I remember a conversation with a dude, maybe 10-15 years older than me, who’s epitome of cool was Van Halen. Like Jump Van Halen.
It didn’t land with me. I think I’m just a bit young to idolize hair bands. I’m sure Eddie can shred or whatever, but to me coolness is synonymous with envy. I think something is cool if I envy it. I want to be that person or at least emulate what they can do.
Agreed though, coolness is 90% music related for me. I spent quite a while in the jam band scene. I’ve seen many many Phish shows. Weirdly, I’m not quite sure I ever found them cool. I liked the scene but those guys in that bad were so awkward I didn’t really want to be them. There was probably a year or two in there where I thought the wandering hippies that followed them were cool, embracing life in a way I never quite have. But that fell away as I realized they were way closer to hypocritical and selfish drains on the world rather than anything to envy.
In some kind of overlapping time frame, I thought Soul Coughing was probably the coolest band out there. I never even really knew what they looked like until I came across this video somewhat recently:
Their sound was (and is) really truly unique. It was fun, poetic, and grooved in a way that I still think is pretty rad. But ultimately there was just too much drugs and selfish behavior that I’m far from thinking they are actually cool.
I was thinking about coolness first when I saw this video:
Frickin CCR man. Those guys were cool. Ughckh but were they? I don’t even know all the stories but I feel like all the main players behind big rock bands end up being dicks.
I’m straight up obsessed with Charlie Crockett right now:
I don’t even wanna know if he’s a dick or not. He doesn’t seem like it, but I’m not ready to find out. Too soon.
But here’s a band I think is legit cool:
That’s the Reeltime Travellers who tragically only played together for a few years (best I know) but fit my bill for coolness because they were actually very kind folks and produced some of the most badass and beautiful old time music there is. They ignighted that old time spirit in me and I still find their tracks fresh and great listens. That’s Martha Scanlan on guitar and lead vocals who freakin’ exudes cool. Her and Rayna Gellert are hugely hugely cool to me.
So I guess my checklist for coolness is: be nice, be kind, do good, play well.