Time to Retire
Jerry Lucky Commentary November 2013
Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2013 All Rights Reserved
As we move through life we periodically hit certain landmark events that help shape our place in the ‘time-space-continuum”. Events like learning to walk, graduation, our first kiss, our first job, launching a business, and eventually retiring. That last event is one not everyone is comfortable with, especially the current crop of baby-boomers, of which I’m at the tail end, who are trying desperately against all odds to avoid the acknowledgment of the aging process. In the mind of many baby-boomers retiring is like a nail in the coffin. It’s the acknowledgment that you are getting old, that you are done making your mark on this world. I for one don’t agree with all that.
I remember feeling the need to talk about retiring with my dad back in the early nineties. My dad was a travelling musician all his life with his own band. So he’s been from one part of this country (Canada) to the other and found many places that no one had ever been to. So at that time dad was in his late sixties and I started to get concerned about him loading up the instruments in the dead of winter and then driving through the night to the next gig. I had a speech prepared to suggest maybe it was time to retire. But before I could say anything he started to talk about all the people he knew who had retired and then died. I realized at that moment that dad wasn’t thinking about retirement the same way I was. You see my dad didn’t have a job to retire from – he was a musician – music was his life. So I said nothing and dad had a happy and relatively comfortable life till he died at the age of 85 in 2009. Interestingly on his desk when he died were some notes about setting up a short musical tour with his grandson who’d also started making music.
But this line of thought got me thinking about the number of Progressive Rock bands that have either resurfaced after many years or have never gone away and whether there comes a time where you hang up the drum sticks and retire. A number of years ago while the Moody Blues were touring I was interviewed on a local radio station and the question was asked…at what point does a band simply become a “nostalgia act?” I’m sure they were referring to the many bands from the fifties or sixties that perform on those PBS specials replaying their big hits. It’s a fair question. My response was I thought a band stayed relevant as long as they were writing new material. It’s a simple response but I think it’s one that satisfies the need for creativity to be exercised.
We live in a time where due to medical advances we are living longer even if bodies were abused by drugs and alcohol along the way. And we’re fortunate with the advances in technology as well as the splintering of the monolithic music business to open doors for on-going musical expression and creation. So given that for many “old” proggers music is very much their life we are blessed with multiple opportunities to carry on in some fashion. No longer is there a specific need to get caught up in the old routine of write, record, tour and repeat as necessary. These days getting together to perform some of the “old numbers” is more than accepted it’s encouraged as long as you can still wield the guitar or punch the keyboard. For many of us the hope is still to hear new music, to avoid that nostalgia tag. So when some of the older bands create new music I get excited. Sure it may have changed over the years or may not be as “good” as some of the earlier stuff but you know what; I like it anyway and would continue to encourage the making of it.
So I know what you’re asking; Why all this talk about retiring? Well after spending 43 years in radio I decided it was time for me to move into the next phase of my life…so this week I took early retirement. And I couldn’t be happier; partially because I can now get to do so many things I never had the opportunity to do before…like a progressive rock radio show. Yeah that’s right…I hope to get that going on a popular prog network soon if they let me. With the sheer volume of new Progressive Rock bands popping up all the time I was finding it challenging to listen to the music and then write 3 detailed reviews each week. Now I’ll have more time to do that. And quite honestly it’s hard to keep up, I have so many new releases coming my way, I’ve even stopped requesting music some weeks. Still, its great problem to have.
So I’m looking forward to this chapter of my life, which includes announcing at the local drag strip, on-going commercial voice-over work, writing, model car building, a bit of travel and whatever else might present itself along the way. There are some things you don’t want to fight but simply embrace. Retirement is one of those things. At least that’s what I think.