December 5, 2010

"The Stones carry no Woodstockesque, antibusiness baggage."

Why the Rolling Stones are able to make so much money.
Not everyone, of course, is enchanted by Jagger’s business smarts. There are those who see the Stones’ transformation into a brand as an affront to the very spirit of rock ’n’ roll, a betrayal of the lawless, piratical impulse that once made them great. Such romantics are inclined to question whether a song like “Street Fighting Man”(“Hey! Said my name is called disturbance/I’ll shout and scream, I’ll kill the king, I’ll rail at all his servants”) can still be plausibly sung by an elderly knight who does sponsorship and licensing deals with Microsoft and Sprint.
These "romantics" just need to perceive the romanticism of capitalism. Capitalism could say "my name is called disturbance" — creative destruction and all — don't you think?  By the way, Mick Jagger studied at the London School of Economics.

Speaking of romance, Jagger addresses the subject of marriage:
“I don’t really subscribe to a completely normal view of what relationships should be... I have a bit more of a bohemian view. To be honest, I don’t really think much of marriage. I’m not saying it’s not a wonderful thing and people shouldn’t do it, but it’s not for me. And not for quite a few other people too, it would appear... I just think it’s perhaps not quite what it’s cracked up to be. I know it’s an elaborate fantasy.”
Capitalistic?

22 comments:

madAsHell said...

He can afford the divorce.

edutcher said...

The money is the only reason most women would marry him.

ricpic said...

Oo's gah lez ob dee ol' grey ma'er, Mick Jagger aw Liam Neeson? Oi cawls i' a tawz up, oi duz, ow ow.

Crimso said...

"The Stones carry no Woodstockesque, antibusiness baggage"

Of course not. They weren't at Woodstock. They were, however, at Altamont. I'm given to understand there was a different vibe there.

"Now I don't know, but I been told it's hard to run with the weight of gold.
Other hand I have heard it said, it's just as hard with the weight of lead."

HDHouse said...

and all this time it was because they charged so much for a ticket and a record. silly me.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

Flower power was just a load of crap, wasn't it? There was nothing about love, peace and flowers in "Jumpin' Jack Flash", was there?

--Keith Richards

EDH said...

In fairness to the author, the divide she discusses isn't political-economic (i.e., capitalism versus its alternatives), it's merely the aesthetic: the perceived continuum between authenticity and crass commercialization.

After R.E.M. declined Microsoft’s reported $12 million offer to license “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” to roll out Windows 95, the Rolling Stones quickly grabbed the money for “Start Me Up.”

When severely tested, R.E.M. stuck to its policy not to lend their music to non-artistic uses. Whether that decision was principled or foolish, the most important factor was that it was their right to choose.

On a personal level, these two bands have treated me well over the years, which, aside from their music, makes it easy to appreciate each band just for who they are, and enjoy them precisely because they are different.

I agree that rock & roll is inherently capitalistic, moreso that than the author gives credit. But the best argument for capitalism, especially to those who are suspicious of it, isn’t that maximum commercial exploitation is always necessarily good, or cool, or even "rock & roll."

It’s that capitalism is the system that best preserves the right of individuals to choose how to order their own affairs in harmony with their beliefs and values. And gives others the choice to embrace or reject the result.

Alex said...

What we need is socialist support for rock bands, so they don't have to write crass commercial songs.

traditionalguy said...

Sadly The Stones can't get no satisfaction at their age from anything except money.

Paddy O said...

the lawless, piratical impulse that once made them great

A lot of the great pirates became respectable and part of the establishment. Henry Morgan, for instance.

The Crack Emcee said...

Jesus Christ:

Another thread where someone failed to mention CURTIS GOT SLAPPED BY A WHITE TEACHER!?!

You guys are really slippin',...

Geoff Matthews said...

You need a lot of money to live a bohemian lifestyle. How is that not rock n' roll?

jamboree said...

Mick Jagger bores the hell out of me so I really couldn't say. He always has. His appeal is a mystery and ruins the band for me. They were middle aged by the time I started paying attention, but still much younger than they are now. The one I come closest to getting is Keith, if that helps. Not enough to make up for MJ though.

Ari Tai said...

re: money from tickets and records.

Jagger observed in a recent interview they've never made less from records/CDs/iTunes/etc. - and this is a return to normal - there was only a short period of a decade or so when neither the production companies or piracy took all the profits. So Jagger invested in venues that did not require intellectual property rights.

Good for him. Wonder if the Leftist capitalists in Hollywood will adjust.

realwest said...

Well folks can debate Jagger's attitudes - to money, marriage, hell whatever they choose to. But the very bottom line is this: if you look up Rock and Roll in the dictionary, you'll find a photo of the Rolling Stones.
Period.

David said...

The ultimate rocker fuck you attitude is not caring what others think. So going corporate is actually very rockerish of the Stones.

Anyway, they have outsourced a lot of their music for years, depending on various fabulous musicians who play with their band until someone starts to notice. Then they get another fabulous musician to play with their band.

That too is capitalism, folks. Deal with it.

Belkys said...

And the Beatles were the first Tea Partiers Let me tell you how it will be There's one for you, nineteen for me 'cause i'm the taxman, yeah, i'm the taxman

William said...

His attitude toward marriage is neither bohemian, nor rock n roll. It is that of a plutocrat. If you have upwards of one hundred million dollars, it makes sense to trade in the current model (clever pun) every seven to ten years, depending on their durability.... I don't support promiscuity. Having as many partners as, say, Warren Beatty substitutes the dreeary monotony of variety for the wondrous variety contained in a single woman. I think singers like Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger have found the right balance between promiscuity and monogamy. I think we can all learn much from their example. Sadly though, the lesson is only applicable if you have upwards of one hundred million dollars.

Blair said...

Edutcher - are you serious?! Mick Jagger is a fascinating man! He strikes me as someone who would be an excellent dinner party guest. His money is the least of his ongoing sex appeal.

Mick said...

And he's not a man cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me.

Mick doesn't care what you think.

That's the essence of Rock and Roll.

Edmund said...

I'll give the Stones and THe Who credit for one thing: they kept on touring. IMO the Beatles broke up because they stopped touring. They retreated to the studio, made records with little contact among the members, and drifted apart.

I saw The Who, on the last tour they did before Entwhistle died, at an outdoor venue in late August. It was hot, but the crowd was really into the show. Pete remarked that the heat and the crowd response took him back to the early days to when they were playing tiny clubs in basements - and the whole band seemed to kick it up a notch that night. The playing together, the need to rely on others to do their part, the forced creativity all build a bond.

vw: dulfi - what you hear from an old mono record player.