Today’s Kids Deserve The Chance To Have A Tykus Of Their Own

by Jerry Wilson | February 15th, 2018

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Today’s Kids Deserve The Chance To Have A Tykus Of Their Own

As I recall, the say­ing goes that while I may be old, at least I got to see all the cool bands. I sup­pose that forty years hence the ten­der teens of today will be mut­ter­ing about how cur­rent bands are an awful atro­cious abom­i­na­tion, next fondly play­ing their cher­ished golden oldie Arcade Fire or Paramore tunes. Being the cur­mud­geonry con­ser­v­a­tive I am, I fear­lessly state that no, it’s not because I’m too old; the Cheez-​Wiz pre­pro­grammed pre­processed recipe pablum ear candy slime being passed off as music today really does suck. Prayer­fully one day you’ll catch on, kids, demand­ing your gen­er­a­tion start cre­at­ing authen­tic music or you’re toss­ing them aside in favor of the real thing. For the lat­ter, start here.

Although totally unaware of it at the time, disco notwith­stand­ing I was blessed spend­ing my teen years in the 70s, when in order to make music peo­ple had to actu­ally sing and play instru­ments and all that other silly stuff. I was extremely for­tu­nate in that my high school music depart­ment was filled with pro­grams and musi­cians on a col­le­giate and higher level. I played a small part in the pro­gram, singing fairly well in var­i­ous choirs, play­ing a decent bass in the school jazz band, and con­tribut­ing a very mediocre viola in the orches­tra. As the sound­track to our high school years said, two out of three ain’t bad.

I, and my local com­pa­tri­ots, lux­u­ri­ated in a sea of top-​flight local musi­cians in mul­ti­ple gen­res. We were proud of the bands that we were in, and even the bands that we weren’t in. Names totally unknown out­side of our lit­tle town of Liv­er­more, but to those of us who knew bet­ter they were giants.

The past twists and turns and fades in our mind’s the­ater over the decades; times that at the time seems like the end of the world are now viewed through soft focus and a fond fuzzi­ness. Regret­tably, for most of the music and bands we grew up with, rec­ol­lec­tions are all we have. Hope­fully there are a few not totally tat­tered cas­settes out there some­where that some­one will dig up and share with us. But, for the most part, all we have are memories.

One of the local bands we revered back in the day was a pro­gres­sive rock ensem­ble named Tykus. Led by the broth­ers Jim and Roger Lip­tak, Roger on gui­tar and Jim, a true key­board mas­ter who was legit­i­mately on the level of a Keith Emer­son or Rick Wake­man, Tykus in a just world would have con­quered said world. How­ever, as I trust you’ve learned by now the world isn’t just, and they didn’t.

A few days ago, I saw a note by one of the mem­bers of one of the bands from back in the day, com­ment­ing how he had been gifted with a Tykus CD. It wasn’t for sale; strictly a gift for fam­ily and friends.

Uh … TYKUS CD?!!

Must. Have.

Thus, inquiries were made, con­nec­tions were estab­lished, and this past Tues­day Tykus’ bassist gra­ciously gave me a copy of the CD.

As noted, mem­o­ries can and often do skewer real­ity. Thus, I was actu­ally hes­i­tant to lis­ten to the CD. Would it live up to all I had been told, and all I remem­bered, of this mighty band?

The answer was no.

It blew away all mem­o­ries and expec­ta­tions as far as the east is from the west.

Tykus wasn’t good. They weren’t great. They were at min­i­mum three lev­els beyond that. Tykus truly was the equal of pro­gres­sive rock giants such as Emer­son Lake & Palmer, Yes, and Kansas. The com­po­si­tions, the singing, the play­ing — all were, and are, utterly bril­liant. I can’t stop lis­ten­ing to this CD. I will never stop lis­ten­ing to this CD. It has gained imme­di­ate entry to the hall of the greats; the music I will con­stantly refer to until I’m lis­ten­ing to the heav­enly choir. And no, it’s not just nos­tal­gia talk­ing. Tykus was that good.

