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Oi Oi The Gangs All Here: Keith Richards, Peter Pan And The Gang Mentality

I have been reading (and I am almost finished with) Keith Richards memoir with increasing pleasure.

If only for his insight into recording Exile On Mainstreet and the abuses of heroin (and raising Marlon Richards) it is worth the price of admission if not the time it takes to read it.

But it is also a final commentary on the nature of rock bands.

Richards governing characteristic, when you get past the music, is a need for social interaction with his peers. In effect, he never got out of secondary modern: Richards needs his bloke friends, he needs his gang, he needs his mucker and Jaggers' betrayal was in putting himself above the gang.

The reverse was also true, Richards notes a number of times that Jagger was jealous of Richards gang of friends and saw them as both hostile and a threat.

This is an important aspect to rock and roll. In order to become a rock star, you have to put in years of  solitary study. Almost by definition, this means rock stars are socially maladjusted. In his comedy show, Ben Stiller used to play Bono as a hairdresser. His point is well taken. Without rock and roll, where would rock stars be. Where would a Springsteen or a Bono be?

It doesn't need a leap of imagination to see Bono and sidekick the Edge at their local, getting drunk and lecturing all comers on politics and the Pope. You've met a a million of them. And it doesn't need a leap of faith to imagine Springsteen as a factory worker holding onto his job for dear life and romanticizing his existence to anybody who will listen.

They aren't and what makes em difference is a social weirdness offset by stardom. That was the inner story of the Beatles, Lennon, and he said this explicitly, left the Beatles for Yoko Ono. He was sick of being a member of an all boys gang. Lennon didn't want to be Peter Pan (unfortunately, that's what he became).

And that's the story of the Glimmer Twins: all friends together, who needed each other for social reasons.

And… the Beatles, Oasis, Public Enemy, Wu tang, -all the bands and all the poses.

The ongoing dialog between rap stars and their friends, of Big Sean and, yes, Ty the Creator is as follows: I was nowhere and now I am here. But the nowhere boys? They were there and now they're here.

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