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Thursday, May 2nd, 2002

Days Rock Died

December 17th, 1976: The Rolling Stones have just finished a set at the Municipal Auditorium in Cincinnati, Ohio, and have returned to their luxury hotel followed by an entourage of fans and groupies. With a girl hanging off each arm, bassist Bill Wyman invites guitarist Keith Richards back to his suite for a "party" that he and the other Stones will be having, wink wink. However, Richards declines, and returns to his own suite alone, locking the door behind him. Quietly, he draws a warm bath and digs a Phillip Roth novel out of his suitcase. After soaking for thirty minutes or so, he climbs into bed, writes a letter to his mother, and dozes off while watching a rerun of "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

September 9th, 1978: At a show in Austin, Texas, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones hears something funny in a power E chord during "Pretty Vacant." After the song, he dodges flying beer bottles and loogies, inching closer to his amp in an attempt to figure out the problem. Slowly plucking his guitar strings, Jones nods his head and carefully tunes two or three of them, to the horror of bandmates and audience alike.

April 3rd, 1980: After purchasing a pack of cigarettes at a 7-11 in Novi, Michigan with a ten-dollar bill, Iggy Pop is mistakenly given change for a twenty. Rushing from the store, Pop doesn't realize the cashier's error until he reaches his car and puts the money in his wallet. After a minute or two of contemplation, Pop returns to the store and gives back the extra ten dollars, sheepishly explaining the cashier's error.

March 27th, 1983: David Crosby cuts his hair.

January 13th, 1989: Pete Townshend, on an off day of The Who's US tour, is dragged along on a shopping trip with his wife. While reluctantly browsing through the men's section at Kohl's, Townshend's wife attempts to talk him into purchasing a pair of khaki relaxed fit Dockers. Townshend agrees to try the pants on in an effort to appease his spouse, but surprisingly finds that he likes the way the pants cover up his increasingly chubby thighs while allowing greater freedom of leg movement. To the great pleasure of Mrs. Townshend and the disgust of the rock community, he buys four pairs.

July 30th, 1997: Flipping channels in his Greenwich Village apartment, Lou Reed stumbles upon Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams being played on TBS. While Reed at first rolls his eyes and scoffs to himself over the movie's idyllic portrayal of the rustic farming life and its undying praise for the beauty of baseball, he finds himself unable to change the channel, even during the frequent commercial interruptions. Finally, during the film's closing shot of Costner playing catch with the ghost of his estranged and deceased father, Reed openly weeps, remembering the last time he and his father 'had a catch' forty long years ago.

February 23rd, 2002: Leafing through an issue of the Sunday Times Magazine, Bono stumbles upon an article examining the plight of starving, disease-ridden orphans in the nation of Eritrea. Apparently, a combination of civil war, government corruption, and third-world debt is strangling the natives of this poor East African nation, as evidenced by the glossy photos of twig-thin children. Eyes glossing over, the Irish singer loses interest halfway through the piece, thinks to himself, "Well, what the hell can you do," and flips to the crossword puzzle.

-Rob Mitchum

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