When it comes to aging, there is nothing I am more wary of than nostalgia. There’s a fine line between basking in fond memories and believing your best days are behind you, and getting older presents ever more opportunity to cross it. For many people, and certainly for myself, nostalgia’s gauzy glow is most acute in music. After all, it’s the soundtrack to our lives, and for whatever reason, most of us tend to engage less with new music once we’ve gotten past our formative years. And so, having reached an age at which attending a reunion concert has shifted from I was just a baby in their heyday to this was my favorite band in college, I assess the event somewhat neurotically: Am I satisfied with experiencing this as a memory, or do I want to actually relive it?
In some cases, neither is true, especially when the artist peddling reminiscences is now a pale shadow of its former self, which is even more likely to be the case for a long-running group that never actually split up. After having a few run-ins with ghosts like these, I’ve embarked on something of a farewell tour. Rather than carrying a torch for glory days that won’t return, I’m saying goodbye to my favorite bands of my youth, seeing them each play live one last time before getting back to the important business of making new glory days, to be fondly recalled at a later date.
My most recent goodbye was said to Glenn Danzig, who I saw in concert this fall for the third time in nearly twenty years. His career has been anything but consistent, but I’ll always be thankful for his best work: The Misfits, the seminal horror punk band he started, incidentally, when I was just a baby. For a few years now, I’ve had a tradition of recording a Misfits cover for Halloween, but if this year’s “Astro Zombies” is coming late enough that it’s technically celebrating Thanksgiving instead, so be it. As your family gathers to give thanks for life and love, please enjoy this jubilant paean to an army of undead dispatched from outer space to obliterate our planet.
Goodbye, Glenn, and thanks for the memories.