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"Has time come for Old Rubber Lips to fade away?"
November 25, 2001 4:44 PM   Subscribe

"Has time come for Old Rubber Lips to fade away?" While US's Jan Wenner personally gives Mick Jagger the Rolling Stone 5 star classic rating, the UK's Guardian/Observer slams him, finding "...the failure to sell Jagger to a contemporary pop audience is intriguing..." What is going on.
posted by Voyageman (32 comments total)

 
1. Is "Goddess in the Doorway" simply a bad album? "'...McCartney's album stiffed, but not as badly as this. ..the record received lukewarm reviews and sold a mere 954 copies on the first day ..."

2. Is it bad marketing? "....a mistake to release now in the pre-Christmas period, when you're competing with seasonal greatest hits packages, and big contemporary releases from the likes of Robbie Williams...."

3. Is it disdain for his behavior ? "....his relentless pursuit and conquest of younger models and starlets .... Even Jagger tells us "...my kids find me embarrassing all the time..'

4. Is it age discrimination ? "....something cringe-inducing about aging rock stars who refuse to grow old gracefully...something undignified about a man in his late fifties, however fit, leaping and cavorting on stage..."

5. Is it marking the end of an era, allowing in the new "A-list" of Britney, Shakira and Enrique ? "....we may well be seeing a generational shift away from the old rock aristocracy....".

Regardless of the Guardian's hack job, I will buy it. Later works , good or bad, of a star like Jagger enable a fresh reappreciation of his entire life's work.
posted by Voyageman at 4:52 PM on November 25, 2001


6. He's still doing the same crap. Other rock dinosaurs have managed to adapt, ie Bob Dylan, or Neil Young. I'd suggest that he get Daniel Lanois to produce his final album, and then he can quietly ride off into the sunset.
posted by machaus at 5:07 PM on November 25, 2001


It's funny, but rock is a popular music form that makes old performers into jokes.

Country - nobody thinks twice about old country or bluegrass performers. They're acceptable, even preferable -think of the Carter Family or the Chuck Wagon Gang.

Folkies - plenty of old folkies. Woody Guthrie was great right up until the day he couldn't hold his "this guitar kills fascists" axe any longer.

Likewise blues - once upon a time the blues had just been invented and all bluesmen were young, like Robert Johnson. But today nobody bats an eye at an old bluesman. Did anybody think John Lee Hooker was less great because he was a hundred or so? Old bluesmen are acceptable.

Then there's rock. I can think of three, maybe four rockers who're going to rock 'til they drop without becoming sad jokes. Dylan, Neil Young, Chuck Berry. Dick Dale, but surf guitar is pretty marginal. Pete Townshend would make the list if he didn't so obviously wish he was Andrew Lloyd Webber. Roger McGuinn; but he very sensibly went back to being a folkie years ago.

I guess an art form that's 90% adolescent male posturing just isn't likely to age well.
posted by jfuller at 5:37 PM on November 25, 2001


> Roger McGuinn; but he very sensibly went back to being
> a folkie years ago.

...and, be it noted, continues to resist pressure to bring the Byrds back as a geezer act. For which, props to Roger...
posted by jfuller at 5:44 PM on November 25, 2001


Rundgren still puts out an album every couple of years, but nobody pays much attention to him.
posted by kindall at 5:47 PM on November 25, 2001


Jagger apparently collaborates with Bono, Joe Perry,(Aerosmith lead guitarist) Lenny Kravitz, Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) and Wyclef Jean on album. Wonder why them? (and who turned him down because of all reasons above)

What about the Eagles ? They seem to have stood the test of time. (saw them live this summer and weren't too sad)
posted by Voyageman at 5:48 PM on November 25, 2001


Does anyone get the idea that Mick loves what he does? Just read an interview the other day in which he said he won't listen to anything but classical before mid-afternoon, and likes tea with honey rather than alcohol at any time. You don't have to be an alcoholic to rock, but it certainly helps to like rock whenever the mood hits. I get the feeling that Neil lives for what he does, can blare out the rock 'n' roll all over his ranch at 8 a.m. if he feels the need. Anyway, if Mick wants to do something more understated or mature, great. Right? But why, now, does he feel the need to ask all the younger stars on his album and have a big ABC special to publicize it? For cryin' out loud. If he could include a line as pretentiously "mature" as, "Anastasia screamed in vain" on a song recorded about three decades ago, then what's stopping him now? Why the need to back up your stuff with dozens of supposedly tacit endorsements from the young?

