No moss haiku, part 1

Bill Wyman’s birthday yesterday makes this as good a time as any to get some past Stones stuff onto the blog. From Mick’s birthday, July 26, 2011.

Happy birthday, Mick
68 years of big lips,
Those skinny-ass hips

The rolling-est Stone
Fronting THE rock ‘n’ roll band
Nearly five decades

For generations
He symbolized rebellion
But was he that wild?

Born in Dartford, Kent
Dad Basil and mum Eva
Teacher, hairdresser

Sang in church choir
Guess he learned sympathy for
The devil later

But Mick, Keith Richards
Were school chums early, got back
Together later

Chance train stop meeting
Joint love for Muddy and Chuck
Glimmer Twins were born

Keith, Brian Jones planned
A band; Mick kept up
London School studies

But the music won
What’s a bachelor’s degree
Versus world conquest?

Mick and Keith, wedded
For life, like rhythm and blues
Yeah, like rock ’n’ roll

Mick said he was just
“This guy from suburbia
“Who plays in this band”

But he had the look,
Strut and swagger to make him
Rebel No. 1

And he had the band
To mine the grooves, much longer
And so much deeper

“The Last Time”: first time
They wrote a No. 1 hit
It wasn’t the last

No stopping the Stones
They played with fire, tears went by
No satisfaction

His cloud and his thumb
Flash, shelter and street fighting,
Women, wild horses

The music’s menace
Took shape and then came to life
A little too real

The suburban boy
Grew up fast in the spotlight
Brian dead, fans killed

Drug charges, tax bills
Women troubles multiplied
But the band played on

Killer albums all
For years on end, and the best
Came while in exile

Forty albums, give
Or take, hits beyond counting
Across the eras

Glam rock and disco
Country, punk, soul, but always
Back to R&B

He played the celeb
Better and worse, married twice
Seven kids all told

But for all his wealth
You know he couldn’t always
Get what he wanted

“Sir Michael Jagger”
Knighted by the Queen, caught some
Grief from Keith for that

Star turns with Tina
Vamping with Bowie, singing
With Michael Jackson

Stones’ output slowed down
But tours still broke all records
Fans’ hunger untamed

Mick just keeps rolling
Shaking it on the Grammys
Forming a new group

And there should be more
Music from the Stones, the itch
Mick still has to scratch

Happy birthday Mick
Thanks for being you, helping
Us get what we need


Gilda Radner’s Mick tribute and Patti Smith send-up: “Gimme Mick”

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”