Tag Archive | mick jagger

Recommended Viewing: Rolling Stone, Life and Death of Brian Jones

Brian Jones Movie Poster By Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail Worley

Growing up with an older sister who came of age amid the fever pitch of Beatlemania, I received an excellent education in British rock starting at about the age of five. I knew the music of The Rolling Stones because their hits were all over the radio and, because he was the lead singer, I thought of them as “Mick Jagger’s band.”  For whatever reason, I don’t recall even hearing the name of the Stones‘ original guitarist and foundling member, Brian Jones, until I was in high school, which would have been in the late ’70s. At that time, I was completely obsessed with The Who.

One afternoon, I was pouring over an interview in Circus magazine with Who guitarist Pete Townshend, in which he cited Brian Jones as a key influence; not only on his playing, but on his personal image and sense of style. Townshend also mentioned having written and recorded a song called “A Normal Day for Brian, A Man Who Died Every Day” — the title based on an off-the-cuff quote he’d given to a reporter on hearing about Jones‘ untimely death in 1969. And I very distinctly remember pausing to think, Who the fuck is Brian Jones, because I had no clue. What I realized though is that if Pete Townshend — who was like a god to me — held him in such reverence that he wrote a song about him, then I need to do my homework. Sadly, the Internet did not exist in the seventies, so the life of Brian Jones remained a mystery to me beyond what I could glean from listening to his work with the Stones, which spans many studio albums including Their Satanic Majesty’s Request, which is a work of genius.

For decades Jones’ death at age 27 was ruled to be an accidental drowning: he was an admitted drug user, and there appeared to be no reason to suspect foul play. It took the 2005 biopic, Stoned (which features great performances and excessive nudity – two thumbs up) to explore an alternate version of Jones‘ demise, based on the deathbed confession of his (alleged) killer Frank Thorogood, who was employed as a builder at Jones‘ estate. Now, an exhaustive new documentary directed by Danny Garcia gives equal time to both Brian Jones‘ extraordinary life and his mysterious, controversial death.

Brian Jones Movie Invite By Gail Worley

Rolling Stone: Life and Death of Brian Jones, which I was fortunate to see at a NYC screening in late January, is a wildly engaging and meticulously researched documentary that I believe any music fan — whether or not they even know who Brian Jones‘ was  — would enjoy viewing. Pardon the pun, but while the surviving Rolling Stones declined to participate in the making of this film, no ‘stone’ was otherwise left un-turned by Garcia in his quest to paint a complete picture of a vastly talented and charismatic musician who remains a juggernaut of pop future influence four decades after his death.

Life and Death of Brian Jones tells its story through archival footage augmented by dozens of first-hand interviews with the people who knew Jones personally — his friends, family, and fellow musicians — so the viewer really gets to know what Brian was like as a person from childhood through adolescence and adulthood. We learn that Brian was musically gifted, headstrong and rebellious from an early age (he had fathered 3 illegitimate children by age 19!) as he grew into the original Bad Boy of Rock and Roll who set trends on and off the stage, and raised the bar very high for living a hedonistic lifestyle. It’s truly amazing how much he accomplished in his short life.

The film also dives deep into the circumstances and the aftermath of Brian’s apparent drowning, including various conspiracy theories and documented evidence, building a very compelling case that Jones did not suffer a death by misadventure but, rather, was murdered; and there are more than a few suspects. Equal parts nostalgia-inducing, pop culture time capsule and riveting true-crime procedural, Rolling Stone, Life and Death of Brian Jones, is a story that likely took as long as it did to tell because Danny Garcia — who specializes in making films about controversial music icons — was the only filmmaker who could do it justice. It’s a film that will haunt you, as you think on who Brian Jones was, and who he might have become had he lived.

Rolling Stone, Life and Death of Brian Jones, will receive a very limited, select-market run of theatrical screenings in April 2020 before the film’s release on DVD later that month. Check the website of your favorite local Art House theater to find out if it will be playing in your area, and watch the trailer below:

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Jagger!

Pink Mick Jagger
Image Source

Don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming.

