Sunday, December 12, 2010
If you're not a football fan and have no knowledge of the late, great Sir Stanley Matthews, or equally the name 'Wedgewood' doesn't instantly evoke the industrial revolution or unique blue and white china pottery, you will be forgiven for not knowing of this fine (and illustrious) English town. In truth, its contemporary music connections have never really meant it featured high on the on the rock'n'roll map.
But, thanks to the (almost unimaginably) far sighted burghers of this relatively small town, its position on the rock heritage trail is about to be cemented (perhaps quite literally!).
Go on then, trivia-quiz, who are the rock son's of Stoke? Give up? How about Robbie Williams... and Slash... and, wait for it... Lemmy! Usually towns wait until the death of a famed son until he's remembered in stone or bronze, but seemingly not Stoke. No, such is the distinguished career of the grizzled one, Ian Kilmister, a.k.a. Lemmy, that he is be memorialised while still living. Slightly bizarre this may be, but definitely welcome.
My friend, Graham, tells the great story of Lemmy climbing into the lighting rigging at Manchester Electric Circus while he was doing the lights there in the late 70s. Lemmy, apparently well out of it (no, surely some mistake...), bent his ears for several hours with repetition of the line 'they can't sack me from Hawkwind... it's my band... anyway, I slept with all their wives. The bastards...'.
Stoke like honouring their sons; Stan Matthews already stands proud outside the local footie stadium, as does Josiah Wedgewood in another part of town. Why should not Motorhead's Lemmy join them? And indeed why wait until mortality does catch up with this death-defying, icon of heavy metal excess?
Who else in rock has the honour of a statue? Buddy Holly in Lubbock; Elvis in Memphis; Freddie Mercury in Montreux; Phil Lynott in Dublin (see photo); Lennon in Liverpool; Stevie Ray Vaughan in Austin; Brian Jones in Cheltenham; Bob Marley in Kingston; Hendrix in Seatle; Johnny Ramone at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Cemetery; Bon Scott in Fremantle; and Zappa has two, one in Vilinus, the other in Baltimore. Jerry Garcia is supposedly to get one in Fairfax, CA. And soul stars, Otis, James Brown and Ray Charles have also been 'erected'. There's the 'annonymous'rock star posed in Xi Dan Shopping District in Beijing, China.
Does anyone know of others? Sculptress, Laura Lian, has been trying to get support for another of Lennon in NYC but I don't think the project has come to fruition. I think the local Cambridge council vetoed a statue of Syd Barret. Shame on them.
And who else should be thus immortalised? Keith Moon? George Harrison? Jim Morrison could have his bust returned to Paris Père Lachaise Cemetery for his 30th anniversary. Surely Townes Van Zandt deserves one? As does Janis Joplin.
Of course, in these financially-challenging times, perhaps we should be content with a body part, if not running to the life-sized figure; Jerry Garcia's hand (even to the missing half-finger) has bizarrely been immortalised in bronze in Santa Barbara. Now there's a thought... maybe there's a new role for ‘plastercast’ Susie, or perhaps this is what the burghers of Stoke are anyway planning for Lemmy!