Chuck Martinez-Brandon

I’m a proud card-carrying member of “Generation X.”

Like the rest of us that were born during the late 1960s through the early 1980s, I will gladly point out that everything was better 35 years ago.

The television was better, despite having only a fraction of the channels that we have today. And by a fraction I mean three.

Food was better. Those “king size” candy bars that are found by the checkouts today, back then we just called them candy bars and you could buy them with the money that jingles, not the kind that folds.

And the music?

Not even a question, it was worlds better.

Today, rappers are pouty and mumble about who knows what and pop music is being sung in languages that I can’t understand (i.e. K-Pop). And rock and roll ... I don’t even know if there is such a thing anymore.

Looking at it now, it’s no wonder why so many millennials roam around like they”re lost. There’s something about cranking up a radio, head banging, playing an air guitar, throwing up the horns and playing the drums on your steering wheel that is freeing.

A life without some rock and roll would indeed be a dull existence.

For our parent’s, rock-n-roll died in a plane crash somewhere in Iowa in 1959.

For us, part of our hard-rockin’ childhood left this Earth last week.

Gen X and rock-n-roll lost an icon last week when guitar god Eddie VanHalen took his talents through the pearly gates. And for us that grew up a few decades ago, no matter what music you were into, VanHalen spoke to all of us.

For us 40-somethings, no matter your background, VanHalen is a group that when one of their songs come on the radio it takes you back. When you hear Eddie’s guitar it reminds you where you were the first time you heard it and those simpler times of our youth.

So last week in honor of a true guitar hero, not one who holds a plastic stick with some buttons that’s hooked up to a video game, I decided to share some real music with some of the youth of today.

After mentioning VanHalen and receiving several blank stares in return, it was a music marathon filled with albums like “VanHalen,” “1984,” “Diver Down,” and “5150.”

It was something that could have been done in the days when MTv still showed music videos, but not without setbacks. It would have taken a couple of suitcase-like cassette tape holders.

If the tape was too worn, maybe you had to splice it back together with a little scotch tape. And who knows the music buffet would have been interrupted at least once as we scrambled to find a pencil or pen to reel the tape back in after it got caught in the boom box, forcing us to rewind it all by hand.

But today, all of those wonderful memories are just a few clicks away on any smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

It was so easy to share I didn’t stop with just the kick a$@ guitar licks of Eddie VanHalen in his prime.

We went full 80s and dialed up some hair band radio where some of today’s youth got to hear classics from groups like Poison, Cinderella and Jackyl.

And let it not be said that I’m not an equal opportunity “old” music enthusiast.

I also shared some rap classics from NWA, 2LiveCrew and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. And in case you were wondering, yes I had to explain that Will Smith the actor actually did start off as a rapper.

So while the 80s and our music may be a thing of the past for some, with today’s technology it is anything but forgotten.

So if you see me or a fellow Gen Xer at a stop light, chances are we’re not stroking out. Nope we’re just head bangin’ to memories of the good ole days.

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