Saturday, May 14, 2005

"Detox Mansion"

Once upon a time, rock stars were larger-than-life characters, living expensive yet grubby lives at 100 mph, partying all night, doing industrial quantities of drugs, drinking till their livers imploded and, for a few years at least, living to tell the tale. Sadly now, more and more of those titans from the edge are being gathered as their youth catches up with them. They're being replaced by clean, polished, PR'd, corporate kids, who are more concerned with the long-term yield on the investments they made off their first album, whose sound, image and look is carefully focus-grouped until it meets the very widest possible demographic. Compare and contrast Led Zeppelin defenestrating televisions from the Edgewater Inn in Seattle with Robbie Williams' tours being underwritten by corporate America. Hmmmm.
And when these new, young stars do go off the rails, as in the case of the Libertines' Pete Doherty for example, their descent into the time-honoured tradition of excess is documented in salivating detail by the media. I don't recall any headlines reading: "My Drug Hell, by Jimmy Page", for example. And when Doherty got packed off to the Priory, or whatever detox centre it was, we all travelled with him.
"Detox Mansion" is Warren Zevon making more or less the same journey as Pete Doherty, but a tad more anonymously: "Left my home in Music City/In the back of a limousine/Now I'm doin' my own laundry/And I'm gettin' those clothes clean/Growin' fond of Detox Mansion/And this quiet life I lead/But I'm just dying to tell my story/For all my friends to read." There's a howling sense of irony all through this song, an amused outsider's perspective, as if it were being told to a journalist: "Well, it's tough to be somebody/And it's hard not to fall apart/Up here on Rehab Mountain/We gotta learn these things by heart."

4 comments:

Cocaine Jesus said...

Ok, Ok you bastard, I'm hooked. Time to visit Virgin or HMV and to check out Warren (RIP) Zevon.

Londinium said...

another soul lost to rock n roll........

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Page went clean and he didn't need everyone else to know. Thats the way he is!!

lessthansix said...

Although, this song was a musical snapshot of his life at that time. I would look to the songs "The French Inhaler" and "Carmelita" from his self- titled 2nd album. They touch on alcohol and drugs, respectively. Ofcourse, neither of them end with any real sense of resolve but that's a quality they share with the real world.