March 17th is not just St. Patricks Day. It’s my old man’s birthday. When I think of my Dad enjoying himself I think of him laying down in the living room with massive headphones on, a long curly lead running from his cans to the big silver stereo record player and radio combo unit with the neon dial. My Dad’s go to albums included the Easy Rider Soundtrack, Johnny Cash at San Quentin and The Rolling Stones Aftermath.
He’d work on cars and bikes for everyone in the neighbourhood all weekend (everyone in our radius was driving various heaps of crap) but for Sunday dinner he’d come in and clean up before the roast was served. He’d spend ages choosing what album to put on and he’d lay back while the house filled with the smell of cooking beef and roasting potatoes and listen.
My parents were proud to have come from the biker side of the 1960’s youth culture explosion (I’ve been pulled up on more than one occasion for wearing something that might be a bit too Modish). He’s still got the sideburns to this day. Dad was a devotee of The Rolling Stones while Mum was all about The Beatles (until, in her words ‘they went weird’)
Aftermath got played more than any other album because it had Paint It Black on it. What a belter of a song. For people of my age it’s hard to not imagine the title sequence of the TV series Tour Of Duty when the opening guitar refrain rings out. US Army helicopters dropping troops into the jungles of Vietnam are forever tied to this song for people who grew up in the 80’s.
The ye olde folk tuning of Keith’s guitar, the bitter sinister vocals Mick sneers out, the stomp of Watts drumming and the mercurial spell the whole thing casts as it dips it’s toes in psychedelia, invents goth and hints at heavy metal iconography is spellbinding. This was the period the Stones were getting into seriously bad habits, Aleister Crowley and some dark shit. The last 30 second are all weird humming and satanic duelling guitars.
I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky. Dinners ready!
Happy Birthday Dad