Which bunch of aging rockers is worth it?
This summer, prepare yourself for a man older than most wearing clothing he probably shouldn’t. That’s right. In honor of his band’s upcoming 40th anniversary club jaunt, Mick Jagger moved a chair into his upstairs hallway, pried open that tiny door in the ceiling, unfolded the ladder, and crawled around amongst the asbestos in the attic until he found that rusty old chest labeled “Foppish Stage Wear.” This summer, in venues across America, a man older than all of the Strokes combined will don his silky red cape, spangled shoes, and an enormous Uncle Sam top hat, and prove it all night to ladies, gentlemen, boys, and girls that the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band is still exactly that.
Only now, they can’t remember to put roses on your grave.
The Stones have aged into elegantly wasted English gentlemen teetering good-naturedly on the edge of self-parody. Mick still has the voice, and Keith still has the grooves. But despite the comparatively economical ticket price for the small-venue portion of the Rolling Stones’ impending tour, chances are you’ll still get ripped off. Because the Glimmer Twins haven’t rocked like their youthful selves since, well, their youth. Onstage, Jagger ’02 jerks around in his re-tooled body like a coked-out chicken, name-checking his own trademark stage moves. Keith fares better. Transfused with the blood of comely virgins, he hangs back and fakes it for just one more show. Given, even if they’re old and faking it, the Rolling Stones are probably better than many other groups. But what if Mick wants to play his solo material? That’s some Primitive Cool, man.
Taking the above into account, why not save the over $200 you’ll spend (two tickets, plus presale and Ticketmaster service charges), and put it towards Guided By Voices? While Bob Pollard isn’t as old as Mick Jagger, he’s getting there. Plus, if you’re an older guy yourself, a GBV gig is one of the only shows you can attend anymore without getting that distinct, slightly threatening “Old Guy At The Show” vibe. At last night’s Guided By Voices show at Chicago’s Metro, the middle aged guys with complicated hair quotient was fairly equal to that of young, dorkwad eyeglass’d Indie Rocker.
Guided By Voices is the perfect solution to the Rolling Stones dilemma. In its current configuration, GBV features Nate Farley on rhythm guitar and backing vocals. Nate has a beer belly. This, coupled with Pollard’s famously Dad-like stage presence (“Thank you, kids!”), makes seeing GBV similar to a backyard reunion of a long-gone rock band.
The coolest thing about Guided By Voices? They’re still here.
Basement 4-tracking and a furious release schedule helped Pollard and company achieve a cult-like status amidst the Lo-Fi fervor of the 1990s Indie Rock scene. And, in another similarity to Jagger and his crew, Pollard and GBV have made a name on out-rocking and out-drinking their audiences. This contines. In addition to the kicks and microphone twirls copped from Townshend and Daltrey, Pollard has incorporated beer-juggling into his arsenal of lead-singer-without-guitar stage moves. (And for the sake of this article, I’ll assume that Bob does a mean Jagger impersonation, too.) Ohio’s favorite sons don’t have the deep well of sex appeal that Jagger and Richards possess. After all, in their stained khakis and saddlebags, Guided By Voices look more like a collection of Little League coaches wearing their clothes from college. But they can rock it. Anthems like “The Official Ironmen Rally Song” or “Teenage FBI” infuse power-pop sensibility into the arena rock riffing of The Who, and Pollard’s fake British accent is as memorably cheeky as the Stones’ guilty pleasure flirtation with disco.
With the $200+ you didn’t spend on the E*TRADE Financial Rolling Stones World Tour 2002, you can buy two tickets to Guided By Voices for $20, and spend the rest trying to drink as much as beer as the old guys up on stage. The best thing about GBV? They’ll never hire personal trainers.
27 thoughts on “Forever Since Breakfast: The Rolling Stones vs. Guided By Voices”
i was thinking about the stones this morning as i was scrambling to get to work while shaking off a mild hangover… there on the tv was the commercial for the upcoming combo tour of huge and not so huge venues and i thought to myself, “is it worth it?”. now, i’ve never seen the stones live. there was a point in my foolish punk past were i bemoaned the idea of even seeing the aging rockers take the stage, touring in support of steel wheels (or as most of my friends back then seemed to enjoy referring to it, the steel wheelchair tour). though, my curiosity was piqued. i mean, it might be interesting to see the stones at the aragon ballroom.though, that’s when it struck me. going to see the stones today would be, at least for me, like trying to go to vegas and expecting to see the swank of the early sixties strip. it just wouldn’t be the same and it would probably wreck the idea of the stones for me forever. i mean, after sitting through gimme shelter and cocksucker blues countless times i just can’t see how seeing the stones these days would live up to the shows i’ve imagined in my mind’s eye.
