Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Same Sweater, Different Kashmir

At fifty-five, I missed the era when real dinosaurs roamed the earth (which bitterly disappointed my two children when they were younger) but was around when the musical equivalent, 'the greatest rock and roll bands in the world', be they The Rolling Stones, The Who or (now arriving) Led Zeppelin, all toured the globe and trashed hotels.

All three bands have overcome members departing (either through replacement or as casualties of one or more vices upon whose backs they climbed only to discover they couldn't tame). The Who are reduced to a duo after both Moon the Loon and Entwhistle the Ox left the planet (and based on repeated attempts to listen to "The Wire" very much missed).
Da Stones, as long as they have Mick, Keef and Charlie will go on forever.
Led Zep faded after John Bonham died, except for one-offs like Live Aid (don't look for 'em on the DVD; they were so unhappy at their performance they wouldn't allow its use) until 48 hours ago. I've spent much of the last two days reading reviews of the UK tribute performance (which is more than a little bit like singing about football, but what can a poor boy do? Sorry, wrong band.).

I appreciate how rock and roll took over the world and created a musical shared frame of reference. When we were our children's ages, we had little idea and even less appreciation of the lives our parents led. We didn't watch their TV, go to their movies or listen to their music.
We were the first generation to invent the soundtrack to our own lives. Rock and roll was/is the music your parents love to hate and we revelled in that.

It's beyond weird today to read a great review of the Zep UK performance in, welcome to my bias, the Wall Street Journal. I enjoyed a review I came across yesterday on line at the Bloomberg Report.
Huh? Told ya, beyond weird.
Rolling Stone magazine, which my generation elevated to the "NY Times of the counter-culture" (according to the NY Times itself) and then abandoned as both they and we zigged when we should have zagged (how did that happen anyway? Most of us had the rolling papers with the sketch of Johnny Damon from his days with the Red Sox on the front), might be expected to wax nostalgic on the reunion/tribute, except, aside from Jan Wenner, would RS have anyone who knew anything about Zep? You can't trust people to stay where you pigeon-holed them, no matter how hard you try. And if RS 2007 were the same magazine they were when I was a subscriber in 1969 would I praise them for being a constant companion or castigate them for being stuck in the past?

As for Led Zep and the possibilities of, like The Police, a tour (for 'the fans all around the world') instead of a one-off tribute concert (for Ahmet Eretgun, founder of Atlantic Records), what kind of money can the three original members and Bonzo's son, Jason, now on drums, expect to make? Wow. More than enough for four lifetimes, I'm sure. Would you go (assuming we could afford tickets)? I couldn't because I wouldn't want to bump into the wide-eyed, wild-haired looner I was the first time I heard "Communication Breakdown."
What would we have to say to one another? "If it's too loud, you're too old."
-bill kenny

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