The Old Man at the Rock N Roll Show - by JCE

Who the hell am I, and how did I end up here on Pencilstorm anyways? I’m just a regular guy with a wife and a daughter, a lot of skateboards, a lot of books and a whole lot more music than anything else. I am a Watershed fan who somehow began trading emails with Ricki C and from there I found Pencilstorm. Then Colin made the mistake of inviting me to write some posts. That’s probably all you need to know.  Oh yeah, and I live in Virginia, about an hour south of D.C. – JCE


So when I was about mid-thirties, I quit drinking.  Stayed that way for a pretty long time (over a decade), and really, I’m happy that I did.  My wife and I did it together and we managed fine.  We had our daughter during that time and raised her through her earliest years with not a drop of alcohol.  At some point though, I took up drinking a beer now and again, and my wife went back to her occasional glass of wine.  That inevitably led to the visitation of a bar once in a while and the obvious desire to start going to see bands again. 

I’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of bands in grungy clubs and I’m happy to say that I’m still adding ticket stubs to my collection. Now that I’m going to shows, I’ve observed that I’m usually the oldest guy there, except for the all ages shows where there are parents in attendance.  They are there as chaperones and not for the music.  I have actually been asked, “Which kid is yours?”  That was at a Good Charlotte show at the 9:30 Club in D.C. which was jam packed with teeny boppers.  It was the worst show I’ve seen in recent years.  One show, Everclear, at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, VA, this teenaged blonde comes up to me all casual and says, “Do you have any weed?”  Uh, no darlin’, I do not.  I guess an old dude in a leather jacket looks like he should be carrying some dope.  (editors' note: So let's get this straight, JCE, you DON'T have any weed?  Damn!)   

Other shows, like X at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA and any of the three Social Distortion shows I’ve gone to seem to have an older crowd where I blend right in.  It’s very hit and miss on whether the crowd is going to make me feel ancient.  I will say that all of my friends and family insist that I do not look anywhere near my age, so that probably helps.  One last observation from an old guy at club shows:  I must be the last guy in the world that loves music and skateboards and doesn’t have a tattoo.  Don’t get me wrong, I dig tattoos on young, good looking people.  They look cool on most guys and sexy on some girls, but when they get old, they’re mostly gonna look like crap.

I was looking at a few ticket stubs of shows I’ve been to recently.  When I look at them, it’s a nice bit of music.  I’ve seen Gaslight Anthem, the Hold Steady, Catfish & the Bottlemen, The Struts, and other artists I really like.  I’ve also seen aging bands like Social Distortion, X, Cheap Trick who are still great.  But compared to shows I saw years ago--  The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers, The Professionals, Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Johnny Thunders, Dead Boys, The Neighborhoods, The Outlets….. I miss the music of my youth.  Or maybe I just miss my youth. 


JCE is our newest rock writer, and Ricki C. brought him into our little Pencilstorm family.  Ricki knows him as John, but damn if JCE isn't a cool pen-name.