I went out and finally bought Exile on cd last night. It still sounds better on my beat up, scratchy vinyl, but now I can listen to it on the el.
i’m with you on that jake, exile, for me, will always sound better with that well worn hiss, scratch, pops and all. though, i did have a stones cd moment this weekend as well… finally picked up beggars and let it bleed on cd. for me, the only era of the stones that really matters is from beggars to exile. sometimes, when the mood strikes i’ll throw in flowers and some girls. but, as a band, they were it at the turn of the 60’s/70’s. for once in a rare stretch of time, a white rock band that was cooler than the black musicians they emulated.that’s not to say that i don’t think albums like tattoo you or aftermath don’t have their merits. definitely a lot of highlights… but the stones were the coolest rock band to walk the earth between beggars/exile.
Exile on CD? That’s like drinking nonalcoholic beer. (Wonder if you can do that on the El?) I wonder if it would sound better to record the album (with scratchy pops and hisses) into your computer and rip it into high-quality MP3s?
And what went wrong? Find out here: https://gloriousnoise.com/?pg=phil_stones.htm
Rock on, Johnny – GBV is wildly underrated and puts out some hypercool pop. “Teenage FBI” and “I am a Tree” sound like Nirvana playing a grade school auditorium. I look forward to being able to catch shows like that in the Windy City.Where’s Shecky? He’s *the* GBV bitch.
Oh yeah, GBV. They are pretty much my musical heroes, and everyone should rush right out and pick up Isolation Drills, Bee Thousand, and Alien Lanes. And don’t forget Universal Truths and Cycles, their upcoming album. If I had a time machine, I’d go see the Stones circa 1969, but since I don’t, I’d pick GBV in a heartbeat. And yell my head off during ‘Twilight Campfighter”.
Shecky, they played a ton of stuff from “Universal Truths” at the show on Wednesday, and it was all really solid. It sound slike a great albumn. Back on Matador, too.
GBV is one of those bands that only their fans understand. I’ve dropped too much money on their crapy excuse for albums to ever bother giving them another $20 of my money. They ought to tour with the Beta Band and call it “The Two Bands For High Drunk College Guys Who Can’t Get Laid Tour”.For me the Stones are dead. They ceased to exist sometime in the 70’s before they released any terrible videos for songs like “Under Cover Of The Night”. I will remember them as they were when they were the sh*t, and there was almost no one to match them. I like to think of Mick dressed up in a wizzard’s costume with a pointy hat on.
The Stones could be handing out 100 dollar bills, bags of cocaine and Claudia Schiffer’s bras and I would still rather see Guided by Voices. GbV can crank out more bullseye guitar riffs and stick-in-your-head choruses in one CD than most bands accrue in an entire career. That’s why we love ’em…
It seems that GBV has a special relationship with their fans. What’s that all about?
Benjamins and blow with the Stones–now that I would pay $300 to see.
I just heard that Robert Pollard of GbV threw out his back. Looks like we’ll all just have to spend $100 a ticket for CSNY, Dylan, the Stones, Neil Young, or any of the other rock “legends” that Michigan kneels down for. Real populist ticket prices, guys. Great. I would love to spend $100 to see them sing “Ohio”. How political and righteous.
GbV are the narcotic of indie rock. Yes, give me one!
I’ve seen the Stones 4 times, and finally caught my first GBV show earlier this year. Instead of the transcendent rock experience I was hoping for, I was just bored. I’ve never understood the concept of playing your entire new album…BEFORE IT EVEN COMES OUT. The Stones, on their worst night, were way better. Sorry.
The Stones were pretty good, for Brits.
you cannot compare the two. the rolling stones, while long in the tooth, are still the greatest rock n roll band in the world. ask nate farley. while GBV does indeed rock your ass off live, the stones have made a 40 year career (40 years!) out of rocking your ass off. any one of us should be so lucky to put out a fraction of the good records they put out. they have no equal, and they never will. (the who come as close as anyone can, but no cigar) they are the rolling feckin stones. they dont need a vh1 special to tell you all that now do they? so give it up and recognize! they still kick ass live!
The Stones are done…GBV RULES!!!! I’m bummed, though, cause I haven’t heard anything about them coming to Colorado this summer… They were in Boulder in February or March and played a lot of stuff from “Universal Truths”… “Everywhere with Helicopter” seemed to rock hardest at the time…Oh Yeah!!GBV blows the Stones away. Sorry, ma.
