All the best rock stars were cowboys…
Back in the pre history of rock n roll musicians were outlaws- gunslingers, lone plain drifters armed with guitars not guns. They dressed dandy like the cowboys and had that swagger copped from plenty of crackling old movies played out in smoke filled cinemas.
A few decades of nagging from the world and the rock stars have had the edges knocked off them. The modern pop star is polite, business minded- with their PC in place and their image polished to perfection.
Of course this makes for a better balanced individual but do we really want a Chris Martin over a Lemmy?
Lemmy, like Keef Richards, still lives the dream. When these guys walk down the side walk, they are the last of the gunslingers still caught in the flood of images that thrilled post war Britain.
They come from a time, in the fifties, when the Western was exotic and it’s simple morals of manhood and honour were easily translated to the parallel exotic world of rock n roll being sold by Americana Inc.
In dull, monochrome, post war Blighty this was as close to heaven as you were going to get and with the last great British outlaw being Robin Hood the Hollywood dream machine was perfectly placed to provide the updated template. And wearing tight green tighs didn’t have the same allure.
Keef Richards has lived his life like an outlaw, albeit a very rich outlaw with bodyguards whilst at the head of a multi national entertainment corporation but he still exhibits the cowboy swagger with a bit of the pirate thrown in. The Beatles dressed like cowboys in Hamburg- perhaps the only time in their career they looked the way the really wanted whilst every great sixties rock n roller took a bit of the cowboy with him.
Of course after punk and Ronald Reagan cowboys seemed a bit daft, unless you were the Clash, who instead of being the first band of a new generation were, perhaps the last of the great old school rock n rollers who, by the time they hit the Stateside paydirt had turned into cowboys themselves.
These days the rock n rollers are too self aware and too hamstrung by casual and cool to do the cowboy walk. The music world is now more like the stock exchange than the sidewalk. What have we become? weasels? mummy’s boys whining about the rider and too scared to be the kings of the sidewalk?
Unless you are Lemmy, of course. And maybe that’s why he is so damn cool. Still unflinching, still staring into the sunset, still dressed in his outlaw duds, still playing his bass like a weapon…