Home > Uncategorized > Every picture tells a story don’t it…

Every picture tells a story don’t it…

FullSizeRender (2)I was out and about with my wife and daughters on Saturday when a friend sent me this pic. It’s so charming I sent it to a few friends. Bret Alexander was one of them. He posted it on his Facebook page with the comment “I could write 10,000 words on this.”

I was sorta thinking the same thing. And then I remembered that both Bret and I probably write about music as much as we try to create our own. Bret’s excellent posts have recently been picked up and are shared via an NEPA online magazine as well. So I said….”let’s both  write about it….and compare.” And Bret, as cool as the other side of the pillow as usual, said….”I’m in”.

And so here we are. Sitting around on St. Patrick’s Day looking at a picture of Keith Richards playing his guitar for an adorable little boy. Undoubtedly both with big goofy grins on our faces.

Where do you even start? Imagine being able to stare at Mt. Rushmore from the vantage point of the tip of Lincoln’s nose.It’s a bit like that. Only more intense. Because….well….Keith.

Can you grow old gracefully in rock and roll? The rules were set in backrooms by person or persons unknown from the start. Probably someone who watched a dangerously gorgeous Elvis Presley on Ed Sullivan and notated to himself….”it must always be this way.” And then Elvis killed himself slowly by letting everybody down, and even worse, got fat and ugly in the process, and 40 became to rock and roll what 65 is to the rest of us. To quote Woody…”so long, it’s been good to know ya…”

Even Mick Jagger snarled that there was no way he’d be singing “Satisfaction” when he was 40 years old. The Who broke up in 1982 but I have tickets to see them this Saturday night in New Jersey.

So yea, these these things happen because rock and roll was kick-started by rebellion….by kids who never fit in….kids with big noses and bad acne and a raging list of neuroses. Kids nobody knew what to do with. Kids who were painfully insecure but wanted to make a big noise. Kids who are, in polite society, called “fucked up”.

Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend and Keith Richards really don’t know how to do anything else. Playing in a band with Angus Young is more dangerous than working at a Bronx convenient store, yet there he still is, dressed very much like the age of the blond boy in our picture….having what looks to be a either a grand mal seizure or mimicking a kid having a fit at the mall because his mother just said “no” to him…on the floor of the stage during “Let There Be Rock” because that’s all Angus Young was built to do.

After you write your memoir and appear in a few really bad movies…the mansion on the hill gets pretty boring. So you come back down the mountain and plug in and play. Paul McCartney is one of the richest men in the world, worth well over a billion dollars. Last October found him on a stage in Columbus, Ohio playing for over 3 hours. He’s 73 years old. I find that wonderful. Not everyone does.

The old blues guys had no such age stigma. They just played until the devil came for them. And that’s what Keith Richards is going to do. He made up his own rules as he went along. Then when he broke them he didn’t have to answer to anybody but himself. And Keef is nothing if not infinitely forgiving.

The little boy is looking at a man. He’s real. Swiss blood transfusions and snorted paternal ashes notwithstanding, Keith Richards took the tools of the blues and started to tinker with them….and one night he woke up in the middle of the night with the riff to “Satisfaction” in his head. He reached for his guitar and played it into a tape recorder. The next morning he heard it. About a minute of the riff….and the rest of the tape filled with his snoring. In such small scenes foundations crack, and thus set the stage for the walls to come tumblin’ down.

Keith Richards changed the world. And the little boy can sense it. He’s thinking, “other men are not like this. They don’t rock polka-dot shirts and head scarves with ringlets and skull rings…this guy is dangerous…..and (sounding vaguely Jaggeresque) I like it.”

I remember my moment. Thirty years ago. Playing guitars at a friend’s house. He gave me the secret.

“No….just take the low E string off”.


“Just the 5 strings. Tune the A string like this….and the high E to this….there….see?”

“He takes the string off?”


Until that point “Brown Sugar” sounded like Bach to me. In 5 minutes I could play it. I now understood why Keith’s left hand index finger looked like a hook. But the pain that day was exquisite.

“Start Me Up”. “Happy”. “Can’t Always Get What You Want”. “All Down the Line”. “Honky Tonk Women”. “Tumbling Dice”. “Before They Make Me Run”. “Monkey Man”. “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. “Rocks Off”. “Shouldn’t Take It So Hard”. What did I leave out?

This was blues we could call our own.

To me this kid looks like a future badass. He’s gonna get a guitar from Santa and barricade himself and his Ipod in his bedroom and when he comes out it’s gonna be slung low and the girls are gonna go out of their way to stroll past his house in an attempt to catch his eye.

Jon Landau once wrote that “I have seen rock and roll’s future and his name is Bruce Springsteen.” Fair enough. But that was then, and this is now.

I see rock and roll’s future here. And he’s staring into the eyes of Keith Richards. And Keith is staring back. And, without a word…..just music….the torch is passed.

That’s my take on it anyway….

In a bit..





Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jimbob
    March 17, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    You left out “Rip This Joint”. How could you!

  2. jimbob
    March 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    BTW. I will take Trump over the current world order. The revolution will be televised 🙂

  3. jimbob
    March 17, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.
    gotcha 🙂

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