An open letter to Mick and Keef,
Dear Mick and Keef,
In some ways it’s good to have you back, especially as you have bothered to release a classic single this time. A single full of the dark stuff and grimy stink that, laced with that killer riff and sneering vocal, sits easily in the Stones canyon.
I’ve never been one of the doubters. You know, one of those people who sneered at you because you were old. People have you been calling you old since you were young which must be a bit confusing. They were throwing the OAP card at you once you reached mighty age of 30 and yet you still carried on. Every time you came back you looked craggier and weirder which is a good thing! You took rock n roll into outer regions of age and proved it could be done.
Your records may have got less and less interesting after the early seventies but let’s face it who can keep up the flow of classics for ever but the clank and grind of the twin guitars and Keef’s insistence on the roll with the rock made you consistently great live and I’ve never seen you play a bad show even in those enormodromes where the life gets drained out of rock n roll. Keef’s book was great even if it did labour the point about Mick a bit too often and there is something about your crevassed faces peering out of the decades that is pretty empowering.
You have become though, as you once sang, respectable. Mick is a sir and Keef has been knighted by the music media, perceived as some kind of wild pirate whose swagger epitomizes rock n roll and a setter of the template for endless bands since then who want to play at pirates.
All this is fine but what I’m writing to you about is the ticket prices for your gigs which are really rubbing people’s faces in it. I doubt from the vantage point of a tropical island tax haven you will have noticed the recession yet but people, even your fans, are seriously broke out here and need to be cut a bit of slack.
You may not have noticed the backlash against greedy bankers and the rest of the establishment with their paws in the honey pot so I thought I had better tell you. People are getting pissed off out here and there are dark mutterings about greedy rock stars which is ironic because you were once seen as the vanguard of the counter culture that stood up against the establishment. Of course we now realise the counter culture was just a marketing term and you were as greedy, if not more greedy, than the people you once pretended to oppose as street fighting men.
I’m not foolish enough to believe that rock n roll was ever altruistic but there must be a limit to how much money you and the rest of the sixties dreamers can cram into your bank accounts. And I’m not claiming to be perfect here, I’m as greedy as the next person but c’mon even satanic majesties must have a limit!
I’m not writing to you asking you to give up all your wealth, god knows as a musician I know some of the money is well earned in this filthy business but surely you must have plenty by now! And stop skulking away Keef we are not fooled by your sozzled old pirate act, you know as much as Mick about all of this.
Perhaps there will come a point in your career when you put something back. Not like U2 or those charity millionaires- the Stones doing charity is an ugly thought. It doesn’t even need a grand gesture, just a bit of care and maybe cheaper ticket prices- afterall if you think rock n roll is about playing to an arena full of bankers waving bottles of champagne around you really need to get back in touch with reality.
I still love a lot of your records and your aura of invincible cool but a touch of reality would go a long way gentlemen.