Rolling Stones: 50 Years in Photography at Morrison Hotel Gallery

The Rolling Stones 1963 Soho Oneill
The Rolling Stones Photograped in Soho, UK (1963) By Terry O’Neill

If you think you’ve seen every photo of The Rolling Stones that’s ever been printed – and it’s easy to imagine that you have – you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you get a peak at an exhibit that’s up now at The Morrison Hotel Gallery. Featuring live performance, perfectly posed and delightfully candid photos of every incarnation of The Stones’ line up since the band’s inception, this captivating collection features work by iconic photographers such as Michael Cooper, Henry Diltz, Barry Feinstein, Lynn Goldsmith, Bob Gruen, Michael Joseph, Andee Nathanson, Gered Mankowitz, Terry O’Neill, Neal Preston, Ken Regan, Ethan Russell, Barrie Wentzell and Ian Wright . Wow!

Stones Mick and Keith By Ethan Russell
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Backstage (U.S. Tour, 1972) by Ethan Russell

I stopped by the Press Preview last night and had lots of fun. My favorite piece in the show is a huge, poster-sized framed print of a shot from the cover sessions for  Their Satanic Majesty’s Request. Did you know that if you look not even too closely you can find the faces of all four Beatles nestled in the foreground? Not Kidding!

 If you love the Rock & Roll and appreciate great photography, head on downtown and have some fun looking at these amazing photos of the Last Great Rock Band on Earth. Yes, I just typed that.

The Rolling Stones exhibit will be on display through May 31st, 2012 at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, located at 119 (Upstairs) and 124 Prince Street in SoHo.

The Rolling Stones By Ken Regan
The Band in the Camera 5 Studios Bathroom, Photographed by Ken Regan

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas Coming to DVD!

It’s easy to take a band like The Rolling Stones for granted. They’ve been together, through various lineup changes (but surprisingly only one actual member death!), touring and recording new music since before most people reading this blog were even born. Is that some kind of record? I’m just going to say that it is. In the summer of 1978, having just released the album Some Girls, The Rolling Stones took off on a summer tour of the United States that is considered by many fans to have included the band’s best performances ever. Guitarist Ronnie Wood had been an official member of the group for just two years and the entire band – Charlie Watts included – were still at least a few years on the left side of 40. The Stones were young, they were hot, and they were an unstoppable rock force!

In fact, the awesomeness of The Rolling Stones in 1978 is a subject that takes too long to talk about, which is why you’re going to have to get your hands on the soon-to-be-released DVD, The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas, which I saw last night at a screening here in NYC. You know, I have this fun joke I like to tell where, when someone talks about going to see The Rolling Stones on their latest tour, I’ll say, “I liked the Stones back in the sixties, but not so much now that they’re in their sixties.” Hilarious! And that’s not to say that they still don’t put on a kick ass show for a bunch of dudes pushing seventy, but when they were in their prime – both musically and physically – they were the greatest live band in the world. That’s the band you’ll see in this film

By the time the Some Girls tour arrived in Texas in mid-July of 1978, the album had reached No.1 on the US charts and the single “Miss You” was all over the radio. The tour took a back to basics approach, with the band and their music very much at the forefront and little or no elaborate staging. Filmed at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 18th, this concert is typical of the tour, with The Rolling Stones delivering a raw, energetic performance in front of a crowd who are clearly out of their minds with excitement and totally into the show. Originally shot on 16mm film, the concert footage has been carefully restored and the sound remixed and re-mastered from the original multi-track tapes by award-winning music engineer Bob Clearmountain. Jagger himself admits that, “Fort Worth was an amazing night in a blistering hot July. Watching it now, the band was really intense and focused, but we were also having a blast with the fans who were really getting into the show and the new tracks from Some Girls.”

