The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 6, 2013

Ojanpa: Stones still gather no moss

By Brian Ojanpa
Free Press Staff Writer

— You hear that the Rolling Stones will be rolling out yet another concert tour this year and two thoughts come to mind:

Good for them.


Will there ever be a last time for “The Last Time” with these guys?

Singer Kenny Rogers crooned that you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.

 Good advice for poker players but still something of a foreign concept for the Stones, who had their first hit single the year President Kennedy was shot but haven’t had another in nearly a quarter of a century.

No matter. These guys are indefatigable, and that especially includes Keith Richards. By all known laws of physiology and pharmacology, he should have died before disco, probably even sooner.

In the event of global nuclear holocaust, the only things left alive will be cockroaches and Keith. That was said in jest decades ago, but it gets truer by the year.

Clearly, these guys love what they do because they just as clearly don’t need to do it. What’s more money to them at this point? And besides, Richards and Mick Jagger are 69, and drummer Charlie Watts turns 72 in June.

Seventy-two. “Get Off My Cloud”? Get off his lawn.

Sorry about that. It’s just way too easy to crack the oldster jokes. Also irrelevant.

The die has been cast: They’re going to have to pry that microphone from Jagger’s cold, dead hands. Until then he’ll chicken  strut up to, and maybe beyond, the day he’s given a walker.

The Rolling Stones are unique in that they’ve become a tribute band unto themselves while, incredibly, still remaining intact.

The Beatles are dead or scattered and The Who and scores of other still-kicking rock bands are down to as little as one original member.

 But the Stones you see are the Stones you’ve gotten for nearly five decades. They’re the most expensive living history exhibit on the planet. Tickets for their five 2012 shows averaged $529 apiece, and every show sold out. They print money.

In 1970, Jagger said this: “I can’t see myself doing all this when I’m 30.”

In 1975 he said this: “I’d rather be dead than sing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 45.”

And this in 1977: “In five years we won’t be touring at all.”

Ah, the folly of youth.


Brian Ojanpa is a Free Press staff writer. Call him at 344-6316 or email