The heart of rock will always remain a primal world of action. The music revives itself over and over again in that form, primitive rockabilly, punk, hard soul and early rap. Integrating the world of thought and reflection with the world of primitive action is *not* a necessary skill for making great rock 'n' roll. Many of the music's most glorious moments feel as though they were birthed in an explosion of raw talent and creative instinct (some of them even were!). But ... if you want to burn bright, hard *and* long, you will need to depend on more than your initial instincts. You will need to develop some craft and a creative intelligence that will lead you *farther* when things get dicey. That's what'll help you make crucial sense and powerful music as time passes, giving you the skills that may also keep you alive, creatively and physically. The failure of so many of rock's artists to outlive their expiration date of a few years, make more than a few great albums and avoid treading water, or worse, I felt was due to the misfit nature of those drawn to the profession. These were strong, addictive personalities, fired by compulsion, narcissism, license, passion and an inbred entitlement, all slammed over a world of fear, hunger and insecurity. That's a Molotov cocktail of confusion that can leave you unable to make, or resistant to making, the lead of consciousness a life in the field demands. After first contact knocks you on your ass, you'd better have a plan, for some preparedness and personal development will be required if you expect to hang around any longer than your fifteen minutes.
Now, some guys' five minutes are worth other guys' fifty years, and while burning out in one brilliant supernova will send record sales through the roof, leave you living fast, dying young, leaving a beautiful corpse, there *is* something to be said for living. Personally, I like my gods old, grizzled and *here*. I'll take Dylan; the pirate raiding party of the Stones; the hope-I-get-very-old-before-I-die, present live power of the Who; a fat, still-mesmerizing-until-his-death Brando—they all suit me over the alternative. I would've liked to have seen that last Michael Jackson show, a seventy-year-old Elvis reinventing and relishing in his talents, where Jimi Hendrix might've next taken the electric guitar, Keith Moon, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and all the others whose untimely deaths and lost talents stole something from the music I love, living on, enjoying the blessings of their gifts and their audience's regard. Aging is scary but fascinating, and great talent morphs in strange and often enlightening ways. Plus, to those you've received so much from, so much joy, knowledge and inspiration, you wish life, happiness and peace. These aren't easy to come by.