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  • Writer's pictureJohn Carlow

Our Rock Stars are Dying

I guess we all reach that point in life where things that have always been a constant and familiar for us start to crumble at the foundation.

I talk a lot about this with people. Usually the subject is stirred when someone famous passes on to that next " great gig ". Neil Diamond remarked in 1972 that performers go to the Greek Theatre when they die. ( It was that theatre by the way where he held down a 10 night stand , and launched an LP that is still remarkable almost 48 years later ) It's the Greek Theatre or rock and roll heaven, whichever place you choose for your heros to rest in your mind.

At one point a few years back I started losing people in my life. In some cases , it was long before they were supposed to. I had never really experienced loss. Like many things , there was no manual on how to feel or what to do next. " It's part of life " I'm told , which only further confused me. I started looking closer now when I heard someone had died that was from a show I loved when I was younger. You hear how old they were and it dawns on you that their show; like your life, had become much older than you realize. Where did all that time go? I think actors inherently have it worse . Often they are frozen in time, in our minds at the age of their peak popularity. Shows go into syndication, bought by countless channels and repeated. No one on the Brady Bunch or on Gilligans Island ever gets any older. It confuses the timeline of your life. I imagine this is why so many actors go the Frankenstein surgery route to try and stay young forever . Too often it ends up a disaster and you look at your Meg Ryans and weep.

Music is where it all comes home. Being a universally accepted language in everyone's life, it has a responsibility to survive. Problem is musicians are mortal. The music may certainly live on but at some point a singer / songwriter you appreciate leaves us behind. Some are artists that have been constant companions our entire lives. But then they die. If they coexisted in your generation probably many are now on that edge where they will leave you.

Actors, family, friends, musicians who have been part of your life are not invincible. It's an odd feeling when you start to give it a lot of thought. Its maybe the first time you started thinking of your own mortality. What do you do with those feelings?

Social media seems to be the current universe where people meet to grieve when the Eddie Van Halens of the world move on forever. Album sales typically surge when this happens. People find comfort in the familiar , or what makes them feel something.

I have always respected musicians and artists that create work that becomes legacy. A photograph that is shared forever. An album that will never stop being bought and played , long after the band is gone. Think we all want to be remembered. Feel now like I'm in a race to create some timeless image that will be looked at and talked about forever, long after I'm gone. But, this is a dream now shared by millions as digital imaging spread to the masses. It's perhaps too much to hope for. Think more importantly it's what you leave behind in people's hearts and minds that matters. Always make sure to remember those who have departed and that left their mark on us somehow. Share those memories. It is the ultimate tribute to those who mattered to you.

Doubt Eddie will ever be forgotten . Him and Jimi must be having a hell of a jam somewhere. We will all start or continue to lose these boulders of our lives. Doesn't mean the avalanche has started . Live life fully.

( c ) Lynn Goldsmith 


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