• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

We are inching along, but not as quickly as we (or you) would like. If you have already donated, thank you so much. If you haven’t had a chance, consider skipping the coffee this week and drop CounterPunch $5 or more. We provide our content for free, but it costs us a lot to do so. Every dollar counts.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Stoic Soul

Some people can put on a great show without moving at all. Roy Orbison could stand behind those sunglasses like a wax museum sculpture and command the attention of thousands.  Miles Davis didn’t even have to face forward when he was performing. But the king of stoicism was Bill Withers. He spent the majority of his time on stage without even a guitar strap, sitting on a bar stool, letting his songs put on the show for him.

And the way he played imitated the way he lived. Unlike most musicians Withers didn’t start making music until he was in his early thirties. By the time he put together the money to record his first demo he had already overcome a crippling stuttering habit, served in the Navy for almost a decade and worked for the Douglass Aircraft Corporation (making toilets). Inan interview from his early career the audience laughs at his old day job, but he just smiles and says it was a pretty good gig.

For the next ten years he had a thousand or so more good gigs. He recorded a few great albums and a few really good ones while keeping true to his unique aesthetic and point of view. After playing the Thrilla in Manilaconcert, touring the world and collecting a few Grammies you could say he had come a long way from his hometown of Slabfork, West Virginia.

After a career like this most artists would keep running their success into the ground. They’d squeeze back into the leisure suits or their spandex pants and try to dredge up the feelings they had twenty or thirty years ago. You can see that Mick Jagger still remembers the moves and can imitate himself pretty well, but an old folks home ain’t no place for a street fighting man. Instead, Withers started a family and settled down to a quiet lifestyle, raising his kids and growing old.

It’s not the kind of happy ending most folks would look for. We don’t like to see the people who inspired us so much stop doing what we’ve come to love them for. But if you asked Mr. Withers what he thought about his music career he’d probably just smile and say it was a pretty good gig.

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 22, 2019
Gary Leupp
The Kurds as U.S. Sacrificial Lambs
Robert Fisk
Trump and the Retreat of the American Empire
John Feffer
Trump’s Endless Wars
Marshall Auerback
Will the GOP Become the Party of Blue-Collar Conservatism?
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Trump’s Fake Withdrawal From Endless War
Dean Baker
Trump Declares Victory in China Trade War
Patrick Bond
Bretton Woods Institutions’ Neoliberal Over-Reach Leaves Global Governance in the Gutter
Robert Hunziker
XR Co-Founder Discusses Climate Emergency
John W. Whitehead
Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A World Partnership for Ecopolitical Health and Security
Binoy Kampmark
The Decent Protester: a Down Under Creation
Frances Madeson
Pro-Democracy Movement in Haiti Swells Despite Police Violence
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Challenges Logging and Burning Project in Methow Valley
Chelli Stanley
Change the Nation You Live In
Elliot Sperber
Humane War 
October 21, 2019
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Wolf at the Door: Adventures in Fundraising With Cockburn
Rev. William Alberts
Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Sheldon Richman
Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain
Horace G. Campbell
Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
Jim Kavanagh
The Empire Steps Back
Ralph Nader
Where are the Influentials Who Find Trump Despicable?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Poll Projection: Left-Leaning Jagmeet Singh to Share Power with Trudeau in Canada
Thomas Knapp
Excuses, Excuses: Now Hillary Clinton’s Attacking Her Own Party’s Candidates
Brian Terrell
The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”
Paul Bentley
A Plea for More Cynicism, Not Less: Election Day in Canada
Walter Clemens
No Limits to Evil?
Robert Koehler
The Collusion of Church and State
Kathy Kelly
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Charlie Simmons
How the Tax System Rewards Polluters
Chuck Collins
Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail