Ladies and Gentlemen – The Rolling Stones in Quebec

Keith Richards can no longer play guitar like the Richards of old.

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Any Rolling Stones review post – coconut tree (shrub) incident must include this fact. Stones’ fans know it, newer fans and people seeing the band for the first time must be educated. A combination of arthritic fingers / memory loss and / or years of living dangerously have left Keef a ‘moonlight mile’ from his former self.

Why is this important information for a ‘Zip Code’ Tour that has generated rave reviews leading to the finale in Quebec City?

Believe it or not – The Stones were better when ‘the engine’ operated on all cylinders. Believe it or not – The Stones are currently better than bands half their age who are operating on all cylinders. The Stones are ‘ that good’ .

The 2015 touring Stones whose four members’ collective ages reach a high decibel of 282 years, put on quite the spectacle in Quebec City on Wednesday, July 15th on The Plains of Abraham as part of Le Festival d’ Ete . As part of history.

Setting an attendance record is one thing. Setting a record at their age – a tip of the ‘tongue’ for the boys who are commencing their 52nd year as a band ( Charlie Watts joined in 1963 and for the band, the official start of their career).

Several factors ( aside from the songs) make the Stones as popular as ever879bc02607d427cd8cc4740919adfd5d

Their legendary mystique continues to add more and more generations of fans with every tour. Everyone must see the Stones at least once and with Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles and Older Siblings passing the message along, a Stones’ show is always going to be filled with excitement. A sense of anticipation that no band can generate like The Rolling Stones.

Here’s the funny part.

That sense of danger. That increasing heartbeat. That insatiable desire to be fed raw unadulterated Rock n Roll has been with the Stones for fifty years. It was there on their first tour of America in 1964 and has festered in every show since. When The Stones are coming to a city, the urban buzz precedes and predates the concert by weeks. An uncanny sense of rebelliousness sets in because ‘the Stones fought the law and the Stones won’ – why cant we? Every city and every citizen welcomes the ‘pirates’ of music with open abandonment and for a couple of sinister weeks, generations have carte blanche to live vicariously through the Stones and their ‘satanic’ mentality. Generations create an invisible mutiny against their bosses, spouses and government.

That sense of ‘kicking authority in the teeth’ – front and center in 95,000 music fans’ fantasies on Wednesday night.

From the opening Richards’ ‘Start Me Up’ riff, Jagger et al hooked the ‘virgin’ and seasoned punters. It’s one thing to tire of the tunes on disc but hearing it live makes it important once more. Hearing the ‘ancient art of weaving’ as Wood and Richards challenge one another within the structure of a song is unique and priceless. Weaving with open tuning is the Stones. Part Blues, part Country and all their own.

Charlie Watts’ Jazzy crisp snare and a nanosecond removed from Richards’ relentless rhythm is also the Stones. A sound once again unique and definitive of the Stones’ ragged musicianship.

Jagger’s unchallenged  talent of vocal mimicking. Blending Soul, Blues, Country, R and B and every style he has ever enjoyed into drawls and connotations which cannot be mimicked by anyone else.  The ultimate showman and the unchallenged front-man of Rock n Roll.

Together – an initiation into the Stones’ ‘club’. The entrance fee? Your soul …

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Everything is never rosy in a Stones’ show. Organized chaos has forever been their motto and the band can never be accused of choosing perfect set-lists. Lately, one or two songs are altered on any given evening. For a Stones’ fan – boring. For a new (er) recruit? Blissful. A ‘Beggar’s Banquet ‘ of sounds supplicated live.

What ‘Start Me Up’ does to open things, the sophomore song ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ could easily stop the excitement in it’s guitar strings. Never a great song live as  the song only allows Richards’ weaknesses to shine through. A glorified Berry riff void of it’s studio cousin’s charm. A rhythmic warm-up for the band – nothing more.

Then – things get interesting …A pair of songs written in the basement of a former Nazi headquarters in the South of France. 

‘All Down the Line’ and ‘Tumblin’ Dice’ from the Stones’ most complete album; Exile on Main Street. The real Stones start to emerge within the rawness of the former and the groove of the latter. Disjointed sloppiness gives way to the classic pocket of a Stones comfort. A feeling which ‘once upon a time’ gave title to their ‘Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World’ moniker. A title which in 2015 remains intact.

‘Street Fighting Man’ – the request song of the evening introduced in the past few tours via internet as a fan friendly ‘ keep up with the Jones’ gimmick, remains a no-frills Rock song. No ad- libs by Sir Mick. No flashy solos by the  ‘almost out of tune’ guitars. A relentless repetition of chords which increase intensity as the tune echos Jagger’s lyrics and Watts’ hard pounding metronome. The Stones have nothing to do but to play in a Rock n Roll band so why fight the simplicity of what any garage band does when their managers and record executives are looking away.

‘Wild Horses’, the only ballad of the evening, was shocking. With eyes closed, it was Mick in the 1960’s with Marianne Faithful on his arm.  His voice on the Plains of Abraham as fresh and crisp as a man half his age. The entire evening was proof of Jagger’s amazing vocals yet somehow, Wild Horses from the album Sticky Fingers was special. The song, on a cool Wednesday evening under the stars, was transformed to a turntable in front of 95,000 basement party guests. To steal a Pink Floyd title; the guests were ‘Comfortably Numb’ and the band became the evening’s dealers.

