Saturday, February 13, 2016

Winding Down...

I mentioned towards the end of my previous blog post that many old rockers are dying out bit by bit.  Being 61 myself, I suppose that's about right seeing as most of the guys I grew up with and loved were older than me so are just about starting to hit that 3 score and 10 number quoted in the Bible as being man's lot.  It doesn't help though when it happens.

This year so far we've seen Lemmy, David Bowie and most recently Paul Kantner and Signe Anderson from Jefferson Airplane on the same day of all coincidences.

I wasn't that hit by Lemmy's passing as he'd had a notoriously high profile life of supreme excess.  But he still made it past 70 and I've been a fan from long hair and greatcoat days in the late 1960's.  I first came across him as bass player and sometime singer for space rock band Hawkwind whom I loved to distraction.  He was the guy in long greasy black hair pounding away on one side of the stage banging his head up and down.  

Not a mind picture that my mum would have appreciated for sure but I didn't care.  When asked about whether any girls liked the band, Lemmy's response was that the audience was 'just a bunch of scruffy geezers in greatcoats'.  That's what I remember about the time too.  Audiences were pretty much all scruffy geezers in greatcoats, me too. Virtually no girls.  

RIP Lemmy.

David Bowie to my mind was OK.  I wasn't a huge fan really.  I'd seen him in the late 1960's when he was called David Jones at an open air concert next to Southend Airport where Edgar Broughton headlined (and produced the wonder single 'Out Demons Out').  He had long blond hair back then and sang folk songs of dubious quality.  

Something must have happened for the next time I heard of him was on Top of the Pops when he showed up in full glamour gear and make up.  I can't remember what song he sang, Star Man maybe, but I didn't think much of him although my friends said his band were awesome.  Certainly the late Mick Ronson was a fantastic guitarist.  

Fast forward 20 years and a lot of those ho-hum bands sounded a lot better when compared to the current batch (this must be something everyone goes through.  The bands you love as a young person stay with you forever.  All else afterwards pales by comparison).  So I picked up on Bowie and found that a lot of his stuff was really, really good.  So Viv and I went to see him during his final, farewell tour when Ziggy Stardust would be forever put to rest (he wasn't of course!) in the late 1980's.  It was at Nassau Colliseum on Long Island.  Great show.  We were 5 rows back in the middle too (thanks Patrick for getting us the tickets).

No glam nor glitter either.  RIP David Bowie.

Jefferson Airplane was my band.  I just loved them to bits.  From the dopey folky beginnings to the more rocky, popular times.  They broke up in 1972 at the peak of their powers when the various groupings within the group went in different directions.  Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship.  Both new bands were great too at the start.  

The JA tunes that were the best were the band collaborations which meant that in the main they were written or co-written by Paul Kantner.  He wasn't a great singer or guitarist but he wrote great rabble rousing tunes.  Jan followed PK's aging band around in recent years and got to know some of them which was nice.  

Of all these aging rockers it was PK and Signe Anderson going on the same day that most got to me.  Signe pre-dated Grace Slick and left because she was going to have a baby and didn't want to tour.  Perhaps that adds to the allure.  She sang a lot of great duets with Marty Balin in the early days and I think gave the band their shape and sound that they kept forever.

RIP Paul Kantner and Signe Anderson.

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