Age Of Enlightenment.

Old Wise Men Say Youth Is Overrated.

Having the minimum drinking age at 21 is the single most counter-productive thing we do as a society. Teens and pre-teens are inundated with positive messages about the magic of alcohol, and from the moment they figure out the anti-drinking messages they get at school are bullshit, kids from all over the globe want to ride that whiskey pony. So what happens? They sneak, plan and wait for the epiphanic moment that they can crunk it up without the P.T.A. or mall security interfering. After waiting 7,8 or 9 years behind the velvet rope, the last guests at the party want to show they belong by chugging hooch at the rate that would make Andy Dick cry. By the time our young lions hit 25, they have left a trail of professional wreckage it would take a GPS to get out of.

This is easily repaired by allowing children of all ages to drink alcoholic bev
erages. A reckless drunk at 25 is in danger of losing jobs, friends, cars and some hard earned cash. A 14 year old rummy is really only in danger of repeating the 9th grade-giving them the physical superiority that you need for credibility and leadership. A 6-year-old lush? That's just flat out cute. Age will give you wisdom only if you are allowed the experience of fucking up the program. This is very true in the world of modern music, yet the paradox lies in the fact that contemporary music places a high premium on the youth of the performer. How do we expect an artist to sing about the virtues of love and politics without being old enough to have paid for an abortion?

Sammy Hagar kept his age a secret better than a Cuban baseball
player. Hagar hit the national scene as the lead singer of Montrose at 26, went solo at 29 and by the time he became the front man for Van Halen he was almost 40. Hagar used his time in the trenches to solidify himself as a "man of the people", adeptly writing and performing songs about rocking hard and reckless driving that lead to vigorous fist pumping during his live shows. "The Red Rocker" (as he billed himself) succeeds in this niche using his vibrant charisma paralleled with guitar and voice packed with power. Although his solo work was accepted by FM rock radio, Hagar did not achieve mainstream success until 1981's "Standing Hampton." Sammy Hagar became a star rocker and tequila bottler by not only grinding it out over time, but by also paying attention to what was happening around him musically. His songwriting ability not only assisted his being asked to be in Van Halen, he also was covered by the eerie combination of Rick Springfield and Bette Midler. Midler dipped into Sammy twice for songs, first on "The Rose" soundtrack and next for a cover of his song "Red." As an effort to brand himself, Hagar recorded "Red," a rolling rocker with a live feel, yet full of the warm tones favored by FM radio (in order to distance the medium from AM). Considered to be Sammy Hagar's first anthem, it never was officially released as a single, however, it remains a staple of his live show to this day.

Listen To "Red"

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I can't think of anything more tiring than listening to "Prog Rock." 13 minute songs about things that black light posters are made into make me want to ask if there is a gas station between here and the end of this song. The Strawbs, whose beginnings were in the mid '60's, were a prominent band within the Prog Rock movement throughout the 1970's until Richard Hudson and John Ford grew tired of renaissance fair groupies and bolted the band for something less tedious. After some sorting out, Hudson and Ford established The Monks, a group that attempted to humorously mimic Punk Rock. These guys were much older and experienced than the bands they attempted to parody, so musicianship ironically concealed the comedy and the single "Nice Legs Shame About Her Face" hit the top 20 in the UK. With not everyone in on the joke, the veteran Monks were believed to be an actual Punk Rock outfit. "Drugs In My Pocket" borrowed from the Reggae influence of Punk, highlighting the libertine time after scoring, but before ingesting controlled substances. Swift, free and upbeat as that glorious moment, the song utilizes sound effects at both ends of the tune that assist in presenting effective audio theatre. The key to this song is the combination of the smooth rhythm section, angular guitar and a hard cockney accent of the narrator to create a story where the right person is holding the incorrect item on the wrong side of town.

Listen To "Drugs In My Pocket"

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