Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Welcome Guest!

Join us now to get access to all our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, and so, so much more. It's also quick and totally free, so what are you waiting for?

BLACK LIVES MATTER! ×
BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Are The Rolling Stones Still Relevant?


DudeAsInCool

Recommended Posts

Rockin' to the Stones? Yeah, in Chairs

By NEAL POLLACK

N late fall of 1989, my friend Marc and I took the least rock 'n' roll road trip imaginable. We drove from our dorm, in the suburbs of Chicago, to his parents' house in Indianapolis, because we had tickets to see the Rolling Stones. The drive was flat, ugly and uneventful. We didn't smoke a joint, drink a beer or crank up the stereo. We were more like a couple of retirees going to the reservation casino to play slots than two 19-year-olds on a rock pilgrimage.

Advertisement

The show was in a nondescript indoor sports arena. We'd spent 25 bucks each on pretty good seats, something like 10th row, just to the right of the stage. Man, were we excited! We were about to see the legendary Rolling Stones, the greatest rock band of all time. The lights went out. We heard the distinct hiss of smoke pots, and then a pop. Fire spurted on either side of the stage. The lights blew on in full glare, and there he was. Mick Jagger! In spangled pants! Singing! Look, there was Keith Richards, playing guitar! And the other guys! For two minutes, I found myself thoroughly entertained. For 10 minutes, I was at least amused. But my heart gradually chilled as I realized what I had really paid for — a two-hour set of golden oldies, accompanied by flaccid pyrotechnics. The Stones trudged mechanically through the horrible songs from their horrible "Steel Wheels" album. They played their greatest hits, just like on the radio, only with worse backup singers. I stopped cheering. Then I stopped applauding. I didn't say it that night, but I knew the hard truth. The Stones were boring. By the time the show was over, I wasn't a Rolling Stones fan anymore.

Now, as the Stones launch yet another culturally irrelevant North American tour on Tuesday at the Fleet Center in Boston, which, like their previous five tours, is certain to be their last, I still want to smack myself for having been so lame. In the late 80's, Public Enemy, Sonic Youth, R.E.M., the Replacements, Husker Du and many other more obscure bands were going full strength. Guns 'n' Roses, the true Rolling Stones of their era in terms of attitude and showy stage presence, released "Appetite for Destruction." Indie music in cities like Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and Los Angeles still meant something more than a fashion pose. It was right there for me, if I'd only paid attention. So how could I have possibly thought that seeing the Rolling Stones in Indianapolis would have anything to do with rock 'n' roll?

Well, I'd been marketed to successfully. I grew up in the suburbs of Phoenix, the least rock 'n' roll place on earth, during the rise of "classic rock" radio, which poisoned my mind for almost a decade. There, in the desert, literal and cultural, I was the willing tool of every sleazy corporate programming executive told by the record megaliths to push Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, to play "Carry on My Wayward Son" and "Hot Blooded" during morning drive time. I heard so much bad music, but almost never got exposed to the actually good rock music that came out of the classic rock era — the Stooges, the Modern Lovers, the Velvet Underground, Big Star and, to use K-Tel parlance, many more. I'd been so thoroughly brainwashed that I thought Huey Lewis and the News had a hot sound. I bought the single of "Addicted to Love" and the Billy Joel live in the Soviet Union album. My taste in music was, frankly, pathetic. My only exposure to the Rolling Stones came when "Start Me Up" was played at junior-high dances.

The first great album I heard was the Stones' "Let It Bleed," which had miraculously found its way into my parents' collection alongside the Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." and cast recordings of Broadway shows starring Carol Burnett. There was even a mint-condition poster of the band inside the jacket, which means my parents had rarely if ever listened to the record. But I did, often. The pops and skips of vinyl gave "Midnight Rambler" an extra layer of menace. "Love in Vain" sounded as if it'd been recorded by the devil under a bridge somewhere. The album was, and is, authentically weird. I'd never heard anything like it and didn't again until a friend made a tape of the Velvet Underground's 1968 "White Light/White Heat" for me a few years later. I spent the subsequent years listening to both volumes of "Hot Rocks," a Stones greatest-hits collection, more than any other album in my wimpy little collection.

