Is the Canadian rock band Triumph underestimated?

Only once does Mick Jagger fail. And Albert and David Maysles' film cameras are included. A few days after the concert in Altamont on December 6, 1969, a racetrack just outside San Francisco, Jagger walked into the brothers' editing room. He wants to see her recordings of his performance, which was supposed to be the continuation of Woodstock's hippy bliss, but then went down in history as the malicious echo of the Manson murders in August of that year, the final nail in the coffin of Love-and-Peace -Era. An evening filled with violence, in which the Hells Angels hired as stewards terrorized the audience and knocked Marty Balin from Jefferson Airplane, who protested against the arbitrariness of the bikers, unconscious on stage and at its sad climax - the Stones had just "Under My Thumb ”- the 18-year-old black Meredith Hunter, full of stimulants to the brim, pulls a revolver to the left of the stage in the general commotion and is attacked by the Hell's angel Alan Passaro and killed with five stabs of his knife. Now Mick Jagger lets David Maysles show him what happened. “Did you see what happened?” He is asked. “No, we didn't see anything, it was just one of many scuffle in front of the stage”. Then he sees the murder. “Oh, right there it is. Wow. How awful. ”He falls silent. All color drains from his face.

Dandy and snake charmer

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Now, in this brief moment, he is not the seducer, the showman, the dandy, the civil fright, the bad boy, the snake charmer, the salon lion, the Lucifer, the superstar, the singer of the Rolling Stones. He is a little boy, affected and helpless, dismayed by the ghosts he has called. Rape, murder, it's just a shot away - Rape, murder, just a shot away. That shouldn't happen to him again. It won't either. The longed-for revolution of the counterculture, whose figurehead are the Stones, he had already rejected the year before when he sang in "Street Fighting Man" that a poor boy had no choice but to be in a rock'n'roll Singing band. If there really was still a trace of idealism in Jagger, it will be erased at this moment. Now all he wants is fame and honor for the Stones. At this moment - the real great deeds of the band are still ahead of him - he ushers in the downfall of rock'n'roll, its slow death, at whose spearhead the group will always stand as it did on its triumphal procession in the sixties, the senseless commerce in "Satisfaction" had laughed and hugged him in the future, as only true hedonists can. The beginning of the end, it starts here. He makes the Stones, so far poor as church mice, the richest men in the business. No brand sells better. And they stick their tongues out at you.

Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world, the Rolling Stones. Let's get that over with right away so that afterwards it doesn't mean that nobody said it. Without the Stones none of us would be here. You brought rock music into the world. You have endangered the music, the wicked and the forbidden, the sexually charged. They defined what we imagine a rock band to be today. Charismatic singer, casual guitarist, solid rhythm section, big show, even bigger sayings. The Stones invent the vocabulary that is so natural to us today that over the decades it has become so natural that it has lost its meaning. Today, when we put the lid on rock music, an outdated form that no longer says anything, no longer means anything, no longer brings anything, nothing more gives, except to fill a few stages for family celebrations at which sausage could also be sold (and on sale is). Until the next generation of kids discovers how great it is to be four people with a few guitars in the basement, probably. Let's wait and see.

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The Beatles were number one, always. But they were pop, long-haired maybe, but genuinely nice guys. Not unwashed and dingy like the competition from London, who might never have gotten out of their ass if Lennon and McCartney hadn't written their first hit with “I Wanna Be Your Man” in a ten-minute break. The Stones take their chance. They are the opposite, they are rock. Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones may not be working-class kids like John and Paul. But it may have made them so unpredictable that precisely because of that, they couldn't be imagined as sons-in-law. They were cheeky fuckers from okay family backgrounds, went to art school and had to appear suspicious for that alone. Her hair was always a little longer than everyone else's, at a time when it was still worth the headlines in the gazettes and outrage in the streets. They liked showing the bourgeoisie their contempt with their upper lip pulled up before Sid Vicious turned the gesture into a caricature. In a survey from 1964, when asked about his greatest career achievement, Brian Jones, at that time the de facto leader of the band and anyway the best-looking group member, before drugs and excesses cut deep lines in his angelic face and finally sank to the bottom of a swimming pool, answered that was the break with his parents.