Oh, and Neil hasn't had an album produced by Daniel Lanois, although his friend Emmylou Harris has. It just happened to have as its title track a Neil Young song ("Wrecking Ball"), but that's the only connection. And blues was intergenerational in Robert Johnson's day (the 1930s). Finally, in re to Chuck Berry . . . well, if you can find a copy of "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll," and read Etta James' account of the making of said movie in her autobiography, you won't think as highly of him anymore.
posted by raysmj at 5:56 PM on November 25, 2001


Country - nobody thinks twice about old country or bluegrass performers. They're acceptable, even preferable -think of the Carter Family or the Chuck Wagon Gang.

Um, Nashville does - thinks twice, that is.
posted by raysmj at 6:14 PM on November 25, 2001


maybe four rockers who're going to rock 'til they drop without becoming sad jokes. Dylan, Neil Young, Chuck Berry, Dick Dale

no quarrel with the latter two, but dylan's never been a rocker, and neil young has been a sad joke for years. somebody smash his guitar. please.
posted by quonsar at 6:15 PM on November 25, 2001


> Anyway, if Mick wants to do something more
> understated or mature, great. Right? But why, now,
> does he feel the need to ask all the younger stars on his
> album and have a big ABC special to publicize it?

It could be plain old need for money. Mick and Keef don't have very many "valuable properties" as they're called, meaning songs that can be covered by other acts and continue to generate royalties. How many zillions of times have you heard the dentist's-office version of "Yesterday"? But the 1001 Strings' version of "Satisfaction" just doesn't play well in the dentist's waiting room. Bad-boy music pretty much has to be put over by the original bad boys themselves, which means Mick and the boys will probably have to keep flogging it as long as they can stand up.
posted by jfuller at 6:19 PM on November 25, 2001


His (according to Guardian) "seven children by four women" cant help cash flow sitiuation (NB not meant to be sexist comment, just factual)
posted by Voyageman at 6:23 PM on November 25, 2001


1001 Strings' version of "Satisfaction"

oh my god, jfuller, now you've done it. contemplate, if you will, the vienna boy's choir cover of mc5's 'kick out the jams'.
posted by quonsar at 6:25 PM on November 25, 2001


Why the need to back up your stuff with dozens of supposedly tacit endorsements from the young?

besides, santana did it last year.
posted by quonsar at 6:31 PM on November 25, 2001


> Um, Nashville does - thinks twice, that is.

fuller takes opportunity to thank Brother, Where Art Thou crew for making a hit movie with a sound track that introduced lots of kids to what real country is supposed to sound like.
posted by jfuller at 6:31 PM on November 25, 2001


It's been a longtime phenomenon of the Rolling Stones that none of their outside solo projects have ever had the appeal or quality of the group together. When you've been doing something as long as Mick has, that's just what you keep on doing, and why shouldn't he? (Believe me, none of the Stones have any need for money at this point.) I'm a huge fan, yet the most recent album of theirs I can bear to listen to is "Tattoo You." It's the same with David Bowie -- can't bear the recent stuff. Yet I continue to be amazed at the brilliant stuff both Dylan and Neil Young have being doing.

Quonsar, you know not of what you speak. Dylan's show last Monday night at MSG was one of the best rock shows I've seen in a while. The band was tight, he sounded great, and the entire place was jumpin.
posted by edamame at 6:34 PM on November 25, 2001


On the other hand, why is that Pink Floyd collection selling so well? It has no new material. The main selling point of the album is that Roger Waters helped pick the track listing. And I bet it selling mostly to teenagers/twenty somethings, they do know about the past.
posted by bobo123 at 6:35 PM on November 25, 2001


I know nesxt to nothing about any of this stuff, though I have always enjoyed the Stones, but isn't the group going to make yet another grant tour? I bleieve I spotted that notice is some Brit paper recently.
posted by Postroad at 6:37 PM on November 25, 2001


Here's some raw data. Sorry about the (not subtle) subtext.
posted by rodii at 6:43 PM on November 25, 2001


sheesh. just now the tv is playing jethro tull's 'thick as a brick' to try and sell me a hyundai.
posted by quonsar at 6:45 PM on November 25, 2001 [1 favorite]


jfuller: I may be mistaken, but Paul McCartney may not own the rights to "Yesterday." The article here doesn't make the point clear, although he states in this '80s interview that he only get a performance royalty. Michael Jackson, meantime, owns most of the Beatles catalog. But you don't see Paul going out with Wyclef Jean or Rob Thomas. Maybe because he's afraid one of them might steal from him like Jacko did, dunno.

Also, this Keef solo album is pretty darn good. The latest Sopranos soundtrack includes a cut from it.
posted by raysmj at 6:49 PM on November 25, 2001


rodii: fascinating data! i would add:

average age at death of christian messiahs: 33

i wonder to what would one attribute the extended lifespans of rock stars as compared to messiahs? clean living? :-)
posted by quonsar at 6:54 PM on November 25, 2001


It took two hours and fifteen minutes to download my first version of Mosaic...Mick the rock dinosaur tells us in his own words how he got hooked in 1993.
posted by Voyageman at 6:59 PM on November 25, 2001


I don't know, this is a crew who thought John Lee Hooker was.the.greatest.ever--I'd seen him about fifteen times in 20+ years and he only once didn't just punch the clock and then phone it in from the bar, and that was to show up a sick, tired Howlin' Wolf when the latter was way overdue for dialysis...

