More power to ‘em—the Stones are still rolling, still can kick your favorite band’s ass and they still have to share the spotlight with their arch nemesis, Led Zeppelin—a band so powerful that one gig last December momentarily placed the Mighty Blimp back on their medieval rock throne. BAM. Kids went completely ape shit and suddenly threw on 1977 tour T-shirts like Pagey was back in town wearing his flowers ‘n’ dragon suit. Jimmy Page is COOL. You and your iPod are not. One fucking gig and they once again rule the Cameron Crowe-inspired parking lots, echoes of that dazed era when the Steelers, Pong, Blow Dryers, Mickey Big Mouths, Bongs Made Out of Old Toilet Paper Rolls & Aluminum Foil, TANG, Farrah Fawcett, Real Boobs and Fonzie were the Kings of America. Jesus wept—a mere whisper of a potential tour, post-Percy and Krauss shag fest, is enough to cause a frenzy of Zeppoogled-online scalpers and, you know, the band is smart enough not to give it to you anytime soon. I can also use the Jedi mind trick Scotty B taught me and place the same thought in your Phish-tour-praying minds, as well.
Meanwhile, the Stones release a gig from the Beacon Theatre under the heady cinematic tutelage of Scorsese, a man whose music film credits include work on Woodstock, directing jobs on The Band’s The Last Waltz and Dylan’s No Direction Home. The Beacon run was a series of 2006 dates which, again rather ironically, saw the accident backstage that would eventually kill Atlantic Records’ president Ahmet Ertegun, a key figure in Zeppelin’s rise—ah…another link—and the Stones’ historical legacy. Truth be told…the downstairs backstage area at the Beacon is a hellacious environment out of an Indiana Jones film—you know, the bad one about the occult and the blonde chick screaming while East Indians eat monkey brains. You make one wrong move downstairs at the Beacon and you’ve either dislocated your shoulder, sampled some cat’s beer or accidentally corn-cobbed a publicist’s wife. “Sorry, ma’am. Thanks, though.”
Which brings us to the best film about the Stones, the 1970s rock lifestyle and the unusual chemistry between Jagger, Richards and the dark angels of their twisted natures. Mick was equal parts vaudevillian, transvestite and cock-of-the-walk poseur and he’s still one of the best frontman in rock. Richards is a different breed altogether—his songwriting is unparalled but his playing and singing are more of an acquired taste and a transition point mid-live set more than anything else. Having said that, his solo projects in the late 1980s still stand as raw and powerful, emotionally-accurate soul music. Captain Jack’s Old Man doesn’t have to hit the notes or sing in tune. He just is and every Jack Daniels-wielding rock gunslinger is merely a pale rider on the tail of his staggering grace.
Cocksucker Blues…that is the title…and it isn’t an easy film to find but that’s what this whole weekly column is about. Let me give you a brief rundown and then…well…do your homework…I’ve given you enough grease to get these wheels down the road…Cocksucker Blues is a film by Robert Frank and it isn’t a slice of celluloid to be viewed with any young or old faint of heartists or just about anyone that gets uptight over rampant female nudity, male masturbation, heroin spiked in arms, coke snarfed up noses, joints sucked, cigs fagged, and liquor bottles sloshed and fondled like surrogate dildos.
Cocksucker Blues is a scandalous film that captures the true heart of rock ‘n’ roll. Sorry Huey Lewis…it’s about nodding off backstage on some chick you met in Chicago and it’s about long ass frilly scarves that would look either criminal, insane or gay on you or me and it’s about the combination of a young Stevie Wonder and the Stones roaring through an incendiary pair of songs and it’s Tina Turner looking extremely “She’s Gotta Have It” while Jagger gobs her on those big lips and is more than willing to deliver on that sordid promise while Keef Richards politely explains to Tina that he has no fucking idea how long they’ll be in town because they’re the Stones and when the right filmmaker—Robert Frank—captures the right rock band—the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World (well…at that moment, post-Exile on Main Street, they probably were)—Cocksucker Blues…you’ve got a film that just isn’t going to play in the mall…instead, you need to watch it in a darkened room, with a lava lamp, real boobs (fleshy twins not dork friends), a fifth of JD and a better bong than a toilet paper roll.
Not to get all Pete Townshend on you but the creed is, indeed, timeless: Rock isn’t supposed to be safe. It’s supposed to challenge you to do something…like most art…attacking your outer edges until you internalize the damn beast and question society, authority and that weird meaning of life cesspool of metaphysics.
Now…who has my heady unreleased Dylan film, Eat the Document, with Mister Zimmy and Bobby Neuwith Hoovering up a mountain of something exotic in the opening shot?