Old Masters

patti_smith

You should be listening to new bands. All the time. Reading about a band in a magazine? Too late, lame-o. You should be trading playlists with a 17-year-old reggaeton DJ in Lima.

This old guy named David Bowie has a great new record, “The Next Day.” He might tour for the first time in a decade. But, ewww! Ziggy Stardust is 66!

Go see him anyway.

Some musicians are gods in their youth. I say if you’re lucky enough to be on Earth at the same time they are, take that deal as long as you can get it. You have a limited time to hear their voices and instruments live, to participate.

I saw the Ramones on their “¡Adios Amigos!” tour in 1995. It wasn’t the CBGB glory days, but Joey Ramone sang “Judy is a Punk” into my actual ear before he died. I saw Iggy Pop in 2001, when he was about 107 years old. I have never been so drenched with sweat. I saw Patti Smith, above, a few months ago and it was a religious experience.

My mom saw Elvis in 1973. (“He looked awful!”) An old lady outside cried, “I have to see Elvis before I die!” Mom pulled her through the bathroom window and they both heard the King croon into their actual ears before that little old lady or Elvis left this world.

Shauna Miller is managing editor at the Atlantic's CityLab. You can hit her up on Her.

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express · March 18, 2013