|October 28th, 2005 08:27 PM
||The Stones are the cover article in this week's A&E section of Portland's Oregonian:
The secret to the Rolling Stones' longevity? They're a great band
By Ryan White
The plan was to start this thing with a story about waking up at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas late one morning after only a few hours of sleep, a cell phone ringing and a photo of the well-known wreck of the Keith Richards on the wall.
Richards, patron saint of playing hard and playing hurt. Then a smooth transition to the imagery and iconography of the greatest rock and roll band in the world.
Then I went to the Rolling Stones' Web site, and I guess what was there was proof that the Stones, among many other things, are still unpredictable:
"'Days of Our Lives' to Premiere 'Streets of Love' Music Video"
Didn't see that one coming, guys.
Now I'm listening to the song on my iPod, trying to picture it underneath some scene where a leggy brunette, radiant in her hospital gown, awakes from a coma and announces to her husband an affair with the mayor, who thought he was sleeping with the brunette's twin, and both of them it seems are related to his wife, but only on her stepmother's side.
But I can't, and I'm trying to get worked up about this.
Because when the Rolling Stones roll out a video on a soap opera even my grandmother wouldn't watch, it should be worth some critical angst.
But I can't, and it isn't, and anyway there was that time in 1994 when the Stones were the linchpin of the plot of an episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210," and for the life of me I can't remember if Brandon made it to the concert or not.
That's the thing with the Stones . . . there was that time . . . there was always that time.
When the Rolling Stones whip into the Rose Garden on Tuesday, they'll bring every accouterment of the Modern Day Big Time Rock'n'Roll Spectacle: big stage, big sound, big video, big lights, big, Big, BIG!
As it should be, because they are BIG, because they are, in a way, still the most important rock'n'roll band in the world, if you're willing to think like a historian.
The Stones are the living, breathing, touring, open-G-tuning connection between Muddy Waters and a band like San Diego's Louis XIV, whose attitude and songs such as "Paper Doll" off "The Best Little Secrets Are Kept" album could be dropped onto the Stones' 1969 piece of perfection, "Let It Bleed," without much work at all.
In the millions of moving parts that make up the 40-plus years of the Stones' story is the history of rock'n'roll and the creation of The Rock Star.
They're the blues, from Muddy to Buddy (Guy), who popped guitar strings jamming with the Stones on "The Night Time Is the Right Time," in Milwaukee earlier this month.
On the Stones' Web site is video of Guy recalling his 1970 tour with the band. It was his first experience with getting kicked out of hotels, he said.
Flip through the pages of 2003's coffee table gem "According to the Rolling Stones," and there's a photo of Richards onstage with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Chuck Berry, one of the band watching Howlin' Wolf blow harp.
The images and the songs and the myths pile up into legend.
Altamont, '69, the end of the '60s, peace, love and happiness; Hells Angels pounding fans, killing one. The terrifying beauty of their best song, "Gimme Shelter," the opening track of "Let It Bleed," and the way it foreshadowed the tumult of the 1970s.
There are the Stones with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, with Elton John, with George Harrison, with Andy Warhol. There's a photo of Ronnie Wood backstage at "Saturday Night Live" sitting on John Belushi's back, a bottle of booze in Wood's hand.
The Stones in movies. The Stones onstage. Stones on their jets and in their mansions.
There are Stones with Stevie Wonder, with Tina Turner (and Ike, for that matter).
There's Johnny Depp, playing a pirate and there's everyone who sees it saying, "Hey, he's doing Keith Richards."
Mick Jagger's dating someone named L'wren, not Lauren. Regular old rock stars date Laurens.
Members have come, members have gone, members have died.
|October 28th, 2005 08:28 PM
||OOP, HIT "SUBMIT" HERE'S THE REST:
|October 28th, 2005 08:40 PM
They brought the corporate-sponsored tour to the masses, Jovan, Anheuser-Busch and, currently, Ameriquest. Big money. Bigger money.
They've packed clubs and stadiums and arenas.
They put out a decent new album, "A Bigger Bang." Not great. Not "Exile on Main St.," as has been kicked around, but a good, solid rock'n'roll album.
