I'm leaving out names to protect the idiotic here. I realize that the phrase "idiotic" might be harsh but I feel as if anyone over the legal drinking age should know when to use and when not to use the phrase "old school" when describing a band. It's one of those phrases like "awesome" that just gets tossed around too much these days. Is something actually worthy of awe? Are you in awe of it? No? Well, then it's not awesome!
Granted, it's a little harder to define what is "old school" and what is not, especially since age is all relative. For instance, one day my nephew is going to call The National "old school" and while he'll be correct in doing so for his age group, it'll just make me feel damn old as they formed when I was a junior in high school. For Allen, however, they are old school. They formed the year he was born. Plus, he'll probably have fond memories of ol' Auntie Amber driving him to guitar lessons blasting "Bloodbuzz, Ohio" as he sulked in the passenger seat and asked if he could look for his mom's Eminem CD.
However, I think a few ground rules need to be set when it comes to "old school". See, Radio Free Chicago is here for you. No one likes a facepalm moment and we're looking out for your best interest. So before you find yourself saying "Fleet Foxes? I saw them in '09! They're so old school!", you need to ask yourself questions like these:
1) Was the band formed before you born? If so, they might be "old school" to you but before saying they are "old school", please look around you. If you are an early 20's college kid surrounded by 30-something hipsters, do not call Neutral Milk Hotel old school as these people were probably in high school when In The Aeroplane Over The Sea was released.
2) Was the band formed before you have coherent memories of life? See above.
3) Did the group disband or the lead singer die before you entered middle school? Once more, see above.
Now... Here's the real question...
4) Is the band Electric Six? If so, then they are not old school, especially if the person saying such slanderous things is my age or older. Yes, Electric Six has an "old school" sound but if you are saying that the band themselves are "old school", you need to severely re-evaluate your use of the term "old school".
Detroit superstars Electric Six formed in 1996. As previously mentioned, they do have an admittedly "old school" sound but that's just how we did in the D in the '90's. The White Stripes? The Sights? The Von Bondies? Guess what? They aren't old school either! Does it make them any less awesome? Of course not. But before you go saying Jack White is "so old school", please refer to the above rules. No one likes to feel old and, even if you are in your mid- to late-20's, calling a band that rose to fame during my later years in high school does just that: It makes me feel ancient. Plus, you're just sort of embarrassing yourself.
Full disclosure: My grandpa did get around quite a bit but to my knowledge, no, I am not blood related to lead Electric Sixer Dick Valentine. We are, however, brethren in awesomeness.