Steve Wyrostek


Midlife Moments'

Midlifer of the Week

Steve Wyrostek

Baby Boomer Rock

by Mike Bellah

  They call their band "Mid-Life Crisis" and their music "baby boomer rock." They are five middle-aged men from the Chicago area, among them a comptroller, a data base administer, and a junior high teacher, who combine the classic rock 'n' roll style of the '60s with lyrics that express their midlife experiences.

In an online interview, lead singer Steve Wyrostek tells me that the band got together in 1994 to play just one gig. "We were seriously rocking," says Wyrostek, "and I don't mean the music. We were in a boat in a driving rain storm on Lake Michigan." Since then, Mid-Life Crisis has performed nearly 30 times a year, in clubs and at private parties and corporate functions.

Wyrostek describes the group's appearance as "a visual color feast." He refers to the brightly colored Hawaiian shirts that have become Mid-Life Crisis's signature costume and which Wyrostek says is "the only apparel that fits comfortably over our expanding waistlines."

Wyrostek says he began playing drums at the age of seven, when he got his first instruments from a friend whose parents owned an ice cream store. "I would go with him to the store," says Wyrostek, "not to eat ice cream (though I believe we had our share) but to get the discarded ice cream cartons and take them home to use as drums." Wyrostek also improvised for the rest of his trap set. "I used a bird cage cover as a cymbal and tinker toys (remember those?) as drum sticks."

At 17, Wyrostek switched to guitar and started writing songs, but when that didn't work out, he got married, began a family, and a career. It was not until his divorce in 1991 that, he says, "I got back into it with a vengeance and started playing in bands and writing music."

The lyrics of original Mid-Life Crisis songs reflect the midlife thoughts of Wyrostek and other band members. Their first four-song cassette includes "I Am A Warrior," a piece about the workplace; "Street Corner Nights," a piece about hanging out as teen-agers in the '60s; and "Over Rated," an ironic commentary on kids, work and wives.

Wyrostek says he is not planning to get rich in his endeavors. "You don't do it for the money because there isn't any and it's hard work," he says. Rather Wyrostek says he plays in the band as a response to something Gail Sheehy suggests in New Passages. "Sheehy says 'Find your passion and pursue it,'" says Wyrostek. "That's what I'm doing now."

Wyrostek says that the coming year holds both a new name and a new CD for the band. They will change their name to "The Houndz," partly because there are at least 15 other bands who call themselves "Mid-Life Crisis." "One of them from Detroit e-mailed us suggesting a Mid-Life Crisis Paunch Fest," says Wyrostek. "Now that would be fun."

The title for the CD is "2nd Adulthood," another idea Wyrostek says came from author Gail Sheehy. "She discusses how what was good for you in your 20s might not hold up when you're in your 40s," says Wyrostek. "I guess I was shocked when it happened to me, when I finally realized that you don't stay the same your whole life. However, now I love and embrace that concept."

What is the best compliment the band has received? "That's easy," says Wyrostek; "Man, for old guys you sure can rock." Mid-Life Crisis can be reached on the Internet at

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