Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Billy the Kid, Street Fighting Man?

March 30, 2011

Pulled a portrait of Billy the Kid out of my failure pille this morning and gave it a go. Kind of overworked it, especially around the mouth, but it has some potential. I was aiming at a cross between the All-American Boy and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

It's a tough line to capture. The Kid obviously had a mean streak and he was closer to Keith Richards, in style and demeaner, than say, Paul McCartney or Bruce Springsteen (see Beatle Billy below, bottom row, middle; or The Boss, top row, fifth from left):

The reason I am comparing Billy to bad boy Keith Richards is probably because a neighbor lent me her copy of "Life" the new autobiography of the Rolling Stone lead guitarist and I have been amazed by his candor, honesty and humor. One of the things I learned is that, according to Keith, the Stones didn't make any money until 1967. "There was no money in any of the American tours. Everybody was rooming with everybody. We did the T.A.M.I. show in America late in 1964—the show where we came on after James Brown—to get us back home. We earned $25,000." Keith goes into detail about how many of the promoters either ripped them off, or simply didn't pay them. They did make some cash but Keith claims they spent all their money on traveling expenses (which obviously included illegal substances). Keith claims he never made "real money" until he wrote the song "As Tears Go By" which is way into the game.

I remember playing Stones songs in our high school band, the Exits, in the sixties and imagining what it would be like to be in the bigtime like the Beatles, The Stones and the Dave Clark Five. Ha.

Little did I know that we were making, on average, $30 a night, per man, in the Exits, during the 1964-65-66 tours (of the American Legion and the Elks Club and the Girl's Gym in Kingman). Plus, we were all living with our parents, so that $30 was pure fun money! I guess it's safe to say, we were way ahead of the Stones in terms of actually making money for at least three years.

Here is an illustration of that rivalry, Mick Jagger vs. Bob Boze Bell:

Which one is the real Street Fightin' Man?

"But I try, and I try, and i try and i try—I can't get no, no satisfaction."

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