Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nurse the Hate: RIP Lemmy

The death of Lemmy blew up my social media feeds unlike any recent celebrity death.  Notable deaths used to provide a small obit in the back of a newspaper, an awkward paragraph recap of why this person was notable.  “Lemmy was a bass player and leader in Motorhead, a band that had only one real hit yet had managed to maintain a lengthy career for being what other people considered “rock and roll” to look like in the flesh.  Lemmy lived in Los Angeles in an apartment.  He was survived by his cat.”  Then there would usually be the iconic photo of the person.  Things have changed.

Now each celebrity death is used by people to build their own credibility or suggest association with the deceased.  People race to be the first one to react with faux grief and a “RIP” next to even the smallest celebrity.  When BB King died you would have thought it was John Lennon.  People I had never heard mention having even a passing interest in the blues genre were blinded by grief.  “Oh… I see Mary is upset about B.B. King’s death.  I may have misjudged her.  She likes old blues.  She is much more exotic and exciting than I first thought.  Perhaps she is from The Delta.  I hope she is able to shoulder her grief.  Maybe I should reach out to her.”  I know I am being cynical, but unless there is a personal relationship with an entertainer, the death should really be met with a “Oh, that’s too bad.  I hope his family and friends are OK.  Hey, are there any nachos left?”.

When it comes to “social media grief association”, Lemmy is absolute gold.  He always looked cool, and maintained the same essential look for his entire life.  There are probably pictures of him at age 10 with a cigarette and those mutton chops.  Drinking Jack Daniels, playing ear bleeding hard rock, and never changing what made him cool in the first place is great.  The fact that he is a bit of a cult figure makes the social media association even better.  If the people seeing the “RIP” post don’t know who the person is, that’s even better.  “Hey man, you don’t know Lemmy?  What’s wrong with you?”.  What a “personal branding” day yesterday was for the select few that jumped in early.  “RIP Lemmy”=”Yes, I am down with Motorhead and I rock though you might not be aware of it.  As I am saddened by Lemmy’s death, I want to draw your attention to the inevitable conclusion that I am like Lemmy.  We are brothers and now you too are aware.  I’m pretty cool, aren’t I?”

In my little closed society of whacked out middle age punks, roots rock outcasts, and degenerates there is a real pecking order left on the “I’m very upset by this musician’s passing, life is no longer worth living, though I haven’t purchased any music by or seen this musician perform since I was 19”.  I believe the Top 3 “RIP, I can’t go on” living rock stars pecking order now to be:

1.       Keith Richards- May never die, just played a game of squash and had a vodka rocks to cool off afterwards

2.       Willie Nelson- Everyone loves Willie because he is an old guy that smokes tons of pot and didn’t pay his taxes.  99% of these people own no Willie Nelson music.

3.      Iggy Pop- Most folks love the idea of Iggy Pop more than Iggy Pop and couldn’t name a solo record with a gun to their head.  I have a theory that most people will discover that when Iggy Pop passes away that they thought he was Lou Reed and had already died.

Granted, there will be an outcry for the untimely demise of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page or Robert Plant, but they aren’t “outlaw” enough to really engender the true “We are simpatico” social media grief pedestal.  Even Ozzy became too cuddly for the counterculture to embrace his passing with true gusto.   I just don’t see any other order.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to research online to see if Sammy Davis Jr., Erik Estrada, or William Burroughs died recently so I can paste an RIP picture to my social media feeds.   


At December 29, 2015 at 5:54:00 PM EST , Blogger Bobdontgiveaf#ck said...

RIP Lenny. Also, it's pretty remarkable that no one in the Stones is dead yet (Brian Jones being the obvious exception but joining the "27 Club" by drowning before the moon landing doesn't count, and Ian Stewart was not 'celebrity famous'). The WHOLE LINE-UP from the '69 tour is still alive. WTF?

p.s. - I love the idea of Keef sluggin' back a vodka and firing up a Marlboro after a good game of squash. The Human Riff. Indestructible.

At December 29, 2015 at 6:10:00 PM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

The Rolling Stones 69 lineup will probably play a posthumous Paul McCartney/Ringo tribute show.


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