Here are the Stones, on tour yet again, onstage in September at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, singing "Wild Horses" with Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, which opened the show. Also opening shows on this tour: Black Eyed Peas, Metallica, Beck, John Mayer, Wilco, Merle Haggard and, here and in Seattle, Motley Crue. Seriously. Motley Crue.
The point is, in more than 40 years of touring the world, the Rolling Stones have bored themselves into the very core of our popular culture.
How many people wouldn't know what you were talking about if you asked, "Keith or Mick?" And how many wouldn't have an answer? (Keith, is correct, by the way.)
After 40-plus, it's still unclear if Jagger lives to strut or struts to live. Richards is still the coolest, and they're the only band in the world that can claim Charlie Watts.
And fine, The Rolling Stones aren't dangerous (italics--still haven't figured out how to do those on this board). They aren't edgy (ital.) They do (ital.) premier videos on soap operas, for whatever reason.
Whatever. Galileo was once a heretic. Now his work's part of the foundation of modern science.
So then are the Stones and rock'n'roll. Plus, when Richards walks on that stage Tuesday night and, in all likelihood, opens the show with the familiar riff to "Start Me Up," he'll begin the last argument worth making:
The Rolling Stones can still put on a heck of a show.
|October 28th, 2005 09:02 PM
||The accompanying article from The Oregonian:
Hold the Geritol jokes; Stones are eternal
Deal with it; the band is great, and their appeal and energy belie rock's biggest myth: that it's only for disaffected youth
By Marty Hughley
A report on National Public Radio not long ago introduced its subject as the "AARP-eligible Rolling Stones." A story on MSNBC's Web site called them "the world's most geriatric rock'n'roll band" and "zombies" and referred to "Keith Richards' preemptive embalming."
Yes, the Rolling Stones are on tour again; prepare yourself for the latest round of Metamucil jokes.
Mick Jagger is 62 now; Keith Richards hits that mark the week before Christmas. Drummer Charlie Watts, the third remaining original member of the band, is 64. And somehow, commentators seem to think this is shocking.
The usual complaint goes something like this: Yes, the Stones were great once, when all of us were younger. But rock'n'roll is the music of youthful rebellion, and it's just so unseemly that they won't quit prancing around at it. And that it costs three hundred bucks or so for a good seat.
There are a couple of subtexts to consider here. One is the thinly veiled embarrassment of commentators from the same generation as the band, who seem to rue such a public remimder of their own lost youth (exemplified by the gap between Stones then and Stones now), preferring to pick up new, fresher fantasies to project their desires on. Then there is the inference that rock music is unalterably trivial, and that grown men--wealthy men, at that!--ought to be beyond such nonsense.
By now, there's little point in arguing about the relevance of the Stones, culturally and artistically; it's simply not what it once was. But to say that they're no longer the zeitgeist surfers they were in the 1960s and '70s isn't to say that they therefore shame us all and should be put out to pasture.
What's really going on here is the bill coming due on one of rock'n'roll's greatest myths: the notion that rock equals youth.
Musicians in other genres don't face the same ageism that rock performers do. In jazz and folk, elder statesmen are revered. R&B contemporaries of the Stones--Smokey Robinson and Ronald Isley, for instance--remain active and popular. And B.B. King's recent tour in celebration of his 80th birthday brought him admiration, not admonition.
Yet the idea persists that rock is properly played only be the young, that its essential attitude is youthful (perhaps juvenile), that its natural subjects are rebellion, sex and itself.
Granted, the baby-boom youth-culture explosion made the genre a worldwide success and shaped its character in many ways. A big chunk of the credit/blame also goes to Chuck Berry, who early in the genre's development made such a crystalline specialty of teenage stories in his lyrics.
But is there something inherent in the form that demands youthfulness? Rock has proved among the past century's most protean of cultural forms, and if it's nature is, partly, to defy or ignore authority, why shouldn't it defy or ignore its own orthodoxies? Wasn't that at the heart of the great breakthrough made by the Stones' fellow '60s iconoclasts, Bob Dylan and The Beatles?
So, enough with the "Steel Wheelchairs" cracks. The Rolling Stones still have rock'n'roll in their bones, got live if you want it.