Washed-up rock stars: pack it in

By Darby Sawchuk

The "retro" phenomenon used to be confined to disco revivals, then later, ’80s nights where folks could burn while doin’ the Neutron Dance. With ever-increasing frequency, however, more than just the recordings of past musical eras have resurfaced.

These musical undead appear in the forms of artists and bands such as Platinum Blonde, Rick Springfield, Helix and Tone Loc to invade establishments like Cowboys, the Palace and, possibly their favourite home, the Back Alley. In their resurrected forms, they re-live their glory days by spewing out their former hits, or in most cases, their hit.

Washed up and out of the limelight for years, bands have watched the retro trend grip a backward-looking populace. Fanatics for the past have purchased enough A-Team and Knight Rider paraphernalia to foster an industry exclusively devoted to the re-sale of "vintage" knick knacks. Musicians from the ’80s have decided they want in on the action. After all, they pioneered crap.

These autumn-year rock stars have awoken to the harsh reality that their talents haven’t evolved or kept pace with a changing culture. "Bust a Move" wasn’t exactly ground breaking in its day, but Young mc’s sole success, when played 10 years later, transcends camp value and quickly turns pathetic. "She’s dressed in yellow, she says ‘Hello. Why don’t you retire you old fellow?’"

And 2 Live Crew? It’s only appropriate that these clowns of the profane should play at the palace of plastic people, Cowboys, but it’s no longer funny nor revolutionary to hear about how many bitches these guys have "put in tha’ buck" after 10 years of being misogynist pricks. If they’re still so horny, they must have the worst case of blue balls ever.

Glass Tiger, soon to appear in Calgary, sang "Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone." By never leaving, they aren’t even giving us the opportunity to eradicate them from memory.

Most people hope these throwbacks will provide a night of either nostalgia or humour. Most people, after watching Quiet Riot play "Cum on Feel the Noize," have had their Þx. After that, it’s not much fun to watch stagnant artists degrade and humiliate themselves.

While some of them turn their gaze away from the rear view mirror and attempt a forward-looking creation, their appeal lies in the thoughts of youth our generation can associate with them.

Most, however, lack any semblance of longevity. Twisted Sister, Loverboy and Men at Work were products of their day. They should stay in their day.

Our culture currently suffers from enough disease. We hardly need to cope with infections we thought were cured.

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