Monday, 22 February 2010

It's only rock 'n' roll but I liked it

I’m glad I was never a big fan of Iggy Pop. I would be pitched into depression every time I saw The Stooges former wild man of punk tout car insurance in the current Swiftcover TV ad campaign. Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter that Johnny Rotten plugs Country Life butter; there was always something vaudeville about him. But it’s time to put your shirt back on, Iggy.
Nowadays every rapper drips bling, while each female singer is dressed in haute couture. But when I was young and into music, my contemporaries and I shared this fantasy that rock wasn’t about making money like any other business enterprise. It was part of the youth revolution, man. Ah, the innocence of youth.
The music may well have always come first but once a musician’s career was under way there were ex-wives to feed, managers to be exploited by, and record companies to placate ahead of the next album.
It was acceptable if your favourite artist or group lived life lavishly on the wild side throwing money at fast cars, motorcycles, and supermodels.
It was even OK for Eric Clapton to wear Armani – bluesmen always dressed nicely. But his gypsy drummer in Cream, Ginger Baker was a big polo fan. Alice Cooper was crazy about golf. This seemed almost as incongruous as George Harrison’s fascination with motor racing and Mick Jagger’s passion for cricket.
Anything Bob Dylan did, say, in finding country and western or religion was fine because, well, he was Dylan. Life-long fans, though, had to take a deep breath when he appeared in a Victoria’s Secret commercial.
David Bowie acquitted himself when the Ziggy Stardust star sang Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby. He didn’t embarrass fans with his film work either unlike both Dylan and Jagger.
You can take authenticity, however, too far in pursuit of the rock and roll lifestyle. The members of the 27 Club – Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain – might now be selling car insurance if they had lived to see 28 and beyond.
I’m sure family and fans alike pray they had. So I take it back. It’s easy money, go for it Iggy, you’ve earned the gig.

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