Sick As A Dog

On the way to the shrink I heard "Look What The Cat Dragged In".  No, not Poison but the Rolling Stones.

Somehow it’s creepy.  Mick Jagger refuses to age and Keith Richards seems to be fighting off death.  The music they play lies somewhere in between.  Mick wants us to believe he’s twenty five and Keith wants the respect of an old bluesman.  Can you really criticize him?  He’s still LIVING!

Now I’m here to tell you "Look What The Cat Dragged In" isn’t bad.  But it’s missing what the Stones used to have.  There was the sneering danger, the ATTITUDE of their youth.  Hard to believe oldsters singing THESE lyrics.  But worse is the absence of musicality.

Can’t they just bring back Mick Taylor?

Ron Wood was great with Rod Stewart, but he’s got very little sense of melody, of lyricism.  He’s a Keith Richards clone.  Mick Taylor was a genius with the Stones.  He was a sideman who shined.  Who didn’t write the songs but added a layer, a patina, a SOUL that pushed the songs into stratospheric legendary works.  Sure, there’s his incredible solo on "Time Waits For No One".  But what about those licks on "Can’t You Hear Me Knocking"?  "Sticky Fingers" was his.  He was energized, he had something to PROVE!  That’s what we love, people with burning talent who just want to SHOW US!  To MESMERIZE US!  To WOW US!

This wasn’t early period Stones.  But it’s my favorite epoch.  "Exile On Main Street" doesn’t sound dated the way "Look What The Cat Dragged In" does.  It’s kind of like "Citizen Kane", shot in black and white but timeless.

Then there are the American Stones.  Aerosmith.

I don’t know what Aerosmith does now that MTV doesn’t play music anymore.  That’s what sustained them.

Then again, although the quality of their latter-day works eclipsed that of the Stones, at least when viewed as albums not tracks, they never did anything quite like those first four records again.  When they were hungry.

And the great thing with Aerosmith in those days was there was no artifice.  It’s hard to put on airs when you’re American.  Rather than being exotic, Aerosmith represented what was on the floor of the garage.  The oil, the dust.  They wallowed down there.  And you wanted to too.

Funny how the throwaways of the new Stones and the new Aerosmith roll right off of us but the superfluous tracks of their heyday…we love them.

Last night when "Sick As A Dog" came on the radio my mind fired how I liked "Get Your Wings" and "Toys In The Attic" better than "Rocks".  But then, the song went into a drug-induced hallucination, the music slowed down and bent like a funhouse mirror and I thought to myself this is FUCKING GREAT!

It’s the little moments that make us love our rock and roll.

When "Sick As A Dog" slows down completely.  When everybody gets their balance three minutes in and Joey pounds the drums and Joe plays the riff.  When everybody’s standing.  It’s like the day after.  When you’ve dusted yourself off from a night of debauchery, checked for damage and found none.  You feel GOOD!  And then you get BACK INTO IT, just like Aerosmith does here.  They and YOU are ready to do it all over again.  One more night on the town.  In a string of ENDLESS nights on the town.  Yup, we might have only been able to do it a couple of nights a week, but Aerosmith was doing it week in and week out FOR us.  They were our stand-ins.  And in some bizarre way our heroes.

It was always the little tracks that made the difference.  That hooked us.

Not that the Stones and Aerosmith never swung for the fences.

But today’s acts ONLY swing for the fences.  They need that SINGLE!  Whereas if you put "Sick As A Dog" on at a party, EVERYBODY would get energized, would start to nod his head, would BELIEVE!

Nobody can believe in "Look What The Cat Dragged In".  I don’t know if Aerosmith can record another "Sick As A Dog".  If they did, I don’t know if anybody outside a small circle of friends would hear it.  But, you do it in pursuit of art, in pursuit of excellence, not in pursuit of revenue.  The music comes first, the money comes after.  The Stones have got it all backwards.

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