Monday, September 14, 2009

Mick Taylor Torn and Frayed

Once in a while there is an article about an old rocker that is so weird it makes you turn your head and say "whaaa?" For example, 70s Lennon clone Gerry Rafferty allegedly vanished last year and the rumor mill heated up that he went MIA two days after checking himself into a hospital due to liver disease. People thought he was abducted or took off to go die in peace in a hole somewhere. According to an update on his Wikipedia entry, he's doing just fine thank you.

But yesterday another weirdo story caught my eye - this time an article about former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, indicating he is for the most part broke due to the Stones not paying him any royalties since 1982. There are photos of his dilapidated house and old moss covered car etc. I guess the club circuit keeps him alive but that's it. No side career as a painter like Ronnie Wood or Paul Stanley as a "fall-back."

If true, this is a travesty. Whether or not Mick is the sharpest tool in the shed or best businessman in the music biz (he's not) aside, his playing on the Stones' albums from 1968 to 1974 is glorious and without him, albums like Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goats Head Soup and It's Only Rock and Roll would not be nearly as staying. And he should be paid for it, like everybody else.

His slide work on stuff like Dancing With Mr D is epic, and his soloing on classics like Time Waits for No One is, well, timeless.

As I loved KISS for Ace Frehley, I love those Stones albums for Mick Taylor's playing.

According to the article, Taylor was written out of his royalties share when the Stones changed labels in 1982, and he never bothered to sue to fix the slight (see 'not the best businessman' above). That plus battling drug issues off and on over the years have taken its toll, and his photo in the article was a bit of a shocker.

I saw Mick Taylor at Slim's in San Francisco in the 90s and he was pretty good. He did the exact same set twice for some reason (must have thought it was an early and late show and didn't notice all the people in the audience were the same), but he was still good.

The article is also a bit of a tell-all (I hope he got paid for it), and an interesting read. I do feel badly for him but it really just makes me want to listen to some old Stones, which of course will only make Mick and Keith richer. Hmmm...

1 comment:

Chris said...

Man, stories like this are a bummer.