Should I learn how to read music?
—Tom Hamilton, Aerosmith (The band plays the Tacoma Dome on Tues., Aug. 8.)
Roderick: This is a really good question—one I am often asked by members of Aerosmith. I think you should absolutely learn to read music, Tom, because staying young is a continual process of learning and growing.
I’m not trying to flim-flam you with a bunch of hippie spirituality; I’m sure you’ve heard more crackpot New Age health gibberish than almost any man on Earth, sitting around hotel lobbies half-listening while stoner girls in their early 20s try to impress you with their alternative health remedies. The wheatgrass-juice enemas you’ve had in the past 10 years alone probably make you shudder every time your tour bus drives through alfalfa country. Still, it is undoubtedly true that learning new things can happen at any age, and that a limber mind is the secret of youth.
I can’t help but notice, as I peruse my extensive library, that the shelf marked “Aerosmith Rehab Memoirs” doesn’t contain a Tom Hamilton title. It is also apparent to even the casual onlooker that you are the only member of Aerosmith who doesn’t look like he’s wearing a Freddy Krueger mask. So I have to guess that you have managed somehow either to avoid selling your soul to the Devil, or at least got a halfway-decent price for it. But just because you’re the only one not to end up looking like a shrunken apple doesn’t mean you’re in the free and clear. You’re at that age when a man takes stock of his life and thinks “Sure, I wrecked some Ferraris and burned down a mansion or two and had a threesome with Cher and Richard Simmons, but is it enough? Did I do good? Does my life have meaning?”
Everyone, even someone who has probably shot cocaine up his nose with a crossbow, needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I’m sure your memories of hordes of long-haired teenage groupies ripping off their bell-bottoms in a frenzy to have gang sex with you in your underwater fetish grotto—back before this country got so moralistic about rock musicians mentoring crazy teenagers in this way—must keep the blues away on most rainy mornings. Even so, imagine the great satisfaction you’ll have as you sit down with your “Beginner’s Music Notation” lesson book and start practicing your scales. It warms the heart, and think of how proud it will make your grandparents.
Who likes Nickelback more—you or Rob McKenna?
—Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee
I appreciate your question, Representative Inslee, but I feel obligated to tell you that the band Nickelback is what we call a “dead meme.” That is to say, using Nickelback as a coded reference to indicate you know the “uncool” bands is now itself generally understood to be a super-unhip move. Stay with me here, because this could be the key to unlocking the hipster vote: If you make a Nickelback joke in a public debate with Rob McKenna, there is every possibility that his handlers will have prepared him to say with a COMPLETELY STRAIGHT FACE that he actually likes Nickelback, which will function as a kind of anti-ironic “reverse burn.”
So I’d leave Nickelback humor completely off the table, and instead talk about how you at first thought Gotye was cool, but then he got irritating, but now you think he’s pretty cool again. McKenna will be completely lost.
Curiously, my editors at Seattle Weekly sent me two questions from you. The first was a query about Ironic Mustache Syndrome, or “IMS.” But I quickly received an e-mail saying that you had nixed it in favor of the Nickelback one. I then received a final e-mail stating that you had come to your senses and given your blessing to the original question. So let’s get right down to it:
I just recently attended the Capitol Hill Block Party, where I noticed a high ratio of men suffering from Ironic Mustache Syndrome. Treatments are effective, but access is still a problem. My question is: Should IMS be considered a pre-existing condition under the Affordable Care Act?
In all honesty, I think this is a much funnier question. It references the Block Party, irony, mustaches, and Obamacare, and it coins a new acronym. I’m curious to know what is going on over there at Inslee Campaign Headquarters, where a dynamite question like this would get kiboshed in favor of that unfortunate Nickelback business? When McKenna makes a hilariously on-point joke about ironic mustaches later this year, will voters be fooled into thinking his robotically weird “center-right” Republicanism is a hipper ideology than your consistently ethical liberalism? Don’t lose the high ground here.
I recommend you have a staff meeting and give your absolute confidence to whomever voted for the mustache question. They understand the shifting tides of popular culture, and should be given cabinet-level positions. Those staffers who lobbied for the Nickelback question should be chastised and upbraided, perhaps including a bread-and-water diet for two days. They’re overthinking your campaign, and need to get up to speed before some unscrupulous reporter starts to ask uncomfortable questions about whether Owl City still sounds too much like The Postal Service.
Also, if you’re interviewing candidates for Lieutenant Governor, let me just say: Look no further! Your political experience and my people-pleasing instincts are a dream-team scenario! Now let’s regroup and focus on November!