I’ve come to the conclusion, after the first two episodes of the Let It Roll podcast’s current season that a great rock band without proper management is akin to an airborne 747 with a chimpanzee at the controls.
I’ve also concluded, after listening to those two episodes a couple of times and thinking about the learnings therein — the theme this season is rock documentaries — that a great rock band with proper management is akin to an airborne 747 with a chimpanzee at the controls, with a humanoid behind him in the cockpit offering helpful instructions.
By the time adulthood and sanity beckoned in relatively early adulthood, I had played drums in three rock bands. The third one — the one in which I made the least money, helped make some decent, original music and almost lost my mind — came closest to having proper management.
The two guys we tried to recruit as managers in that third band did not work out, but the bandleader was really the manager anyway and taught me and my buds more than we never wanted to know about how the music biz really worked.
The irony in this enterprise known as rock ‘n’ roll is that the minute you put a leash on it and charge money to see it, that chimp is handcuffed and now has to fly the jumbo jet with his feet. Which may be just as well. . .
But there are way worse things to do with your money and time, especially if you’re 12 and the world is turned upside down because you’re about to turn 13 (details to follow in the book I have to finish writing by spring).
And even though Chicago ain’t the MC5 and Grand Funk ain’t the Stooges (and there are connections betwixt and between, mark my words, and Chicago is the more bogus of the two in this regard, and I may ever forgive them for firing the great Danny Seraphine), they worked in a pinch, and theirs were the first records I put on when I began learning to drum with the headphones on.
And now please excuse me while I land this jumbo jet with my feet. At least I ain’t 13.
Ed Legge (@freebirdyeller) is a life-long musician, long-time journalist and sometime corporate dweeb who’s writing a book about originating rock ‘n’ roll’s most absurd tradition.