So here's what I got. Charlie, Keith, Mick and Ronnie on NPR. You gotta dig that. Cranking up the 50th.
Each of them picked one song from their enormous catalogue to talk about. Their personalities were on display.
Charlie laid back, not taking any of this too seriously. You can go back to 1963 and check out pictures of him behind the drums and see the origins of that familiar whimsical look. The same look he sports today. He always gives the impression that he'd rather be sitting behind his jazz band.
Ronnie, ever the clown and I say that with respect. Always with a sense of humor, a suggestion of devilishness. Still, an accomplished musician and artist. I covet his paintings and some of the T-shirts he has designed
Keith with depth. An approach to the music, to all music, that is spiritual and infused with knowledge and experience. Always with a hint of self promotion; he likes the pirate reputation.
Mick, a touch of pretension. A cultivated air of sophistication. Feigning indifference to the interview when deep down inside I think he loves the attention. I want to hate Mick but I can't.
An aside: Ronnie brought up "the ancient art of weaving" in his interview. That is how he and Keith describe their style of mixed lead and rhythm. It is an unusual style for two guitar players where they trade back and forth from taking the lead to providing support. I have always loved that description which, of course, was coined by Keith. It kind of sums up his mystical approach to the ethereal beauty of music.
They played the first concert of this tour on Sunday in London, and I read that they rocked. They brought back Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor, which I love. Wyman is an original Stone. He quit the band in 1993. Mick Taylor joined the band after Brian Jones died. Piecing together their rich history as best they can. They even covered a Beatles song - I Wanna Be Your Man. Cool nod.
The show opened with a video tribute from the likes of Elton John, Iggy Pop and Johnny Depp, paying homage. The show itself included an extended video homage to John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and more.
It is deeply meaningful to me that talented individuals pay tribute to The Stones as The Stones themselves pay tribute to the people who came before them and inspired them. It is a continuous line, an unbroken chain that evolves and is renewed; this celebration is tangible proof of what music is, how it lives.
This is history, baby. This is a huge piece of rock 'n roll and British and American history. It deserves to be treated with respect and with an understanding of the sheer impact one group can have on a musical genre and on peoples' lives.
I listened to the two NEW songs on the 50th anniversary greatest hits album.
One More Shot - The song rocks but it also has a Sheryl Crow kind of sound to it that adds pretty to rock.
Doom and Gloom - This song ROCKS. And dig the lyrics:
I had a dream last night
That I was piloting a plane
And all the passengers were drunk and insane
I crash landed in a Louisiana swamp
Shot up a horde of zombies
But I come out on top
What's it all about?
It just reflects my mood
Sitting in the dirt
Feeling kind of hurt
All I hear is doom and gloom
And all is darkness in my room
Through the light your face I see
Baby take a chance
Baby won't you dance with me
Don't ever underestimate The Stones, baby.
I'm all caught up in this tour. It's been building slowly in my soul and now has reached a fever pitch. I want to see them. I NEED to see them.
The Stones are my life. The Beatles were my life. The fact that they are all seventy or approaching seventy shines a light on where my life is at. The fact that I am trying so hard to mold and shape a life I can love and can be proud of before it's too late is counterbalanced by these guys who have lived lives that they love. And they have given me joy and release and dreams, they have been with me since I was nine years old.
They are not just a rock 'n roll band. They transcend any cliche you want to use to pin them down. Because nobody has ever done this before.
People who mock them have no understanding of what music can mean to a soul. People who mock them cannot possibly be spiritual. In fact I think that people who mock them are superficial, given to predictable words, and unwilling to dig, to learn and to appreciate.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. A sense of depth, of being whole, of being human often needs a catalyst. You have to look for these things.
And you cannot afford to miss them.