i went to a one off screening of the rolling stones *gimme shelter* earlier in the week.
like many music lovers i’d already seen a lot of it on youtube…still, there’s nothing like seeing a thing like that in an actual cinema,
but the other reason i went is because stanley booth was attending and talking …do you know of stanley?
he wrote theeeee book on the rolling stones,and it reads like a well crafted beat novel… stanley’s own life is ram packed with intense experience.
he overdosed in gracelands with elvis…was in the studio with otis redding when he recorded*dock of the bay* three days before the plane crash…
he got crushed by a lumber truck..had seizures in the process of coming off drugs..jail …
got chucked out of a ray charles concert for being a white boy who dared to sit with his black school friends during the days of segregation…
one time while flying high on acid ,he fell from a waterfall in georgia ,broke his back and went into a dark period of painkiller addiction..
heaven help the man,cause even though he goes way out there,he’s still very much a consummate writer…
he wrote the first ever serious piece on elvis presley for vanity fair,but my my..this man knows what dark days are.
he literally ran for the hills,where he went into hiding for ten years.
as i maneuvered towards my seat, i could see stanley was already sitting slap bang in the middle front row [i too love the front row]
stanley’s in his seventies,but looks much older cause he hasn’t exactly lived like a doris….he was all by himself…no one shielding him but himself…dead cool.
a couple of hours later after the film and conversation,he signed my book.
i’m not sure if i’ve ever walked up to anyone and asked them to sign a book for me before…and i very nearly bottled out, for at this stage in his life he pretty much has the air of someone like william burroughs.
gimme shelter’s a remarkable movie…it follows the stones round america through 1969 where stanley was given full access,but his book also runs a parallel story of brian jones downward slide, to juxtapose the stones continuing rise…the peak of the book is a live concert hitting meltdown alongside brian jones coffin being lowered into his grave back in england…quite a powerful touch.
stanley would sit behind keith richards amplifier on each night of the tour and soak up the whole drama.
the film builds towards the menace of the altamont festival which marks the end of the hippy summer of love when someone gets killed ..It’s the most unsettling,chaotic,menacing piece of live rock n roll footage i’ve ever seen…it’s a miracle that anything got filmed and recorded at all.
in those times [for better or worse], rock n roll had none of todays security or structure, so the stones relied on hells angels to get them on the stage or hold the crowd back.
the stage was the size of a pool table,with thirty thousand fans high on good/bad acid or whatever else…hungry for some action.
the gorgeous looking and great sounding concert footage is cut up with inserts of hotel rooms..business dealings..plus them recording on the hallowed ground of muscle shoals studio.
there’s also a wild section of tina turner opening for them at madison square garden..
she does this amazing thing of transforming her microphone into a cock..and it’s a cock that she definitely wants…
the lady does this without loosing one inch of her dignity.
y’know people think the young jagger copped all his moves from james brown,but that fast nodding of the head thing he does was totally ripped from tina turner.
make no mistake.
check tina for her *technique* right here.my favourite moments are of a hairy caveman biker strung too far out on speed or something during the concert, where he looks like he’s ready to rip his own neck off with his two bear hands….
the camera really pulled out the terrible beauty of that…
i wish i could find that piece on youtube so i could show it to you,
but i do have this …
i’ve been watching this clip for years and just love it…
the utter satisfaction on those boys faces, knowing they’d recorded the most beautiful piece of music.
charlie watts is a doll here…i left that cinema glad to be alive..
outside it must have been raining earlier..
it was warm….i tripped out mildly for the millionth time on how the soho neon reflects in the drenched sidewalks and roadways.
thanks for making the long trek over to london stanley…safe ride home to savannah