Old Rock Bands
Sometimes it seems like an artist overstays their welcome. A perfect example of this would be the Rolling Stones. Once a powerful and dynamic force in rock and roll, the creative element of the Stones seemed to dry up in the early 80’s. While their albums continued to sell reasonably well to their legions of adoring fans, they become known more for their elaborate and extensive touring than their impact on modern music. In fact, the Stone tours of today are heavily seeded with the hits of their early years, prompting many to label them a nostalgia act – if an extremely successful and wealthy nostalgia act.
For every group like the Rolling Stones there are 20 others who have been relegated to the list of old rock bands, touring county fairs and small venues to earn a good but non-glamorous living. Many of these groups continue to release new music, albeit sometimes in obscurity, but another sizeable portion have forsaken songwriting altogether to simply play the songs they know the audience has come to hear. Tours of this nature become a sort of living greatest hits album, and in fact, it is not uncommon to see promoters putting together a package deal of three or four seemingly disparate musical acts that all hail from a similar musical era. These mega-tours usually see each band playing an abbreviated 45-minute set list of crowd pleasers before leaving the stage to be replaced by the next classic rock band.
It pays to be wary when purchasing a ticket to see a show by one of these old rock bands. In some instances, the band using the original name that made the group famous may only include one founding member, surrounded by a cast of backup musicians. Several groups from the 60’s, such as the Beach Boys and the Platters even had more than one band touring the country while using a variation of the original band’s name.
There is one group which has managed to keep the torch burning for almost 40 years with no lineup changes whatsoever. ZZ Top are still performing today as the same unit that debuted in 1969, and their fuzzed out, synthesized blues rock is still packing concert venues around the world. The members of ZZ Top have managed to not fall prey to many of the pitfalls that fame and fortune that have toppled so many other old rock bands from the top of the classic rock pyramid.