Stones indulgence

I like to think I’m good at staying up to date with noteworthy Rolling Stones videos, but somehow I missed this ADORABLE video of Mick and Keith talking about their shared flat in London:

I would love more than anything to just listen to them talk about mundane things like carpets and laundry. Horrrrrrendous.

Last time I was back home I packed up a box of Beatles and Stones books from the archives so I could clear out some space in my parents’ garage (Alex and I have a house now, so I can finally fill my place of residence with as many books as I want, muahaha). One of them was Nankering with the Rolling Stones by James Phelge, described as “a hilariously disgusting memoir of living with Mick, Keith, and Brian in a squalid Chelsea flat in 1963.” I almost put it in the donate pile, but figured it might be worth a re-read. And now, inspired by the above video, I’ve had an amusing time flipping through it again. If anyone’s looking for stories from the Edith Grove days, this book is a solid gold mine.

A couple of days later we came home together and found all the pots and pans, as well as the cutlery, neatly arranged on the small kitchen table. They looked gleaming and clean, almost like new.

A few minutes later Judy from downstairs came up and entered the kitchen. “I picked up all your pans and cleaned ’em for you,” she said. “What did you throw them all in the garden for?”

“Because they were dirty,” replied Keith.

“Keith,” she said. “You can’t just throw them out the window if they’re dirty. You have to wash them.”

“We thought it was gonna rain and that would clean them,” I told her.

She pulled a face that told us she thought we were hopeless. We just stared at her and smiled.


Of course, after all this, I turned to YouTube and went down a rabbit hole of early Stones videos. In particular, the early TV performances when they were basically a cover band, like this gem:

Look at those bebes!! Mick is such an effortlessly sexy frontman, ughhh. And lol at Ed Sullivan trying to mimic Mick’s pointing at the end.

Also tucked away somewhere in my parents’ garage is a VHS tape I got from Spin Records with all of the Stones’ Ed Sullivan performances on it. I was obsessed with that VHS for a while. There are some memorable shows in that collection, like when they were forced to change “let’s spent the night together” to “let’s spend some time together,” in which I count at least five eye rolls, and the many examples of Brian Jones playing nonstandard instruments in pop songs (no comment on the sitar and mallet technique). Anyway, I’m getting a little carried away but all of this is to say, I’ve been on an early-Stones kick and it’s been very fun.

Now before I go listen to some 1970s Stones (the best era, although honestly they’re all excellent), here’s some bonus 2021 Jagger content: Mick and his cat Nero ūüėć

I went to a Stones concert and now my life is complete

tattoo-you-600x600Ok, so a little background… Sometime between 8th and 9th grade, after I’d exhausted all the Beatles albums and found myself searching¬†through my dad’s record collection for more old music, I turned to the Rolling Stones. The first album I remember listening to out in the garage was¬†Tattoo You, a mix of pure adrenaline-fueled rock (“Hang Fire” was my favorite) and dreamy, slow-burning ballads that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. Anyway, a few albums and secondhand VHS tapes later, I was hooked. It was like falling in love with the Beatles all over again, except this band had decades of material to catch up on. I went through a particularly fun phase in¬†high school where¬†I went around trying¬†to imitate Keith Richards’ swagger, much to my mom’s horror. And then later,¬†Exile on Main Street became my go-to tour album, and to this day it reminds me looking out the bus window at interstate highways and cornfields and people out on their porches in Mississippi.

Over the last five years or so,¬†I’ve watched at least two Stones tours go by without being able to get tickets (as in, stuck on the Ticketmaster wait page until tix sold out). So when I got word of the tour this year, I was pretty much ready to do anything, including using my mom’s AMEX to get into the¬†presale, blocking off time on my work calendar to buy tickets, and then making my boyfriend drive 500 miles with me to San Diego because¬†it’s the only west coast¬†stop on the tour. And to my infinite happiness, it all worked like a dream! (Don’t worry, I paid my mom back for the tix, and I think Alex had an ok time at the show.)

stonesSD

So that brings us to this past Sunday at the ballpark in San Diego. I have a confession to make here. Two songs in, as the show was just beginning and Mick was singing “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll,” I may or may not have teared up, JUST A LITTLE, FOR JUST A SECOND. A Rolling Stones concert is not really something to get emotional about, but at that moment they just happened to remind me how I fell in love with music in the first place. It was rock music that did it: the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, all the super famous and not-so-famous bands of the 60s and 70s. My entire musical philosophy can be summed up with that one lyric: It’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it, OK?!¬†And no matter how many people rag on the Stones for being old men who won’t stop touring, I’m so glad they’re still going, because it gives people like me a chance to¬†experience a little slice of rock history.


