Last month we conducted a punny examination of Morrissey’s statement of intent to be buried at the LA celebrity cemetery Hollywood Forever, and we’ve been thinking about rock star grave sites ever since. And about death in general, but that’s the therapist’s problem. So we devoured Guardian’s lengthy roadtrip/examination of British rockstar resting spots and the fan homages that adorn them, which chronicles writer John Harris’s visits to the tombs and memorials of John Bonham, Sandy Denny, Keith Moon, and Marc Bolan (among others). The piece’s thesis comes mid-way through:
A tangle of stuff seems to lie behind these mawkish tributes: from a charitable perspective, a simple devotion to the music, though that element is often overshadowed by slightly warped factors – chiefly, a darkly romantic fixation with dying young. If the central delusion of fandom is the idea that one’s idol is close to a different order of being, the tributes left at graves are that idea in excelsis. No matter that many of the stones denote people who exhibited the usual rock-star pathologies: violence, alcoholism, arrogance, misanthropy. In death, all becomes perfection, plectrums and flowers.
Which is the most eloquent bitch slap you’ll ever get for your worship of false prophets. Dude should hang with The Pope!
Anyway, the piece is fun (to skim), if only to hear the crazy shit that fans put on their rock heroes’ graves. (They’re routinely cleared of clutter, but when the reporter went, Bonham’s was “festooned with paraphernalia, including 80 drumsticks, a copy of Led Zeppelin II and, strangest of all, an all-areas pass for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By The Way tour.” Chad Smith isn’t that derivative!)
Any of you guys made similar pilgrimages? See anything worth writing about? Best we’ve got is a trip to Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris’s Père Lachaise, where a series of kids threw joints, cried, and then screamed when a black cat walked from behind the tombstone. But even without fan-made decoration, this remains the craziest such sight you’ll ever see.