Like youth itself, Twitter is wasted on the young. But not everyone over 35 has completely tuned it out -- after a recent upgrade to a smartphone, even I'm using it now after years of Twitterphobia. (Hit me up at @ThePhantomTX.)
Since I've been on, I've learned that most musicians have handed off their Twitter accounts to one of their PR underlings, who use it for the usual patter of tour dates, press releases, fan-club contests and what have you. Once in a while it looks like Willie Nelson (@willienelson) may have wrested control of his account ("congrats," "thank you"), but mostly it's the same spiel as Ozzy Osbourne or Lou Reed. But here are five in my age bracket and above who give it to you from the horse's mouth.
5. Hayes Carll
I would like to apologize to Hayes Carll for calling him "old." But let's face it, he's in his mid-30s, which makes him old. (Trust me.) Besides, he's an old soul anyway, which makes him one of the best singer-songwriters Texas has seen in years. His tweets are a blend of sincere interaction with friends and fans, spiced with droll observations from the touring life.
On my way to Oklahoma today and every town we plan go through is under a severe flood warning. This will be fun.
Hit traffic on the way to L.R. but we shall persevere. Stopping at gas station to replenish stock of green t-shirts and Jack Daniels.
Just watched the 4 hour @tompetty doc. Downright inspiring stuff. Resulted in me doing bad petty impersonations all day long.
4. Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)
Founder, leader and chief songwriter of the booziest U.S. rock band of the 1980s with a weakness for Alex Chilton and devastating love songs ("Skyway"), the Replacements, Paul Westerberg has a bizarre Twitter account. There are no Minneapolis weather reports or advice on how to quit smoking, just periodic random examples of Westerberg's pithy, poetic lyrics.
The account started in Spring 2009, updated several times a week for about three months, and then abruptly stopped until this past December. Then it resumed at about the same pace until finally petering out in mid-January with a link to a video for "Ghost on the Canvas," the song Westerberg wrote last year for Glen Campbell's album of the same name.
Even though it may not actually be Westerberg in this case - the "about" line says "I'm just a Replacement for the real guy," although for some reason it really does seem like him - the stuff Westerberg (or whoever) is tweeting is good enough to make me wish he did it more often.
Ring around the rosary Pocket full of prose you read Ashes to ashes we all fall in love
I need a God damn girl I really need a God damn girl
Used to wear my heart on my sleeve/I guess it still shows
We're feelin' good from the pills we took/Oh baby don't give me that look
3. Captain Sensible (The Damned)
The Sex Pistols may have been more revolutionary (although not really), and the Clash may have had more street cred, but the Damned is my pick for the most fun of the first-wave UK punk bands. Several of their songs ("New Rose," "Smash It Up," "Neat Neat Neat") have lasted just as long as the other two's best work, and they've always been the smart pick for anyone with a little goth in them. (The fact that the drummer named himself Rat Scabies undoubtedly has something to do with the Damned's morbid appeal.)
Now participating in the Damned's 35th anniversary tour, singer/guitarist Captain Sensible (nee Ray Burns) is equally fond of using Twitter to spout off about politics, his frustrations with Apple, or fondly reminisce about his first band Johnny Moped.
RT @thepotatofarmer: #Dave says Iran's after nukes. Launchable in 45mins perhaps? Mmm, I've heard this before http://gu.com/p/36xq5
After all the Macs & i-devices I've purchased over many years a big F**K YOU APPLE for not fixing my iPad under warranty. I feel better now
Sat April 7th, the return of Johnny Moped (my 1st band) - he may never gig again so don't miss out.
Davy Jones wasn't impressed when I suggested we record a punk version of Daydream Believer together. RIP.
2. Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde)
Age: "Joey" and Bloodletting came out in 1990... look it up if you really want to know.
Whether you're looking for conversations with her Go-Go's friend Kathy Valentine (@Kathy_Valentine), tips on horse grooming or candid updates from Concrete Blonde's recent Australian tour, this L.A. rocker chick turned high-desert goddess is your woman. She also has good taste, retweeting The Onion, Snoop Dogg and Charlie Sheen.
..went 4 my first ride on True. No words. Trotted & loped around the hometrail, she reined in w/ the bitless..
J-Tree Nat'l Park bomb? Weird. Well, not really.
GoGo's in the desert on Cinco de Mayo? I may have to saddle up & ride on down...
Ok I'm on the move again. No one takes care of me like Oz. Stay well, my luvz..
1. Ray Wylie Hubbard
A hero of the progressive-country/redneck-rock movement in the '70s, today the "Wylie Lama" is perhaps Texas' most Zen singer-songwriter and its most crotchety. See below for his opinion of the term "singer-songwriter," just one of the many reasons Hubbard - who next visits Houston April 7 at the Mucky Duck - has taken to Twitter like, well, a duck to water.
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journalist! quit referring to me as a singer/songwriter, dammit. instead use "deepgrooveinthebloodmasterlesssamuraifolkpoetbluesman."
wow. monday and no gig. no lines at restuarants. no skinny jeans and ironic mustashes...guess i'll do laundry and see how the career is. (tweeted the day after SXSW)
there are some people older than me on this planet... but i've been awake longer.