• A rant about The Rolling Stones.

I just got home from seeing The Rolling Stones.

In a movie theater.

On the screen.

Meaning I saw a movie of a Rolling Stones concert. And that is the only way you can see The Rolling Stones these days.

I’ve never wanted to admit this, but after tonight, I have to. The Rolling Stones are a nostalgia act. Sure, key members of the band still play in the act, but it’s an act. Don’t believe me? Then go watch Ladies and Gentlemen or the movie I saw tonight. If you still don’t think that today’s Stones are a nostalgia act, then we will just have to agree to disagree. I think it was in the Lefsetz Letter where I read about the Stones being a brand and not a band and, wow, does that sum things up. For that is what they are. And it’s a brand for a nostalgia act. And let me tell you, I hate that fucking word. Brand. BRAND. Christalmighty, it’s all I see these days when I read about advertising and marketing. What’s a brand? Honestly, I don’t really know, but the word is a word du jour. Everybody and everything wants to be a brand / is a brand / was a brand. What a triumph of commercialism that people should see being a brand in rock and roll in a positive light. But I digress. Back to the Stones. In 1978, “commercial” was a four-letter word. Punk was not. Punk was virtue, morality, religion. And the Stones were threatened by it so they made a good album, Some Girls, and toured like they had something to prove because they did. They proved it, in my opinion. Then Mick and Keith had a fight or whatever and they toured one last time in 1981, a tour I saw but barely remember, and then the Stones retired. They all came back one last time in 1990, but then Bill Wyman left and, I’m sorry, but he fucking mattered. The Stones without Wyman ain’t the Stones. His bass playing was unique, so weird, so right, so irreplaceable. But you don’t have to be the real thing to be a brand ( you do, but that’s another post ), so the Stones went and got some guy named Darryl Jones and carried on. Good for them, really, I would not want to be in The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band and have to hang it up because the damn bass player quit, THE BASS PLAYER, but that’s what the Stones should have done. Like Zeppelin when Bonham died. Like Queen when Freddie finally succumbed. Like Van Halen when Roth... wait... my point exactly. Anyway, it was a great film of a great concert of a great band and it got me to rethink how I look at the Stones today. Keith Richards, Mr. Genuine, is way too aware of his image, oops, I mean brand, to be taken seriously. Ron Wood has ruined himself. Watts jut is not Charlie Watts anymore, I mean that and he would probably agree. And Jagger, well, Jagger is great but then he’s always been an act so it’s okay. Sigh, maybe I will feel different tomorrow but I feel a bit low right now. And sad.