When I’m 64

March 6th, 2012 by Max Allan Collins

Davy Jones of the Monkees died at 66 the other day. One of the major Monkees fan clubs is based in Muscatine, and my band Crusin’ contributed a song (“Little Bit Me, Little Bit You”) to a Monkees tribute CD in the early ‘90s (Bobby Hart did the liner notes). In my first year of college, I loved the Monkees – their albums remain surprisingly strong – and my band (then called the Daybreakers) did tons of their stuff. So the passing of Davy Jones gives me more than twinge of melancholy, not to mention paranoia, since I turned 64 on March 3rd.

On my birthday, I played a band job with the current, very strong Crusin’ line-up at a particularly hip venue (a blues club in Bettendorf called the Muddy Waters) and we received a warm welcome to say the least. Rock ‘n’ roll definitely happened (Crusin’ is myself, guitarist Jim Van Winkle, bass player Brian Van Winkle, and drummer Steve Kundel). And we pulled “I’m a Believer” out of our nether regions by way of tribute to Davy. Word got around that it was my birthday, and somebody did the math and figured out I was 64. It’s nice that a lot of people seemed to find it tough to believe that I was that age, but nonetheless I am.

One thing I’ve noticed about other bands who play ‘60s material (and we play originals and early ‘70s and other things we feel like) is that they tend to be either sleepy (literally sitting down on the job) or kitschy (going all amateur-night Sha Na Na). On the other hand, our approach remains the same balls-to-the-wall garage band rock we always specialized in, although it gets ballsier when the audience is like the one at the Muddy Waters.

While I physically on occasion do feel like 64 (or older), my attitudes haven’t changed much. I’m not going to wear a baseball cap on stage and sit down while I play keyboards. I’m not going to soften my sex and violence (even when an editor requests it) or tone down the dumb jokes or change in any way my approach, other than to improve whenever possible. I’m not slowing down my productivity if for no other reason than time is in fact running out, and I still have stories to tell. I am not going gently into this good night. I am going fucking screaming.

Triple Play

I get a certain amount of shit about living in Iowa – about having stayed in Iowa. This often comes from people who haven’t accomplished a fraction of what I have in various facets of show business. I have always lived a fairly low-key life – minimal drinking, no smoking – and remain married to the same beautiful woman after forty-some years. And she is beautiful, and incredibly thoughtful. Who else but Barb would spend the day after my birthday going to a matinee with me called “Project X” (great movie, and if you don’t think so, you are 64) (at least) about a shy kid’s birthday bash that turns into a neighborhood apocalypse. Barb spent all weekend making sure this birthday (which sucks – you don’t even qualify for the senior discount at 64, or your Social Security check) was fun and not traumatic.

Barb, by the way, is the cover girl on the upcoming TRIPLE PLAY, the Nate Heller novella collection coming out in April. I’ve always thought she looks like Marilyn Monroe, and I submitted a picture of her to Amazon Encore from the early ‘90s that I thought might work. See for yourself.

* * *

There were several nice mentions of my birthday on the net this past week. Check this one out, if you’re a Ms. Tree fan.

A blogger did a piece on Sadie Hawkins Day that lambasted Al Capp, and I responded. That response was named comment of the day.

Nathan Heller and I got some nice local love from a Cedar Rapids writer.

The Raymond Chandler centennial short-story collection got written up, with special mention of my story. I commented, because an assumption had been made about the story, which has appeared with both Marlowe and Nate Heller as its protagonist, that needed correcting.

Here’s a nice “desert island” reading list of graphic novels where ROAD TO PERDITION ranks number three.

Another blogger has an interesting take on BYE BYE, BABY, using it as starting point for his own MM research.

This coming week I will be working on ANTIQUES CHOP, Barb having just wrapped up her draft.


Tags: , , , , , ,

4 Responses to “When I’m 64”

  1. Gerard Saylor says:

    I grew up in Illinois, went to college in Minnesota, and now live in Wisconsin. Making fun of Iowa is a lifelong pleasure. Even more so during the time my brother attended Grinnell.

    I presume some people would see Iowa as a writing mecca due to the Writers Workshop. Even though Quarry did kill one of the professors.

  2. raverill says:

    I am the blogger who wrote on Bye Bye, Baby. Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your books and how much historical information I learn from them. Like you, I play in a band, although I’m just hitting AARP eligibility rather than 64. And of course I write. Thank you for your Nathan Heller books, and at the moment I’m reading an antiques mystery book which is also great fun.

  3. Brad Schwartz says:

    Happy belated birthday, M.A.C.! I’m glad to hear Barb made it a fun one.

    I was never the best math student, but I can’t help doubting the arithmetic here. You have more drive and energy at 64 than people I know who aren’t yet 24. And if you liked Project X, that certainly makes you young, I don’t care what the calendar says.

  4. My thanks to you gents for these kind and amusing comments on my rapidly diminishing boyishness.