I'm curious how you felt about the Rolling Stones playing halftime during Super Bowl XL yesterday. What do they have to do with American football, Motown, or anything American other than making money off of football fans foolish enough to pay the exorbitant fees for the privilege of watching their live shows in arenas across the US of A? Why didn't we see a Motown Revue during halftime with the biggest and best of R&B and Rap -- no Kid Rock, no Eminem, no George Clinton and P-Funk? No Iggy Pop, no Bob Seger, no MC5, no Ted Nugent?
What kind of bullshit is that? Where were the men and women who made Detroit one of the most vital music cities ever in the history of pop culture? What few who were invited were reduced to an opening slot in their hometown. Joss Stone and John Legend with Stevie Wonder? C'mon. Are the network executives that terrified that someone's nipple might get exposed again a la Janet Jackson, like two years previous? Or is because the Stones have been at it for forty plus years so it was a "safe" marketing decision?
Got to love the fact that the NFL is selling one of the most violent sports on the planet and packaging it like it's good clean fun for the whole family.
Don't get me wrong, I love football. Hell, I played on a state championship team in high school in Ohio, the area of the country where football was born. But to co-op a brand with all these corporate sponsors and marketing maestros as if it were anything other than what it is -- modern day gladiators -- is the scam of the century.
And yet, even the Rolling Stones -- far more dangerous than one little brown nipple -- even cleaned up their lyrics for this homogenized violence. During the first stanza of the first verse of "Rough Justice" one of the best songs on their latest and maybe best CD in 15 years, A Bigger Bang. Mick Jagger dropped a "potentially" dirty word from his lyrics. I present evidence A:
"One time you were my favorite chicken,
Now you've grown into a fox
And once upon a time I was your little rooster,
And now I'm just one of your cocks..."
Someone on the live feed in the director's booth turned down the volume for the word "cocks." What in the world are we selling here -- rock and roll as safe, digestible liver pills for the aging baby boomer rock fans with pot bellies and hearing aids?
But I digress, cuz why was Sir Mick the shill of the NFL to begin with? Both are co-oping their brands to wholesale their products to the mass market on a global scale. The Stones want to continue charging outrageous ticket prices for their concerts and need to sell out stadiums everywhere while the NFL wants to become America's favorite pastime as they push the Super Bowl farther and farther into winter so it buts up against spring training. We don't need a longer football season anymore than we need a longer baseball season stretching well into the football season every fall.
And we don't need British rock acts selling American sports. We need George Clinton, Eminem, Aretha Franklin (it took a national campaign just to get her the National Anthem slot), Kid Rock, Smokey Robinson, The White Stripes singing "Standing on The Verge of Gettin' It On." That's what we needed from the halftime show in Detroit.
After all, I wonder how many of the NFL players on the Steelers and Seahawks even own any Rolling Stone CDs. Well, maybe they got the new one in their lockers after the game.
Oh, and the Steelers were crowned the champs, winning 21-10.
Converge is the Word!
Dusty, Mr. Wright is the former editor-in-chief of Creem and Prince's New Power Generation magazines as well as a writer of films, fiction, and music. He is also a singer/songwriter who has released 3 solo CDs and a member of the folk-rock quartet GIANTfingers. And before all of this he was an agent at the William Morris Agency!