They say it was suicide. But that was just the whispers that ruffled the second last row in the funeral procession. Denied instantly, but not before doubt settled between the furrows on the denier’s forehead. Before they knew it, it slipped down into their eyes and they were fumbling in their pockets for reassurance amongst loose change, lint and gum wrappers. Sometimes these rumors made an undercurrent to the front rows, and then anguish rusted into betrayal and poisoned blood.
“Was it?” “Was it not?” “It was.” “It wasn’t.”
Nevertheless what was written in the papers, stamped in the medical records in sterile ink and remained “maintained” was “Natural Causes”. That what lay in the casket had died a natural death. What is an unnatural cause? Would its unnaturalness make the loss any less natural? Make the pain any less unbearable? Make the vacuum any less unempty? So in what way was it unnatural? Everything about it seemed natural enough. That it’s never coming back makes it damning natural enough. Rock has been laid to rest, tempestuous as its passage may or may not have been.
Today we mourn. The glory days of rock and roll have died into an unglorious faded sunset. Like every other, this era as well, yellowed, croaked and grew senile and stumbled at its own curtain call. Leaving behind telltale trails of cocaine, angst, cigarette smoke, trashed hotel rooms, bleeding hearts, platinum records that taste of sweat and weed, and less of tinny technology, alcohol and a very empty altar. As the sunset cracks and withers, a resounding echo of a scorching guitar lick stretches and pulls like a tight cassette into a sad wail.
Today we mourn for a time when there was only good music and bad music. When rockers wore leather and leather did not wear them. When rock and roll was rock and roll, and not Britney Spears’ lupine rendition of the song. When men wearing silvery glittery 6 inch high platform heels made a louder and clearer and more important statement than the aforementioned silvery glittery 6 inch high platform heels. When reviews reviewed music and not wardrobe. When artists learned to play their instruments first and then went on to make records instead of the other way round. And the sanctity of music, and not to mention music television was preserved from madcap heiresses. When original talent didn’t have to table dance for a living. Long before rehab became a musical career reststop.
When organized religion was beginning to go out of style, they had the audacity to play god. Peddling arrogance long before it became affordable or perhaps, even legitimate goods. So how did we fail to notice our gods being turned into “genres”? Of course, Bono still exercises enough clout to make the Antichrist movement passé. There’s no denying that Antibono-ism finds more appeal, making the black church look a little grey in comparison. Some people find it easier to reconcile with the concept of god than the concept of BONO! Hell, a lot of people today BELIEVE that God is Bono’s son or rather that the Sons of God are Elijah Bob Patricus Guggi Q and John Abraham. (those would be Bono’s sons, if you haven’t caught on, yet!)
They are still around. Veteran Rockers. Lame boys who couldn’t quite catch up with the Piper and got left behind on the wrong side of the mountain. They sobered up from an intoxicating dream, and what an awful hangover for music it is, I must say. Let’s just say that the likes of Steve Tyler, Paul Hewson, William Axl Rose, James Hetfield, Jimmy Page, Slash, Keith Richards, Ozzy Osborne, Roger Waters, Robert Plant, Joe Elliot and I’ve run out of my personal favourites, have failed to live up to their own legacy of greatness. So we learn to make do with the alternative to rock, which quite unimaginatively, of course, is called alternative rock!
Therefore, today we mourn the faithful departed souls of rockers whose bodies are yet to follow.