I’ve been on the Internet recently and I’ve noticed that a lot of you have chosen to use it so show the world all of the cool, crazy, wild and adventurous thing you’ve been up to over the summer. I’ve been up to plenty of cool, crazy, wild and adventurous things too; like going to see rod Stewart with my mum.
I grew up with the man’s music. He’s not a classy and Fleetwood, well know as the Stones or influential as Clapton… but me and my Mum think he’s fucking cool and that’s all that counts.
However, even as a life-long Rod fan, I have to confess I wasn’t expecting much out of the evening. Not because I was questioning my undying love for his tunes, but, because I’ve always thought there’s something quite sad and depressing about rock stars trying their best to live out the dream well into their autumn.
My car decided to break last summer so I took to rolling round in my mum’s 1998 Honda civic. Unsurprisingly, motors that cool don’t have an I-pod connection. However, my mum’s civic did have a copy of, “Rod Stewarts Great American Song Book” in the glove box. It was full of classics like, “Somewhere across the Sea” sung by a mam once described as the, “the greatest living white soul singer,” by James Brown. Sounds good yeah? It was terrible, like, painfully bad. Rods signature, growling voice reduced to a karaoke joke, singing along to whiney, characterless melodies aimed at fitting the blueprint and selling a shit-ton across America.
Because of travesties like this I used to ascribe to the view that if any Rock ‘n’ roll icon gets old enough to record something like a Christmas album, he just can’t be “rock ‘n’ roll” any more – by default.
Entering the NEC to see Rod, My suspicions seemed to be confirmed – before me lay a sea of middle aged, white people in their Sunday best waiting patiently to for the show. In the first half hour the only appropriately drunk woman was ejected for standing up and, well, having a good time I guess.
But things got better when, starting with ‘Maggie may’, he started belting out the classics. I learnt, to my surprise, that he had written and recorded an entirely new album. There were songs about his kids leaving for Uni, his wife and his past. They weren’t cheesy or awkward. They were genuine and heartfelt and the vast room resonated with approval. And when he finished on “Forever young,” I think most of the room believed it.
Cat Marnell knows a thing of two about Rock ‘n’ Roll – she recently proclaimed Pete Docherty, “our last living genuine rock star”. Why Cat? Because he’s the kind of moron that’s so intent on ruining himself, he brings heroin to court when he’s being tried for drug possession?
Just because Rod survived, just because he didn’t make the 27 clubs or end up in a coma, doesn’t make him any less “rock ‘n’ roll” that those who did. When Johnny Rotten appears on butter adverts and Jean Simons is making reality TV shows, they are, by default, no long rock ‘n’ roll. But that’s different. Getting on a bit is one thing, selling out to commercialism and the establishment another.
Yeah, It’s hard to imagine Winehouse or Kurt Cobain ever making it old enough to record a Christmas album. But, if they did, there’s a possibility they could still be rockin’ it, just like Rod.