Sunday, October 19, 2008

Exile on Main St. by Robert Greenfield (book)

I'm trying something a little different now. Having made my way through the glorious sprawl of Exile on Main St., I will now make my way through the likely less-than-glorious book Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones by Robert Greenfield. I picked the book up a few weeks ago on a whim – I since have avoided reading any reviews or even any descriptions of the book besides its back cover blurbs to avoid colouring my impressions. (I get the feeling I'm going to enjoy the experience of reading this thing somewhat less than I enjoyed listening to the album of the same title.)

Here are some Google Books details to whet your appetite:

Recorded during the blazing summer of 1971 at Villa Nellcote, Keith Richards’ seaside mansion in the south of France, Exile on Main St. has been hailed as one of the Rolling Stones’ best albums-and one of the greatest rock records of all time. Yet its improbable creation was difficult, torturous...and at times nothing short of dangerous.In self-imposed exile, the Stones-along with wives, girlfriends, and a crew of hangers-on unrivaled in the history of rock-spent their days smoking, snorting, and drinking whatever they could get their hands on. At night, the band descended like miners into the villa’s dank basement to lay down tracks. Out of those grueling sessions came the familiar riffs and rhythms of “Rocks Off,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Happy,” and “Sweet Virginia.”All the while, a variety of celebrities-John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Gram Parsons among them-stumbled through the villa’s neverending party, as did the local drug dealers, known to one and all as “les cowboys.” Villa Nellcote became the crucible in which creative strife, outsize egos, and all the usual byproducts of the Stones’ legendary hedonistic excess fused into something potent, volatile, and enduring.Here, for the first time, is the season in hell that produced Exile on Main St.

More details

Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones
By Robert Greenfield
Published by Da Capo Press, 2006
ISBN 0306814331, 9780306814334
258 pages