It's all a question of perspective

The Stones were described in the illustrated book “Rock Dreams” as “leather-clad transvestites, fascist child scares and dissolute hedonists” - boys on whose cloud there is no room for anyone but them. Jean-Luc Godard saw in them the "beginning of a revolution", and the haute volée found the androgynous bully cuddly and enjoyed bringing them into their palaces and salons as the hippest toy of the time, at a time when Jagger and Richards sidelined their buddy Brian Jones and transformed themselves from the second most effective songwriting team in Pop / Rock / Whatever to the Glimmer Twins, as they called themselves with their inherent humility - the Stan and Ollie of rock who got their roles up played to perfection: the maker and purchaser Jagger on the one hand, always busy and industrious and bustling and on the move, always trying to be his best pimp and his best whore, king of masks and drama, before David Bowie that First heard the word "bisexual". He married Bianca Jagger in a memorable ceremony in Saint Tropez in 1971 only because she looked almost exactly like him and this narcissistic of all peacocks in the rock business no longer had to look in the mirror to enjoy himself. "Anyone who has spent a bit of time with Jagger knows what a bunch of interesting guys they can be," blasphemed Nick Kent, then star author of the NME. The self-forgotten Richards on the other hand, epitome of coolness and rudeness, "Keef", who taught millions of guys that for a guitarist it is not what you play that matters, but what you don't play, and his life depends on that Requirements led until the dance with death - "Dancing With Mr. D", as Jagger called it on GOATS HEAD SOUP - at the end of the seventies became a little too intense even for this eternal survivor of countless overdoses. There would never have been a moment of nakedness like Jagger when looking at the Altamont footage.

Basically, it was a very well organized affair, a pretty good concert overall, he had once explained with a shrug. It's always a question of perspective. Mick Jagger's long-term friend Marianne Faithful, who once introduced herself to Jagger by pouring champagne over her dress at a party and then rubbing her breasts dry with bare hands, said in the seventies: “When you're a schoolgirl, you've read Shelley and Byron , Keith takes your breath away. He's the symbol of bloody youth, even if he reminds me more and more of Count Dracula. ”And if it seems mean not to mention the great Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman with a single syllable, note what founding member Ian Stewart said of the importance of the two stars of the band: "If Brian, Bill, Charlie and I had never seen the light of day, Mick and Keith would still have started a group that would have looked and sounded just like the Rolling Stones."

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Sucking in the Seventies. This is how the Rolling Stones sneered at a compilation with which they said goodbye in 1981 to a turbulent decade that had turned out to be a double-edged sword: They celebrated their greatest triumphs, were the best live show far and wide and polished their own myth to a shine, but almost came to his knees in 1977 when Keith Richards was awaiting trial in Canada for possession of heroin that could have put him behind bars for life. Worse still, after millions of records sold, a dozen number-one hits, sold-out tours, and five classic albums in a row, each a masterpiece - the best run a rock band had ever had - the Stones were down by the end of the decade facto broke. The rigid tax laws in Great Britain, the expensive litigation and, last but not least, the immoderate lifestyle side by side of the really beautiful and really rich, who had enough of what the Stones lacked, namely money, had taken its toll: the world's most famous rock stars left approaching forty and living on credit.

How much heroin can humans tolerate?

Which they probably didn't even care. Once you realize that “Exile on Main St”, her Magnus opus from 1972, recorded under adverse to inhuman conditions in the musty cellar of the Villa Nelcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer right next to Nice, Keith Richards with family and entourage there to test how much heroin a human organism can handle until it pulls the emergency brake while the children are playing on the beach, and can top it even more if you make an effort, it soon no longer sees it to try even a little. Starting with “Goat's Head Soup” from 1973, the phase of inheritance management and brand maintenance, which continues to this day, begins. From “It's Only Rock'n'Roll” in the following year, they are no longer too good for self-parody: From now on the Stones are never again something different from the Stones. Sometimes a little better, sometimes a lot worse, but always the Stones.

