Sunday, August 24, 2014
I Don't Know Who Umphrey's McGee Is...
...but I'd rather listen to them play Hey Nineteen than listen to Steely Dan play it now. It's painful to hear Donald Fagen croak out these songs. He never could sing, but it really didn't matter back in the day. He and Becker wrote these wonderful things, and you understood why he couldn't entrust them to anyone else to perform properly. Sorry, but now you can't trust yourself.
Sooner or later it's not your turn anymore. People take your place. You may not like it, but it's the way of the world. You could be like Ray Kurzweil, self-absorbed and dreaming of paying bemused men in lab coats to Ted Williams your noggin after you shuffle off this mortal coil, but you're wasting your time. Believe me, Ray, no matter how much money you pay those guys to Birds Eye your head, they'll get high after lunch and accidentally kick out the plug while they're playing hacky sack, plug it back in when they sober up and realize what they've done, and when they finally defrost you and sew your head on a used Japanese sex doll with a Pentium chip where your heart used to go, you'll be about as useful as a Kardashian. Young people take your place in the lineup eventually, and you can go with it, or just turn into an old guy telling anyone that's willing to listen that you really used to be sumfin'. And Ray, you have no idea how to hit a curve ball, so your frozen head will be completely useless anyway.
Elderly people should command respect for what they've accomplished. That's different than trying to play T Ball when you're forty. Young people are a barrel of beer, and old people are a fine liqueur -- if they're smart enough to keep distilling their whole life. The world needs mugs of beer and vitality, the same as it needs a digestif after a moveable feast. Serving them at the wrong time ruins the effect.
In a weird sort of a way, performing Hey Nineteen is low-level work. It should be left to the young grunts. Donald Fagen should be running a record company or writing or something, instead of dragging his elderly ass all over the landscape making gargling sounds about feeling old when he was thirty years younger than he is now.
If you're old and reading this, if it makes you feel any better, I'd be willing to get up a lynch mob of geriatrics to beat some sense into the cameraman, just so we can keep our hand in.