roll, there are no rules. All bets are off. Anarchy rules the day. It’s better to burn out than to fade away… and all that other trite hardcore bullshit that you hear about rock and roll.
Let me ask you this, why are there so many “hardcore” rockers who want to retire? Is it the sadistic appeal of an early morning golf course and bright plaid pants that has somehow embedded itself into their brains like a Pilipino flesh eating parasite?
No probably not, although that would certainly explain it. Being a professional rocker is a lot more work than most people think. Long hours of practicing, cheesy record label executives throwing contracts in your face all the while making bad decisions that could possibly ruin your career. Touring can be boring as hell, long drives in junky vans and buses, smelling your band member’s unwashed feet for the third straight day. Ok, I get it, but let’s make something completely clear..
There is no retiring in Rock and Roll.
O sure, you can announce the big farewell tour. Print up special limited edition t-shirts that say “this is it, I’m out of here.. for real”. Send out press releases by the thousands if you want, it won’t matter. You won’t be retired. You can’t. It simply won’t stick.
Hey brutha, don’t sweat it, better artists than you have tried and failed at retiring. Don’t feel bad. Kiss has had more farewell tours than Oprah has had milkshakes. The Eagles retired and said it would take a holy act of God to get them back together. Yeah, they are both on tour this year.
So when the Scorpions announced it was all over - one last mega world tour and then it’s off to the old rocker ranch and long afternoon games of backgammon and shuffleboard I called Bullshit… and I was right.. again.
"As the emotion built, it [not retiring] became a gradual decision. It’s one thing to say, ‘This is going to be the end of the Scorpions’ and another to do it. Our 'Sting in the Tail' album  was such a success that a whole new generation of fans joined the party. It was amazing. And you know that with all the best parties it’s sometimes hard to find the door?", said Klaus Meine.
I hear a little bit of wisdom from the Eagles Hotel California slipping in "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."
Judas Priest said it’s over. Rob and the boys are still touring. The Black Crowes called it an indefinite hiatus, nice term, they're back on tour this year. Ozzy said “No More Tours” and this year he is recording with Sabbath and doing an Ozzfest in Japan. Even David Bowie came out of nowhere and on his 66th birthday released a new song.
Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! – Bluto
Look, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s just the way life works. Not being able to really retire isn’t a sign of weakness or a lack of determination, it’s a symptom of a very rare and wonderful disorder that all truly talented rockers are inflicted with – they are artists.
You see, there is a difference between individual musicians that has nothing to do with their looks, or album sales, or any of that cool stuff.
Some musicians are just in the business to be famous. You’ve seen them. You can smell them a mile away. They usually arrive out of nowhere, exploiting some gimmick or novelty and then poof, they are off the radar and gone just as quick. Good riddance.
Ah, but some musicians, the really great ones, the ones that matter, these musicians are truly artists, and an artist MUST create. They HAVE to create or they will feel out of sorts. Failure to create causes a mental block up, they become lost, irritable, crazy. It’s not good, and regardless how hard they try to not be creative it will work its way back into their lives. They will find themselves sitting on a stool with that old guitar trying to get that damn sound out of their head, or randomly playing chords on a piano while starring off into space. They can’t help it. It’s a good thing. A GREAT thing. They must create.
So the next time your favorite artists announces with great fanfare that this is it, it’s over, one last world tour, one last album and its over for good. It’s ok. Buy that limited edition final tour concert shirt. Shake their hand and tell them how much you will miss seeing them and hearing their new music, and all the while you should have a slight smile hiding behind your eyes. Because you and I know something true, there is no retiring in rock and roll, and that my friend is a very very good thing.