The Rolling Stones are arriving in Montreal for their ’50 and Counting Tour’ amid all sorts of controversy …
What else is new?
The World’s Oldest and Greatest Rock n Roll band have made a career out of making people uneasy, ‘out of their heads’ or just plain upset.
Whether it is urinating on a gas station wall in the sixties, erecting a giant billboard depicting a woman tied, bound and ‘Black and Blue’ in the seventies or former and original bassist Bill Wyman dating a thirteen year old in the eighties – the band are a bunch of pirates.
Raping, pillaging and looting their way into a chapter of Rock n Roll history which shall forever belong to them. An exclusive club where ‘please to meet you’ gains no entrance. ‘Walking Central Park after dark’ means nothing to the doorman.
For fifty years – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, remain the architects of something unreal but not imagined. Something born from the Blues. Born from Country. Born from Jazz. Born from R and B and Soul. Their offspring – wild children with names like Reggae, Funk and Disco, carrying on the legacy of Brian Jones with a toe forever embedded deeply in ‘Muddy Waters‘.
Scandals involving drugs, Prime Minister’s wives and more drugs – implanting memories turned – lore -turned – a blurred reality – turned – a never ending career. Millions of bands erected and millions of wannabes crumbled. ‘Meanwhile; The Stones carry on ‘running fifty red lights in their honor’. ‘Thank you Jesus – thank you Lord.’
Jones’ death in Pooh’s pool. A fitting end to an era and a ‘boy child’. A ‘Mannish Boy‘ lost in a world of decadence and a desire to be loved. A ‘Prodigal Son‘ never returning home. Too many ‘little yellow pills’ for a scholar of Elmore James and Robert Johnson. A man whose ‘nasty habits’ contained more than ‘drinking tea at three.’ A nasty man towards women whose mastery of every instrument somewhat forgives the nature of his unforgivable ways. ‘Don’t you want to live with me …?’
The band, exiled to the South of France.
A self – imposed exodus to make some money away from the Queen’s greedy paws. A get- away into a Nazi hotel. A summer of excess with the capitals SS providing dirty, gritty (demonic) digs in which to blend genres into a jam session doubled. A sordid affair which left many in ‘the cold grey dawn’. Mick Taylor understanding Richards ‘ ‘never keeping a dollar past sunset’ habits. Taylor becoming a Rolling Stone while plunging into a world beyond his control. The son of a Bluesbreaker depositing some of the most enduring guitar licks onto vinyl. An unsung hero whose legacy will not be uncovered until music historians flip through the Stones’ songbook near the end of their ’75 and Counting Tour in the year 2038.’
This – on the tails of three gems. Three ‘stones’ …
‘Let it Beed’, ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Sticky Fingers’. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ but if you try sometime … a discovery of ‘Moonlight Mile’, ‘Country Honk‘, ‘Salt of the Earth’ and ‘ Let it Loose’ will give you what you need.
A span of ten years providing a musical legacy which most musicians never reach – even after fifty years of trying. A decade of diving into the roots of every important genre. Backed by a drummer whose love of Jazz placed the rhythm a second behind creating organized chaos. A sound never duplicated. A sloppy carpet upon which Jagger to dance upon. A rug never pinned to the floor. A dual feminine masculine tapestry built upon the remains of Tina Turner and James Brown. ‘Dance Little Sister Dance …’
Micheal Phillip Jagger, the son of a physical education instructor. A ‘boy-child’. In the top ten of his class at the London School of Economics. An actor. ‘A wonderful bunch of guys’ according to his mate – Keith Richards. A chameleon able to keep his nose on the street. Allowing Brian Jones’ band the ingredients to stay relevant. Allowing Richards to rock while he rolled into the world of Pop, Disco and whatever else deemed the flavor of the moment. An insatiable appetite for women, the arts and global education. A definer and follower of the jet-setting ways of the most ardent explorers. The navigator of the Stones’ ship …
‘Angie’ shocked the followers. ‘Respectable’ shocked the punks. ‘Start me Up’ shocked the naysayers. The jealous men and women who had to grow up while the Stones defied the rules once again. Time was on their side. ‘Time waits for noone’ except for the bad boys of Rock n Roll. Robert Johnson may have had company at the crossroads after all …
Ronnie Wood, the new Stone. A sparring partner cast in the truer vain of a Jones – Richards collaboration. A Rod Stewart Faces castaway. A lover of the blues and a sparring partner for Keef. A drinking buddy whose happy-go-lucky nature by all accounts saved the Stones more than once. A man whose talents may have wasted amid the the sound of the band yet one of the only men able to withstand the backstage life. The ‘ancient art of weaving‘ was created. Two guitars exchanging licks, leads and rhythm. The Stones – part three …
‘It’s Only Rock n Roll but we like it …’
Wyman. The self – professed ladies man. A conqueror of 20,000 members of the opposite sex in the ‘boudoir. The unheralded bass player seldom mentioned in the top fifty among his peers. A quiet, unassuming performer whose presence shadowed by his mates’ legendary presence. A student of the blues and the man whose anchor ( along with Watts) kept the pirate ship from sinking. A man who spent time at Disco clubs to obtain a feel of what would become his recognizable legacy. ‘Miss You’, the band’s most commercially successful song – not the same without William Perks’ nonporous infectious foot -tapping signature.