Throughout the Stones’ career, they have obtained legendary status based on their unmatched circus-like live shows. Over the years, a myth has spread that they have always been great musically on stage. To set the record straight, they can be the worse band one night and the best group the next. This is the legend of the Stones. The band that never acts or attempts to fit into preconceived ideology of how a band should act.

‘Bitch’ was the Stones at their worst on Wednesday night as the Sticky Fingers’ song defined sloppiness. Jagger’s vocals losing their way in choruses and the horn section while Wood and Richards fought to keep it all together. The tune sounded like a riff looking for a home on a Stones ‘ album but could not make the cut. A bootleg which demonstrated Richards’ 2015 weakness on the guitars and perhaps – proving former sax player ( deceased) Bobby Keys’ absence is profoundly missed by the band and his partner-in-crime Richards.

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‘Honky Tonk Woman’ came next and in 2015 – the song is a conundrum. An audience ‘guilty pleasure’ and the ultimate party -with-chicken-wire-around-the-band song. Richards’ can still perform his trademark riffs and the opening of ‘Honky Tonk’ makes the hairs on anyone’s neck take notice of the ‘gin soaked bar room Queen’ about to take the stage. Sadly – in recent years, the song has become too generic. Too clean for Rock n Roll’s original punks and their decadent fan base. It starts as a journey into a crack-house but quickly becomes a corporate reality show.

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Ladies and Gentlemn – the home run trot now begins ….

Commencing with the band introductions and a chance for fans to say thank you through applause, it is also the introduction of Keef’s opportunity to shine. The generic ‘two song’ showcasing of Rock’s most elegantly wasted human being.

‘Before They Make Me Run’ and ‘Happy’ took center stage on Wednesday evening amid cries of adulation, respect and pride. The prodigal son is alive and standing with cockroaches within earshot of Richards’ maniacal laugh.

Two songs which define Keef more than others. An insight into kicking his heroin habit and authority away. Happy’s ‘never kept a dollar past sunset’ and ‘ always took candies from strangers’ biographical lyrics frightening in their reality of a survivor’s ability to stand true. Riffs uniquely Keef-isms. Riffs as pleasant as they are unpleasant. Defining moments on display of the reason the Stones remain apart from every band. Once more – garage band stuff littered with oil (blood?) stained hands. Richards walking before he ran …

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In Quebec, ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Get Off of My Cloud’, ‘Ruby Tuesday’, ‘ ‘Cant You Hear Me Knocking’, Love is Strong’, ‘Fool to Cry’, ‘Angie’, Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Star Star’ were not played. Nor were some of the greatest songs in the past five decades displayed. Not many bands can leave the very songs which defined the decades of their success on the sound-check floor. Unless …

Midnight RamblerMiss YouGimme ShelterJumpin’ Jack FlashSympathy for the DevilBrown SugarYou Can’t Always Get What You Want and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction are part of the soundtrack of humanity for the past fifty years. In the words of Jagger; ‘people want to hear these songs live and we can’t displease our fans …’

If any song in the Stones’ arsenal proves undeniable they are the best of all time – it’s Midnight Rambler. No matter the decade, the stage or state of the band, Rambler combines everything into one epic story of the history of The Blues blending into modern day Rock. It allows a journey from Robert Johnson’s crossroads through Sonny Boy Williamson’s harmonica and into Muddy Waters’ Checkerboard Lounge.  It allows Richards to demonstrate no nonsense riffing and Jagger’s only ‘pure’ character to emerge from within his may personas. It allows an insight into why Mick and Keef met at the Dartford train station and to this day – remain on the same train. Rambler also unites the crowd into a mass of unsolicited focus. The demonic presence of the Stones and / or the demonic presence which watches over the Stones takes control. In every Stones concert since that fateful day in Altamont California, ‘Rambler’ means the Stones are getting serious.

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‘Miss You’ – the band’s biggest commercial hit, makes  the most demur sisters dance. A non fan dragged to a Stones show against their will starts to groove. Jagger, the original ‘prince of darkness’ struts his feminine / masculine self across and into the crowd like the piper he is. The wettest of rats will survive Jagger’s emotional rescue as Mick sets the tone for how people will behave. Like a magician in satin sheets, Jagger controls if, when and how the orgasms will play out. Rambler and Miss You – Michael Phillip Jagger’s wands of magic and manipulation.

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‘Gimme Shelter’ not only showcases Lisa Fisher’s vocal talents and enables her to get work outside of the Stones with ease, it is also a defining moment for many punters in attendance. No song within the Stones’ artillery belt ( Paint it Black a close second) represents the closeness of evil versus good. Richards’ opening ascending riff combined with Jagger’s warning of impending doom symbolic of every generation being ruled through fear. Consciously or unconsciously, the Stones created a timeless tune which hovers above any musical act with a sense of irony, realism and fear of the political monster that gives no shelter but promises safety. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and sadly society has not changed. The Stones had an insight in the sixties and gladly for the people in attendance, the Stones’ message has not changed.

