EVEN THE ROLLING STONES

I grew up with the the music of the 60’s. Way back there at the beginning, it said something sexy about you if you were fluent in the lingo, and looked good in the threads. So you dressed, and acted the part daily. If you spoke music you always got attention.

And everybody liked music, and musicians like nobody trusted politics, and politicians. The clock marked time in minutes and seconds of the last release of the latest popular group. There were a flock of different ones every year. As soon as one would drop off the charts and out of the public eye, another would rise through the wreckage of the Top 40 like a phoenix. Songs were anthems and radio stations were like bullhorns in the hip parts of town.

In the clubs nearby the music wailed nightly and you lived, and worked up the stairs somewhere close by as the sixties fell away in the rear view mirror. You got most places by bicycle in those years as you started paying your own bills. But, there were new songs, new books, and new paintings every morning down in that part of town. Some days they were yours.

In that forgotten part of town, the lawns were a wilderness surrounded by rusting chain link with back streets lined with broken down cars here and there, and shattered glass at the intersections. So the rents were cheap. Perfect place to ignore the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door and write with your head down. But if you wanted to get your works in print and on vinyl like the Rolling Stones album that season you had to muscle in at the very bottom.

So you scored the gig at the local bar. You grew a Godiva head of hair. That way the gigs you could get on the other side of the tracks would better appreciate your striking resemblance to the circus of pop stars that made the scene in the first place. In time though, you ventured outside the cozy confines of your town.

And you needed more than curls to get the gigs. You needed a booking agent. Then you had to have a manager to get the booking agent to get the gigs. As it turned out, you further needed a recording label, or a publisher to get the manager to get the booking agent to get the gigs. Having show biz people in your behalf was like a fashion statement, you rarely made enough money because of it to keep the same apartment for long. So, you sold a lot of fireworks on the side. The couch circuit was a real deal. If you didn’t wanna pay, or couldn’t afford to pay the percentage you booked it yourself.

So the journey was the bliss. And I’m not talking about the interstate. Five tour buses and a 50 man crew would put a severe hitch in your economy of verse. Five tour buses and a 50 man crew had nothing to do with music, or verse.

The lyric taught the language. The highway taught the road. If you told your wanderings well, and trained yourself to write more, what began as a song on an AM radio when you were a kid became a worthy lifelong endeavor. The reward was to be able to do it again in both hemispheres. And if you could reach the nice couple that showed up in the rain just to hear what you had to say you would always have something to offer. It was wise to be so advised. Especially worthy things happen all over this planet and are covered by a half a foot of soil in the blink of an eye. Even the Rolling Stones