Jo Bain has been a big rock ‘n’ roll fan since about the age of 12. If she was like a lot of Gang of Youths fans, that would put Coldplay, Linkin Park and One Republic among her childhood favorites. But Jo is different; the bands she loved as a kid were legends of classic rock like Led Zeppelin, T. Rex and Uriah Heep.
Jo is a huge Gang of Youths fan who just happens to be 60 years young.
She’s one of a small group of older fans — myself included — who discovered each other recently in a private Facebook group called Gang of Youths Appreciation Gang.
“When I first joined the Appreciation Group,” she told me via email, “I thought to myself, ‘Oh, these guys are just going to think I’m an idiot, being so much older than most of them.’ But we are still rockers at our age, too. Music is something that activates the soul no matter what age you are. I still feel like I’m about 35 or 40, and act it, too.”
The Brisbane resident says her son (pictured with Jo above) has introduced her to a lot of more recent bands, like The Wombats and City and Colour. She also lists DMA’s, Montaigne, and Florence and the Machine among her current faves.
Maybe most importantly, he also introduced her to Gang of Youths, whom she describes as “my total fave.”
“When I first heard the name of the band, I thought, ‘Oh yeah, this is gonna be good, some metal, mixed-up whatever,'” she says. “When I first listened to them, I heard (their cover of The Middle East’s) ‘Blood,’ and was totally blown away. I began exploring more of their music and became a permanent fan.”
For Jo, one of the band’s main appeals is the sense of love and care they give off — of “looking after each other, and that life is sooo worth living!” Her favorite GOY songs these days include “Persevere,” “The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows” and “Magnolia.”
One thing that Jo has in common with a lot of Gang of Youths fans of all ages is that the band’s music has been a sort-of coping mechanism through personal struggles.
“I’ve suffered from depression for a long time,” she says, “and they just bring me to a wave of total elation every time I listen to them. Being in the Appreciation Group has brought me a sense of contact with others in similar situations as well as our love of their music. I especially like that the lyrics are so profound, so deep — it resonates within me so much, as if there is an understanding of where I’ve been in life.”
Jo hasn’t had the chance to see Gang of Youths in concert yet, but says her son sees them play live “all the time.” It’s something she desperately wants to do, too. “I get so jealous when he tells me how good they are live,” she says. “I’m on a disability pension, so I can’t afford the tickets, but if I had the money, my God, I’d be there in an instant!!! Please, please, please, one day!!”
If and when that day comes, you can bet that Jo will be rocking out as much as anyone in the crowd, nevermind being one of the band’s older fans.
“I really don’t think age has much to do with it,” she says. “This generation is so much more open about age. There seem to be no barriers, and they actually like that us oldies can join them in the love of the same music. People my age who are still listening to the same old stuff seem to be more critical of my music choice than the young kids. I like being different!”