If you ever find yourself dating somebody younger than you are, keep in mind that the most significant or polarizing difference won’t likely be differing maturity levels. This is especially true in my case when I’m older than my girlfriend. It puts on a level playing field of maturity, more or less. The times you’ll notice a more stark difference is when she sees the Coachella 2013 line-up and says, “Who the hell is Blur?” You’ll stifle a sigh, then a tear, and then you’ll bury your head in your hands.
I’ve always taken music seriously, maybe too much so. Like when I first got into Metallica at the same time as most people, after they released the black album. Then I went back to the beginning and bought “Kill ‘Em All.” That was too far from where I started, so I started moving ahead to “Master of Puppets.” With each album, my appreciation grew and so did the quality of their music. My favorite Metallica record is still “…And Justice For All.” It’s full of self-important, holier than thou lyrics and the average song length is nearly seven minutes. It is also tiring, but well worth it. They had a new bassist and marked their last album with the amazingly named producer, Flemming Rasmussen. That album is like listening to two giant testicles clanging together for an hour, but in a good way. Knowing the story of Cliff Burton, the background of the band and of their progression from record to record gave me a better sense of understanding of the music itself. I also worked my way backwards from Metallica to see where they came from (Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Misfits & others), the diverged path of Dave Mustaine leading to Megadeth and their eventual graduation to irrelevance.
Coachella’s line-ups are an interesting mix of old and new, popular and post-popular. They also take special care to include a bundle of acts for the music nerds like me. The people that care about the background stories, the debut albums, band’s evolution/progression through time, who go nuts when obscure bands are acknowledged. I don’t even like the Stone Roses that much, but when I saw them listed next to Blur on the Coachella line-up, I actually yelled out, “Yes!”
So when my girlfriend says, “There’s no way that a band I haven’t even heard of should be a headliner at Coachella. They’re no Chemical Brothers, they’re no Kanye.” I almost take it personally and want to defend myself. Which I later did, writing a blog post about the history of Blur and I even created a career-spanning playlist of Blur songs. Their album, 13 is easily in my top ten favorite albums of all time and one of the few in existence that I find perfect from beginning to end. It is also a statistical impossibility that you’ve gone through your life without hearing “Song 2.” And when her sister ragged on the promoters of the festival about booking “Stoned Roses,” I felt like that spoke volumes about the gap in experience and history of modern music. I understand where they’re coming from. Coachella usually has a few bands on the bill that fill a certain music geek requirement. I appreciate how they have a consistent run of amazing LA musicians like Mike Watt with Firehose in 2011 and Greg Ginn last year in 2012. This year they have the Descendents and Jello Biafra. They also have two very big bands from the early 90’s, one which seemed more static and eventually broke up (then reunited) and another that evolved, improved then broke up. They’re big names, but unless you were listening to a lot of music or in college in the early to mid-90’s, then you might not know them so well.
If you don’t know them directly, you will know of the bands they’ve influenced or later projects they contributed to. You will know The Good, The Bad and The Queen. You’ll also know Gorillaz. Wait…you know Gorillaz, right?