Got To Go 2: No More Heroes Any More
Ever been in a situation when a good thing ends too fast, and you don't know why?
I'm not just talking about over enthused trouser tackle, or even sensual experience, though thats a big part of it. It's more artists, eras, golden ages and times when you just can't wait for that next show, that next single, that next picture, poster or interview in a pop rag.Then it just stops cold.Sometimes, the heroes turn to hams, burnout, die or are destroyed. I remember reading somewhere, I think it was in Bootleg!, which you really need to read now, about the unique pop music situation in the cold beige light of the early 70s. No more heroes, or almost.Now work with me here, I'm talking about the foaming fuming foul mainstream. Of course turn the clock back to 1972, when you could make a living doing lots of stuff and buy a home in London even, and there are tonnes of amazing artists about in one form or another. But the Big Beasts: Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles, Cream, The Byrds even. All broken up, dead and gone. It left a massive hole in the hearts of the public, and in the bank accounts of the record companies. And a great big wonderful business opportunity for your friendly neighbourhood bootlegger. Missing the Fab Four? Well we have some stolen acetate demos of something and a radio show recorded on a fucking dictaphone for you.This was a not just a major bummer for the kids on the street, it hurt the labels hard.One supagroop carried on. The Stones. As I write this I'm listening to the lovely 90s Swingin' Pig version of "Get Your Leeds Lungs Out" - a show at the Uni that was part of the first proper tour the band graced their homeland with in five years. It is so lovely I might lick the wax, and had it not been for the dodgy business dealings and theft laid down on the band before Prince Rupert Lowenstein got involved, it would have been released in 1972 as a double live LP. As they had, and still most probably have, no rights to their own music in this case, you have to go criminal to get it.And what a fucking performance.For anyone tired of a limp Wings, and Lennon's rich man's spiritual slop, this is as vital and real as a hot coal shoved down your throat. Yet it is one of the last documents of a band that probably should have started looking for an honourable exit.Next up on the Systemdek is Philadelphia Special. Another Live Album that they wanted us to have. 1972. And of course, after Sticky Fingers the band was so dead creatively that in private moments Mick would regret that The Flamin' Groovies and AC/DC even had taken the flame they lit and kept it hot. This performance in a then dying hulk of a shitty city is like a blast of lava out of the speakers and seared across your consciousness. It really is the twitch of the death nerve, though. Lifted up like hemorrhaging soldiers by the reinforcements offered by Stevie Wonder, it should have been a goodbye. At least from the band in its current form. Who knows, maybe they would have hung out in the Sarf of France and found new love and life, coming back more like Dr. Feelgood or maybe some kind of Jazz Rock thing. A silly dream.Money talks and bullshit walks.And looking at the kind of cash The Stones could pull in from even the naked on the street with head in arse "Steel Wheels" tour, which is something like £110m in today's money, speaks for itself. "A Bigger Whang" coined something like £400m between 05 and 07. That's the kind of money you need for a space programme, not retirement.Even if they wanted to stop as the lovely Prince wanted them to, someone would have taken them aside with a gun and changed their minds. Fast. Allegedly the fiddling, undead Jacko expected to limp through one of two crap cumbakk concerts and retire. The promoters had other ideas, leading to more panic, more drugs and death.There are other ways. We will explore.