Hooker even got up and danced, did the duckwalk and was his usual snake eyed grim lipped self.

I saw Peter Boyle on Conan O'Brien a few weeks back and he was talking about how Keth Richard's lives in NJ and his daughter's a cheerleader in high school and the Keefster sometimes drives her to school. talk about teenage embarrassment potential. And I'm not trying to embarrass or provoke rodii here but, um, Keith Richards must be the exception that proves his rule. It must be all the pre-enbalming he's done...

All I could think of when I first saw this post was how Steve Tyler's handlers had to tell him to keep his shirt on from now on... That's the hard part about getting old: when you get old enough to scare teenagers with your shirt off, usually the idea of getting naked in front of a stranger in any well lit situation is as scary to you, too.

And come on about these ageless rockers, guys, Dylan's competent enough but he's ruined his voice and if you look at vintage footage of any of them, Stones especially, well, I rest my case.
posted by y2karl at 7:08 PM on November 25, 2001


All I could think of when I first saw this post was how Steve Tyler's handlers had to tell him to keep his shirt on from now on.

iggy pop, where are you?

(as an aside, my wife suggested the same thing for me when i'm onstage. i don't think it had much to do with age, though.)
posted by lescour at 7:28 PM on November 25, 2001


...?
posted by y2karl at 8:20 PM on November 25, 2001


Did anybody think John Lee Hooker was less great because he was a hundred or so? Old bluesmen are acceptable

Only if they're named R.L. Burnside. Go to a CD store and they have three feet of him because of those wretched Fat Possum remixes. Not the same Old Blues Crap--just stepped on 99%-powdered-milk-to-1%-cocaine new blues crap. I can think of five guys--Robert Jr. Lockwood, David Edwards, Henry Townsend, Howard Armstrong and Snooky Pryor come to mind--who cut 78s before or just after WW II who are still capable of playing, with new material out and you never see them covered or marketed like Burnside.

And as for Hooker, one, he's an anomaly, and two, he was a barely competent musician who had a lot of power when he was young but then coasted for the rest of his career. There's nothing he did after, say, 1950 that has any real interest to me.

In fact, a lot of bluesmen--not those named above--share that feature--best as young guys barely competent on guitar or whatever pushing the envelope. Which reminds me of...punk.
posted by y2karl at 10:16 PM on November 25, 2001


Rock music is becoming increasingly boring. There's only so much you can do with your basic guitar, drums, and flashy front man.
posted by Mark at 10:22 PM on November 25, 2001


Rock music is becoming increasingly boring. There's only so much you can do with your basic guitar, drums, and flashy front man.

I thought that a few years ago, and then Ben Folds surprised the hell out of me. There have been lots of pleasant musical surprises over the last decade in rock and pop. Good solid songcraft never gets old, as far as I'm concerned.

Even progressive rock is enjoying a bit of a resurgence, especially the prog/metal hybrid strain. Which may not be good news if you hated progressive or metal, but I like a good bit of both genres, and I'm thrilled to find there are still new prog albums being made -- and of course the production values are much better now than they were in the '70s, so every note is clear. Check out some Spock's Beard, or Under The Sun, or Magellan, or Pain of Salvation.
posted by kindall at 10:41 PM on November 25, 2001


There are kids buying records today who not only don't know who Mick Jagger is, but have never heard, never mind bought, a Rolling Stones' record.

I'm old enough to not only know who he is, but also wonder why he doesn't use protection. Yech.
posted by haqspan at 6:58 AM on November 26, 2001


It makes me sad to note it, but Neil Young has become the token old-guy-who-can-still-rock in these sorts of discussions even though just about no one has given a damn about any album he's released since Freedom. (Okay, maybe Ragged Glory, if you're rooting for the old guy.)

Let's face it; the rule is just about ironclad. Just about all creative types this side of novelists do their best work before age 35. James Brown got a five-or-six-year extension. Dylan's been very listenable as he gets as old as he wanted to sound when he was young. But, given the choice, I'll always put on Blonde on Blonde or The Basement Tapes over the recent stuff. Unless I'm rooting for the old guy.
posted by argybarg at 11:38 AM on November 26, 2001


"Dylan's competent enough but he's ruined his voice"

I'm thinking that maybe you haven't heard Love and Theft.
posted by websavvy at 12:40 PM on November 26, 2001


Post script : Twilight of the rock gods
posted by Voyageman at 11:04 AM on December 10, 2001


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