Guitar Face for the Camera

A few weeks ago I went to see a band that my friend’s kid plays in. They played mostly covers, but they are all really great players and performers. The singer is off to Berklee this fall, and the guitar player is entering his sophomore year, studying music production in Nashville.

It took me back to my high school music days. We started playing out in bars when I was 15 or 16. Aside from the old dudes drinking beer and high-fiving the kids for kicking ass, a lot has changed.

Our nights were spent smoking cigerettes and trying our best to look like we weren’t kids that would be easy targets for a mugging. One bar served us when we were *extremely* underage. At the time it seemed awesome. Looking back, it’s ridiculous. What were they thinking?

One time, while loading up my 88 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais outside of a bar on Granby avenue in Norfolk, some dude tried to sell me an 8-ball. That was probably the first time I heard *8-ball* being used outside of a game of pool. I must have been 16.

Then there was another time, when the owner of a bar that had cancelled us one night showed up at a different bar where we were playing.

He was plastered. Three-sheets to the wind. Though that makes it sound classier than it was. He was freaking out, and starting throwing piles of cash on the stage to apologize for the past. It was sad, and weird, and disturbing. Were we even 18 yet? I’m not sure.

We took the money.

Now, back to the show I saw a few weeks ago.

It was at a rock club. But all of band members’ parents were there. Some of their parents’ friends were there. Every family had a camcorder set up on a tripod. It felt a little bit like the sidelines of a high school sports event. This was very different.

And so I’ve been left wondering whether we live in a different world now, with a different generation of parents that have more of an attachment to what their kids are doing outside of team sports, or whether it’s just that my friends are cooler than most parents and are the exception to the rule.

In any case, I did my “old guy at the rock show thing,” high-fiving the kids and telling them that they kicked ass. All the while knowing that they would be the old people high-fiving young musicians in the club sooner than they think.