Monday, September 18, 2006

How can we make sure the Rolling Stones never make another album again?

At lunch today, Chris G. and I were discussing the pity we feel for the Rolling Stones every time they come out with a new album; it really is sad to see these shrivled old men are pretending to be something they're not, something they once were....long, long ago. We both agreed that it would be fine if the Stones wanted to still tour and play their old songs, but trying to come up with new stuff, especially songs about the sex, drugs and rock life, just struck us as wrong. It's not just the Mick and Kieth and the gang either, there are lots of great bands that have well overstayed their welcome. For example, I love REM, but they probably should have gracefully floated away into shiny happy people-land after their "Up" album.

On the other hand, there are a few performers who can still make great music despite their decrepitude.....Bob Dylan is indisputable. I also think U2's most recent albums have been some of their best (though we can debate this). Chris G. suggested that one reason for this could be that Dylan and U2 both have at least some "substance" to their lyrics beyond the usual (ahem..."start me up") fare. But I'm not sure that's it either b/c other great lyricists's new stuff, like Paul Simon's or Van Morrison's, hasn't been well-recieved.

Obviously a lot of this depends on personal preference. A non-U2 fan may say that they should've stopped with Achtung Baby, while I strongly disagree. So what is it? What is the statute of limitations on middle/old-aged rockers. When should they stop? Can you guys think of any other people who should've stopped long ago, but haven't? Also, I'd be interested to hear who you think should still be making albums?


At 9/18/2006 03:09:00 PM,

you'll need to solve the employment problem if you impose some sort of cap on how long they can continue as rock stars. i mean, their job skills may not be immediately transferrable. will you create some sort of "old rockers" pension plan? or will you set up a "vocational rehabilitation" program for them when you force them to stop making music? you can't just force them to stop making music, and leave them in the streets. what's your social safety net for these guys? this is what i need to know, before i start debating the criteria for dumping the bums on the street.

furthermore, there appears to be a market for them. people keep buying their crap. let the unwashed masses keep buying their unwashed crappy old guy albums if it so pleases them. i know, i know, you are thinking that precious musical resources are being wasted on this crap, choking out musical innovation because mega-music industries want to perpetuate old big name stars.

yep. therefore, what?

At 9/19/2006 09:26:00 AM,

I think it depends on the artist.

Johnny Cash - Making good music until the day he died. American Man IV rocks.

Neil Young - Hasn't struck gold since Harvest Moon back in the nineties... his most recent album Living At War blows.

Jethro Tull - Ugh... Ian Anderson and Co. should have stopped decades ago. My friends and I were stupid enough to go to a concert of theirs about 10 years ago... all they played was their "new" stuff... it was miserable.

Pearl Jam - While they haven't been as mainstream over the last few years, I think Eddie Vedder & Co. are still putting out good stuff.

Dave Matthews - Once a big fan... Their last album was dismal.

Guns'n'Roses - Dude... with Chinese whatever-its-called due out this fall (I'll believe it when I see it), it begs the question... just when is Axl going to get the memo that he's luny and can't sing anymore?

Warrant, Skid Row, Poison, Cinderella and all the eighties butt-rock bands that have now sunk to headlining tours in Bowling Alleys... What can you really say about these guys?

At 9/19/2006 10:08:00 AM,

bonus points to Chris for mentioning 'statute of limitations'

At 9/19/2006 01:36:00 PM,

Rod Stewart- None of us will ever answer "yes" to his " Do you think I'm sexy". ( Nor did we EVER.) He's like 70. RETIRE ALREADY!!!

Another thought- You ever notice how it seems that Jazz musicians never "go bad"? It's like the older they get, the better they are. Jazz doesn't get the respect that Pop/Rock does, maybe that's why???

At 9/19/2006 01:45:00 PM,

Jazz seems fundamentally different, in that it is premised on the idea that the artist must constantly RE-INVENT himself/herself. It's harder for the artist's art to get repetitive and old...

At 9/19/2006 02:57:00 PM,

I think that the real Guns n' Roses hung it up at the right time, granted it was due to Axl's insane controlling, but maybe that was good. The Spaghetti Incident was no good and that was the end. The fact that Axl happens to own the rights to the name and slapped it on a bunch of loosers shouldn't tarnish the GnR legacy.

Also, I think the Poison, Warrant, Cinderella's have it right. quit making new stuff and tour wherever you can playing the old classics. Unlike Marc's Jethro Tull experience, I saw poison a few years back and they only played the classics, it could've been 1986 for all I knew. I think this is the proper way to keep making a living once your creative juices are sapped.

One time a friend of mine went to a Danzig show. They played Mother (their only real big hit), played for a little while, then the lead singer said "we know why you're here" and they played Mother again. Why not embrace you old popularity rather than trying to keep it going and making us all sad for you.

At 9/19/2006 11:38:00 PM,

Can't really argue with any of the points you've made. Amen.

At 9/20/2006 07:25:00 AM,

Best Rolling Stones song, Tumbling Dice (maybe best gambling themed song too)




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