The Rolling Stone Age.
How does it feel? To read Rolling Stone? To feel so old?
Everything was swell until Donna C. called about our 20th high school reunion, and would I come but please send ahead money to cover calls and the "Alumni Directory" that names 200 people I can't remember. The directory's last address for me was Richmond. I don't remember living in Richmond, but I can't swear I didn't.
I defy anyone getting "The Call" not to feel like picking out a walnut casket for yourself. I needed to feel young and hip and in a hurry. But I was at work when the need tapped me. So, I did what any other responsible journalist would do - I immediately fled to Fells Point. It wasn't even lunchtime.
At Adrian's Book Cafe, I bought the new issue of Rolling Stone - the magazine of my youth. I went upstairs, stretched out on the sofa and had a cup of Joe. For the first time in years, I would read Rolling Stone, where my youth has been buried.
The only other human I know who still reads Rolling Stone is J.D. Considine, The Sun's pop music critic. I'm not positive he reads it, but he has written for the magazine. And that's close enough.
At Adrian's, customers do coffee to the soft strains of the latest music. "I'm sitting in a railway station, got a ticket for my destination ... ," sings a sweet, undiscovered voice. We asked, but nobody could name the group. "In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade ... ," went another catchy tune, as we opened Rolling Stone.
Conan O'Brien is the cover. His talk show has been on three years, which is enough to age anyone. It comes on around 12:30 in the morning, which is way past bed-time. There's probably a feature on "Kratts' Creatures" - the new, hip nature show for kids. Probably got a mention here in "Random Notes." Let's see.
"Face it, if you haven't been to a Ramones last show, you're a loser," according to Notes. Nothing on the Kratt brothers, but it's noted that band members from Rancid and Motorhead are doing well. And "Looks like Bush singer Gavin Rossdale was a bit bleary-eyed backstage at the Eden festival," says a photo caption.
Gavin Rossdale? Maybe he's the guy who sings about the boxer.
So far, nothing in Rolling Stone rings a bell. Wait, it says here that Kiss sold out its summer shows. That's encouraging, although Styx and Kansas didn't draw well. That's kind of sad, considering "Dust in the Wind" is arguably the best song of 1996.
As I hoped, the magazine still reaches me, still talks to me. I'm feeling younger with every page - minus the 42 pages of Calvin Klein, Chaps and Marlboro ads. God bless 'em, RS still posts new releases. The Connells have a record out called "Weird Food & Devastation." I have their first record, which was "Healthy Snacks & Napping."
Another favorite RS feature of mine has always been the record reviews. They like the new one from Scarce and Better Than Ezra, but Nas' new disc sounds like "the latest blatant example of trashy tough-guy talk." Which is exactly what I thought the first time I played it for my young kids. But after listening to Nas, really listening, I disagree with RS. His stuff is no "Dust in the Wind" but give him a chance.
For kicks, I used to read the magazine's classified section, which now reads: ASIAN DREAM GIRLS! FRENCH LOLITAS AT RIVIERA. LONELY HOUSEWIVES NEED RELIEF! What happened to ads for becoming a mail-order reverend?
As I planned, reading Rolling Stone made me feel young again. All I really had to do was skip to the back page. "Charts" still list the most popular songs, and you'll recognize these current classics: "Shake Your Booty" from KC and the Sunshine Band; "You Should Be Dancing" by the Bee Gees; and "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" by England Dan and John Ford Coley.
England Dan and John Ford Coley? Maybe those guys sang about that boxer.
Rob Hiaasen is a feature writer for The Sun.
Pub Date: 9/29/96