The rest of a Stones show is gravy on top of a delicious piece of steak.

‘Flash’ and ‘Sympathy’ are covered in Brown Sugar. Each timeless ‘drink and shout’ party song belongs to someone in the crowd. Energetic songs with riffs unmatched. As pleasing to a seventy year old’s ears as to an eighteen year old. Sing-a-long choruses as simple as smoking a joint or sipping a hidden drink inside a tongue-adorned flask. It’s no genius behind the Stones’ most loved songs. It’s a relentless in-your-face sound which grabs the primal instincts and awakens the dormant demons. Masks are discarded and it’s a gas, gas, gas …

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In Quebec, the Stones delivered a two hour and fifteen minute show which would have been longer if the good folks of Le Festival d’Ete could / would have lifted the curfew. The final pair of songs, the encores, left everyone content. All smiles as the 90,000 plus left the Plains of Abraham anything but plain …

‘Can’t Always Get What You Want’ (sung with Le Chœur des Jeunes de Laval) was  a pleasure. Once more Jagger conducting his orchestra, the crowd and a timeless message. Witnessing Jagger alone on the catwalk with a noir backdrop and sporadic glimmerings of light is historic. The Stones and Jagger somehow have managed to grab the pulse of every sick aspect of society, all the hopes and dreams which never change and capture the imagination of anyone and any age. Under the stars in Quebec, Jagger and the Stones ‘tried’ and the fans got what they needed including ‘ satisfaction …’

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Satisfaction was sung in unison by 95,000 people to end the night. A remarkable thing. It was not sung for pleasure. It was not sung because the crowd could. It was sung with a forcefulness and conviction. It was a crowd, five generations of people and a Rock n Roll band agreeing on a simple fact of life. No matter how hard people try, satisfaction is never obtained.

Maybe one day – the Stones will be as satisfied as the 95,000 people who saw them for what may be the last time on such a grand stage.

Doubtful or the Stones would not have been in Quebec on Wednesday evening driving around the world tryin’ to meet some girl …

 

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Gypsophilia – A ‘ Flower ‘ in The Montreal International Jazz festival

It all starts with a name …

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Gypsophilia are an eclectic bunch from Nova Scotia. A group of women and men who – through music, travel around the globe making people smile. Not just through music, humor as well.

Please listen below as guitarist Ross Burns explains everything including their latest album; Night Swimming.

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Please visit Gypsophilia Here !

 

 

 

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The Kentucky Headhunters – ‘ John Bonham Dying Killed Our First Shot at Success …

The Kentucky HeadHunters are living proof – Country Music and Blues make up Rock n’ Roll …

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Starting in 1968 as The Itchy Brothers – the band came oh-so-close to stardom. An untimely death ultimately killed their chances of becoming ‘America’s Greatest Rock n Roll band’ yet, like Rock n Roll itself – they came back with a vengeance …

Please listen to Part One and Part Two of my interview with Richard Young. Richard talks about working with Chuck Berry’s pianist (and friend) Johnnie Johnston. The greatest sideman in the history of Rock n Roll.

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Kentucky Headhunters Live

 

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Philip Sayce – This is Your Father’s Rock n Roll!

 

Philip Sayce did not just get off the Rock n Roll truck …

A Mini-Van perhaps – but not a truck!

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Fresh off a triumphant eight city tour of Canada that left fans and critics spellbound, rock guitar sensation Philip Sayce makes his major label debut on Tuesday, April 7 with the release of his album Influence.

Originally released in Europe in late August 2014 to critical acclaim, the Canadian version of Influence will include two new songs led by the first single, Philip’s incendiary version of the Ten Years After classic “I’d Love To Change The World.”

The video for “I’d Love To Change The World” is now live on Philip’s YouTube channel.

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Born in Wales and raised in Toronto, Canada, Philip Sayce’s love of the guitar started at an early age when his parents introduced him to all of the classics, notably, Clapton, Hendrix, and Beck. He started playing guitar as a teen and before long was winning admirers at blues jam nights at Grossman’s Tavern in downtown Toronto.

One such admirer was legendary guitarist Jeff Healey who invited Philip to join his band with whom he toured the world for the next couple of years. After a move to Los Angeles, producer John Shanks introduced Philip to Melissa Etheridge who recruited him for her band. Over the next several years Philip performed on Melissa Etheridge’s albums and was featured during her live sets on world tours.

Please listen below  to my conversation with Philip.

 

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James Green; Never a Bridesmaid – Always a Blushing Bride .​.​.

The Blushing Brides.

North America’s version of

‘The Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band in the World.’

Thirty-six years together as ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Cover Band’.

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Lead guitarist James Green has been there from almost the beginning. He has been there since the band became one of the most sought after tribute bands in North America!

James Green has seen it all …

Please listen to James explain many things including the Brides’ original 1982 song; ‘What You Talkin’ Bout ..’

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From B.B King to Keef – An ‘Acoustic’ Chat with Colin James …

Saskatchewan – born Colin James has lived a dreamy life …

So far – Stevie Ray Vaughan, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana and Buddy Guy are just a few of the guitar players Colin has had the opportunity to play or hang out with.

