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COLUMN: Return of Rock’s Grumpy Old Men

Sounding OFF is Salute Magazine’s new weekly music column, authored by Music Editor Daniel Offner. The column is a weekly analysis of all things music. This week’s column focuses on new music from some “grumpy old men.”

Is it just me or did a bunch or rock guitar geezers just come out of retirement and suddenly decide to record a new album?

That’s right! It’s 2017 folks… isn’t it unbelievable that we continue to find ourselves talking about new music from such “old heads” as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young? That is why, this week, we decided to put the focus on some of rock and roll’s grumpy old men.

“England Lost/Gotta Get A Grip” – Mick Jagger

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is looking to take another stab at going solo—and at the ripe old age of 74 no less. But while the best years of his solo career may be far behind him, Jagger has never been one to let his age deter him from performing.

His first new single, “England Lost” features Boy Better Know co-founder and UK grime artistSkepta, on this haunting track about “Brexit” and what it means for the future of the United Kingdom. Jagger also teams up with the Norwegian production trio, Seeb, on the track “Gotta Get A Grip.”

The result is one of the more uncomfortable sounding collaborations since Metallica and Lou Reed murdered eardrums around the globe with Lulu.

Paranormal – Alice Cooper

alicecooperparanormalcoverHere is one artist who we’re always excited to hear. Alice Cooper announced earlier this year that he is reuniting the original band, in a move that has rarely been seen since 1973.

Working with long-time producer, Bob Ezrin, the new solo album is no great shakes, but it does feature two very memorable new tracks, “Genuine American Girl” and “You And All Of Your Friends,” featuring original band members Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce.

“When the original band broke up in 1975, there was no bad blood. There were no lawsuits — we had just burned out the creative process. We had gone to high school together and had recorded something like five Platinum albums in a row. We were never out of sight of each other for 10 years. Everybody just went their own way. Neal, Dennis and I always stayed in touch. Mike disappeared for a while and Glen Buxton passed away in 1997, which was a big blow,” Cooper said in a statement on his website. “But last year, Neal called me up and said, ‘I have a couple of songs.’ I said great, bring ‘em over. Then he said Mike was stopping by, so I had them come to my house and we just worked on a few things for a week. Then Dennis called up and said, I got a couple songs. So, I thought, hey let’s do this! When you listen to the record, it just fits right in.”

Cooper also enlists U2‘s Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons, Deep Purple‘s Roger Glover for his first record in six years. For fans, the album delivers just what they have come to expect from the classic ’70s rock lineup and more.

But, we cannot deny the fact that Cooper and company have also hit the age where we’ve kind of stopped saying “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and have replaced it with “No more. Please! It’s alright guys.”

Power of Peace – The Isley Brothers & Santana


Collaboration albums are always risky business, but these old fogies really know how to rock and roll.

The Isley’s mix their style of funk and soul with Santana’s sweet guitar licks and spicy Latin rhythm, to remake such classics as Stevie Wonder‘s “Higher Ground,” Curtis Mayfield‘s “Gypsy Woman,” and Marvin Gaye‘s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” to name a few.

While it’s great to see that these musicians—all of whom are over the age of 65—are still going hard, we can’t help but wonder what it would be like if they were to tour. Ernie Isley told Rolling Stone that depending on how the album is received, he and Ronald would consider a tour with Santana.

“I’m curious,” Isley said. “What would ‘That Lady’ or ‘Everybody’s Everything’ sound like with me and Carlos playing together? Especially in this musical climate.”

As much as we would love to see that happen, we also don’t want anyone to break a hip since these guys are all age appropriate for their AARP cards.

“We’re on the Road Again” – Ringo Starr

The surviving two members of The Beatles recently reunited on a brand new track that is a little corny and, perhaps, a decade too late. It’s always nice to hear Paul McCartney perform, but adding Ringo [Starr] to the mix was nothing special even when they were The Beatles.

The song is the first from Starr’s forthcoming solo album, Give More Love, and features former Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter and Steve Lukather of Toto. 

Dark Matter – Randy Newman

PrintOy vey. The guy who once told us that “short people have no reason to live” is back with a brand new album that is chock full of the wacky, satirical standards that we’ve come to expect from the 73-year-old pianist.

“I’m proud of the record,” Randy Newman said in a press release. “I think it’s entertaining—I hope it’s entertaining—and that’s eighty percent of what I try to do. Also, I’m doing something different than I’ve ever done before. It’s a step forward for me. And considering how long I’ve been doing this, I’m kinda proud of that.”

The album was recorded in Los Angeles—a city we know Newman loves—and features nine new songs on a variety of topics, from the late-Blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson to science, religion, love, loss, and politics.

Although Newman’s career spans more than five decades, most people under the age of 20 only seem to remember him as the guy who wrote the theme to the 1995 Disney/Pixar movie, Toy Story. He would never be as popular as say, Mick Jagger or Alice Cooper, so, if you were hoping that Dark Matter would turn the younger generation onto Newman’s music, you might be sorely mistaken.

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