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Music Ageist?

When did it become cool for rock fans to be elitist?

It's all a bit ironic, isn't it? Metal is all about counterculture, or flipping the middle finger at mainstream society. With marketing the modern music machine, commercialism seems to have chipped away the stone that is rock.

Perhaps I should clarify. When I use the term elitist here, I don't mean "of the wealthy or privileged" I mean "of a certain age."

That's right: I've noticed discrimination because of my age. Worst yet, I've actually caught myself snickering at people younger than me while at shows! I'm not proud to admit, but if some teeny booper shoves me out of the front row to get a little closer to, say, Tracii Guns, I really have to catch myself. No, I'm not a violent person. I don't have the urge to come to blows. I do, however, have the urge for an impromptu round of Trivial Pursuit:Glam Metal.  Like, if you can answer three questions about the band in front of you, you're allowed to stand in the front row.

Is it wrong I don't want faux fans in the front row? 

It's like this: I'm die hard. If I spend money to go to a show, buy albums, get some merchandise...I want to actually see the band. I don't care who your husband knows. I don't care if you have giant fake boobs - if you're not a real fan, get out of my way.

Back to age.

I'm not an ageist. I think people should be allowed to work as long as they choose. I think young kids can make inroads in corporate America. I think both older and younger employees make for a more balanced and better functioning workplace. I think Glam Metal is music for the young and young at heart.

I think if you're 14 and flipping your blonde hair in my face at a show I have the right to ask you why you like the band at hand. Is that wrong?

I don't understand "trend-hopping." I say, do what makes you happy. Study cultural anthropology when all your friends go to medical school. Buy a Prius if you care about the environment and can still afford a Mercedes. Listen to any music you choose...but please, actually know something about the band.

You already know I'm young. If you don't, let me remind you that I'm 28. I don't hide much about my life. If it's big, I write about it here. I wear glasses and die my hair jet black, both in a small effort to look a little older. When I interview musicians, they always ask me my age. The response is often met with 1) surprise,  2) trepidation and finally 3) appreciation. While I have very fond memories of Glam growing up, I didn't actually live through the "scene" like some have pointed out. I didn't live through the Salem Witch Trials either, but that didn't stop me from writing a thesis on the matter during my undergraduate days.

So here we are. Another day and just one more instance of me airing my dirty laundry for the world to see. Now you know I hate it when faux fans push their way to the barricade just to be near a "rock star." I love it even more when these same faux fans either 1) mock the band or 2)  objectify the members like pieces of meat.

Maybe this is just my pet peeve. If so, I apologize for the rant.

Reader Comments (16)

Personally, as someone who is 39 this week, I think it's awesome that younger people are getting into metal ( except the jerk who tried to fight his way to the front at Iron Maiden, I took him out, although he got through down the line a bit ). But, I've not seen anyone behaving in the manner you describe, so that's not really what I'm talking about. I love meeting people in their early 20s at shows, and finding they love metal as much as I do.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Graus
I agree it's awesome seeing people of the younger generation at shows..Their is a teenager at the store near my home is 18 and loves 80's band..His favorite is Motley Crue and he also likes Def Leppard, Ratt, Poison, Quiet Riot, L.A. Guns and many more he has told me..Great article Allyson =)
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
i can see your point - but i must say lately i have met a fair few younger Rock fans who are now getting into the 80's Glam scene - sure i was there when it actually happened and i know alot more about the bands than they do but at least they are there. Im 35 at the moment and im sure some older fans thought the same of me when i was 15 and going to see Iron maiden etc. What gets me more is the people who claim to be a fan of certian bands but only know 1 song - i went to see Poison many years ago and met or should i say saw and heard alot of young girlies who had heard 'every rose' and expected the whole night to be the same sort of schlok - then got miffed when it got a bit louder. They couldnt even understand what 'cinderella' who were the support were all about and to me they were by far the better band - thats who i went to see.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRed6ixx
"Back in the day" (and I write this line with a smile, because I actually don't care for that phrase), but way back, I strived to get up front, close and personal with some of my favoriate bands. Over the years, I've met most of the band members fron the bands I enjoy. I realized, some are very cool, some are not.

Anyway, about 10 years ago (I'm 37), I went to a DLR show. He was opening up for Bad Company and most of the crowd was quite somber as most of the audience was there to see Bad Company rather than David Lee. I moved up front. It wasn't hard as the crowd was pretty thin and most people were sitting down, drinking beer and waiting for Bad Co.

I don't know what came over me, but I said to myself, "If the band can rock out on stage, I am going to rock out in my seat"...and I went crazy. It was one of the funnest times I had at a show, as I was more focused on the "feeling" than on the "visual" and I was able to get a lot of the people around me more into the show and they let down a lot of their inhibitions, too.