AFTER that Indy show in 1989, I listened to "Hot Rocks" a lot less often, and then not at all. I started working at the college radio station, albeit as a newscaster, and discovered rock records made by people who were actually younger than my parents. By 22, I was only modestly less of a music idiot (I skipped a small-venue Nirvana show because I had a paper due), but at least I'd seen the Pogues fronted by Shane McGowan and the Pixies before they broke up. I sold all my Stones albums to a used-record store for credit. They were worth nothing to me, because they'd outlived their usefulness.

To someone my age who's seen or heard hundreds of more vital bands, the Stones are, or should be, distant popular history. They are a Vegas headliner show, not a rock outfit. In his book "Rock Til You Drop" (Verso Books, 2001), the definitive word on the senescent Stones, John Strausbaugh calls them "The Historical Reenactment of the Once-Great Rolling Stones." I would no sooner buy tickets to a community-theater production of "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," or an Andy Williams concert, than see the Stones again. Every time the Stones tour, someone publishes an essay begging them to stop, calling them on their dull new songs, mocking Sir Mick's withering frame and grotesque dance moves, but to what end? It's like accusing Ringling Brothers clowns of going through the motions.

My very important opinion on this topic is not just generational animus. I'm no fan, particularly, of Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan, but at least their current music acknowledges and reflects the fact that they're not so young anymore. In the last five years, I've seen many musical acts of the Stones' generation or even older, including Johnny Cash, James Brown, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Solomon Burke and Aretha Franklin. Some of the performers seemed tired, while others put on inspirational shows that I'll always talk about. But I never left any of those concerts feeling empty or ripped off as I did when I saw the Stones. Earlier this year, I went to an Iggy Pop show in Philadelphia. Even though Iggy filled half the time with mediocre material off his new album, he still threw together one of the best rock concerts I've ever seen. He made Mick Jagger look like an animatronic dancing bear. And much of his audience was under 40. Iggy meant something to them, because he still rocks.

Teenagers now, because of countless technological advances, have many opportunities to discover great music, both from the present and the past. But the Stones are going to get all kinds of corporate radio play with this latest "Licks" tour to promote the October release of "Forty Licks," a retrospective double album that includes a whopping four new songs. The tour will extend well into next year if you include the Asian and Australian dates. The air will be full of three-song Rolling Stones "rock blocks," and some stupid 15-year-old boy in some culturally cosseted upper-middle-class suburb somewhere will hear "Mother's Little Helper" for the first time and think the Stones are cool. He may even spend the 85 bucks or more they're asking for tickets. At those prices, with this musical product, the kid will get over the Rolling Stones, and fast.  

Neal Pollack is the author of ``The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature,'' a collection of satiric essays (Harper Perennial). His rock 'n' roll novel, ``Never Mind the Pollacks,'' will be published by HarperCollins in the fall of 2003.

NY Times * Artsand Leisure

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This article caused a furor when it was published in the NY Times earlier in the year. Any opinions? Here's mine:

F**ck Neil Pollack - the question is whether or not this critic is relevant? I'd like to see him rock in his sixties. He oughta write an article about Keith Richards - he's a modern Medical miracle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hehe. I actually SAW the Stones live when their big hit was "19th Nervous Breakdown." I got a seat in the 3rd row. Price?

$3.95

Does that age me or what, hehe?

Incidentally, shortly after the Beatles came out with the "Sgt. Pepper" album, the Stones came out with an album titled "Their Satanic Majesties Request," which I then thought (and still think) was stylistically superior to "Sgt. Pepper." But, while the Beatles continued to evolve in their next album, "Magical Mystery Tour," it seemed to me that the Stones went backward -- to their roots, so to speak. Not saying that Stones music since then is bad. But, I hoped they would continue to evolve musically along the lines of TSMR.