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Not bad for a young guy who hoped to be able to ‘just see these guys live’ …

Or – for that matter, ‘just travel outside of Saskatchewan.’

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Please listen below to Colin’s thoughts on many topics including B.B King, his latest album and playing Ping Pong with The Rolling Stones.

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Visit Colin Here!

 

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Top Ten Things Overheard Backstage on The Rolling Stones’ 2015 Zip Code Tour

 

The Stones are at it again …!

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Fifty-three years since the boys formed a band in the name of a Muddy Waters’ song – they are back on the road and visiting fifteen cities in North America this summer.

Ronnie Wood just celebrated his fortieth anniversary with the band and he holds up the rear at the young age of sixty – eight.

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Jagger ( 71), Richards ( 71) and Charlie Watts (74 ) are Rock’s royalty. Having survived and surpassed everyone in the music business except for a few of The Bluesmen who inspired their careers.

In 2015 – the backstage antics ain’t what they used to be for the Bad Boys of Rock n Roll. Times have changed …

Here are the Top Ten Things Overheard Backstage at a Rolling Stones Concert in 2015 …

10. Hey Mick! Don’t flirt with her! That’s my great, great, great granddaughter!

9. Really? Do we have to play Jumpin’ Jack Flash for the 1,567, 987, 000 time?

8. Anyone seen Charlie’s teeth?

7. Wow! Red Bull is much cheaper than heroin !

6. What city are we in? Never mind that – what happened to 1972?

5. I really think we need to use more than three chords if we want to survive as a band …

4. I don’t care if you are now called Sir Mick! Please get off of my foot!

3. Depends …! Where is our supply of Depends .. ?

2. Come up with a new riff? That’s crazy talk …..

and the number one thing overheard backstage at a Rolling Stones 2015 Concert?

1. Okay ..okay Ronnie … You made your point! As of right now – you are officially a Rolling Stone and we will start paying you money …

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The Stones Post 1980; Cursed Darkly by Their Past …

The Stones …

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Along with The Beatles, the most successful Rock n Roll band in history. 

The meat to The Beatles’ potatoes. Reality versus The Beatles’ dreams of love and peace.

In reality, The Rolling Stones are The Greatest Rock n Roll band in history. They are also the most successful Country Band, posses one of the biggest selling‘ ‘dance’  songs of all time and can lay claim to the best Blues band of the ages.

Their songs from the Sixties – one career. The seventies? Another one. The eighties – three decades of generational-defining moments. Satisfaction, Miss You and Start Me Up. Three songs in three decades, each one an anthem to the times.

What happened after 1981’s Tattoo You?

More than a couple of dozen great songs that most bands post 1985 would love to lay claim to. As groups such as U2 go around the music wheel struggling to write fresh material – Mick et al continue to sound the same yet create songs in all genres.

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Do the other bands not get the memo? Longevity equals creativity and the courage to try new things.

Do Classic Rock stations not understand that Classic Rock bands possess more than eight songs? They are the culprits. The reason why music fans do not know of Stones songs or any band’s songs which are new.

Please listen to a few songs that may tickle your fancy and awaken the ears to a few ‘new’ Stones’ tracks  …

 

Buy Tickets for Stranger in the Night 10 Here!

 

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The Stones – As Usual; An Event …

The Rolling Stones – fittingly, arrived on stage at the Bell Center last evening, practically fifty minutes late. Fifty and Counting …?

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As with every tour or show since 1989, they arrive in each city under a cloud of various predictions or guesses. Unlike their ‘solo’ contemporaries ( for reasons best left to the overweight, non – active, jaded and ‘I am stuck in a shitty life’ DVD armchair viewers), Andrew Loog Oldham‘s group – take the blame for getting old.

Non – gracefully.

Why can’t people ( veteran music writers raise your hands), accept the simple fact The Rolling Stones are continuing to do what they do best while struggling with Mother Nature and her cruel – aging ways. With the opening chords of ‘Get Off of My Cloud’ and the sheer presence of men historic beyond historic – everyone in attendance should immediately have tossed their critical pens into a vat of prime 1962 ink. After all, if a retired plumber takes two hours longer to fix a pipe – really, who gives a ‘wrench’ as long as the pipe is fixed.

‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’, ‘Paint it Black’ and  ‘Gimme Shelter’ were performed by the three – then four,  of the men who created the blue print. The template for everyone else to follow. How many people would pay six hundred dollars to witness Van Gogh or Picasso paint? Quite a few. Billions globally in fact …

The Rolling Stones have paid their dues. Enough to be able charge whatever they want if people deem the prices enough to witness history. Without their defiance – there is no Led Zeppelin. Without their willpower – there is no Jack White.  Without the Rolling Stones,  a society where popular music consists solely on Beatle and Beach Boy – driven ‘Coldplay’ and ‘Oasis’ tunes may exist. Imagine a world filled with nothing but Roses. Void of thorns. Void of spirit. An orb floating through space known as ‘ a weak peace – loving bunch of pussys’  by the remainder of the Rock n Roll solar system. Planet earth is blue and there would be nothing we could do about it …

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The Rolling Stones have done something about it for fifty years and last night, they delivered a concert at seventy – five percent of their one time ability. Through no fault of their own.