Afterward, I met the band and the drummer told me how much HE enjoyed the show and HE appreciated ME getting HIM and the audience more into the show. I was blown away by this compliment. Since then, I have systematically and purposefully tried to focus less on the musicians themselves and focus more on the music. Moreover, at shows, I seek out other concert attendees- other guys about my age who I sense want to "rock out" and I try to get them to loosen their inhibitions, too, by following a feeling. Most of the time, I'm successful.

These days, I am too old to look at David Lee Roth and admire how "cool" he is, but I can hear Van Halen belt out "Runnin' with the Devil" from the front row or the back row and enjoy it equally...almost!
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
GREAT RANT! I don't mind the young teeny boppers personally though. I have come to terms that I am usually the oldest fan rockin' out a show (other than the bandmembers themselves LOL). At 45 I've met my match with the "priviledged" in the front rows. Usually they consisted of the "fake boob" variety. It was usually the "groupie" element that pissed me off. Not the fact that they were smokin' hot and in the front row. Usually it was a pleasure to see that, as I am sure any band will tell you they'd rather see that than a bunch of guys in the front row. BUT...these chicks were nothing more than the "casual" fan of the music, but hardcore fan of the "hard-on." Like "fletch" above, I am rockin' to the music, not in awe of the players. Sure there are instances...Randy,Freddie,Eddie, Dave, and a few more, but for the most part it was always about the "feeling" and "emotion" from the music. I hear the words, Pantera" "Poison" "Dokken" "Kix" Metallica, it's not the vision of the poster in the magazines that makes me act like a mental patient, it's the MUSIC.
So when the "wanna be" groupie element would take up space in the front rows, THAT would bug the hell out of me. RARELY did these girls know more than the "hit" from the bands, yet they would be front row primping their painted faces and adjusting their stockings and heels, instead of banging their heads...which I'm sure would be done at a later time in a more intimate area of the venue with the artists themselves hahahaha.
The only time I got the treatment you spoke of Allyson was if I was out of MY element and invading the "kid's" scene such as a My Chemical Romance show, Avendged Sevenfold, Mustard Plug, or such. No I didn't know all the words or all the songs, but what I did know was how to FEEL it rather than repeat it and THAT is a hell of a lot more than the respect I've received or been given from the "slut" nation over the years.
"...not that there's anything WRONG with that" but those chicks are MY, NEUMANs' hahahaha.
Sweet L.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou.
I love you guys!

February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
I figured I'd chime in with my own "old-ass" comments. Just so ya know, I'm 42 and I love to see second generation rockers rockin' out with Poison, Cinderella, The Crue! It's really cool seeing kids AND their parents singing along to the same band. And it definitely takes people like Allyson to keep the rock rollin'!

Oh yeah, and it's great to see kids with long hair again!

If it's TOO LOUD... you're TOO YOUNG! LOL.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEddieLongHair
I'm 24 myself, and yeah, it astonishes people, the background I have on older music. And it's no different then when I was 14. I'm very proud of my taste and my musical roots. So yes, I'm often annoyed with the chicks that show up to my concerts in high heels, dragging their disinterested boyfriends in Fubu. Who do you think you are?? I often wish diseases upon them. But it takes away from the experience of the show, man. I've gotten real good at ignoring them. Unless they are drunk and obnoxious.

"Real" fans, teenyboppers... it's a fine line for me, though. I have battled demons in both of those closets. But I am a certified fan for a great deal of the bands I get into. Because music makes me WANT to get to know a band and their whole body of work. The need to have sex with them usually comes secondary! I like my front row, damn it, and if this new Def Leppard tour is any indication, I'll do anything to get there...
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlesh
Great post, Allyson. I'm 18 but thanks to my metalhead mum, I've been into glam metal my whole life. I can't understand the "fans" who know nothing about the band. Whenever I'm at glam shows and talking to the people around me, someone always remarks how impressed they are that I know so much about the bands I pay to see. It worries me that that seems to be out of the ordinary. But I know for every teenybopper who doesn't know Cinderella from Ratt, there are plenty of kids my age who do. There's still hope!
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRia
I don't think it matters where you're from, how old you are, or if you know all the lyrics to a band's collection. Someone spent the money to go to that show for a reason. Everyone enjoys their music differently. I used to have the same line of thinking that Allyson does, but moving 2500 miles to somewhere where being different is the norm, it actually changed my attitude about things. Going to a metal (weather it's old, glam, or new) show in Indiana (where I am from) is *way so not the same* as going to a show in San Francisco where I live now. Back east, when you go see a band, there is usually one type of fan. Rush fans look a certain way, act a certain way, and comprise mostly of one certain demographic. Poison fans look another way, act a certain way, etc. Erasure get where I'm going with this. But here in the west (at least where I live), you will find *all sorts* of walks of life at every type of show. People in their 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s, and even teenagers. Most of the people I encounter just want to have a good time. Just because some people's motives are not your own doesn't make them wrong. Just because you know all the songs by heart from Great Radio Controversy and the guy next to you doesn't, doesn't make him any less of a Tesla fan than you are. And, there are *always* assholes at every show, no matter who you see, or the venue in which you see it in.