If you've not heard that album, download a song called "2000 Light Years From Home" and compare it to any Stones song you've heard before or since ... and you'll see what I mean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm probably going to get shot for this. But I think The Stones need to retire. Before they become a parody of themselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think these guys see themselves as old blues performers. But I agree in a way--however, some of their music, most notably, beggars banquet and let it bleed, sticky fingers, are still memorable, and as good as anything thats recorded today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gimme Shelter is as searingly good a rock song as there ever was.....especially the Merry Clayton chick solo section.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only thought now on the Stones is if their hearts are still behind their music ... or if, now, they're only staying together for the money. I think it's the latter. I saw a TV special on drummer, Charlie Watts, where he spoke rather disparigingly about the Stones ... preferring to spend his time playing in small more personal settings. And Watts doesn't really like rock music all that much, preferring jazz. His current project, Charlie Watts & The Tentet, are under a recording contract and currently playing whenever and wherever they can when he's not under obligations to the Stones. And according to the TV special, his jazz ventures make him very little money but give him exceeding pleasure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its a good question, Holy Moly. Still I think the NY Times article was a hit piece. Given all the stones have to popular music, it makes no sense to slam them. Their recent records may be crap--but they can still play their hearts out on the old stuff.

Theyve become classic...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

This was posted awhile ago - clearly the Stones are still relevant - there new album was pretty good and they just had the biggest tour ever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Begging to differ...which is what these forums are for, so here's my two cents--imho the Stones haven't done anything really relevant since Some Girls.

Which is not to detract from their 60's "bad boy pop" and the even more awesome booze blues they put out in the early 70's. I love the Stones, up to circa 1978.

They just aren't really relevant amymore insofaras as what they have been doing the last 20 years or so.

How many greatest hits collections have they put out?

...and when are the bulk of the tunes found thereon?

that's my point.

Some%20Girls%2039108%201978.jpg

Edited by CTC Command
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the old blues players weren't writing lots of new stuff as they aged - and they were still relevant. Plus, the stones have had some good cuts after SomeGirls, although admittedly, few and far between

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes they are still revelant, Lets see how many bands stay together and still tour for as many years as the stones did and still do!! and still entertain as well!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...
Yes they are still revelant, Lets see how many bands stay together and still tour for as many years as the stones did and still do!! and still entertain as well!!

Are the Stones still relevant, is this a joke? they haven't been relevant since 1972.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are the Stones still relevant, is this a joke? they haven't been relevant since 1972.

It depends on what you definition of "relevant" is. People still listen to them. People still enjoy watching them play. Even the detractors admit liking their early stuff. They are relevant to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on what you definition of "relevant" is. People still listen to them. People still enjoy watching them play. Even the detractors admit liking their early stuff. They are relevant to me.

It's only Rock 'n' Roll not a marathon, it's about a flash of inspiration, capturing a moment and then moving on. Not endlessly recycling the same old act for 50 years. To be honest I find it both disturbing and sad to see 65 year old men emulating 20 year olds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's only Rock 'n' Roll not a marathon, it's about a flash of inspiration, capturing a moment and then moving on. Not endlessly recycling the same old act for 50 years. To be honest I find it both disturbing and sad to see 65 year old men emulating 20 year olds.

What's the difference between an old blues player and Keith Richards? I wouldnt mind playing like guitar like that 65 year old... if only :) That said, I wouldnt spend hundreds of bucks to see them...unless it was in a really small club

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL, where to begin? :lol:

Hehe. I actually SAW the Stones live when their big hit was "19th Nervous Breakdown." I got a seat in the 3rd row. Price?

$3.95

i saw them before you, nyah :lol: and actually was onstage w/them for a brief while, long story why.

I'm probably going to get shot for this. But I think The Stones need to retire. Before they become a parody of themselves.

i think they're already a parody of themselves. Exile, Let it Bleed and a coupla others are still some of my fave albums but way back when on a simpsons ep set in the future, Lisa had a poster of Rolling Stones--Steel Wheelchairs Tour and i was LMAO.