That the band were having fun is obvious from the way Jagger practically makes out with Ron Wood at various intervals, and his chemistry with Keith Richard’s is unmatched. Jagger is lucid, sober, handsome and playful. Richards looks like the ultimate rock star and although Watts and Wyman are very much relegated to the background as far as screen time goes, the Stones are tight and in sync with each other on a level that few bands today could achieve. For this recorded performance, the band – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman, with various guest musicians including violin player Doug Kershaw and keyboardist Ian McLagan – performs a mix of Stones’ classics, blues numbers and Chuck Berry covers, and a good number of songs from the Some Girls LP, though sadly “Before They Make Me Run” – my favorite – is missing from the set. Highlights for me were “When the Whip Comes Down” and “Happy,” because I’ve always loved the songs were Keith sings lead, or at least tries to.

If you’re looking to find out more about the members of the band as individuals or pick up some new forbidden dirt, be aware that this is a live performance only documentary: neither backstage “down time” nor candid personal shenanigans are included. What you see them do on stage is all there is. The bonus material comes in the form of a fairly recent interview with Mick Jagger, where Mick shares his memories of different aspects of the Stones’ career at that time (as Punk Rock was just on the cusp of breaking big) the Some Girls Tour in general, and the performance in Fort Worth specifically. While there were a few dissenters (read: Dicks) at the screening I attended who were clearly bored with Jagger’s banter and restless for the Big Rock Show to begin, I found the interview to be quite fun and charming. I mean, Mick-Fucking-Jagger! The guy’s been around practically since Rock & Roll was invented! Sure, sometimes he sounds like your grandfather telling stories about how things were “back in the old days,” but mostly he’s just such a fascinating and charismatic character, you can’t even guess at what he’ll say next. And that keeps it interesting! Even if he’s forgotten how many buckets of water he threw on the audience at the end of the show (spoiler alert, sorry), he’s lived more life in 68 years than most of us could even fantasize about. Mick Jagger!

The full Set List for that night in Fort Worth is as follows:

“Let It Rock”
“All Down the Line”
“Honky Tonk Women”
“Star Star”
“When the Whip Comes Down”
“Beast of Burden”
“Miss You”
“Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)”
“Shattered”
“Respectable”
“Far Away Eyes”
“Tumbling Dice”
“Happy”
“Sweet Little Sixteen”
“Brown Sugar”
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live in Texas will be released on November 21, 2011 and can currently be pre-ordered for $10.99 (retail is $14.98) from Amazon.com at This Link.

Happy Birthday, Charlie Watts!


(Image Source)

Rolling Stones’ Drummer, Charlie Watts, was born on this day, June 2nd, in 1941! Holy Cow! Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Must See Art: The Smoking Series By Michael Houghton

Primarily known as a designer of custom clothing for Rock Stars, Michael Houghton has taken his love of All Things Rock into the fine art world with a series of works on canvas known simply as “The Smoking Series.” Featuring large scale canvases (36” x 36”) adorned with appropriated, iconic images of Rock legends such as Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, you’ll notice that each has one thing in common: a smoldering cigarette. Whether perched between pouting lips or dangling from fingertips, everybody’s got one. The texture of each canvas suggests a layering technique, and Houghton explained to me that he uses a method similar to that used in hanging wallpaper: where he will apply paste to the image first so that it can be stretched across the canvas. Once the image is dry he can add surface adornments such as colorful paint and glitter accents. The finished images very much capture the spirit of Rock that seemed to die at the end the ’70s. A moment of silence please.

One of my favorites is an purple-glitter covered image of the late Steve Marriott of Humble Pie and The Small Faces who, coincidentally, died in a home fire caused by a cigarette. Sometimes, life’s lessons are tough ones.

Houghton seems to move The Smoking Series from venue to venue depending on which space offers his collection a home (recently it was on exhibit at Bread) and right now you can see it at the corner storefront space at 19 Kenmare Street, between Elizabeth and Bowery. This is definitely a “Pop Up” gallery situation and Michael admitted that while he hopes to get another week in the space, realistically the show will possibly be at this location only until Wednesday May 11th, so stop by while you can!

