music lovers

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Don’t Worry Gen X’er, it’s OK to be in your 50s and love Billie Eilish

Published February 16, 2020 by Maryanne

Billie Eilish albums

I love Billie Eilish. (And I’m in my 50s).

Right now my favorite song of hers is “I Wish You Were Gay” but as all music fans know, as you embrace an artist, the more you listen to the records/CDs your favorites flow from one to another, like the waves in the ocean.

When I discover an artist, I have a pattern. First I go on a You Tube binge of their music. When I get to the point of “Wow, I like every single song…” that’s when I go out and buy whatever music is available so I can listen more authentically, in my house or in a car, and not in my home office on a computer screen. And then make it a mission to go see this artist perform live.

Yeah, I admit it. I’d love to go see Billie Eilish perform, even though I’m old enough to be her grandmother.

And I’m not the only one who feels that way. I recently saw a few comments on social media. People in their 50s, 40s, 30s, and even early 20s saying they feel weird that they are enjoying the music of a teenager.

I say, WHY NOT? We were all teenagers once ourselves. Though, depending on when you were born, not always having the music of other teenagers to enjoy. When I was a teenager, there were no teenagers making music for me. When the Stones were teenagers, I was a baby. When I was 13, my favorite band Queen were already in their 30s; even The Bay City Rollers were in their 20s when I was 13.

Then I discovered The Runaways. They were older teenagers when I was 13. By the time I got to see Joan Jett, when I was 17, The Runaways already broke up. By now Joan Jett was already in her 20s.  Nevertheless, I was right in front of the stage when I saw her perform and she put her guitar right in front of my. I strummed it and she smiled at me. That was thrilling!

Throughout my teens and 20s, I never thought about my age when I went to shows because all the bands I resonated had a good five years or more on me. (Some musicians were my mom’s age and I never even realized it until they died and you learn their age — like Lux Interior of The Cramps).

All the bands I loved and went to see were older — Blondie, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, The Pixies, Cher… the list goes on and on. To this day, the oldest artist I saw perform, bless his soul, was Les Paul.

Of course time goes on, and you’re going to get older. If you’re a die hard music fan, and still exploring new tunes, well, it’s inevitable at some point you’re going to be older than the bands you go to see. For example, I was 30 when I got hooked on D-Generation. The lead singer, Jesse Malin was five years younger than me. It was the first time I felt “old” even though I didn’t look or feel it.

Then, in my early 40s, I discovered the music of HIM. I have a good 14 years on the lead singer Ville Valo. At the age of 42, I was hesitant to go see them in concert because I thought I’d be the oldest one there, assuming everyone in the audience was going to be the band’s age or younger (at the time most members were in their late 20s). I wrote, anonymously, on a HIM message board, “How would you feel if you saw someone in the audience, around your mom’s age, wearing a HIM t-shirt.”

Oh my goodness, I received so much support from the younger generation, saying how cool it was that I was in my 40s and I liked HIM. Then when I went to see them for the first time, I saw so many young women, paired with their moms, singing song lyrics together, arm in arm. It was beautiful — mothers and daughters connecting over live music.

I think it will totally be the same way if and when I go see Billie Eilish live. People will be connecting over the music, irregardless of ages.

Thinking back to when I was a teenager, I wanted attention from adults. Teenagers today are no different. When I see teenagers in the streets, I’ll smile and they are very quick to smile back. Some even say “Hi” or compliment me on my pinkish hair.

Generation gaps are closing in. It’s not the 1950s anymore; hell, it’s not even the 1990s anymore. We’re living in an amazing time where people of all ages are relating to each other better than ever. (Or maybe I’m delusional because I’m not a parent, just a cool aunt?) Who knows for sure, but I truly believe there’s only a generation gap if we allow there to be one. Always keep your eyes/ears out for game-changing new artists, because that’s something that will go on in time until we die. Thank God for that!

 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Popp, Bennie, and Burns: Sunday Will Never Be the Same

Published March 1, 2019 by Maryanne

sdc13108Sunday at the beach (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Do you love Sundays?

