(With a nod and a wink to Monty Python’s “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch.)
David Bowie — First Pop Star
Iggy Pop — Second Pop Star
Lou Reed — Third Pop Star
Bob Dylan — Fourth Pop Star
Four men dressed in a variety of leather, velvet, denim, and satin are sitting together in a suite at the Hotel Chelsea in New York City. Vampire Weekend’s “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” is playing in the background.
Yeah, very palatable, that, very palatable roast beef.
I’d slash my muscled midriff with a broken beer bottle for a glass of Black Pearl cognac, eh, Louis?
Right on, James.
Who’d’ve thought forty years back we’d be sitting’ here drinking Black Pearl cognac, huh, eh?
In those days, we were happy to have the price of a tab of acid.
Half a microdot.
Without Lysergic diethylamide.
On torn blotting paper.
Hey, we never had blotting paper. We used to have to take ours from soggy toilet roll.
The best we could do was suck on a piece of discarded tissue.
But, hey, guys, we were cool in those days, though we were unknown.
Because we were unknown. My old man used to say to me, “Fame doesn’t buy you health.”
Ain’t that the truth?
I was cooler then and I had nothing. We used to crash in this small pad with no groupies, no dealers.
Pad! You were lucky to have a pad! We used to live in bass drum, all four of us, no snare, half the cymbals missing, and Ron, Scott, Dave, and I were all bunched together scared one of us would let out a paradiddle.
Jeez, you were fortunate to have a drum! We used to live in John’s cello!
We used to hallucinate about living in John’s cello! Would have been a double bass to us. We used to live in an old makeup box in Biba. We were woke up every morning by having Twiggy dump rotting lipstick on us. Pad?!
Man, when I say ‘pad,’ it was a hole in an alley behind the Savoy Hotel covered by a cue card with “basement” written on it, but, man, it was a pad to us.
We were chucked out of our fun house; had to go crash in the dirt.
You were lucky to have dirt! There were four of us plus Nico living in a tape-loop in the middle of the studio.
You were well fortuitous. Four of us spent five months in a sound booth in Soho. We had to leave the nightclub by six in the morning, soundproof the booth, eat spaghetti made of guitar strings, start recording “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide,” “Five Years,” and “Lady Stardust” for pony royalties, and when we got back to the club, Tony DeFries would beat us with “Woody” Woodmansey’s drumsticks.
Prodigal. We used to vacate the dirt at four a.m., polish the dirt, eat a mouthful of little dolls, record for five months in goddamn downtown Detroit just to pay back our advances, and when we returned to gigging, the Scorpions biker gang threatened to kill us, if we were lucky!
That’s nothing. We had it hard. We used to have to get to Andy’s Factory at midnight and make Edie Sedgwick lick paint clean. We ate two bits of old film stock, rehearse for the Exploding Plastic Inevitable and then try to wrestle any weapons from Valerie Solanas.
Right. I performed 63 concerts in 63 days, crashed my motorcycle causing concussion and cracked vertebrae, got out of my hospital bed before I had chance to heal properly, ate rock, salt, and nails, drank tears of rage, asked Robby Robertson to quit kicking my dog around, and when we got down to the Big Pink’s cellar, Woody Guthrie and Allen Ginsberg leapt about naked singing “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.”
And you try telling Weezer or Coldplay that and they won’t believe you.