Nick Lowe
Wed Sept 8
Aladdin Theater
3017 SE Milwaukie

Nick Lowe is a British rock cult icon guy who's reached his mid 50s with style, wit and pure kick-ass-ness. Based solely on Lowe's career, you could easily teach a class to younger rockers. Call it "Aging Gracefully 301," and make it a five-point program so it's easy to remember.

Rule number one is to have done something worthwhile in the first place, which Nick did simply by co-founding the influential indie label Stiff in the mid '70s. Lowe also produced the best music the Damned, Wreckless Eric, and Elvis Costello ever made--not to mention the Pretenders' first single. He was a figure in the proto-punk pub-rock movement in the early '70s, a country rocker in the '90s, and is now essentially a lounge singer who doesn't suck. But, of course, it's his '70s and '80s recordings of catchy, smart pop songs that he's most remembered for: "And So It Goes," "Little Hitler," "Cruel To Be Kind"--these are absolutely perfect songs, and there are dozens more.

Rule number two is to stay good looking, and become less goofy. Not only has Lowe stopped naming his albums with dreadful puns (The Abominable Showman, 16 All Time Lowes), he's turned into a distinguished looking silver-haired gent who must get hit on by girls half his age.

Rule number three is to do all that Behind The Music stuff--the creative slump fueled by drugs and/or alcohol, then the comeback--which brings us to rule number four, which is to be lucky as hell. Lowe made a cool million on the royalties when Curtis Steigers covered "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding" for The Bodyguard, the best selling soundtrack of all time.

Rule number five is to ignore music business bullshit--the seminar shows, constant tours, interviews, videos, payola, all of it. Make great music regardless of whether it's in vogue or if Jack White decides to make an album with you. The ironic crooner still has cool charm in spades, as evidenced by Untouched Takeaway, a self-released live album available only at his solo acoustic show at the Aladdin on September 8th.