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for July 9, 2002

Loitering in Museums
by Rich Robinson

When you spend some time at a museum, one of the benefits is that you get to see the greatness inherent in the past. There's great art, or examples of the great accomplishments throughout history.
Another one of the benefits is that after you've seen what you've paid to see, you leave. You re-enter the current world, hopefully bringing some of what you've just seen into your world.
Classic rock radio is like a museum. You can visit it once in a while, and hear some great art from the past, or relive your great accomplishments (back when that Doobie Brothers song was a current hit, and you were in the back seat of your parent's car on prom night). I think that's the beauty of classic rock radio. It lets you take a momentary vacation from the current real world, and relive the more secure, comfortable past.
What bugs me about classic rock is two-fold.
First, there should be a lot more art in that classic rock museum. I'm no wiz at math, but doesnt it seem strange that there are fewer songs available on classic rock radio in 2002 than there were in 1992? You'd think there'd be more, not less, "art" in the museum after another 10 years.
The other thing that gets to me is that some people who enter these "musuems" never leave. I know way too many people who paid their admission to the Classic Rock museum, and decided to move in. For a lifetime.
That's one of the big reasons that current radio is in the state it's in. Radio is controlled by bean counters, and they only want to play the songs that they know the audience knows and loves -- songs that have been burned into their psyche. The bean-counter mantra is (and you can sing along at home if you like): "There's less chance that the lowest common denominator will tune out if they know the songs." The folks loitering in classic rock museums make these programmers think that the 250 songs these uninspired people can sing in their sleep are the only songs any of us want to hear.
So do us all a favor. If you know someone who's living in a musuem, gently lead them outside. Play them some new music. There's a new Jethro Tull cd out in the stores, called "Living With the Past". See, even Tull has seen the light, and knows that living with the past beats Living In the Past. After all, musuems are a great place to visit ... but if you stay too long, they put you up in a display all your own.

©2002 Rich Robinson

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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