Friday, February 26, 2010

A question for Ronnie Van Zandt...

re: Simple Man

Dear Ronnie,
I know that you are in heaven with your mama now, and I hesitate to bring up anything that might cause an emotional rift between you two, but I just have to ask something about the song, Simple Man.

You know the song, the one that goes:
Be a simple kind of man.

And maybe some day you'll love and understand.

Baby, be a simple kind of man.

Won't you do this for me son, if you can?

In it, you share all the sage advice your mother gave you when you were young. And it is fine advice--follow your heart...find a woman...forget your lust for the rich man's gold... All good stuff.

My question is this: did it ever bother you that she seemed to have such low expectations for you? I mean, "Be a simple kind of man?" Is that really the best she thought you could be? Just be simple. Don't be complex, or ambitious, or interesting, or multifaceted. Just simple. In the song, you never say what your reaction to all this advice was, or if you followed it. 

Honestly though, I'm surprised you remembered the conversation at all. You say that she said, "Come sit beside me, my only son," so this must have happened before your brothers Donnie and Johnny were born. You would have been, what, four years old? Pretty heavy stuff to put on a preschooler. Seriously, Ronnie, the more I think about it, I don't know if your mom was doing you any favors with this little heart-to-heart.

Anyway, I sincerely hope all is well with you, and honestly, do not feel any pressure to respond personally to this question. Just wanted to let you know that some of us are still thinking about what you said. 

But no matter what your mom says, I'm still gonna lust for the rich man's gold. Gimme that gold, rich man!

Got a question for one of the Van Zandt brothers or another classic rocker?
Send it in to the rockmocker, and we'll post it here.

Full lyrics to Simple Man here

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