Thursday, October 12, 2017

The money men

This article by the Guardian's Michael Hann is that rarest of things: a piece in praise of the Beach Boys' Mike Love. Love is widely reviled, but Hann argues that his importance as the group's hard-nosed, business-minded member who held everything together - in contrast to their creative genius, flaky, drug-addicted daydreamer Brian Wilson - should be recognised, as should the similar role played by Mick Jagger, Johnny Ramone and Roger Waters in The Rolling Stones, The Ramones and Pink Floyd respectively.

There's some merit in Hann's argument - not least because their level-headedness, prudence and pragmatism all ensured their bands' longevity, and thus gave us more music to enjoy. But his concluding comments about Johnny Marr are revealing. Marr was able to play this role in The Smiths without being a prick (on the contrary, Morrissey was clearly the wanker in that relationship). By contrast, Mike Love is a petty, money-grabbing buffoon with a hugely overinflated ego, while Johnny Ramone was an out-and-proud Republican who took delight in baiting liberals (including his bandmates) and refused to call Joey Ramone when he was in hospital dying of cancer. Those two, at least, don't get their dues simply because, for other reasons, it's hard to look on them favourably.

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