THE SECRETS OF SURVIVORS
Memorial Concert for Brian Jones
Jagger, Richards, Townshend, Bowie, Clapton, Dylan, Springsteen, and others: Each faced the same pressures as the Seven, but persevered. Aside from simply being lucky, why?
Springsteen was fortunate in not skyrocketing to fame the way each of the Seven did. He did not become a superstar until 1984 with Born to Run – a full nineteen years after he started performing. This gave him the time to ease into fame, the maturity to see and avoid many of the hazards that destroyed his colleagues, and the wisdom to realize: “The biggest gift your fans can give you is just treating you like a human being, because anything else dehumanizes you. And that’s one of the things that has shortened the life spans, both physically and creatively, of some of the greatest rock and roll musicians.” Moreover, Springsteen was never the kind of insatiable, excessive personality that the others were. He has said he’s always been “very much into control.” Just as important, he’s been a family man for years. Today he says: “It’s the music that keeps me alive, and my relationships with my friends.”
Dylan, on the other hand, in many ways fits the prototype of the Seven. He became a folk icon within three years, at age 24. He soon became a junkie and freely admitted that he was self-destructive. Ironically, his 1966 near fatal motorcycle accident saved him. Recalling its effect, he said: ”I woke up and caught my senses, I realized that I was just workin’ for all these leeches…. Plus, I had a family and I just wanted to see my kids.” He didn’t tour again for eight years and, in the meantime, turned to religion and sober self-examination. “It was important for me to come to the bottom of this legend thing, which has no reality at all,” he decided. “What’s important isn’t the legend, but the art, the work.”
Here are the confessions of a few other legendary survivors of the world’s most dangerous profession…..
Keith Richards: “After ten years of trying to kill myself, I decided I better get on with my life…. I’ve lived my life my own way, and I’m here today because I’ve taken the trouble to find out who I am.”
Mick Jagger: “It’s all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get your self back.”
Neil Young: “Rock’n’roll is like a drug. I don’t take very much, but when I do rock’n’roll, I fuckin do it. But I don’t want to do it all the time ‘cause it’ll kill me.”
Eric Clapton (of his Derek and the Dominoes druggie period): “It was like a snort of coke in one nostril, a snort of smack in the other, a pint of cheap wine in one ear, a bottle of Scotch in the other – it was full out. I don’t know how we got through it with the amount we were taking. I couldn’t do it now; I would die.”
Paul McCartney: “He (John Lennon) would often say, ‘If you find yourself at the edge of a cliff and wonder whether you should jump or not – try jumping.’ And I’m afraid I would always say, ‘No, man, I’m not gonna jump off that cliff; I don’t care how good it is.”
LENNON, PLAYING DEAD
(Photographer: Tom Murray)