Twenty – five percent missing. With the exception of Micheal Phillip Jagger.

The brother of Chris, the target of so much governmental hatred. The brilliant specimen of a man in so many ways, continues to sing as if he was frozen in time. His voice, dipping wonderfully into the Blues, the Soul and the R and B classroom from which he graduated. If the Stones were not playing every three or four nights on their current tour, Jagger – without so much as batting an eye, could dance around his famed tongue with ease. Therein lies the genius withing the man. Better to tone down each show than risk burning out and fading away. Time on one’s side – one thing. Physics – something else entirely.

A glance around the Bell Center last night and with a Chuck Berry ear to the ground – it is easy to discover Jagger’s own words ringing true.

‘Wild Horses’, ‘Honky Tonk Woman‘, ‘Happy’, ‘Miss You’, ‘Start Me Up’, ‘Tumblin’ Dice’, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, ‘Can’t Always Get What You Want’, ‘Jumpin Jack Flash‘ and ‘Satisfaction’. Eleven classic songs played more often by the Stones in concert than the number of occasions Barack Obama has lied to the America People. Songs sung so often – a wonder that Jagger himself does not turn on the Karaoke machine and get Stephen Tyler todance for him.

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Every Stones tour, due to the very hard work the band put in for three decades, gathers moss. Grandparents tell their children and so on and so on. Thousands if not millions every year – wanting, yearning to attend a Stone concert to hear the songs for the very first time live. Eardrums losing their virginity to an inflatable penis long forgotten.

Diehard Stones’ fans do not like it yet – so diehard,  it just does not matter.

Within each planned concert set-list, lies the gems and the moments. The Keef – isms, the Bobby Keys’ Sax solos, the once – in- show moment when Jagger and Richards recoil to the two young boys meeting at the train station with Blues records in tow. The ‘Dead Flowers’, the ‘Emotional Rescues’ – the ( current old- now -new again) Mick Taylor riffs. Since the band first appeared in America in 1964, there is a fascination to see ‘the skinny guy with the big lips’ and his ‘scruffy’, unwashed  mates perform.

Every tour also contains the new songs. The tunes which – upon release, receive the ho – hum reception without the ‘glass of wine in hand’. The very same tunes which – once upon a time,  contained names like ‘Angie’, ‘When the Whip Comes Down’, ‘She’s So Cold’, ‘One Hit to the Body‘, ‘Terrifying’, ‘Love is Strong’ and ‘Saint of Me’. Ho-hums turned into ‘just more bullets’ in the Stones gigantic assault rifle. In 2013 – ‘Doom and Gloom’ and ‘One More Shot’ can now be added to the continuous war on the Justin Biebers of the world. A pair of songs which will somehow outlast the biggest hit a band like The Sheepdogs could ever shake from their soon – to- be dusty fur.

The Bell Center last night, rocked. The crowd rolled. The contingent containing the make – up of a family of Rock n Roll post – Pink Floyd picnickers – departed awestruck, pleased and ready to go back for more.

A feeling The Rolling Stones have left their fans with for fifty years. Fifty and Counting ….

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Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Rolling Stone?

The Rolling Stones are arriving in Montreal for their ’50 and Counting Tour’ amid all sorts of controversy …

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The World’s Oldest and Greatest Rock n Roll band have made a career out of making people uneasy, ‘out of their heads’ or just plain upset.

Whether it is urinating on a gas station wall in the sixties, erecting a giant billboard depicting a woman tied, bound and ‘Black and Blue’ in the seventies or former and original bassist Bill Wyman dating a thirteen year old in the eighties – the band are a bunch of pirates.

Raping, pillaging and looting their way into a chapter of Rock n Roll history which shall forever belong to them. An exclusive club where ‘please to meet you’ gains no entrance. ‘Walking Central Park after dark’ means nothing to the doorman.

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For fifty years – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, remain the architects of something unreal but not imagined. Something born from the Blues. Born from Country. Born from Jazz. Born from R and B and Soul. Their offspring – wild children with names like Reggae, Funk and Disco, carrying on the legacy of Brian Jones with a toe forever embedded deeply in ‘Muddy Waters‘.

Scandals involving drugs, Prime Minister’s wives and more drugs – implanting memories turned – lore -turned – a blurred reality – turned – a never ending career. Millions of bands erected and millions of wannabes crumbled. ‘Meanwhile; The Stones carry on ‘running fifty red lights in their honor’. ‘Thank you Jesus – thank you Lord.’

blackblueJones’ death in Pooh’s pool. A fitting end to an era and a ‘boy child’. A ‘Mannish Boy‘ lost in a world of decadence and a desire to be loved. A ‘Prodigal Son‘ never returning home. Too many ‘little yellow pills’ for a scholar of Elmore James and Robert Johnson. A man whose ‘nasty habits’ contained more than ‘drinking tea at three.’ A nasty man towards women whose mastery of every instrument somewhat forgives the nature of his unforgivable ways. ‘Don’t you want to live with me …?’

