Wednesday, May 06, 2015

What You Want is in the Limo - Michael Walker

Walker's book is subtitled "On the road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and the Who in 1973, the year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born". The premise here being that this was the year - as epitomized by these bands seminal albums Houses of the Holy, Billion Dollar Babies and Quadrophenia and subsequent tours - that put the stake in the heart of the 60's r'n'r generation and its "the band and the audience are one" mantra. This was the birth of the modern Rock Star - the golden god perched on his pedestal, far from the common masses, massively wealthy and capable of any wild, debauched and depraved activities, whether it be destroying hotel rooms or "conquering" multiple groupies or selling out stadiums or partying to excess (and beyond) or running to and fro in limos. Excess was to be expected and images had to be upheld at all costs. These three acts were capable of any and everything and more and 1973 was the year that they did it all.

The changes in the business accompany the changes in the rock'n'roller, from more freedom in the studio to technical advancements in live sound to different drugs to more audacious groupies to more visual gigs, Wallker covers as much as he can here. Interestingly enough, he uses Michael Des Barre (Silverhead, Detective, Chequered Past and more) as a common interviewee to give the point of view of someone who was there (though at a much lesser level) and someone who has had interactions with some of the players here.

This is a fun, lightweight read that doesn't really tell anyone anything new, but gives a different context to the proceedings. Certainly not essential, but wor