I'm so sick and tired of seeing all these hippies, who once vehemently railed against the establishment and the "plastics", sell out like a bunch of Saigon whores. Have you had the misfortune to hear billionare Steve Jobs and co-billionare Steve Wozniak claim that they still stand for hippie values? How about faux hippies and friends of the factory farm, Ben & Jerry? I mean, seriously, can we cut the pretense? Pretty much everyone from The Rolling Stones to Clapton has completely sold out - so, it's okay to just admit you never really believed that hippie stuff, and you just want lots and lots of money. I have more respect for hip-hop artists than the Haight-Ashbury/Woodstock crowd because at least they're honest about it. At least they admit it's all about the dolla' bill.
Why am I so hot and bothered about this all of a sudden? I guess I've just seen the Dennis Hopper Ameriprise pension plan commercial one too many times. Or maybe I'm sick of seeing The Who open up for David Caruso. It's as if all these hippie rock stars just said, "Gotcha! It was all a joke. Time to cash in." Steppenwolf should change their song to "Born to be Mild".
Needless to say, the number of 1960's rockers who still maintain some semblance of credibility are few and far between. The remaining Beatles had a few sell-out moments (do expensive Rock Band video games count?), but they were due to forces outside their control (such as, Michael Jackson owning the rights to a chunk of their songs), and The Kinks have been pretty much unwavering. However, by far, my favorite hold out has to be John Densmore, the drummer for the Doors. Here's a quote from him that he should be proud of:
“People lost their virginity to this music. Got high for the first time to this music. I’ve had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music. Other people say they know someone who didn’t commit suicide because of this music. On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and magic. That’s not for rent.”
Hell yes. In this day and time when EVERYTHING is for sale and disposable, it's nice to see that there's still something out there that money can't buy. There's still music that didn't end up just another product to be gobbled up and disposed of by consumers. Get this: Cadillac offered him 15 MILLION DOLLARS and he turned it down (much to the consternation of his bandmates). Stay strong, John!
On one occasion the temptation grew too strong, and Densmore sold out to a British tire company. The sound of Morrisson's voice alongside this piece of crap commercial made his stomach turn, and he donated all proceeds to charity. I'm sure The Lizard King forgives you, John.
So, as I watch Graham Nash perform a duet to his counterculture anthem "Teach Your Children" on American Idol and hear The Who play background music for a Nissan commercial, it is comforting to know there are few out there that really did believe in what they were doing. Their music meant something more than a paycheck.
15 million is a lot of money, and I can't honestly say I'd be able to resist that much money waved in front of my face. That being said, the day I hear Mister Mojo Risin singing the theme song to a Shoney's All You Can Eat Breakfast Buffet will be a sad day indeed.