Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pogo - Alice (nonstones)

Pogo - "Alice" – 2:43

Sorry for the non-Stones content, but I needed to get the bad taste of that book out of my mouth and make a post about something I actually like.

Here's the youtube description:

The music video for my song 'Alice', an electronic piece of which 90% is composed using sounds recorded from the Disney film 'Alice In Wonderland'.

I don't know anything about electronic music, but one of the things I really like is the way Pogo remixed the vocal track to create a new melody, one which performs leaps in pitch that would be impossible for a singer to perform live. That and the mellow rhythm track really makes it for me.

Go to Pogo's page to download the track.

Exile on Main St. by Robert Greenfield pp 13-15

Exile on Main Street: a season in hell with the Rolling Stones by Robert Greenfield (prologue)

  • p. 13:

    The Players
    Keith Richards: He is our hero. He is also our antihero. In itself, this is entirely postmodern. But then in many ways, so is Keith. In this particular rock 'n' roll passion play, he is our Jesus of Cool.


    Why is Keith so cool? To put it plainly, the man simply does not give a shit. All things that matter most to all the faceless, colorless individuals who control the world outside of rock 'n' roll are of no concern to him.

    Jesus Christ. Show, don't tell.

  • p. 14: Did you know that Keith has no time for crap? That he does not care about details? That money means nothing to him except when he wants to spend more of it? It's true, man. That's what the author tells us, using those exact words. This is not a book that relies much on subtlety for characterisation.

  • p. 15: "By the time Keith comes to live at Nellcôte, he has already long since left behind bourgeois values." Aaarrrggh. The author did not just write those words. I refuse to believe it.

  • p. 15: "Always, the man [Keith] marches to the beat of a different drummer, one whose name does not necessarily happen to be Charlie Watts." Author Greenfield is never one to miss a chance to savage a cliché. Goddamn this book is going to be torture.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exile on Main St. by Robert Greenfield pp 4-12

Exile on Main Street: a season in hell with the Rolling Stones by Robert Greenfield (prologue)

  • pp. 4-10:
    Welcome to Villa Nellcote. You do know how to get there, right? From Nice, take either the Grand Corniche, the twisting, turning high road built by Napoleon to follow the ancient Roman route along the jagged coast of the French Riviera, or the Moyenne Corniche, the twisting, turning middle road from which Princess Grace of Monaco plunged to her death in 1982, or more conveniently, the always crowded Basse Corniche, which runs at sea level right beside the sparkling blue Mediterranean.
    The author is setting the scene. That is the opening paragraph of an interminable physical description of Villa Nellcôte, the house where the Stones recorded the bulk of Exile, and the setting of the book under discussion. I know what you're thinking: "It's just a house, why should the author spend 6 pages describing not only its layout, but driving directions to the house?" Why indeed.

  • p. 10: An entire page discussing various rumours about the landlord of Villa Nellcôte. Scintillating stuff.

  • p. 10-12: It was rumoured (by one of the Stones' hangers on) that the landlord had lived with a Nazi at Nellcôte during the War, and that his stolen art still graced the house. This tawdry bit of gossip, unsupported bu any evidence whatsoever, allows the author to clumsily foreshadow how things will fall apart for the Stones because 30 years earlier some woman shacked up at Villa Nellcôte with some Nazi functionary.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Exile on Main St. by Robert Greenfield (prologue)

Exile on Main Street: a season in hell with the Rolling Stones by Robert Greenfield (prologue)
Pages 1-4

  • An inauspicious start:

    In the short space of ten months... three of the greatest individual talents ever to grace a rock 'n' roll stage ended their lives with drugs before their twenty-eighth birthdays. That rock itself did not die seems even now like a miracle....
    The three of the greatest individual talents ever to grace a rock 'n' roll stage? Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison.

    Wait, what?

    Look, I don't want to shit over anybody's faves. But can we be honest here? Of those three, the only one who had a meaningful, lasting effect on rock and roll was Hendrix. That the author thinks that the death of Joplin and Morrison could have spelled the end of rock and roll music itself does not bode well for his historical perspective.

  • Greenfield sets the scene: it is 1970 and the world is reeling from the death of Janis Joplin, the generational divide, Kent State. "Something that had been very much alive was in fact now dying. To be replaced by what, no one seemed to know." Ominous. "As always, you could blame it on the Stones." What?

    Two years earlier, Brian Jones, who always liked to refer to himself as "the undisputed leader of the Rolling Stones," had become the first great rock star of his era to die — by drowning under mysterious circumstances in his own swimming pool.
    As sad as it may have been, I get the feeling the author is placing slightly more importance on the deaths of Jones and Janis Joplin (really? Joplin?) than is warranted.

    Also, Altamont was another sign the world was ending.

  • Okay, I get it now. The author wants to paint a picture of rock stars turning to drug use for escape or something. In addition to the weltanschauung-changing death of Janis Joplin, the members of Cream had all begun to use heroin in worrisome amounts.

    In a world no one under the age of thirty had made, where everything seemed so fucked up as to be far beyond repair, numbing yourself to the pain of just having to wake up every morning to begin yet another hopeless day seemed to make eminent sense.

Three pages of this is all I can stand for now. More tomorrow.

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

Exile on Main St. Roundup

Exile on Main St. Roundup

Side one
1. "Rocks Off" – 4:32
2. "Rip This Joint" – 2:23
3. "Shake Your Hips" (Slim Harpo) – 2:59
4. "Casino Boogie" – 3:33
5. "Tumbling Dice" – 3:45

Side two
1. "Sweet Virginia" – 4:25
2. "Torn and Frayed" – 4:17
3. "Sweet Black Angel" – 2:54
4. "Loving Cup" – 4:23

Side three
1. "Happy" – 3:04
2. "Turd on the Run" – 2:37
3. "Ventilator Blues" (Jagger, Richards, Mick Taylor) – 3:24
4. "I Just Want to See His Face" – 2:52
5. "Let It Loose" – 5:17

Side four
1. "All Down the Line" – 3:49
2. "Stop Breaking Down" (Robert Johnson) – 4:34
3. "Shine a Light" – 4:14
4. "Soul Survivor" – 3:49

I usually provide some kind of background details on these album roundups, but I won't do so here – I am about to begin blogging a book written about the recording of Exile, which will no doubt provide me with the opportunity to share many choice nuggets. So stay tuned – I'm not done with this album yet.