Rome on fire – Boomer bands get back together in response…

Hello. My name is Jim Booth and I’m (at least nominally) a writer for S&R. For those of you vaguely familiar with my work and wondering where I’ve been, here’s a brief explanation of sorts.

It’s been a rough couple of months.

On the blogging front, the two “big” stories I spent most of 2007 writing about, the evil that is Blackwater and the Jena 6 travesty of justice, are gone from the news cycle. In the first case Blackwater coverage is now buried – by, I suspect, tacit agreement between the Bush junta and corporate media – so as to allow Erik Prince and company to slither away with minimal (if any) punishment for their crimes against humanity in the name of protecting “American interests” in Iraq. In the second case, Jena’s impetus toward equal treatment under law has dissipated (sadly) due to revelations that the principal prosecutee/cause célèbre has been something of a habitual criminal whose previous unsavory behavior had been excused with wrist taps for the following reasons: 1) he was a star athlete; 2) he committed his crimes against fellow African-Americans rather than against whites in his home town in the deep south.

Since the relegation of these important stories to Trotsky’s dust bin, I’ve been at loose ends trying to find another story to follow to fill my niche as resident Museum Quality Boomer Idealist© for this publication.

On the personal front it’s been a painful, contemplative time.

For those (few) of you (God bless you, every one) who’ve followed some of my rock music writing both here and at my blog The Savoy Truffle, you’re aware that I was a musician myself for a good number of years before retreating to a life in academia and as a writer. I played in a band back in the seventies – a band that was approached by record companies (while this sounds laughable now, back in the Beatle-cene Epoch it used to be a statement of some importance). We wrote and played power pop with country, blues and folk inflections. Some people thought we were pretty good.

Our drummer, Tony, died suddenly in October. I’ve been having real trouble getting past it. I’m haunted by what might have been. I keep remembering a quote from Peter Townshend: “Yeah, fans can say,’That crazy drummer of yours is dead. Get somebody else to play drums.’ But it’s different for me – my friend is dead. Do you understand? My friend is dead.

Events like Tony’s passing – which we Boomers are starting to experience with alarming regularity – makes stuff like the Presidential campaign, which seems so important to the Xers who dominate this blog, seem like a lot of horse shit to me these days.

I’m trying to figure out what’s important to me now. While there’s still some time.

My fellow Boomer, Randy Newman, tried to tell everyone years ago what’s really important in life. All one has to do is fill in the blank to this lyric from one of his most well known songs:

“It’s _____ that matters….”

That’s revelatory about me as a Boomer. About all us Boomers. I notice that when I talk with my Boomer friends that we know we have an interest in this election. We know what we face. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Global heating is perhaps past fixing. We have to free ourselves from fossil fuels and develop our alternative energy sources. We have to do something to reverse the determined march toward idiocracy that our current public policies on education are causing. We have to stop that imbecilic war and stop pouring our country’s wealth down the rat hole that is Iraq. We have to stop electing the stupidest, most fucked up members of our generation as leaders of the free world.

But we’re also concerned about the important things. The things that make Boomers – well, Boomers.


The original Kinks are getting back together.


Led Zeppelin, with Jason Bonham replacing his dad John on drums, may be planning a tour.

Of course these events may not seem important to those in the slacker/latchkey/blogging generation.

Most of them can’t afford the tickets, anyway.

See the Randy Newman quote above.

We Boomers still have all the high paying jobs.

But there’s hope. We Boomers will go the way of Tony soon enough.

Feel better now? I know I do.

Categories: Generations

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13 replies »

  1. They say talking about situations is theraputic. Blogging about them must be too then.

    I also was into music, R&B and recorded a couple of tracks. One went high on the charts in 2006 and made a lot of money-although I saw none of it.

    One day I called one of my music agents up, and he asked me what my stage name was. I said “Crisis” as in “Mid-life”. Being a few years beneath me, he didn’t seem to get it.

    To end on a positive note though, I know there is no perfect country, or president, or situation. We all do our best. And I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you and Dr. Slammy and all the other people here at Scholars and Rogues who championed Mychael’s cause. You make sure that people are aware of the part of America that’s REAL…

    My condolences…

  2. Jim,
    Glad to see you back. I’ve got some tunes I’ll send you whenever you feel like listening. This is music from my private stash.

    I didn’t know the Kinks ever broke up, that was news to me.

    Take care, amigo.


  3. I heard your band – at least, I heard the incarnation that was Prufrock in the mid/late ’70s. And you WERE good. Damned good.

    Sorry about Tony, but gratified that at least his death has spurred you to thinking, acting, playing and writing again.

    S&R has plenty of political snarking. It’s good to have our soul back.

  4. >>>Phil Wrote “And I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you and Dr. Slammy and all the other people here at Scholars and Rogues who championed Mychael’s cause.”<<<

    Pardon my ignorance but last I heard Mychael was stil performing out in California. By the tone of your comment I feel I may be behind the times and wonder if you could bring us all current. I can say I really enjoyed Space Team and it was one of the first bands Dr. Slammy ever succeeded in dragging me out to see.

  5. Thanks to all for your kind words. I’m underway again and hope to be back at full speed soon. Now a few individual notes:

    Brian – Thanks. Means more than you know that you took a moment to comment. Gotta story I need your help with. Gonna be huge…. I’ll be in touch through the group…

    fikshun – You and I understand each other probably perfectly on this subject. Thanks, brother….Wanna hear that the new album is moving along….

    Phil – Thanks for your thoughtful words. As another brother in music, I know your frustration and you have my sympathy and support. And as for Jena, I hope you know that I and all of us at S&R know that Mychael is a pawn in a system – and that it’s the system we seek to correct. Update us when you have the chance….

    Jeff – You’re much on my mind these days. I’m trying to convert some wma files to mp3’s for you. Shoot me some tuneage when you can and I’ll get this stuff converted so you can hear what we sounded like “all those years ago.” Great to hear from you….

    Sam – Not all the way back, but on the way back. Steve and I are progressing nicely – plan to start gigging in May. Mike’s been sniffing around, and we’re also working with another old friend who does percussion – and plays the violin/fiddle/viola. I’ll keep you posted. Oh, and send your quasi-nephew Trev an email and tell him that Denver is the only choice for his move – some of his pals are pushing for LA. We need to work on him. I know Marlene is working on him, too, so let’s give that a push….

    Elaine – Let me say this in my own faux British way: “Bless you, Luv….” 😉

    Rho – Thanks for commenting – I think the Mychael referred to is Mychael Bell from the Jena 6, however. But, you mentioned Space Team Electra, so all is forgiven. 🙂

  6. Was really starting to miss you. Glad you’re getting back into action musically and postingly.