Friday, June 18, 2010

Reeling in the years with the Young Moderns

It’s like that old Reese’s commercial, except that instead of a collision of chocolate and peanut butter, it’s the somewhat accidental grouping of the Merrimack River Bluescruise and the spirit of Yankee Homecoming, but with a distinctly counter-cultural vibe to it, focusing on the Joan-and-Ra-era Fowle’s and the Canta Libre and Cluster School crowds. And if any of that rings a bell, you might remember this: “I feel like a vegetable, but I’m not growing much.” It’s from “Living in a Small Town,” an ode to Newburyport by The Young Moderns, the homegrown power-pop band. You might have heard them playing it in Market Square during Homecoming, or on WBCN, back in the day, when bands without a major record deal could get significant airplay. And, sorry to say, if true, you’re probably seasoned enough to have been targeted in a membership drive by the American Association of Retired Persons ‑ something that just happened to Mike Hoag, a formerly young member of The Young Moderns, and it’s freaking him out a little bit. “I still can’t believe it,” he says from his home in Florida. Mike and Mark Hoag, twin brothers on the not-so-fair side of 50, both of whom left the city about the same time for different parts of the country in 1990, are on the phone, talking about “Wasted Youth Cruise & Other Modern Adventures,” the opening salvo in the 20th-anniversary season of the popular Bluescruise series, which will put the Moderns in front of local audiences for the first time since the band, in a moment of frustration, decided to take a breather — “a break that lasted 30 years,” says Mark.

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