How Old Is “Too Old” To Rock & Roll?

Is anyone ever really too old to rock and roll?

By Jon Liebman
July 23, 2018

This week’s interview is a very rare and special one-on-one conversation with Styx co-founder and bassist Chuck Panozzo, conducted by FBPO’s Gary Graff. Though he’ll be turning 70 in September, Chuck still manages to continue touring and performing with Styx, highlighting every show with a nightly cameo that always evokes a strong ovation from the audience.

Back in the early days of the genre, a 70-year-old rock & roller would have been unthinkable. I mean, wasn’t this the generation that used to say, “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30?” (According to legend, that line was first uttered during the Free Speech Movement at University of California, Berkeley, by activist Jack Weinberg, now 78.) A decade later, Jethro Tull was already lamenting being “Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die,” via front man Ian Anderson (now 70).

It was truly special getting to see Chuck perform just a few weeks ago alongside his bandmates, including regular Styx bassist Ricky Phillips (age 65).

Below is a short list of some of the (mostly rock) bassists whose performances, recordings and careers have withstood the test of time. Regardless of the genres for which they’re known, may they all “Keep On Rockin’” (Rick Derringer, now 70).

You can check out our interview with Chuck Panozzo by clicking here.

PROMINENT BASS PLAYERS, AGED 65 AND OLDER
(Some of them surprise you!)

Age 65:  Jeff Berlin, Billy Sheehan, Will Lee, Andy West

Age 66:  Bootsy Collins, John Deacon, Tom Hamilton, Jimmy Haslip, Anthony Jackson, Sting

Age 67:  Stanley Clarke, Ian Hill, Alphonso Johnson, Neil Murray, dUg Pinnick, Rocco Prestia, Rudy Sarzo, Tina Weymouth, Verdine White

Age 68:  Bunny Brunel, Bob Daisley, Tom Petersson, Suzi Quatro, Gene Simmons, Garry Tallent

Age 69:  Geezer Butler, Dusty Hill, Ross Valory

Age 70:  Percy Jones, Timothy B. Schmit, Miroslav Vitous, Willie Weeks

Age 71:  Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Dennis Dunaway, Larry Graham, Dave Holland, Abraham Laboriel, Leland Sklar

Age 72:  Jerry Jemmott, John Paul Jones, Tony Levin, John Lodge, Randy Meisner

Age 73:  Tim Bogert, Stu Cook, Peter Cetera, Eddie Gomez, Chris Hillman

Age 74:  Jack Casady, David Hood

Age 76:  Billy Cox, Gary Karr, Paul McCartney, Buster Williams

Age 77:  Steve Swallow

Age 78:  Phil Lesh, Chuck Rainey

Age 80:  Joe Osborn, Klaus Voormann

Age 81:  Ron Carter, Bill Wyman

Age 83:  Carol Kaye, Gary Peacock

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