“Before they make me run” haiku

Keith Richards stones me
Still my little rock ‘n’ roll
Guitar, the amps, soul

Keith turns 68
Not quite as old as he looks
But he’s gaining ground

Rock’s reigning duo
Nearly half a century
Keith’s wrinkles, Mick’s lips

Dartford, Kent, birthplace
Of both Glimmer Twins; must be
Something in water

Sang in school trio
As a lad. How well? One time
They gigged for the queen

Rebel kids should know
Working class mum named Doris
Bought Keith’s first guitar

And his grandpa Gus
(Billed “Gus Dupree and His Boys”)
An inspiration

So were folks’ records
Satchmo and Duke Ellington,
Billie Holiday

Scotty Moore and Chuck
Caught Keith’s ear; he developed
His own classic style

No flashy solos
Likes having a guitar mate
“The … art of weaving”

So some overlook
That’s he’s one of the greatest
Chords, rhythm, best riffs

Acoustic guitars
Amped to sound electric, drive
Some of rock’s great songs

Yeah, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,”
“Street Fighting Man,” guitars
Acoustic all through

Don’t forget he writes
The great songs, too, with Jagger
No end to the hits

Knows he’s channeling
Life’s deeper mysteries, says he’s
“Antenna … not God”

Not his job to sing
But he does that too, I say
He’s got the silver

Earned his bad boy rep
Drug charges used to hound him
All around the world

Once fell out of tree
Cracked his coconut, delayed
A Stones tour six weeks

But he’s cleaned up act
Relatively, anyway
The last few decades

Yeah, today’s also
Wedding anniversary

He’s well read, would like
To be a librarian!
Helps good causes, too

Survivors like him
Often have depth, many sides
A lot going on

Keith — a man in full
It just goes to show you what
Clean living can do

Keith was the last main Stone unturned for me, though I haven’t written about Brian Jones, Mick Taylor, Ron Wood, Ian Stewart and some others. The earlier sets on Mick and the release of “Exile” have plenty to do with Keith, too. You can find them here by plugging “No moss” into the little search slot on the upper right of this page, along with my string on Charlie Watts. And type in “Bill Wyman” if you want to read about him.

No moss haiku, part 2

Bill Wyman’s birthday yesterday makes it as good a time as any to get some earlier Stones stuff onto the blog. These are from Charlie Watts’ 70th birthday, June 2, 2011. I know nothing about playing the drums, but I always thought Charlie was the perfect drummer for the Rolling Stones — flexible, solid, content to be in the background. And he always seemed to have some sort of cool jazz or blues project going on the side.

Haiku powered by Charlie’s wattage

Today’s the birthday
Of Charlie Watts, Stones’ drummer
Renaissance beat man

Rock traces its roots
To folk, country, mostly blues
But how about jazz?

Jazz caught Charlie’s ear
“Flamingo” and “Walkin’ Shoes”
He lusted for drums

Before his first kit
He hacked off a banjo’s neck
Drummed on its body

Soon he played skiffle
‘Round London street corners, joined
Alexis Korner

Keith and Mick showed up
Blues Incorporated group
Morphed into the Stones

Whatever a song
Needed, Charlie knew the beat
Time was on his side

The Stones, the rolling
Circus, creative chaos
Charlie was the rock

Pick any Stones hit
Listen to Charlie’s drumming
It will be just right

For instance, it’s there
On “19th Nervous Breakdown”:
Sticks, cymbals, big toms

He didn’t forget
His first love, either, once formed
A jazz orchestra

Boogie-woogie lived,
Too, in his great pickup group
Rocket 88

With Stones and without,
He’s played it all, and he marks
One more year on time

And on “Moonlight Mile”
Charlie Watts proved he drums to
A different dancer

No moss haiku, part 3

Bill Wyman’s birthday yesterday makes it as good a time as any to get past Stones stuff onto the blog. From the anniversary of the release of a great album.

May 12, 2011, haiku

Exile on Main Street
Released 39 years back
On a dark May day

The Stones were exiled
To France and LA, fleeing
Britain’s back taxes

Music deep in blues
Vocals buried in mixes
Murky, layered, drugged

Country, calypso
And soul sank into the songs
Blurring the picture

Musicians drifted
In and out, heroin shot
Through Keith Richards’ veins

The dissolution
And delays bugged unstoned Stones —
Mick, Bill and Charlie

Despite everything
The beast was corraled, not tamed,
Baffling to many

Dice tumbled, joints were
Ripped, hips shaken, a light shined
And Keith got happy

A time of excess,
Restless music, “more is more”
Captured brilliantly

And the Voice critic
Robert Christgau got it right:
“Fagged-out masterpiece”