It ain’t your fireman or soldier
Who risk the most to do their job.
Your real heroes, I told yer,
Are your bassists and strummers,
Your keyboards and drummers,
Your strutting party-dudes and your master bong-plumbers.
They’re ever alert and ever a-throb,
Just waiting for the call to rock the joint large,
Just waiting to save us from the numpties in charge,
Just waiting for the call from the downtrodden mob
To rescue us all from the bummers.
But the price is high, the fates are sprung:
Too many albums filled with the songs they never sung.
Too many sobbing fans recoiling at the haste
With which their idol’s promise was undone.
Too many, many bands atrophied by the waste,
Too many mothers lost their rebel son.
Recruited to the cause while they’re still within their teens,
They slave away for years in their thousand-dollar jeans,
With the hair and the teeth and the endless magazines.
They’re out there, dying too young;
Labour-market casualties, axemen unstrung.
Do they really hope to die before they get so old ?
Before they’re easy-list‘en‘ing gold,
Before the cramps have taken hold ?
Or do they think they’re better dead before their soul is sold ?
Before their shooting star has stalled,
Before they’re shagged-out, fat and bald ?
Sometimes living on, they cry, just makes the struggle cheaper.
To play the great gig in the sky, don’t fear he reaper.
Some won’t even make it to the twenty,
Many dead before the big three-oh.
Thus drop the mighty cognoscenti –
When ev’ry flight to Rio
Is another flight could crash,
And what else but on drugs
Can they find to chug their cash ?
And the groupies are exhausting,
And the booze is flowing plenty,
And their bodies suffer burn-out and the rash.
Thus the endless nights of forcing
Make their flesh all pocked and denty,
And suddenly their eyes have lost their flash.
Then when at last the blues hit town,
They gloom on up and come on down,
And find a noose to wear or vein to slash.
And early years, or so I hears, are diciest of all
As the Mayfruits of success will press the harvester to call.
But if they still kick ass at fifty,
Got no pension, ain’t so thrifty,
Gotta take another tour of duty – such a haul.
Sponging cronies, bootleg phonies, “Hello Montreal”,
Three-legged ponies, alimonies, drive them to the wall.
So what sets them so thrillingly upon a road so killingly,
And choose a trade so willingly that sees her children fall ?
Yet still you’re out there, gods divine,
With scream and shout.
Keep on flouting it for ev’ry single one of us,
Keep on pouting it for ev’ry single mug and wuss.
You’re always there, walking the line,
Just rockin’ out.
Keep on vaunting it for those of us who never can,
Keep on flaunting it and sticking it right to the Man,
Keep on party on and shine,
Just like it’s Nineteen Ninety-Nine.
For they can never undermine the peace and love that you began.
You’re always out there living it, living for us all;
And cos you are so superstar,
You lighten up our daily crawl –
You make it all alright by far, for us to be so small.
So rest in peace, and rest in rock, each fallen avatar:
Your life was brief, yet through our grief
Comes weeping your guitar.