A little tollerance goes a long way. But, as I am here asking people not to judge other fans, my personal test is to ask someone what their 3 favorite songs are from a band. And if they're all radio hits, I dismiss the person as just taking up space. So, I'm a hypocrite too :P

Being old has it's privies! :)
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermissy
Allyson, what do I win for being the oldest??

I just turned 46 at the beginning of the month. Yeah, ok, call me an old fart.. and then go check out my website from back in the day... I was there, smack dab in the middle of what was blowing up big time in the 80's and early 90's and I can say with no reservations that I absolutely love that there's a whole new generation of people getting into the same sort of music, (and let's hope the vibe), that was so big then. Call it glam, call it hair metal, call it whatever you want; we all come to this site so you know what I'm talking about. I've commented before about music constantly reinventing itself by following it's own history and this is no exception. So, yeah, I'm way into people getting on board the Crazy Train and Shouting at the Devil with horns held high... (Ok that was hokey, but you get the drift).

Having said that, I totally agree with you, Allyson... If you "like" a band, at least try to know something about them. Like how many of the original members are actually still in the band... What's their history...

I have 2 teenagers. They're into everything from Maiden to Mindless Self Indulgence to showtunes to Jim Croce to the old man's hair metal band... they're pretty well rounded and from what I gather, so are alot of their peers... THAT'S nice to see as in my generation there are still a lot of people that subscribe to the "If it's too loud you're too old" mentality and if you don't like their kind of music you suck, too...

One thing I do hate though is going to a show or blasting some good 80's stuff like Ratt or Motley and getting dirty looks from teenagers that think it's "their" music... Give me a freaking break, ya know? Think about this: Some of that music that's driving you crazy is being or has been created by guys old enough to be your DAD. Sobering thought, huh?

Oops, it's time for my Geritol... with a shot of tequila, natch. ;)

Carry on.

February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
I don't think age has much to do with it. If you like the music, most of it you have to go dig up besides the obvious Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi.

Saying as I'm turning 15, maybe I'm bias since I'm in the younger breed, but everyone who I know that actually likes the music, knows a fair deal about the band. Sure, some kids don't, but the ones I know that don't know a fair deal about the band, aren't going to the shows. The few other teenagers I know that like the band (which where I live, aren't many) and go to see them are truely big fans of the band.

At one of the Poison shows I saw this year, a guy was astonished that I was the one who wanted to see Posion. I checked on their tour dates, when they would be around, etc. My mom was only along for the ride. ;) He then started quizzing me on Skid Row...who is the singer? Do you know what 18 and Life is actually about? Simple enough questions for me to answer, but it was still interesting seeing his reaction when I got them right.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMakel
It's definitely cool to see younger "kids" at rock shows. It not only proves that music is timeless, but also keeps it relevant. It's cool that a fifteen year old kid can relate to the same Crue or Poison song that I can relate to. It reinforces that these songs have substance. If the bands we love aren't attracting new fans and a younger audience, that would mean their time has passed. Younger audiences keep them (and their fans) from being the nostalgia act most critics dismiss them as.

It blows my mind that the bands I grew up on are now "classic" rock. Time really gets away from you after high school.

But there are some fucktards who need to be reminded, these were our bands first. Be glad we're willing to share them with you. I wonder sometimes if any kid at the shows ever thinks to himself, "I hope I'm still cool when I'm that age."
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRandy
As an addition to my last post...
I remember how excited I was when I saw KISS with Judas Priest opening when I was 10. It was the Dynasty tour, which turned out to be the last tour of the original line up for a long time. Pretty good for a first concert. I'm sure people were pissed off 'cause the guy who took me squeezed us down front and put me on his shoulders. I was mesmerized, and the rest of the world disappeared. It's funny, concerts still have that effect on me.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRandy
I'm 39, and therefore "lived thru it". One of my good friends Liz is 28, and she has been a "glam" fan for about 6 or 7 years. I'm STOKED when younger people, who didn't live thru it, are as excited as I am about it. I live and breathe for this music. And I'm stoked as hell that there's been a resurrgence of this genre of music. Nothing gives me more pleasure than teaching my friend Liz about that kind of music and sharing my old CD's with her.

February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVicky
what get my goat is the dude that are my age talking shit and are only there because their girls wants to see the band ie poison motley seen them at both i just walk away in digsutsed
February 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertommydahl

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