Which is not to say that they still weren't capable of great feats. “Goat’s Head Soup” may have been described by Nick Kent as “unexciting” when it appeared. But then he didn't know what uninspired clutter fans would expect from the mid-eighties, rejects that even Stones tribute bands would have been too good for. In fact, it's a damn good album. But it's not "Exile on Main St.". Or "Sticky Fingers". Or “Let It Bleed” and “Beggars’ Banquet ”, when the Stones still had the world by the balls and declared that all cops are criminals and all sinners are saints. Even confident throws like "Some Girls" and "Tattoo You" or the underrated "Black & Blue" recorded in Munich cannot hide the fact that the engine was damn well oiled and still roared wonderfully when you hit the gas pedal, However, the driver preferred to drive the same route over and over again instead of taking a turn and being surprised at what there is to discover. "We tried again and again after 'Exile', but I don't think that the results were really worth talking about afterwards," Jagger remarked once, before going back to counting money afterwards.

Coal in the back

Really sucking in the eighties - and beyond. If there is a crucial sticking point, a point of no return from which neither the Stones nor the rock music have ever recovered, then it is the stadium tour in 1981/1982, a rock'n'roll perfectly organized through and through. Carnival, for which halls were no longer big enough even in Germany. For the first time, a rock'n'roll band played a tour in football stadiums in this country. The decisive factor was that Keith Richards had finally kicked heroin in 1978 and was no longer a factor of uncertainty. Above all, Mick Jagger had de facto taken over the management, he pulled the strings, he made the business decisions. He knew that now, in the new decade, the chance had come to transform the image and the myth of the Stones at face value: at the age of almost 40, he decided to turn his band into an organization, and nothing to be left to chance. In the decade of turbo-capitalism, the Stones added a ™ to their tongue logo and pushed for professionalization. You could watch well-trained, elegantly dressed older men, whipped into shape in the gym, as they sang old songs of youthful furor and sexual frustration without even believing in it. But the Stones played clean and tight, every night anew. It wasn't just the rules of the game that changed. It was a completely new game from now on. $ 50 million in profit can't be wrong. The Rolling Stone etched: "Then we find Mick Jagger revealed as a masterly career strategist, as the toughest and most astute businessman who entered the entertainment scene after Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra." It may always be paralyzing to get old, like Jagger in 1966 in Mother's Little Helper. But if it concerns you and you have a little bit of coal in your back, you can endure it, as long as you don't fall off the palm tree while picking coconuts and then have to pause for months. It is logical that from now on the Stones had nothing to do with what it used to be called to play in a rock band.

Poor boys, as sung about in “Street Fighting Man”, they had never been anyway. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have repeatedly cut the tablecloth since then. As far as one can tell, they have hated each other since the mid-1980s. And all the jubilee years come together again simply because they can't stand it without the Rolling Stones and like to earn good money. Bassist Bill Wyman left a quarter of a century ago and has not been replaced on an equal footing since then. Charlie Watts continues to play the drums stoically, as he has always done as the coolest and best-dressed Stone. Ron Wood, whom Keith Richards brought from Faces to the band in the mid-1970s because he wanted to replace the great Mick Taylor with a guitarist who couldn't make him look bad on stage, has only assumed a leading role in recent years , since "Keef" began to act erratically at concerts. There is something comforting that the ravages of time don't even stop at him, who is said to be the cockroach and him after a nuclear war. However, it is also gratifying that these old men are still able to make you happy, even if they are not musical feats. When George W. Bush asked the Stones during his tenure whether he could take over a floor in a luxury hotel that the band had already rented for a meeting of the world's government officials, Jagger and Co. let him know: “You can't always get what you want. ”Somewhere in the world a Bach choir sang along with it. And maybe Mick Jagger looked like a little boy again for a very short time, like at the end of 1969, when the Stones really were the biggest rock band in the world and their audience didn't have to act it out. But just maybe.

This ME-Helden-Story No. 84 was first published in Musikexpress 07/2018.

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