“Take a good hard look for the very last time.”Dave Grohl
Obviously, as a rock and roll fan, I’m crushed by the sudden death of Taylor Hawkins. I haven’t exactly been moping around the house the last couple days, but I’ll admit that the 50 year old’s death in Bogota, Columbia on Friday shook me.
So I’ve been sort of numbly mulling over a couple of different, quasi-philosophical ideas for the last couple days. Mortality. The natural immunity of youth. Even the fate of rock and roll (that is, music made by people banging on guitars and drums).
I don’t know if I have anything new to offer on any of these subjects. Chances are pretty slim I do, actually. But we both already knew that, so let me give it a try.
No One Gets Out of Here Alive. To live is a privilege. I have to admit that I find the central contract of existence to be pretty damn clever. Not to mention ironclad. To me it looks like this. You get to live. And you can go about your own life however the fuck you want. The only guarantee is you’ll be snuffed out at an unspecified future moment, maybe without warning. And everything goes with you: consciousness, memories, feeling. Existence. You can be certain of just one thing: that you will be unplugged and everything will go dark. It won’t suck or be cool or feel like anything at all, because you will have ceased to exist. Call it good news or bad, but it will happen. All we know is what we can never know: the certain, unknown number of days we have left.
When You’re Young, You Can Get Away With It. There’s something automatically insulating about youth. A long time ago I remember hearing an older person say something like “there’s a separate God for kids.” Meaning that when you’re young you’re lucky. But that same shit you pulled in your 20s will get your ass killed in your 50s. It’s part of that iron clad contract with mortality. The reaper is always close by, and if you get cocky, you might just end up opening the door for him. You have to evolve over time if you want to avoid this trap. Or not. Ultimately it’s an individual choice.
Black Tee Shirts and Distorted Guitars Forever. A lot of Foo Fighters songs actually deal with mortality. For at least a couple songs on every record you can hear Dave Grohl screaming about how he never wants to die. And about how nobody gets out of here alive. I’ve heard before that sentiment many times . . . that rock and roll never dies. But based on what I can observe about everything else, it can’t possibly be true. Townes Van Zant sang to live is to fly. That makes sense to me. So does: to live is to die.
I’m sure it’s a pretty clear sign of my own diminished intellectual capacity that I spend any time at all contemplating the clear decline in American rock and roll. But it’s true. I think about it. My best guess is that, at least in the nostalgic, self-indulgent sense that dudes like me think about it, yeah, rock and roll is, in fact, if not dead than at least dying. Still, I’m thinking that a better question might be something more simple. Like this: so what? The contract is the contract, after all. No one gets out of here alive.