Must Read Book: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil

It’s no secret to anyone born prior to 1980 that the best years – the truly Golden years – of Rock music are now decades behind us. By the “best” years, of course, I’m talking about the 1970s. Some of us were lucky enough to live through this truly magical decade that, when speaking of Rock music, came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. Think about it, the 70s embodied a sonic revolution like no other: ushered in softly by the final days of The Beatles – the band that invented everything – and ushered out by the glorious cacophony that was first wave British Punk Rock – a movement that’s influenced countless pop music genres that have arrived in its wake. From the Beatles to Punk Rock; there arguably is no decade that has had a greater impact than the 1970s, historically and influentially, on any modern music that is worth listening to.

The Seventies live on for music fans of a younger generation because so much of that music is archived and still available to anyone with an iTunes account. But just hearing the music isn’t the same as being privy to the rich and exotic history behind the people who made those songs come alive. That is why we must be grateful for rock journalists like Nick Kent, a rock critic and avid fan, who was at ground zero for almost everything noteworthy that happened musically between the years of 1970 and 1980,  for having captured his experiences living the rock and roll dream, and its nightmare flipside, in his recent memoir entitled Apathy For The Devil (Da Capo Press). I’ve read a ton of music bios and memoirs on the Seventies and, seriously, this is best book on the subject that I’ve come across.

Just how great is Apathy for The Devil? Well, I would venture that it’s an even more satisfying read than Bob Greene’s long-out-of-print gem Billion Dollar Baby, that writer’s inside account of going on the road with the original band called Alice Cooper – and that is lofty praise indeed, because that book is just insane. As a writer for England’s NME magazine, a first-hand participant in and keen observer of so much of rock’s from-the-gutter-to-the-good-life history, Kent’s memoir is both entertaining and edifying. I mean, the guy knew, met, interviewed and wrote about everyone: Led Zeppelin, Bowie, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, The Whoeveryone. Certainly too many bands and artists to name and keep this review under 5,000 words. And the war stories he’s brought back from his close encounters will knock your socks off. I love this book!

Divided into nine chapters, one for each year, with 1978 and 1979 combined into one entry, Apathy For The Devil is quite a roller coaster ride, and at the end of the ride you may find many of your previously held opinions enriched or changed flat out. For example, the chapter entitled “1973”, in which he elucidates his understanding of the inner workings of The Rolling Stones and his assessment of just how Mick Jagger’s mind works, piqued my interest and enthusiasm for that band in a way that 40 years of their recorded music had been unable to do. Apathy For The Devil is, in Kent’s own words, about “surreal people living surreal, action-packed lives.” And although he was talking about rock stars when he wrote that, what you come to realize as you flip through page after page of vivid, fearless, darkly humorous and wickedly compelling prose, is that he is also talking about himself.

In the florid pages of Apathy For The Devil, we learn not only every gloriously gritty detail about Kent’s intimate personal history during ten years spent writing about every band that mattered, but also amazing details about the personal histories of dozens rock stars and music industry luminaries that are now household names; from the aforementioned legends like David Bowie and Mick Jagger to Chrissie Hynde (who was Kent’s girlfriend in her pre–Pretenders years) and the notorious, Punk Rock Svengali Malcolm McLaren, who had never even heard of Jimi Hendrix before he met Kent. As if the insider stories of Rock’s most decadent decade weren’t enough, the author also shares his decent into and recovery from heroin addiction in riveting detail. So, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, it’s all here in a book that’s amazingly well-written and so much fun you won’t be able to put it down.

For Rocking hard enough to Crack a Skull, The Worley Gig gives Apathy For The Devil Five out of Five Stars.

Happy Birthday, Roger Taylor and Mick Jagger!

Roger Taylor Drums

I’m not sure how I missed the fact for all of these years that Queen drummer Roger Taylor, shares July 26th, his anniversary of birth, with Mick Jagger. Taylor made his first appearance on the planet in 1949, while Jagger was here a few years before that, in 1943. I mean Mick Jagger is Mick Jagger – the guy is just everywhere – but Queen is the band that were like a religion to me at a time (high school) when music can really, literally save your life. So I really should have committed his birthday to memory at this point. Sorry Roger! Happy Birthday guys!

Mick Jagger
“It’s My Birthday, Dammit!”