I pray for today’s teenagers. No, not solely that they get the chance to hear real music in their life­time made by their peers. I pray that forty years from now their mem­o­ries of today will be filled with music and the bands, the friends, and the fun times that should per­me­ate the teen years. I pray that the great­est angst they will have to suf­fer is some­thing sim­i­lar to what I felt when I couldn’t get a date to the senior prom, not hav­ing to dive for cover every time there’s a loud sound fear­ing it’s a gun and not some joker with a firecracker.

It’s bad enough kids these days don’t get to know real music.

It’s far worse they aren’t able to enjoy with­out fear what they do have.

Today’s kids deserve the chance to have a Tykus of their own.

As I recall, the saying goes that while I may be old, at least I got to see all the cool bands. I suppose that forty years hence the tender teens of today will be muttering about how current bands are an awful atrocious abomination, next fondly playing their cherished golden oldie Arcade Fire or Paramore tunes. Being the curmudgeonry conservative I am, I fearlessly state that no, it’s not because I’m too old; the Cheez-Wiz preprogrammed preprocessed recipe pablum ear candy slime being passed off as music today really does suck. Prayerfully one day you’ll catch on, kids, demanding your generation start creating authentic music or you’re tossing them aside in favor of the real thing. For the latter, start here.

Although totally unaware of it at the time, disco notwithstanding I was blessed spending my teen years in the 70s, when in order to make music people had to actually sing and play instruments and all that other silly stuff. I was extremely fortunate in that my high school music department was filled with programs and musicians on a collegiate and higher level. I played a small part in the program, singing fairly well in various choirs, playing a decent bass in the school jazz band, and contributing a very mediocre viola in the orchestra. As the soundtrack to our high school years said, two out of three ain’t bad.

I, and my local compatriots, luxuriated in a sea of top-flight local musicians in multiple genres. We were proud of the bands that we were in, and even the bands that we weren’t in. Names totally unknown outside of our little town of Livermore, but to those of us who knew better they were giants.

The past twists and turns and fades in our mind’s theater over the decades; times that at the time seems like the end of the world are now viewed through soft focus and a fond fuzziness. Regrettably, for most of the music and bands we grew up with, recollections are all we have. Hopefully there are a few not totally tattered cassettes out there somewhere that someone will dig up and share with us. But, for the most part, all we have are memories.

One of the local bands we revered back in the day was a progressive rock ensemble named Tykus. Led by the brothers Jim and Roger Liptak, Roger on guitar and Jim, a true keyboard master who was legitimately on the level of a Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, Tykus in a just world would have conquered said world. However, as I trust you’ve learned by now the world isn’t just, and they didn’t.

A few days ago, I saw a note by one of the members of one of the bands from back in the day, commenting how he had been gifted with a Tykus CD. It wasn’t for sale; strictly a gift for family and friends.

Uh … TYKUS CD?!!

Must. Have.

Thus, inquiries were made, connections were established, and this past Tuesday Tykus’ bassist graciously gave me a copy of the CD.

As noted, memories can and often do skewer reality. Thus, I was actually hesitant to listen to the CD. Would it live up to all I had been told, and all I remembered, of this mighty band?

The answer was no.

It blew away all memories and expectations as far as the east is from the west.

Tykus wasn’t good. They weren’t great. They were at minimum three levels beyond that. Tykus truly was the equal of progressive rock giants such as Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, and Kansas. The compositions, the singing, the playing – all were, and are, utterly brilliant. I can’t stop listening to this CD. I will never stop listening to this CD. It has gained immediate entry to the hall of the greats; the music I will constantly refer to until I’m listening to the heavenly choir. And no, it’s not just nostalgia talking. Tykus was that good.

I pray for today’s teenagers. No, not solely that they get the chance to hear real music in their lifetime made by their peers. I pray that forty years from now their memories of today will be filled with music and the bands, the friends, and the fun times that should permeate the teen years. I pray that the greatest angst they will have to suffer is something similar to what I felt when I couldn’t get a date to the senior prom, not having to dive for cover every time there’s a loud sound fearing it’s a gun and not some joker with a firecracker.

It’s bad enough kids these days don’t get to know real music.

It’s far worse they aren’t able to enjoy without fear what they do have.

Today’s kids deserve the chance to have a Tykus of their own.

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