The band, exiled to the South of France.

A self – imposed exodus  to make some money away from the Queen’s greedy paws. A get- away into a Nazi hotel. A summer of excess with the capitals SS providing dirty, gritty (demonic) digs in which to blend genres into a jam session doubled. A sordid affair which left many in ‘the cold grey dawn’. Mick Taylor understanding Richards ‘ ‘never keeping a dollar past sunset’ habits. Taylor becoming a Rolling Stone while plunging into a world beyond his control. The son of a Bluesbreaker depositing some of the most enduring guitar licks onto vinyl. An unsung hero whose legacy will  not be uncovered until music historians flip through the Stones’ songbook near the end of their ’75 and Counting Tour in the year 2038.’

This – on the tails of three gems. Three ‘stones’ …rolling_stones_beggars_banquea-t-front-wwwfreecoversnet

‘Let it Beed’, ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Sticky Fingers’. ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ but if you try sometime … a discovery of ‘Moonlight Mile’, ‘Country Honk‘, ‘Salt of the Earth’ and ‘ Let it Loose’ will give you what you need.

A span of ten years providing a musical legacy which  most musicians never reach – even after fifty years of trying. A decade of diving into the roots of every important genre. Backed by a drummer whose love of Jazz placed the rhythm a second behind creating organized chaos. A sound never duplicated. A sloppy carpet upon which Jagger to dance upon. A rug never pinned to the floor. A dual feminine masculine tapestry built upon the remains of Tina Turner and James Brown. ‘Dance Little Sister Dance …’

Micheal Phillip Jagger, the son of a physical education instructor. A ‘boy-child’.  In the top ten of his class at the London School of Economics. An actor. ‘A wonderful bunch of guys’ according to his mate – Keith Richards. A chameleon able to keep his nose on the street. Allowing Brian Jones’ band the ingredients to stay relevant. Allowing Richards to rock while he rolled into the world of Pop, Disco and whatever else deemed the flavor of the moment. An insatiable appetite for women, the arts and global education. A definer and follower of the jet-setting ways of the most ardent explorers. The navigator of the Stones’ ship …

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‘Angie’ shocked the followers. ‘Respectable’ shocked the punks. ‘Start me Up’ shocked the naysayers. The jealous men and women who had to grow up while the Stones defied the rules once again. Time was on their side. ‘Time waits for noone’ except for the bad boys of Rock n Roll. Robert Johnson may have had company at the crossroads after all …

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Ronnie Wood, the new Stone. A sparring partner cast in the truer vain of a Jones – Richards collaboration. A Rod Stewart Faces castaway. A lover of the blues and a sparring partner for Keef. A drinking buddy whose happy-go-lucky nature by all accounts saved the Stones more than once. A man whose talents may have wasted amid the the sound of the band yet one of the only men able to withstand the backstage life. The ‘ancient art of weaving‘ was created. Two guitars exchanging licks, leads and rhythm. The Stones – part three …

‘It’s Only Rock n Roll but we like it …’

Rolling-Stones-Some-GirlsWyman. The self – professed ladies man. A conqueror of 20,000 members of the opposite sex in the ‘boudoir. The unheralded bass player seldom mentioned in the top fifty among his peers. A quiet, unassuming performer whose presence shadowed by his mates’ legendary presence. A student of the blues and the man whose anchor ( along with Watts) kept the pirate ship from sinking. A man who spent time at Disco clubs to obtain a feel of what would become his recognizable legacy. ‘Miss You’, the band’s most commercially successful song – not the same without William Perks’ nonporous infectious  foot -tapping signature.

The drug busts.

Society out to get the Stones from the beginning. Specifically – Keith Richards. A man who turned to drugs to cope. A ‘shy’ guy who could not handle the fame and all that came along with it. A fan of Roy Rogers, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Gram Parsons. A true student of musical integrity. The last student standing. The man who fought the law and won. A pirate’s pirate. The world’s most elegantly wasted human being and the only man responsible for some of the most poignant riffs in the history of Rock. ‘Jumpin Jack Flash, Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, Hony Tonk Woman, Start Me Up, Happy, Tumbin’ Dice – the list goes on …

The writer of many ballads, a wearer of his heart on his sleeve while able to stick you with a knife if he is crossed. The human riff. Aside from Watts, the only Stone to be a married and devoted Father for over thirty years. If Jagger and Richards run the corner store known as The Rolling Stones – Richards is the butcher. The meat and potatoes guy. The provider of the Blues’ legacy. The survivor. The only man able to withstand a nuclear war …

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The shows, the legendary tours.

Altering words on Ed Sullivan to ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, a death at Altamont to end the sixties and the Woodstock – ian dream of peace and love. The circus – like atmosphere of the 1972 and 75 tours. The blueprint for all Rock n Roll tours to follow;  the plans intricately penned for sex, drugs and rock n roll. Laid out, in – your- face biblical commandments for everyone for Led Zeppelin to Bon Jovi to follow.