Doesnt Robert Pollard and Co. do a Stones cover live? I don’t recall the Stones doing any GVB covers…. GBV is great, but they are no Rolling Stones….
I have never heard, heard of, or seen a set list of GbV doing a Stones song. I can IMAGINE them doing a Stones tune with just a touch of satire like Jane’s Addiction did (Sympathy for the Devil)on their first album. As for the Stones, you don’t really think the they have the chops to cover a GbV tune do you ? The Stones are now on life support. Somebody please pull the plug!
well, wade, i guess you havent been to too many gbv shows then. they covered wild horses on the last tour…..as for chops, are you really using the word “chops?” jeez.
Well Turner, I guess one of us is lying because I saw them at the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas, Stubb’s in Austin, and at the in store at Waterloo Records also in Austin- and that was just on the LAST tour. And guess what? They didn’t play a note,or rather, a lick of a Stones tune. As for me using the word chops, yes you have only made a valid observation. Don’t worry you haven’t forgotten how to perceive correctly yet. By the way you still haven’t answered the question but then again a rhetorical question needs no answer.
My wife is layin’ out some $150 to see the Stones, but to her credit she’s also rocked out at 2 GbV shows. Myself? I’m too old to care about almost any show at this point, but after buying the four new 45s from Universal Truths and Cycles and hearing the unbelievable “Cheyenne”–easily one of the all-time GbV tunes and most definitely the first song to get me out of my doldrums in the last year or more–I’ll be hopping the El myself and catching my fourth GbV show later this summer. Forget how much money you’ve wasted on disappointing Fading Captain albums and remember that when they play “Teenage FBI” live it won’t sound like the Styx version on Do the Collapse. Plus you’ll probably get to see Pollard play dress-up for the closing Who cover “Baba O’Reilly,” during which it feels like that great spring of ’95 all over again when they played Bela’s birthday party and everyone at every GbV show had the most fun of their lives. Let’s hope Tobin Sprout drifts back into the fold. If not, let’s hope Pollard releases fewer “Some of the Magic Syrup Was Preserved” teenage tapes and writes many, many more tunes as exuberant as “Cheyenne.”
GbV live is the best fuckin’ band ever.The peanut gallery (Nathan & Tim) are high entertainment.Go see them in Newport,Ky, a helluva town and a great place to catch yer preshow buzz.
Wait a minute, comparing GBV to The Stones is like comparing two cars with same battery. It is all one in the same folks, w/o The Stones you don’t have an “element” of GBV. However, w/o GBV you will not wax nostalgic @ the beauty of raw RAWK like “Honky Tonk Woman”, It is that element of raw that lends itself to real music that anyone can appreciate. Can’t we all just get along…after all, It’s only rock-n-roll, BUT I LIKE IT!!!!!!!
THE ROLLING STONES,ARE STILL FAR THE GREATEST ROCK BAND,OF ALL TIME.THIS GBW,CAN NOT TOUCH THE STONES.I SAW THEM 23 TIMES,4 TIMES ON THERE LICKS TOUR,AN THEY ROCK,AN MICK JAGGER IS FAR,FAR,THE GREATEST FRONT MAN EVER,THEY WOUL STEP ALL OVER GBW,AN ANY OTHER ROCK BAND, THE STONES CAN PLAY,10 DIFFERENT STYLE’S A MUSIC,WHICH NO BAND CAN DO.THE STONES ARE,BY FAR THE KINGS OF ROCK,AN THEY ALWAY’S WILL BE,CHARLIE WATTS,THE DRUMER’S DRUMER,RONNIE WOOD,THE NEW SOBER KID ON THE BLOCK,KEITH RICHARDS,THE KING OF COOL,GREATEST GUITHAR,MAN,MAKES IT LOOK SO EASY, AND MICK.NO ONE,AND NO ONE,CAN MATCH MICK JAGGER,THE GREATEST FRONT MAN,EVER.60 YEARS OLD,AN THE ROLLING STONES,MAKE THESE YOUNG BANDS LOOK,SAD. AN ANOTHER THING,LOOK AT ALL THE BANDS,1000S.THAT ARE,AND WERE INSPIRED BY THEM.THERE FOR STILL AND ALWAY’S WILL BE THE GREATEST ROCKIN ROLL OF ALL TIME.KEEP ON ROCKIN GUY’S.THEY WILL NEVER BE A BAND,LIKE THE ROLLING STONES,THERE FAR THE BEST.JOE