||The exhibit An Attic Full of Stones: From the Collection of Stephen and Susan Zorochin will take you back to the days when the Rolling Stones were rebellious rockers.
Forty years ago, the Rolling Stones were described as dirty, filthy, degenerate and — worst of all — "hairy" untouchables.
Today, drummer Charlie Watts enjoys upper-class country life in a Sussex manor estate, one of his many homes. Ron Wood and Bill Wyman paint artwork that sells for thousands in international galleries.
Last year, Mick Jagger launched his new album with a prime-time television special that aired Thanksgiving. There were scenes of Mick watching his kids play soccer, thanking his elderly gym-teacher father for instilling his love for fitness and complaining that he hadn't been knighted by the queen yet.
Staff photo by Susan Van Dongen
Stephen Zorochin with the 14-by-8-foot Rolling Stones quilt handmade by Pennington seamstress Debbie Bratsko.
They may still rock, but the Rolling Stones don't threaten anybody anymore.
Older rock'n'roll fans might prefer the more rebellious version, remembering the days when newspaper headlines read, "Stones Roll Out of Jail," "Stoned Again" or "Would You Let Your Daughter Date a Rolling Stone?" The exhibit An Attic Full of Stones: From the Collection of Stephen and Susan Zorochin will take you back to those days.
Created and curated by the Zorochins, who live in Hightstown, An Attic Full of Stones will be on view at the gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor June 15-30.
The couple conceived the show after cleaning out the attic of Ms. Zorochin's childhood home. They stumbled across boxes of old newspaper clips, concert tickets and breathless Tiger Beat magazine profiles of the Rolling Stones, all collected by Ms. Zorochin when she was a teenybopper. There's even a hand-written, hand-addressed birthday card from Charlie Watts.
"My wife had quite few pen pals in England, and they knew she was a Stones fan, so they would cut out articles from British papers and magazines and send them over," says Mr. Zorochin, 51.
The Zorochins knew they had to do something with the material, which is mostly from around 1964, before the group became world famous. The couple wanted to celebrate the Rolling Stones' 40th anniversary and to help rock fans relive the days of the British Invasion, but also to educate the public about the pop culture history of the early '60s.
There are pages torn from TV Guide advertising the Rolling Stones on obscure, forgotten variety shows. On the same page are listings for long-gone TV programs like Surfside 6 and network news featuring Walter Cronkite. One advertisement for a concert has the Stones sharing the bill with The Spencer Davis Group, who are still well-remembered for their whiz-kid keyboardist Steve Winwood. But the other performers — such as Charles Dickens and The Checkmates — passed from the collective memory more than 35 years ago.
Of course, this was also the first incarnation of the Rolling Stones, when the enigmatic Brian Jones was the heartthrob of the group. It's poignant to see photos of the blonde guitarist, who died mysteriously in 1969. With his long bangs, foppish hats and velvet and seersucker jackets, he was the very image of a Swinging London dandy.
One unusual item on display is a 14-by-8-foot quilt, handmade by Pennington seamstress Debbie Bratsko, with a variety of the memorabilia sewn into it. Mr. Zorochin came up with the idea for a quilt and had the images phototransferred onto cloth, then Ms. Bratsko attached them with colorful, heavy duty thread.
Staff photo by Susan Van Dongen
"I met her when I went into a fabric store to buy some thread," Mr. Zorochin says. "We got to talking, I told her about the project and she agreed to do it, right then and there."
Serendipity also helped Mr. Zorochin find a space to exhibit the show. He and his wife own Zscapes, a lawn-and-garden service, and he had been doing some landscaping for Mercer County Community College's president, Robert Rose. Mr. Zorochin mentioned he had this collection of Stones stuff but no where to place it. Mr. Rose suggested he contact Trisha Fagan, curator of the gallery at MCCC.
A native of Hightstown, Mr. Zorochin began his career as an artist and sculptor in the early '70s, studying at the New York School of Visual Arts. He moved to Boston, doing his minimalist sculptures for railroad yards and factories. He returned to New Jersey in 1973, where he apprenticed with sculptor Joe Brown at Princeton University.
Both the attic of his bungalow and his backyard are peppered with classically influenced busts and other works of art, many of which have religious themes. The combination of the exquisite landscaping and original sculpture makes the Zorochins' humble suburban yard a showcase. Mr. Zorochin also is a naturally gifted baritone who performs with Princeton Pro Musica. Putting the Rolling Stones aside for a minute, he rattles the rafters with a few lines of classical music.
Mr. Zorochin discovered his musical talents just five years ago. "I've been told my voice could cut through 10 lawnmowers going full throttle," he says, describing the power of his voice in landscapers' terms.
But not even he can drown out the hype of the recently announced Rolling Stones World Tour, which kicks off in Boston this September. The big news is that Mick Jagger will turn 60 next July, in the midst of the tour. It's been a long time since they were a young, iconoclastic band of bad boys playing raw, blues-based rock'n' roll.
Ironically, the individual members were not "bad," and in fact were quite middle class. Mick Jagger had been a student at the London School of Economics, for example. But, Mr. Zorochin points out, the media, especially in Britain, was on a mission to make the group seem raunchy and sexy, in contrast to the clean, acceptable Beatles. This just made rock fans love the Rolling Stones even more — and buy more records.
"The music world thrived on this economically while the media world ran with it symbolically," he says. "The way they painted the Rolling Stones as monsters amazes me. It's hilarious. When you look at these pictures, they're in suits and ties. They look like they're ready for the office on a dress-down Friday."
An Attic Full of Stones: From the Collection of Stephen and Susan Zorochin, is on view at the gallery at Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, June 15-30. Free admission. Gallery hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Wed. 7-9 p.m., Thurs. 6-8 p.m. For information, call (609) 586-4800, ext. 3589.
||Great article Mr. Vodoo!