I used to love Sundays.

Sundays were always special for me and my husband. When we first started dating, we’d spend many Sundays down the shore. On our drive down, we listened to our favorite radio show, The Glen Jones Radio Program, Featuring X-Ray Burns. (http://www.wfmu.org/Playlists/GJ/archives.html)

Jones has eclectic tastes in music. You could hear both Frank Sinatra and The Psychedelic Furs in the same set. Then there was the talk segment where Jones and Burns would muse about New Jersey subculture like our local drinking joints and pork roll (or Taylor Ham)? In fact, one time at one of their lives shows, Jones chased me trying to feed me a pork roll (or Taylor Ham) sandwich. (And I’m a vegetarian). That’s the kind of fun this freeform radio show offered. No wonder it was part of our Sunday routine.

Once we got down the shore, on a Sunday, we’d often pay a surprise visit to our dear friends Daniel and Patty Popp. Very special friends; they were our witnesses when we eloped. At the Popp’s home, they couldn’t do enough for you. With Daniel being both a cook and a musician, there was always plenty of food and music in their home—a great place to be on a Sunday.

In more recent years, my husband and I started spending more of our Sundays at home, relaxing in the backyard. Last summer, a beautiful feral cat started showing up in our backyard. We named him Bennie. He was so friendly, we fell in love with him. According to the vet, Bennie had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder, which meant if he got sick, it would be tougher for him to get over it. But we took him in anyway and gave him a happy home. He was only 3-years-old. He was a ginger cat, sunny and bright; our Sunday cat.

They say death comes in threes. Beginning on February 1, our Sunday memories were taken from us, one by one.

Daniel Popp was in his kitchen and just finished cooking food for the homeless, something he did each month. His wife Patty found him lying on the kitchen floor unconscious. He was taken to the hospital and passed. Daniel was a genuine, good-hearted person, who was so talented and so much fun. We were shocked. Absolutely shocked. Not a dry eye at his funeral. And miss him terribly. RIP Daniel Popp.

Sunday will never be the same.

The day after Daniel’s funeral, our kitty Bennie’s health declined rapidly. We had been treating him for an eye infection—or so we thought. He was eating, but not processing the food. He was losing weight quickly and also started having tremors. An emergency trip to the animal hospital and two vet visits later, we learned he had a brain tumor and didn’t stand a chance. Even though Bennie was a little fighter, we still had to put him down—the day after Valentine’s Day, ironically because Bennie was a saint, the best cat I ever had. After we put him down, my legs buckled, and I collapsed into my husband’s arms. We loved him so much. RIP Bennie.

Sunday will never be the same.

The following Sunday, my husband and I were done. Spent. No ambition or desire to do a damn thing. But I had to get groceries. I hopped in the car and as I always do on Sunday, turned on the radio. Glen Jones was playing very sad music. During the first break, X-Ray Burns wasn’t with him to banter. Jones made an announcement that X-Ray Burns was struggling with lung cancer.

Tears started pouring down my eyes.

Jones played some more sad songs, then he came back on to say that X-Ray’s wife called him. X-Ray Burns had passed—and it wasn’t a joke.

My husband and I were already zombies to begin with, and now shared more tears together. Rest in Peace X-Ray Burns.

Sunday will never be the same.

Three lives taken from us, way too soon. Daniel Popp and X-Ray Burns were in their 50s. And Bennie was only 3.

But I’ve learned something from all of them. Daniel taught me to reach out to others. Bennie taught me to keep fighting no matter what life’s circumstances. And X-Ray taught me to stay fun and crazy because life is way too short. And with a blink of an eye, it will never be the same.

That’s it.

SAM_3017.JPGDaniel Popp, Rest in Peace (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

52905284_2210313879190578_8382678320906502144_nBennie Cat, Rest in Peace

Glen JonesX-Ray Burns, Rest in Peace

(Left to right, X-Ray Burns, Glen Jones, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Sunday will never be the same.