Show Highlights

“Midnight Rambler.” This song is epic already, but the live version is a whole ‘nother experience. I kept thinking about the quote from Crossfire Hurricane about how it’s the epitome of Jagger-Richards songwriting. Definitely my favorite part of the show.
Keith’s¬†brain fart.¬†I knew from watching concert videos that Keith always does his few songs after Mick introduces the band, about halfway through. And I was super excited to hear what songs he’d sing. The first one¬†was “Slippin’ Away,” a classic Keef slow jam,¬†followed by some rambling¬†(I literally couldn’t¬†understand a thing the man said, haha). Then he played the first few chords of “Can’t Be Seen” before being reminded by Ronnie that they were supposed to do “Before They Make Me Run,” which is one of my favorites! Yessss. Did not disappoint.
The moves like Jagger.¬†The flailing arms, pointy fingers, and spastic clapping were in full play, and it was a beautiful sight. On top of that, Mick sprinted and power-skipped down the catwalk with more energy than I could probably muster in my entire life. HOW DOES HE DO IT?? Another random observance: I think he enjoys putting on different jackets just so he can rip them off. Which he can totally do, because’s he’s got a¬†hot bod YES I SAID IT.

Other noteworthies: Taking the MTS trolley for the first time, rallying with a bunch of baby boomers, Ronnie’s sparkly shoes,¬†and Mick’s very British, very articulated¬†way of saying “Petco Park.”

There were no lowlights, of course, but I *was* a little disappointed that they didn’t play more Sticky Fingers, as was rumored. I was especially hopeful because they did the whole album at the LA show just a few nights before. But I read part of an interview with Mick that said he was concerned because it has 5 slow songs on it and they were worried that people would use it as a bathroom break. Ummm ok, maybe the basic people would, but without a doubt that would’ve been the highlight of the show for me. I was dying to hear “You Gotta Move” and “Dead Flowers”! “Wild Horses” would’ve been nice, too. They did play “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” (cue the stoners in the next row lighting up), “Bitch,” and “Moonlight Mile,” which was amazing.

I got a second wave of uninvited emotion when at the very end, after¬†the extended¬†band had taken their bows, it was just¬†Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ronnie on the stage, arms around each other,¬†looking like a joyful band of old, scraggly brothers. D’awwww. As long as these guys can keep going and sound good, I sure hope they do.


Supplemental Materials: 1) me doing my best 70’s Keef impression; 2) view from nosebleed seats; 3) a picture from the San Diego Union Tribune of the guys’ final encore (how cute is Charlie with his yellow socks?!)

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The Pillars of Rock & Roll

This past¬†week I was sad to learn that two Rolling Stones sidemen,¬†Bobby Keys and Ian McLagan,¬†had passed away within one day of each other. Mostly what I knew about Bobby was his¬†rip-roaring sax solos and the excerpts from Keith Richards’ book about throwing TVs out of windows, etc. Honestly, some of the stories about Bobby make Keith’s lifestyle sound tame, which is impressive.

I didn’t know as much about Ian McLagan but was happy to learn that¬†he played piano¬†on one¬†of my very favorite songs: “Ooh La La” (The Faces) as well as the Stones album Some Girls. I also read an NPR interview that included this interesting tidbit:

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Wow. Good Guy Pete. What crazy lives these guys led.

Anyway, an article I read recently¬†included this depressing sentence: “The double blow is another reminder that the classic era of rock culture is drawing to a close.” SAY IT AIN’T SO! Sometimes I wonder if¬†classic rock will die out once all its forerunners are gone, like doo wop¬†and swing. I find it hard to believe and very sincerely hope it doesn’t. The good news is that, according to our dearly departed Robin Williams, Keith Richards will outlive us all, in which case ROCK & ROLL¬†WILL NEVER DIE.

R.I.P. 141202-bobby-keys-1709_5ebcae8f252a960c7307c9db99ca1606

Round 2 of Keith Appreciation

So, this song came up on my itunes shuffle on the way home from work yesterday, and after listening to it on repeat several times to drown out the commotion of the packed subway station, I decided that another Keith Richards Appreciation post was in order.

The above is from Keith’s tour with his band The X-Pensive Winos, sometime in the 90s. (The original song is “Winsome” by Jamaican artist Half Pint, by the way. In case you didn’t know, Keef is all about that rasta life.)
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Confession: the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I went through a huge Keef phase, and there was this CD that I’d burned that I listened to literally every night as I fell asleep. It was all the Rolling Stones ballads that KR sings, which are surprisingly sentimental compared to the rest of the Stones canon. I wish I had it now…I can’t remember all the songs on it, but will list a select few as suggested listening.

