Maron is a lot of things but, above all else,
he is a stand up comic. If you’ve seen Maron in films, on television, or on
stage, you know he can act, but Maron is not an actor; if you’ve read his
memoir, The Jerusalem Syndrome, you
know that Maron is a hell of a writer, but he’s not an author; and if you heard
his voice on Air America or, more recently, on his revered podcast, WTF (which Ira Glass referred to as “the New York Times of comedy podcasts”),
then you know Maron is an eloquent and adept interviewer and storyteller, but
he’s no “on-air personality.” Marc Maron is an immensely intelligent an gifted
performer and writer, but above all else, Marc Maron is a stand up comic, and
Marc Maron is as good at being a stand up comic as you or I could ever hope to
be at whatever we choose to do (or whatever chooses us, or whatever).
you’re not familiar with Maron’s work, he tells a story that sums it up pretty
young woman who had just seen me came out on to the street, came up to me,
excited, and said, ‘You were really great. You’re like Woody Allen.’ Of course,
I found a way to make that a negative and said, ‘Really, I think I’m a little
angrier than Woody Allen.’ In response she said, ‘You’re like an Iggy Pop-Woody
an honor and a great pleasure to start this column back up again by talking to
Marc Maron about the Stones and, more specifically, “It’s Only Rock and Roll.”
Rock and Roll” is a really interesting choice. It’s maybe not as iconic a
Stones tune as “Satisfaction” or “Brown Sugar,” but it does
serve as a sort of musical mission statement for the Stones. What is it about
this tune that stands out to you?
There seems to be a groove, a bounce,
between Charlie and Keith, that to me is Stones perfection. Keith running that
pure Chuck Berry drive shaft fueled on his entire musical life and near-deaths
up to that point. Charlie is crisp and forceful; Bill fills those holes in a
big, smooth way. It seems that Keith shifted his sound on this album. Maybe it
was the drugs, the exhaustion, or the stress of the drugs and the exhaustion,
but there is a dirty rumble and raw crunch to it. I don’t know if it was to
compensate for or complement Mick Taylor’s methodical, lyrical sweetness but
this is definitely a wall of Stones rhythm and a deep-dug crumbling dam of
Keith. Jagger lives this song laid back, wired, nasty and swampy at the same
“It’s Only Rock and Roll” is a
grand filthy anthem that blew my mind. It is creepy, beautiful, menacing
and sexy to me. I believe the first time I encountered it was maybe on the Merv
Griffin show when I was like 11 or 12, and the Stones were on the show in
sailor suits playing the song and they did all this weird shit with the camera
lenses — fish eyed and moving around. It blew my little mind and planted some
serious bad seeds and sexual weirdness in me.
Keith’s playing seems more fluid on this record, but not in a boring or languid
way. The evolution of his playing is pretty wild to go back and listen to, but
by this time he had really settled into a groove. Is this the Stones record, or
era, you reach for most often?
I reach for the Beggars, Exile, Let it Bleed era first but lately I find myself reaching for this
record and Love You Live. I do go
back to Black and Blue occasionally
and Some Girls. Rarely the early
stuff, other than the very first album.
has always seemed to me that, by the mid-’70s, a lot of Jagger’s thing was
contrived. Do you think there’s a level of self-parody in “It’s Only Rock and
Roll,” or is this one of the last few honest Jagger moments?
I don’t think the Jagger thing was any
more contrived on this album than it was anywhere else once he figured out what
that thing was.
I think it was just habit and style but the singing is great. I didn’t get a
sense that he was a self-parody until Some
Girls, really. He sings the fuck out of this album and he sounds great.
There are some GREAT Stones songs on this album — as good as any other songs
they ever wrote. “Till the Next Goodbye,” “If you Really Want to Be My Friend,”
“Dance Little Sister,” “Short and Curlies.” Come on.
great tunes. I just put on Black and Blue recently and there’s some stuff on there that I had forgotten about completely:
“Hand of Fate,” “Crazy Mama,” “Fool to Cry.” I sort of drift away from their
catalog after Some Girls, as well.
It’s too hit-and-miss after that.
Stones were always hit-and-miss. I
mean, come on. They’re not the fucking Beatles.
true but, from Beggars to Exile is a pretty unbelievable creative
run. It’s 32 years of a few peaks and way too many valleys since Some Girls. Are the Stones a band that
strikes you as still being capable of great work, or are they just a Brand now?
Does it even matter at this point?
think it is possible that between them there is another album there. I haven’t
cared about them in any real way since Bill stopped touring with them. I really
stopped at Some Girls, though I like
a couple of songs on Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You. I think if they
stripped it all down and got back to what they were very early on sound-wise –
a blues band – it would make for a great record. I think if they did a studio
record along the lines of the El Mocambo disc of Love You Live it would be awesome – but a dream. They would
have to let someone else produce it, they’d have to get Bill to give a shit
about working again and Keef and Mick would have to get along. I think those
obstacles are probably too big.
Kasey Anderson is a songwriter, singer, dog owner and bacon enthusiast from Portland, Oregon. His three albums, Dead Roses (2004), The Reckoning (2007), and Nowhere Nights (2010) have earned plenty of praise from critics (No Depression, USA
Today, The Onion) but, unfortunately, have not as yet yielded the
Swedish Fish endorsement Anderson so badly desires. If you’d like to
have Kasey Anderson sing, play harmonica and strum a guitar at you,
you’ll find him on tour all spring and summer (dates and info available
or if you’d simply like to read on as Anderson discusses various songs
with other artists, writers, friends and cohorts, you’re in the right