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”

10-20-50 birthday haiku for TP

Such a skinny guy
To cut such a wide, wide path
Through the world of rock

On a movie set
He met Elvis one fine day
It’s good to be king

On a TV set
Saw the Beatles rock U.S.
Knew what he wanted

Unlike so many
Tom Petty made it come true
Running down a dream

He’s had lots of help
Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell
Always have been there

Fought record labels
Hey, he was born a rebel
And he won’t back down

Once he made his mark
Dylan, Harrison, others
Gladly worked with him

60 million sold
That’s a lot of hearts to break
Wilburys traveled

Classic synthesis
Fusing the Byrds’ chime and twang,
Stone’s rock, Beatles roll

And Heartbreakers are
The great American band
35 years on

What’s your favorite hit?
“Refugee”? “Here Comes My Girl”?
“Even the Losers”?

Maybe “Free Fallling”
“Learning to Fly” or “Down South”
TP, you wreck me

After work I’ll play
‘Em all. Till then, the waiting
Is the hardest part


Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ roll!
Your daddy was born today
Talkin’ Chuck Berry

Chuck was rock’s first king
‘Cause he was no prince, always
Pulling some nonsense

Weapons rap headline
Read: “A gun in his pink car”
Chuck was hard to miss

Duck walkin’, duckin’
Taxes and morals charges
And cops hassling him

Yeah, Chuck was a pain
But could he write, play and sing
Handsome devil, too

“Maybelline” started
String of hits, “Johnnie B. Goode”
Proved Chuck was real deal

He was hard to love
And is to this day, but he
Paved the rock highway

So just give me some
Of that rock ‘n’ roll music
And give Chuck his due

Dibs on all the dance moves on this one:

Heartland haiku

John Mellencamp, Oct. 7, 1951, Seymour, Indiana

Standing up for us
Mellencamp, American,
Farmers and Main Street

Singing out for us
Small-town hearts, pain, and struggle
Telling our stories

Making art for us
60 birthdays now and still
Restless, striving, strong

Growing up with us
Surprising, celebrating
Rock on, John, rock on

Whole lotta haiku goin’ on

Jerry Lee Lewis, Sept. 29, 1935

Jerry Lee Lewis
Playin’ the devil’s music
For six decades plus

Lou-zee-anna boy
Married at 16, 15,
14 — Who’s counting?

Elmo and Marnie
Hocked the farm to buy their boy
That first piano

With Jimmy Swaggart,
Mickey Gilley (his cousins)
He played up a storm

Bible school expelled
Him for his Killer version
Of “My God Is Real”

Deaf A&R men
Aren’t new: the Grand Ole Opry,
Hayride turned him down

But he shined at Sun
“End of the Road” was the start
Record grooves on fire

Played piano like
Drums, 88-string guitar
All rolled into one

“Whole Lotta Shakin’,”
“Great Balls of Fire” still stand
Among all-time greats

Scandal derailed him —
As if you’ve never married
Your cuz who’s 13

Jerry Lee Lewis
And His Pumping Piano
Suddenly were shunned

The Killer played on
But for a lot less money,
Seldom on the air

The wives came and went,
Time passed, and he went country
The Killer was back

Outlasted them all
Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison
Elvis, Johnny Cash

The Last Man Standing
Of Million Dollar Quartet
Only good die young

Once more with feeling,
Jerry Lee, I guess we’d still
Take a chance on you

Young 76
What do you bet he’ll make it
To old 88?