Note: I’ve taken the liberty of choosing live performances so as to maximize the dichotomy between Keef’s craggy face/hairy chest and the content of the songs:

I read somewhere (his autobiography, probably?) that Keith is naturally very restless/jumpy, and that he used drugs like heroin to “calm down.” After listening to these songs, seems like it did the trick, eh?
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Excerpts from ‘Life’

Earlier this year I read Keith Richard’s autobiography “Life” (couldn’t think of a better title, eh Keef?), and it was quite a ride. Just so so many drugs, haha. But surprisingly tasteful. I really enjoyed it. Here are a couple of excerpts, which demonstrate the range of topics this guy covered:

Once you’ve got the vision in your mind of wild horses, I mean, what’s the next phrase you’re going to use? It’s got to be “couldn’t drag me away.” That’s one of the great things about songwriting; it’s not an intellectual experience. One might have to apply the brain here and there, but basically it’s capturing moments….What is it that makes you want to write songs? In a way you want to stretch yourself into other people’s hearts. You want to plant yourself there, or at least get a resonance, where other people become a bigger instrument than the one you’re playing….To write a song that is remembered and taken to heart is a connection, a touching of bases. A thread that runs through all of us. A stab to the heart. Sometimes I think songwriting is about tightening the heartstrings as much as possible without bringing on a heart attack.

I once had a mynah bird, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. When I put music on, it would start yelling at me. It was like living with an ancient, fractious aunt. The fucker was never grateful for anything….To me it was like living with Mick in the room in a cage, always pursing its beak.

My Recipe for Bangers and Mash
1. First off, find a butcher who makes his sausages fresh.
2. Fry up a mixture of onions and bacon and seasoning.
3. Get the spuds on the boil with a dash of vinegar, some chopped onions and salt (seasoning to taste). Chuck in some peas with the spuds. (Throw in some chopped carrots too, if you like.) Now we’re talking.
4. Now, you have a choice of grilling or broiling your bangers or frying. Throw them on low heat with the simmering bacon and onions (or in the cold pan, as the TV lady said, and add the onions and bacon in a bit) and let the fuckers rock gently, turning every few minutes.
5. Mash yer spuds and whatever.
6. Bangers are now fat free (as possible!).
7. Gravy if desired.
8. HP sauce, every man to his own.

the red light was my mind

While driving up the lonesome I-5 last weekend, I came to realize that my default road-tripping band is the Rolling Stones. Especially the Stones circa 1969-72. Ahhhhh it’s just so good to listen to while driving down a highway in the desert. Perfect examples are the albums Let It Bleed and Exile on Main Street. The Stones are a rock & roll band, but these albums are full of gospel, country, blues (mmmmm blues)…all of which were the inspiration for rock & roll in the first place. I love that the Stones appreciate roots music, and (in my mind), pay tribute to it really well.

Speaking of blues, I have to share this video. It’s an old Robert Johnson song that was covered by the Stones in the late 60’s, and this is them doing it again in 1995. Personally I like this version even better than the 60’s cut; it just oozes so much wonderful blues:

Also, my dad sent me a link about Keef’s new book, which comes out next week(!!!). I’m so buying it the day it comes out.

Your weekly (daily? hmmm…) Simon and Garfunkel video

In the parts where they’re running down the street, they totally remind me of When the Blood Comes Home (a reference that maybe two people will get):

87 DAYS!!!!

Oh and when I was home on Friday night, I discovered we have all S&G albums on vinyl (except Bookends, the one everyone else seems to have) and 3 Paul Simon solo albums. It made me so very happy. I thought the liner notes for Wednesday Morning 3 AM – which were written by Art Garfunkel – were cute, so I saved part of them by taking a picture with my phone:


How great to be a college student with a hit record, haha. I love the fact that “cubbies,” finals, and scooters are just as important/relevant as record production and Kafka analogies.

AND GET THIS (totally unrelated): this is the most exciting news I’ve heard in….at least two weeks: Keith Richards to publish autobiography, due Aug. 2010!

Misc. updates and Amazon finds

So I added that little “tags” list to the left, because I know you care. Nah, mostly it’s for my own benefit (not that I regularly go back and read past entries or anything…), but also if you want to see how many times I’ve rambled on about a certain topic. Of course, the Beatles are currently – and probably indefinitely – in the lead.

Also, I want to tell you (my faithful 3 readers…) that after this week, be ready for a lot more entries. I usually have a ton of things to post, but never get around to it because of schoolwork and drumline and stuff. Plus, summer is usually when I get all obsessed over certain bands, movies, etc. Wheeeee.

And because I don’t want to make this a totally boring post, take a look at this book:

Also, one of the related products. “You can start him up, but he’ll never stop!” Bahahaha.