The Rolling Stones are approaching their 50th anniversary and presently booked for pay per view, multiple concerts in New York and London and the beat never stops for them. It seems like yesterday that my Grandfather handed me a record album from a recent 1964 trip to London called The Rolling Stones. I played it as soon as he gave it to me and to tell you the truth I really didn't care for it and never became a fan. I did enjoy some of their music through the years, but still turned down free tickets to one of their last concerts. What does impress me about the Stones is that they never stop and someone should really do a study on these guys to find how what makes them tick. I have seen many older bands perform through the years and some are a shadow of their former selves - so what sets musicians apart?
A few months ago a friend from Toronto emailed me with good news he thought I would appreciate. Now in his early 60's, he was about to embark on a third-rate Canada-wide rock tour. If he had been with, let's say a band like The Stones or The Beach Boys, maybe I would have shared the news with joy. But, there is just something about someone who still lives at home in his senior years that just does not say rock-star to me. His last CD that he hoped would finally break him into 'the business' after 42 years was made entirely by himself. Most of his past line-ups in his band had either retired or dropped dead from drugs. Then there were the former members that would no longer speak with him because he constantly blamed them for his lack of success.
The Stones had a similar situation happen when Keith Richards wrote a best- selling autobiography that took shots at Jagger but instead of seriously blaming anyone; their band's sense of humour is based on insulting each other and that is how they got along. As Mick said,
“But it's really water off a duck's back ... you cannot offend a really good friend.”
When the Stones go on tour it will be done with great fanfare but for my friend hits the road it means he has to leave one of his aged parents alone at home and travel in a broken down VW. For years I had questioned his parents allowing their son to still live in his childhood room with a Sex Pistols poster on the bedroom wall and music cassettes still littering the floor. The last concert I had seen him play he had been the opening band to another aged band that looked like they were ready to pop a can of beer and mow the lawn. I don't think the Stones regard their tour like my friend, as the difference is the Stones bring us unforgettable songs and memories and he is still hoping some new song will grab the audience.
The Stones will always be relevant as they were part of our youth but are other less significant bands making music for music's sake or just because they doesn't know anything else? But then you have to ask yourself, how many more ancient bands are out there still waiting for that big break after all these years and might just end up as a tribute band. The difference is the Stones still Move Like Jagger while most of these older smaller bands still sit on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
There is a ton of music out there now but does today's music resembles a generic capitalist business model. Is there another Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones or even Benny Goodman band out there? We may never know but should human thirst for retro be a reason for some older bands not give it up?
"I didn't want it to be too nostalgic and I wanted to be pretty irreverent about it. My idea of the tour is calling it `F--- Off, We're 50.'- Mick Jagger
Epilogue- Today upon watching The Backstreet Boys butcher one of their hits on The Talk with someone who disagreed with my whole blog I looked at him and said,
"You see what I mean?"
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Linda will also have a story in Lanark County's The Humm in August