1981 and the first group to tour under a corporate banner. Record companies stones-13got rich for years – why not the Stones? The first to lay claim as the masters of the grandiose stadium tours. The masters of merchandising. The masters of their own domain. The opening acts clambering to hop on board. Aerosmith, Z.Z Top, Prince, Journey, George Thorogood – the who is who of music in each passing decade.

1989 and the first to broadcast in Pay per View. The colossal success of the Steel Wheels tour and a comeback of sorts following semi – successful solo jaunts by Jagger and Richards. A generation of new fans jumping on the Stones’ bandwagon. The music growing and cultivating yet suffering from a back catalog placed too high on a shelf for any group to obtain.

Enter Darryl Jones on bass. The man whose career to that point included stints with Miles Davis, Eric Clapton and Sting. A man who wanted to play with Richards’ other band – the X-Pensive Winos. Settling instead for the Stones. The newest of new at twenty years as part of the Stones part four.

ims1UWaiting on a Friend, Start me Up, Undercover of the Night, Mixed Emotions, Almost Hear You Sigh, Emotional Rescue, Love is Strong and Between and a Rock and a Hard Place – quality to make the Black Keys pale in comparison. Saint of Me, Rough Justice and the most recent Doom and Gloom. Songs huge by any other standards – dormant among the endless classics penned by the second biggest songwriting team in history. Two eight year old boys – turned men – turned – icons – turned rock royalty.  Legendary requires a makeover when discussing Jagger – Richards.

Voodoo Lounging in 1994, Bridging a gap to Babylon in ’97. Live Licks in 2002 and a return to former stompin’ grounds at places like L’Olympia in Paris. A Bigger Bang in 2006 –  including the largest rock show in history. One and a half million people joining the Peter Pan of music and his band of messy, mongrel  pirates on the beach in Brazil. Looting and pillaging everyone from the age of ten to ninety. Inducing timeless hits ‘down the throats’ of young and old alike. Incorporating the same energy displayed in 1962. An energy Rod Argent from the Zombies has never seen any band come close to in fifty years.

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If a club owner – any club owner from any part of the world needs to hire a rock band, they can call the Stones to deliver a three hour set. If someone requires a Reggae band – the Stones can be summoned to deliver the goods. If a country band is needed to quench the thirst of the most ‘red necked’ fanatics of the legacy of Cash, Williams or Nelson – once more, Jagger et al can do the job better than most. Pop? Disco and dance …? No problem for the the world’s greatest versatile band.

The Rolling Stones are arriving in Montreal for their ’50 and Counting Tour’ amid controversy over ticket prices.

Somehow – they will survive and place ‘Dead Flowers’ on our graves ….

The Rolling stones are at the Bell Center Sunday night …

Please stay tuned for my interview with Pat Travers!

Top Ten Signs The Rolling Stones are Going on Tour

3691ef92d6ba12602a6594cc26a3596ceefd9891Sure as Spring ( except in Montreal), the Rolling Stones dust off their instruments every couple of years and prepare for a tour.

Unlike their mammoth ‘A Bigger Bang‘ tour in 2006 which saw the legendary English group play before 1.5 million people in Brazil alone  – this time around, it appears that age has finally caught up to them. A little bit anyways.

Thus far, nine concerts have been officially announced with two more being added in Toronto and London’s Hyde Park. ( the first shows in those respective cities having sold out in minutes). Ladies and gentlemen …

The Rolling Stones are alive and well!

How does a casual observer, a non – Stones fan or a ‘on the fence ‘ music fan know if the band that Brian Jones built is on the prowl?

Here are the Top Ten Signs The Rolling Stones are Going on Tour

10. Queen Elizabeth overheard saying; ” Damn those kids …! Not again ..?!”

9. Women from all corners of the globe start applying fake big lips on their sons in hopes  a palimony suit will come their way.

8. Doctors in Switzerland prepare once again for a Keith Richards‘ blood transfusion.

7. Tons of make – up being prepared to ensure  Charlie Watts appears ‘lifelike’.

6. The Stones’ publicists  scurrying about making fake ids for Ron Wood’s new wife. (After all – the legal age in most American States is twenty – one.)

5. Ticket scalpers everywhere just ordered ‘shiny new yachts’.

4. Herman has started calling up the Hermits with a brilliant idea!

3. Keith Richards saw his shadow!

2. Mick Jagger just bought another island ...

and the Number One Sign The Rolling  Stones are Going on Tour …?

1. Margaret Trudeau has booked a hotel room in Toronto!

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Top Ten Drummers

The men behind the scenes. The backbone of most bands. The guys whose mistakes can nullify anything in a heartbeat …

To narrow down a list of the best drummers is next to impossible – here is a (rim) shot at just that …

Ginger Baker

Stewart Copeland

Jimmy Chamberlain

Terry Bozzio

Keith Moon

Mike Portnoy

Neil Peart

John Bonham

Gene Krupa

Buddy Rich

The Rolling Stones’ First Setlist – July 12 1962 Marquee Club

Kansas City – Wilbert Harrison

Honey What’s Wrong – Billy Fury

Confessin’ The Blues – Chuck Berry

Bright Lights, Big CityJimmy Reed

Dust My BluesElmore James

Down The Road Apiece – Chuck Berry

I Want To Love You – Charles Smith

I’m A Hoochie Coochie ManMuddy Waters

Ride ‘Em On Down – Robert Johnson

Back In The USA – Chuck Berry

I Feel A Kind Of Lonesome – Jimmy Reed

Blues Before Sunrise – Elmore James

Big Boss Man – Jimmy Reed

Don’t Stay Out All Night – Billy Boy Arnold

Tell Me That You Love Me – Fats Domino

Happy Home – Elmore James

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Fifty Years Ago Today …

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The Rolling Stones pose outside of London’s famous Marquee club today. It was fifty years ago – the band played it’s very first gig here … Happy Birthday!

