Madness, Self-Destruction, and Rock and Roll: Michael Walker’s What You Want Is in the Limo
It was forty years ago this month. The 1960s were over, killed at Altamont. Nixon was president and the words Watergate and Oil Embargo were pervasive. Rock music passed from communities to corporations -- from the Fillmore to Madison Square Garden, buses to custom-fit pleasure planes -- and The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper ushered in the modern era of “The Rock Star.” In 1973, these three bands collectively touched nearly every metropolitan area in the United States and Canada, grossed millions of dollars at the gate, and sold just as many copies of their albums Quadrophenia, Houses of the Holy, and Billion Dollar Babies, respectively. Thus, the stage is set for Michael Walker’s What You Want Is in the Limo.
Walker provides his readers with a journalist’s vantage point from which to view the madness, self-destruction, and kick-ass rock and roll of the times. He offers a glimpse into the creative processes behind the classic albums -- most notably Quadrophenia -- how Pete Townshend struggled to top his rock opera Tommy, and how Led Zeppelin thirsted for critical acclaim as they shattered hotel rooms and attendance records. And if you’re wondering just how Alice Cooper fits into the pantheon, the staging, lighting and sound from the Billion Dollar Babies tour changed concerts and performances to this day.
By the time you finish What You Want Is in the Limo, you'll feel as though you've come to know each band, understand their motivations, and better appreciate their creativity. Walker also shows the self-destructive nature of the indulgent music business and of men still in the throes of adolescence dealing with promoters and groupies who will give them anything they need. All of this comes at a great cost (the founding members of all three bands did not survive the ride). If you think it must be so cool to be Robert Plant, or Roger Daltrey, you may want to think twice when someone whispers, "Go ahead, what you want is in the limo."
Check out the full Quadrophenia album below.