This was posted awhile ago - clearly the Stones are still relevant - there new album was pretty good and they just had the biggest tour ever.

two things: when Donald Trump makes a big stink about where he and his friends are seated i'm so outta there.

and 500-700 bucks a ticket? FUCK THAT.

ps, Charlie never dug playing w/the Stones, he always loved jazz drumming in small venues better. he did it for the money and good on him. in fact, i'm still pleased that alla them made out like bandits. but the hugely expensive ticket prices now, totally turn me off.

if y'all care to argue, cool, but take it from whom it comes--i was a HUGE stones fan for most of my life, up until 2000. i never missed a tour until then. now? i couldn't give a shit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hmm, my first post is slagging off the Stones, dangerous....

When Mick turns up on the cover of Saga magazine, wearing a stripy rugby shirt and promoting his movie production firm, I think it's safe to say they are no longer relevant. I wouldn't wish to detract from their earlier material, which was fantastic. I mean, Paint it Black sits in my top 10 ultimate songs, but they are just so bloody pedestrian these days. Mick did the soundtrack to the Jude Law remake of Alfie, and it's boring.

The famous Saga shot

jagger.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hell yes they're still relevant.Who else can come close to their library? They may not be cranking out decent music anymore, but they are still the ultimate measure of a Rock band. Use whatever measurement you choose, quality of music, quantity, longevity. Say what you will, but a Stones concert is still an event. I may not want to, or be able to afford to attend one. But they are still not only doin it 40 some odd years later, they are still at the top. They may not be what they once were, I mean these guys are in their 60s and lets face it, they lived fast. But they still have their moments. Even a shitty Stones show has the potential to raise the hair on your neck, even if for only a moment. If they weren't still out there doing it, we would miss them..............

Link to comment
Share on other sites

their last album was great

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Stones always had the uncanny ability to adapt to the current musical landscape and keep their sound fresh. In many ways, they needed new influences to keep themselves interested. For instance, look at their last classic...SOME GIRLS. Here you got disco, soul music, country music, as well as trademark snarling rock and roll. Since todays music scene is fragmented, there's nothing for the Stones to latch on to, which forces them to cover the same ground they've treaded for over ten years...making them irrelevent.

Party Guy

party_guy.jpg

Edited by Party Guy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Stones always had the uncanny ability to adapt to the current musical landscape and keep their sound fresh. In many ways, they needed new influences to keep themselves interested. For instance, look at their last classic...SOME GIRLS. Here you got disco, soul music, country music, as well as trademark snarling rock and roll. Since todays music scene is fragmented, there's nothing for the Stones to latch on to, which forces them to cover the same ground they've treaded for over ten years...making them irrelevent.

Party Guy

party_guy.jpg

Interesting assessment...you are correct, musically speaking. But in terms of box office, the Stones remain relevant; according to today's LA Times:

It was another dour year for the music business in a lot of ways, but don't tell that to the Rolling Stones. By extending the group's "A Bigger Bang" tour through much of 2006, the indefatigable band has topped Calendar's 10th annual Ultimate Top 10, which combines album sales with revenue generated by pop acts at the concert box office.

It's the Stones' third time leading this poll, raking in a bit more than $150 million last year, most of it from concert ticket sales.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the Stones' third time leading this poll, raking in a bit more than $150 million last year, most of it from concert ticket sales.

sorry to all Stones lovers (and i was one for most of my life) but fuck 'em where they breathe. they're one of the oldass dinosaur acts now AFAIC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Our picks

    • Wait, Burning Man is going online-only? What does that even look like?
      You could have been forgiven for missing the announcement that actual physical Burning Man has been canceled for this year, if not next. Firstly, the nonprofit Burning Man organization, known affectionately to insiders as the Borg, posted it after 5 p.m. PT Friday. That, even in the COVID-19 era, is the traditional time to push out news when you don't want much media attention. 
      But secondly, you may have missed its cancellation because the Borg is being careful not to use the C-word. The announcement was neutrally titled "The Burning Man Multiverse in 2020." Even as it offers refunds to early ticket buyers, considers layoffs and other belt-tightening measures, and can't even commit to a physical event in 2021, the Borg is making lemonade by focusing on an online-only version of Black Rock City this coming August.    Read more...
      More about Burning Man, Tech, Web Culture, and Live EventsView the full article
      • 0 replies
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
×
×
  • Create New...