Old Codgers And Young Squirts | A Rock Music Parable

As an old out-of-touch rocker, I enjoy rock music reviews – so here’s a spoof that is making a point about ‘us and them’ situations, which happen in many walks of life.

The latest album by the Guardians of Orthodoxy is disappointing. The band, known affectionately by their fans (and less affectionately by their critics) as the Goo, released the album on vinyl, with no downloads. Is this deliberately retro, or just verrry out of touch?

They were a cutting edge crew and well heavy in their day. Fans would go wild, and reviewers were awed. The Goo played like their lives depended on it, and they influenced many wannabes from coast to coast. However these days their sound is clearly dated, as they have refused to adapt to changing tastes or even technology (viz the ridiculous vinyl). Die-hard followers, with their greying manes and faded headbands, love it that way, but the band can come across as a tad arrogant – like they look down on newer upstarts on the scene. Their ironic name ironically caught up with them.

Their front man wrote off another well known band, Buck The System, for instance, as ‘kids that don’t know what music is all about’. The Goo can still rock the place and yell out some challenging themes, but maybe some risky change would do them good. Come on guys, get a life.

BTS (not as catchy as Goo; sounds like a sandwich filling) have also been touring for a few years, unlike the Goo who stay safely in studios. Some of their hits (downloads of course) include Move Over, Cross The Line, Had Your Day, We Know Better, and Have a Swim Baby (an affectionate rip-take of Goo’s Don’t Throw Out My Baby With The Bathwater). Their lead singer said ‘Actually we really respect the Goo for their foundational influence, and their input to bands like us when we needed big brother to help us through our teething troubles. But they do come across as old bores sometimes and moan about the fact that we don’t do what they think is right. But they are living in the past. You have to break new ground, even if some sacred cows get cooked in the process.’

BTS are definitely progressive, though sometimes their great new ideas are just rehashed stuff that bands like the Goo tried ages ago. Sometimes they are really original and mould-breaking. ‘You never know until you try’, as they say. Well I hope they keep trying; we need it, or we’ll all end up stuck with yesterday’s tunes.

The Guardians, as they renamed themselves, unwisely sounding like a newspaper, are still the Goo to aficianados of course. Are they stuck (sorry about the pun), or a valuable icon and benchmark with their reliable style and output? BTS may never match their amazing staying power and consistency. Goo numbers like Hold The Line, Dance To Our Tune, Always Been Our Policy and In Control still get everyone’s head banging – or teeth grinding. It’s hard to be neutral.

I think BTS can be a bunch of whingers sometimes. They go on about not being understood (viz their mawkish number ‘Misunderstood’), they criticise old stagers like the Goo for being out of touch, but they just don’t always deliver. Frankly some of their so called cutting edge stuff has been a disaster, and it has taken ‘old stagers’ that have had to bail them out when they’ve made fools of themselves. They can also be too arrogant to listen to those who have been there. So much for ‘Do It Anyway’. But I do think their anthemic ‘Gimme Space’ sums up a generation’s heart cry which we all need to hear, and especially the Goo.

Maybe we’re all a bit like that. One generation knows better than the last, while the last lot disapprove of the upstarts who do it all wrong. I’ve heard that BTS may just give up touring and settle for a studio.

If you ask me, today’s BTS could be tomorrow’s Goo.

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