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The band was put together by guitarist Brian Jones who tragically passed away in 1969. He was replaced by Mick Taylor who remained with the group until 1975.

Taylor was replaced by Ronnie Wood who remains to this day. Bill Wyman – the original bass player left following the 1989 tour and was replaced by Darryl Jones who remains to this day.

The ‘fifth’ Stone – Ian Stewart, was the band’s original ‘boogie woogie’ piano player as well as their tour manager. He passed away from a heart attack in 1985.

Sax player Bobby Keys has been with the band since 1967.

Charlie’s Good T’ night … What about Ronnie?

Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood celebrates his 65th birthday on June 1.

‘The new Stone’ made his official debut as a member of the Stones with 1976’s ‘Black and Blue’ album, having already established himself as a formidable presence through his work with the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces.

Since then, Wood has contributed an impressively varied tapestry of guitar work to the band’s records but his legacy will remain as the joker in the band. The guitarist with a sense of humor that saved the Stones from exctinction.

Rod Stewart and Ron Wood

Wood was the go – between for Richards and Jagger. In one of the craziest relationships between two musicians; Ron Wood managed to keep things light. Eric Clapton recently attempted a good – humored stab at Wood, citing the fact he was asked first to join the Stones in 1975 and he was a better guitar player than Ron. Clapton stated the music would have been better. Wood’s response is typical of his nature;

” Yes Eric … But you wouldn’t have survived a week with these guys.!”

Ronnie Wood is an accomplished artist. His work consisting of his bandmates, musicians and film stars from every decade. He also has an impressive resume when it comes to painting the animal kingdom. Wood caused headlines in recent years when he left his wife for a seventeen year old Russian girl. A relationship which ended with domestic abuse charges against the Stone. Charges which were dismissed.

Wood is in and out of rehab with his drinking problems and purportedly has been broke more than once during his time with the Stones. All reports recently speak of a clean and sober Wood as the Stones prepare for their fiftieth anniversary tour and album.

Rick Keene with Ron Wood’s Guitar

Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts, turns 72 on June 2.

The last of the original Rolling Stones members to join the band, Watts’ entry signaled the beginning of the band’s ascension into rock stardom. Though many are crediting 2012 as being the band’s 50th year, Ron Wood recently stated that technically it would be 2013 if you take into effect Watts’ start date. The group has reportedly been discussing doing something next year to mark the occasion.

With the Rolling Stones on a break this year, Watts is spending this year with his jazzy side project the A, B, C and D of Boogie Woogie. They have late June and early July dates in New York.

Charlie Watts along with Bill Wyman were always known as the ‘quiet Stones’. Of the pair,Watts was the winner hands down! Wyman may have been low-keyed on stage and as far as drug go, yet it is the Stones’ former bass player who lays the claim to most sexual adventures.

Watts, on the flip side of the rock coin; has been married to his wife Shirkey for over fifty years.

Charlie’s claim to fame is keeping the Stones’ sometime erratic playing grounded with a solid beat. Keith Richards wanders very frequently in front of Watts’ drum kit to pick up the drummer’s unequaled tempo among other things;

“Charlie Watts is my absolute favourite. He has all of the qualities that I like in people. Great sense of humor, a lovely streak of eccentricity, a real talent, very modest.”

The Stones’ drummer breeds horses and is an avid civil war gun enthusiast. These two loves don’t quite touch his love for Jazz.

Originally a Jazz drummer, Watts has always turned to this passion when not pounding out a Rock n’ Roll beat for Mick and Keith. He has had moderate success over the years with his own bands – most notably; the Charlie Watts Quartet. A foursome which included Stones’ backup singer Bernard Fowler.

Charlie’s sole drug problems arrived a little late …

“I was lucky that I never got that hooked, but I went through a period of taking heroin. I fell asleep on the floor during [the recording of] ‘Some Girls’ and Keith woke me up and said: ‘You should do this when you’re older’. Keith telling me this! But it stuck and I just stopped along with everything else”.

Just prior to the release of A Bigger Bang in 2006; Charlie Watts was diagnosed with throat cancer. The Stones were entering the studio to record the album when they received a phone call from Watts. A message which made Mick and Keith think …

“Suddenly we were faced with the prospect of losing Charlie. What do we do? We asked each other?” Keith continues. “Mick played drums for the new songs and got quite good at it. When Charlie came back – he came back stronger than before. Death alters everyone’s thinking.”

According to Richards; “Charlie Watts is the Stones … !”