A confession: When I was young, “good” rock ’n’ roll somewhat eluded me.
I was born in 1958. I loved songs like The Foundation’s “Build Me Up Buttercup.” Petula Clark’s “Downtown” was also one of my faves and the innocence of early bubblegum rock (The Monkees, invasion (Beatles, Rolling Stones) was not my cup of tea. Psychedelic rock (The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd) didn’t blow my mind and the intense beat of hard rock (The Doors, Iron Butterfl y) was too extreme for me.
Looking back, my early musical choices weren’t very good. Thank goodness ’60s and ’70s musical taste wasn’t an SAT category.
What fascinates me now is the endurance of certain aging rock stars, such as Keith Richards, Paul McCartney and Bonnie Raitt. Regardless of their setbacks—or earlier lives of excess—today they seem to be thriving.
Anyone who’s followed Richards’ career may be awestruck by how he survived so many years of “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.” But have you seen a picture of the legendary guitarist’s hands lately?
Richards has osteoarthritis. Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time.
From June to December of this year, Richards will be touring with the Rolling Stones for 13 concerts, in Belgium , Denmark , Sweden , Australia and New Zealand . What is it that drives Richards despite a debilitating disease?
McCartney, who turned 72 a few weeks ago, postponed the start of his U.S. “Out There” tour because of a lingering illness that caused him to spend several days in the hospital. The former Beatle is still recuperating from the virus that forced him to miss several dates in Japan and South Korea .
Consider yourself at age 72 with an illness that’s kept you hospitalized: What drives McCartney to rally and get out on tour?
Bonnie Raitt endured a series of losses in the 2000s: her mom in 2004, her dad in 2005 and her older brother and best friend, sound engineer Steve Raitt, died in 2009 of brain cancer. After that Raitt took an entire year off.
In a recent interview, she said, “I really needed to stop the business of thinking what I was going to do next. I really needed to come off the road and allow myself the time to feel all of that pain.”
How did Raitt move on after such significant loss?
Bruce Springsteen recently said, “Music, when it’s really great, lets people back in, it lets light in, and air in, and energy in, and sends people home with that and sends me back to the hotel with it.”
Could it be the music or something else that drives these stars to push on despite adversity? Is there something we can learn from aging rock ’n’ roll musicians? The answer is yes, there is much to learn.
The Thousand Oaks Council on Aging and Senior Concerns will host one-night-only Boomer Bootcamp, “What Elder Rock ’n’ Roll Stars Can Teach Us About Aging,” at 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 21 at the Scherr Forum inside the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
The event will feature an opportunity for audience dialogue and a “rockumentary” of interviews and performances by some of rock’s superstars, who will also present their perspectives on aging.
The evening will be hosted by Roy Earnest, a gerontological social worker and award-winning filmmaker. A Boomer Expo will begin in the theater lobby at 6:30 p.m.
Event tickets are available for $30 by calling Senior Concerns at (805) 497-0189 or at www.seniorconcerns.org .