The drug busts.
Society out to get the Stones from the beginning. Specifically – Keith Richards. A man who turned to drugs to cope. A ‘shy’ guy who could not handle the fame and all that came along with it. A fan of Roy Rogers, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Gram Parsons. A true student of musical integrity. The last student standing. The man who fought the law and won. A pirate’s pirate. The world’s most elegantly wasted human being and the only man responsible for some of the most poignant riffs in the history of Rock. ‘Jumpin Jack Flash, Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, Hony Tonk Woman, Start Me Up, Happy, Tumbin’ Dice – the list goes on …
The writer of many ballads, a wearer of his heart on his sleeve while able to stick you with a knife if he is crossed. The human riff. Aside from Watts, the only Stone to be a married and devoted Father for over thirty years. If Jagger and Richards run the corner store known as The Rolling Stones – Richards is the butcher. The meat and potatoes guy. The provider of the Blues’ legacy. The survivor. The only man able to withstand a nuclear war …
The shows, the legendary tours.
Altering words on Ed Sullivan to ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, a death at Altamont to end the sixties and the Woodstock – ian dream of peace and love. The circus – like atmosphere of the 1972 and 75 tours. The blueprint for all Rock n Roll tours to follow; the plans intricately penned for sex, drugs and rock n roll. Laid out, in – your- face biblical commandments for everyone for Led Zeppelin to Bon Jovi to follow.
1981 and the first group to tour under a corporate banner. Record companies got rich for years – why not the Stones? The first to lay claim as the masters of the grandiose stadium tours. The masters of merchandising. The masters of their own domain. The opening acts clambering to hop on board. Aerosmith, Z.Z Top, Prince, Journey, George Thorogood – the who is who of music in each passing decade.
1989 and the first to broadcast in Pay per View. The colossal success of the Steel Wheels tour and a comeback of sorts following semi – successful solo jaunts by Jagger and Richards. A generation of new fans jumping on the Stones’ bandwagon. The music growing and cultivating yet suffering from a back catalog placed too high on a shelf for any group to obtain.
Enter Darryl Jones on bass. The man whose career to that point included stints with Miles Davis, Eric Clapton and Sting. A man who wanted to play with Richards’ other band – the X-Pensive Winos. Settling instead for the Stones. The newest of new at twenty years as part of the Stones part four.
Waiting on a Friend, Start me Up, Undercover of the Night, Mixed Emotions, Almost Hear You Sigh, Emotional Rescue, Love is Strong and Between and a Rock and a Hard Place – quality to make the Black Keys pale in comparison. Saint of Me, Rough Justice and the most recent Doom and Gloom. Songs huge by any other standards – dormant among the endless classics penned by the second biggest songwriting team in history. Two eight year old boys – turned men – turned – icons – turned rock royalty. Legendary requires a makeover when discussing Jagger – Richards.
Voodoo Lounging in 1994, Bridging a gap to Babylon in ’97. Live Licks in 2002 and a return to former stompin’ grounds at places like L’Olympia in Paris. A Bigger Bang in 2006 – including the largest rock show in history. One and a half million people joining the Peter Pan of music and his band of messy, mongrel pirates on the beach in Brazil. Looting and pillaging everyone from the age of ten to ninety. Inducing timeless hits ‘down the throats’ of young and old alike. Incorporating the same energy displayed in 1962. An energy Rod Argent from the Zombies has never seen any band come close to in fifty years.
If a club owner – any club owner from any part of the world needs to hire a rock band, they can call the Stones to deliver a three hour set. If someone requires a Reggae band – the Stones can be summoned to deliver the goods. If a country band is needed to quench the thirst of the most ‘red necked’ fanatics of the legacy of Cash, Williams or Nelson – once more, Jagger et al can do the job better than most. Pop? Disco and dance …? No problem for the the world’s greatest versatile band.
The Rolling Stones are arriving in Montreal for their ’50 and Counting Tour’ amid controversy over ticket prices.
Somehow – they will survive and place ‘Dead Flowers’ on our graves ….
The Rolling stones are at the Bell Center Sunday night …
Please stay tuned for my interview with Pat Travers!