Altacocker Rockers

You don’t really want to know what “Altacocker” means in Yiddish, do you? It means literally old “sh-t” and refers mainly to very old men. Make sure you click on the hot links to see what I am talking about.

I was privileged and fortunate enough to go to a music festival where there were many groups of my heyday of the sixties performing. I saw The 5th Dimension, with one of the original five; Eric Burdon and the Animals, with just the real Eric Burdon; the Zombies, with two of the most important originals – the lead singer, and the keyboardist/leader Rod Argent. I saw The Three Dog Night, now with just one original dog; Micky Dolenz of the Monkees; and The Loving Spoonful with just one of the originals and without leader John Sebastian (but sounding great anyway.) Some of these guys are pushing 80, yet still rocking.

I know when I go to see these oldies acts, I may not see all the originals. After all, many are too aged, or even deceased. In fact, the ones that are still rocking on, are quite hilariously altacockers. One of the rocker’s entire patter of dialogue from the stage to the audience was about his aching bones and how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning.

You could just see and hear the creaks, the OYs, the “oh, my aching back” complaints that were never spoken. You could see their bent, possibly arthritic fingers still working the strings of their guitars.

Rod Argent was massaging his poor, old hands after going crazy on the keyboard. He had to massage them over real good after a few numbers. Poor thing!

Eric Burdon is nearly blind, and bent over (but his voice sounds great!) and he had to be led around the stage. There is no denying the fact that he is a very old man. I mean, really, tough Eric Burdon, gritty Eric Burdon, street-wise Eric Burdon is a VERY OLD MAN!

The only original from the 5th Dimension, Florence LaRue, was a 73 year old wearing high heeled boots (but her voice sounded great and she could still perform well!), who also had to be helped up and around by one of her younger guys in the band.

The Loving Spoonful guys looked like guys that would be in my dad’s independent living place. They wore comfy khaki pants, loose Hawaiian shirts, and old guy sneakers.

The ones that really cracked me up though, were the ones wearing tight leather jackets, with longish hair (WHITE HAIR no less!) still trying to maintain that rocker image. I mean, their knees were creaking, their backs bent over, their wrinkles on full display, but dammit, they are still rockers! Yeah, Altacocker Rockers.

I enjoyed listening to them as their voices generally were in good form, and hearing those old songs makes me feel so very young and takes me back in time to those innocent days of my youth. Yet seeing them and hearing them sing about the blush of first young love is a bit off putting as well, because really, just take a look at them!

I must say here that Danny Hutton, of the Three Dog Night, and who I never found attractive in his peak, was looking distinguished, and in good form. (And ooooh, his voice still kills it as you can see in this video!)

Not all the old rockers look bad. Peter Noone of the Herman’s Hermits is still touring and I see him every chance I get, and he is still handsome and youngish looking compared to the rest.

Some of my very favorites: Paul McCartney, John Fogerty (formerly of Creedence), and Justin Hayward (lead singer of the Moody Blues) are still looking mighty fine and enjoyable to watch in action at their concerts. (I have seen all three fairly recently.) Bruce Springsteen is ageless and energetic and will never be an altacocker rocker. He may be downing those 12 hour energy drinks by the gallon, but he still puts on a show that leaves all in the audience exhausted! (He still crowd surfs!)

The fact that these acts are still around and performing is fairly amazing though. I mean, if you think about it, who would have ever predicted that now, fifty years and more since these acts hit the big time, that they would still be rocking their little hearts out? That seems kind of weird but awesome at the same time, and I much prefer all of them to most of today’s music. (NOTE I SAID MOST – not ALL!! I do try to stay relevant.)

I guess better to be a rocker on stage, than sitting in a rocker in an old age home. May God bless them all to keep singing their little hearts out and playing that glorious music until they absolutely can’t due to health.




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