Saying goodbye to Robbie Robertson, architect of The Band
Nope we’re just gym buddies. George introduces me to new authors and I try to dampen down his political pessimism which is a workout in and of itself!
Thank you. Great words and feeling(s) and yes, conclusion. I came to The Band through a friend whose closest (but much) older brother was already a huge fan (a book or podcast or whatever could be based upon the influence of older siblings on their littles' musical taste... that would be a corker). We bought the record and watched the Last Waltz on PBS and blew away an all school assembly with another friend and I on knock off Les Paul guitars barely holding together a Neanderthal Bo Diddley (mongrel-filtered through the Doors/Band/Thorogood) beat as my friend melded Iggy Pop (did we even know who he was?) and Jim Morrison and Animal from the Muppets and... by the time the last crunchcrunchcrunch crunchcrunch decayed in the corners of the gym and the singer's shirt was... somewhere, the students were appreciative... supportive but the faculty were on their feet and hollering. It was a moment. I digress(ed). Your conclusion... stings but true things often do. I was a Levon man from early days principally due to the scarf Robbie chose to wear for The Last Waltz. And... his smugness throughout that great movie. And then This Wheel's On Fire confirmed my chosen side. And yes, Robbie's not returning fire was disciplined or compassionate but likely as not due to his knowing that much of what was said was true. But it does not matter. What no doubt would have been worthy and catchy and likely superb music made apart, they made empyreal together. And so, again, Thank You.
What a fine piece of writing! And, while probably apocryphal, the Clapton story is great. “We don’t jam, we play songs” fully expresses my music fan philosophy
Matt, so good, thank you, your substack is such a great value. The Band and the Stones are 2 of my favorite bands (particularly classic rock, John Prine, Jason Isbell, etc. from Americana rounding out my other favorites). How do you compare the Stones run of Beggars Banquet through Exile on Main Street with The Band's Music from Big Pink through Moon Dog Matinee? I think the Stones are all overall 1A with The Band being 1B. For me, classic rock rankings after them are CCR, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, then The Beatles.
I want a cut. The book should be audio only with cuts of the Bands music throughout. Best seller, no doubt.
Easily seen. Nice work. Very nice. Beginnings of a book I would think. Don't know about sales but you would do a good job. BTW, my credit card was purchasing hookers in Thailand a few days ago. Bank shut it down without even asking if I was there. As the Boxer says, there were times when I was so lonesome I took some comfort there - long ago in a far away war. Anyway, will resubscribe when new card arrives.
It’s yr fantastic guided tour of the links that made it one sweet afternoon. Thank u
Wow. Thanks, Matt. After reading this I truly have no words. Amazing eulogy for not only Robbie but The Band as a whole. Thank you, sir.
Matt, Two words, Thank You.
This 64 year old long time fan of The Band is smiling from ear to ear with a tear in my eye......
Whew! It took me three sittings to finish, but that was awesome! I’m not going to pretend I had a lot of knowledge about The Band before reading this, but you pulled me in. I listened to their music to and from work today. Many thanks!
Well done. Props for all the time and effort you must have put into this.
Saved his piece. Will be watching for weeks. Hope the links survive
Once again, I find myself in a strange place as a reader: avidly reading 20,000 words about a band (literally "the" Band) about which I have no particular connection, interest, love for or fond memories of, either directly or indirectly as if one of their songs was in the background as something momentous happened to me.
I appreciate the cranky old man "get off my lawn" tone of the opening paragraph - classic Labash, to be sure, but you do it so well - to the eulogies for every single member and the entire corpus of their music together and apart.
I have no idea how long you spent on background but this entire piece is absolutely incredible. I listened to every video embed and as I did so, I had the realization that _of course_ I know their music, but if I had a gun to my head, I couldn't have told you who played it or what it was really called. (You mean the song isn't titled Take a Load off Fanny?! News to me.)
Thanks for the education.
(edits: grammar, word choice)
Wow. Adding the Band to my vinyl wishlist.
C.E.MARTIN & Co
MADE IN U.S.A.
My D18 was stamped in 1974
This piece alone is worth the subscription. Thank you and well done!