’80s bands are not a scourge on our times

By Jessica Tomkins

Editors, the Gauntlet,

Re: “Washed-up Rock stars: Pack it in” Oct. 14, 1999

The recent resurfacing of live performances by successful ’80s bands in Calgary is hardly an “infection.” The real “sickness” is in people who deny that music is subjective and has a history beyond the late ’90s.

Groups such as Platinum Blonde and Honeymoon Suite are not making some feeble effort to relive their former glory–may of these bands do not have all of their original members at the shows so how could they? They are simply trying to give fans a chance to see them up close and personal–a switch from the anonymity of stadium concerts often necessary for such bands in the last decade. The beauty of appreciating music from other decades is the present opportunity to see many such artists in much smaller, much more interactive venues. The chance to give Foreigner’s lead guitarist a high five or chat with Mark Holmes of Platinum Blonde is a thrill to many fans who have followed such bands over their careers.

All songs give certain people feelings of nostalgia; we all remember events tied to favorite songs, but the vast majority of us are smart enough not to expect to revisit out teenage or childhood years by seeing a concert. I was not old enough in the ’80s to fully appreciate the music of many bands in their years of stardom and I am quite thankful I discovered their music later on. I have also met the musicians that I admire–an event that was close to impossible during their time of great popularity.

Most of the bands currently coming out of the woodwork were not merely one-hit-wonders; many of them had a number of hit albums and obviously influenced a generation of listeners as well as future musicians. Without knowledge and appreciation of the bands of all decades, how could music have evolved into today’s songs? Why should all concerts be performed only by the top 10 bands at present? Many tickets are selling for performances by older bands so obviously people care enough about these bands to sell out $10 or $15 to see them.

So, if you don’t like the bands, don’t go. I know many people who are excited for next Monday’s Glass Tiger show. “Don’t forget me when I’m gone,” right? Many of us didn’t and we’re happy they’re back in Calgary. We’ll be there to have a good time, that’s all–just like the band will. The subjectivity of music makes every band admired by someone and to ridicule any period in music is to insult many people and ignore the influence of older bands on today’s music.

Jessica Tomkins


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