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Topic: Andrew Loog Oldham interview Return to archive
06-04-02 09:08 AM
moy Stones Ex-Manager Likes Remy Shand More Than The Strokes
Monday June 03, 2002 @ 05:00 PM
By: Staff

Rolling Stones

Andrew Loog Oldham. Interesting name. Interesting man. Living legend. This was the guy who, by the time he was 19, had already been the Beatles press agent and the manager and producer of The Rolling Stones. His tenure with the Stones extended from 1963 until the end of 1967 and it's because of him that we heard of the group at all. Forget about their last two decades ó grab all of their '60s recordings (to be remastered for August!!) and see why they were indeed the real bad-asses of rock Ďní roll. Back to Oldham ó he was a purveyor of hip; creating one of the first boutique record labels (Immediate Records) in existence. He's been a recluse since, like, forever and then turned up in South America to produce Argentinean rock records. He's also coming to Toronto to be the Keynote speaker at this yearís NXNE. On the phone from Connecticut and no doubt wearing the coolest wraparounds ever made: Ladies and Gentleman! Andrew Loog OldhamÖ

ChartAttack: You're coming up to Toronto to speak at the NXNE conference. What for?

Andrew Loog Oldham: Well, I live in South America in Columbia, so this is a wonderful opportunity to stay in touch. You get to touch those who are on the way in. You get the fresh approach. If I was a vampire, you could say I got blood!

In your speech, what would you impart to young musicians and artists?

Iím more interested in what they can impart to me. I come for the education, the two-way street. I expect to get off an audience what I get off an act. I mean, itís a divine exchange of data, and it keeps me informed what I can inform them of, as everything goes in cycles. We are back, basically, to the (same) form when I came into the record business except the zeros are more, but the gameís the same and just as lame and just as great.

I understand you are bringing a film called "Charlie Is My Darling." What exactly is that?

Itís a movie that I made with the Stones in 1966. Itís a movie that Iím bringing that I think is edu-taining.

Having said that, have you been following the current music trends with respect to the resurgence of rock ín' roll?

Well, what it means is that the young people got older and started buying back catalogue. Isnít it?

Well, what I'm referring to is the emergence of raw rock and roll bands such as The Strokes and The White Stripes.

Iím afraid I am more familiar with the names. Iím not (following the current trends). I get the pictures and I want to hear Remy Shand.

OK, letís do a bit of history then. You started working for the Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein. How old were you?

Let me see, 1962, I was 18.

What was it like working for Brian Epstein?

Well, at that time, London and Liverpool was as far away as Buenos Aires and Alaska. People only made long-distance phone calls either to announce a death or maybe a birth. Therefore, Liverpool being a longways away from London, he needed somebody to pound the streets for the Beatles and after that Gerry And The Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer Ďcause I worked for all of those during the six months I worked for him. I handled the press in London. I thought he was a great example as a manager, and when I come up and talk, heíll be one of the examples Iíll be talking about in that he had a kind of devotion and a relationship with the artist which is something I hope that I can share and get across. I mean, the idea of the experiences that I have to share are not present-time, but they are things to be grabbed a hold of and used, the same way I was studying at the throne of success.

At 19, you first saw the Rolling Stones in Richmond. What was that experience like?

Well, I just had a complete wave of totality come over me that was everything. It was a cash machine, a sex-machine, a bank machine, a life machine, a support machine. I saw and knew what my life had been about; what it had been for. It was to get devoted to the Rolling Stones. I had no idea what R Ďní B was, which was probably good because I had no point of reference. Had I had an opinion, it might have been subjective and I might have passed on themÖ

Tomorrow, part two of Andrew talking about his further adventures with the Stones and moreÖ

óPaul Kehayas

06-05-02 08:34 AM
Jaxx part 2:

Oldham Loves Bittersweet Symphony
Tuesday June 04, 2002 @ 05:00 PM
By: Staff

The Rolling Stones

In Part Two of ChartAttackís interview with ex-manager Andrew Loog Oldham, (this yearís keynote speaker at NXNE) Paul Kehayas gets further goods from the man who gave us The Rolling Stones. Today he talks more about the Stones and about "Bittersweet Symphony." Take it away, AndyÖ

ChartAttack: Youíve been credited with some impressive publicity creations, such as the "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" headline.

Andrew Loog Oldham: I didnít invent that! Life is not inventing, itís seizing. The moment becomes yours because you are the person who realized what it was. The statement actually came from an editor for the Melody Maker and it wasnít even a statement. It was part of a sentence, the same way great songwriters just seize things that we say and state half-sentences that we say and donít notice.

What about the first Stones album? It was considered revolutionary for the time with just a picture of the band on its cover, no band name.

It was a brilliant move. It is a managerial sweep in that you have a certain amount of time to get the record company to fall in love with you and/or notice you; and that was part of that device.

What would you rate as the most essential Rolling Stones records?

Well, I loved Between The Buttons and Aftermath because they were Mick and Keith arriving at controlling their song domain and having got it right after going through the natural process of songwriting which is soppy ballads, then less than soppy ballads and then getting it down to where you learn how to understand and complete the national anthem part; the brainwash part. It's where you graduate from stealing the parts out of three of your favourite songs and putting it together and getting into something slightly more subtle. Those two albums were the end product of that accomplishment. The writing on those two albums is just wonderfully diverse, entertaining, sardonic and commercial.

How do you feel about the separate British and American issues of the Decca/London records? (They had different track listings with the English singles being placed onto the albums by removing some tracks and playing about with the track listing) Does it tick you off that London mucked with them?

Well I didnít give a fuck quite frankly Ďcause you arrive in America and there are certain things you have to do the way that Americans do it, where it was completely not understandable to us to put "hits" onto an LP.

Why was that?

Because they had already bought it as a single. It would be thought of as selling somebody short if you put the A-sides and the B-sides on albums, whereas the American record companies regarded it as a given.

What was your opinion of the sample of "The Last Time" that The Verve used as the basis for "Bittersweet Symphony"? (This was taken from the recording by The Andrew Oldham Orchestra in 1966.)

Well I thought it was wonderful to be part of another national anthem in present-time which is played the crap out of at every football match. It was in Nike. It was in the film Cruel Intentions. And you canít ask to be sampled better than when somebody takes your recording and makes it their backing track.

So it is a definite thumbs-up then?

Oh, itís fabulous! I was pleased with a magazine where, because of that recording, I was put along with other people who I revere like Isaac Hayes and Barry White as one of the top five sampled people of all time. I mean, itís not bad for Andrew Oldham Orchestra! (laughs)

I understand that you digitally mastered "The Rolling Stones Singles Collection: The London Years box. How did it feel, re-living your past?

It gave me a complete nervous breakdown. I was still living the other life at the time, so I didnít handle it as well as I would have handled it now. It was the first time Iíd come in touch with my original work in that form and it was quite devastating.

Are you proud of the work that you did on it?

Yeah! Most certainly. It was a pioneer move, Ďcause at that time, I did it between 1985 and 1987 and the record companies once again were trying to keep the rock Ďní roll upstarts out saying, "Oh no, no, no. You canít do mastering!" And if you heard some of the records, I mean, some of the worst examples of [mastering] at the time were Bobby Darin or Abba. It was just awful. So we went to Hanover to do it and I lucked out by finding a former sound engineer who had done Stones cuts. In those years they were only letting classical people remaster albums.

What was your impression of Brian Jones near the end? [The first Stones guitarist, found dead in his swimming pool in 1969.]

If [actor] Charles Laughton could have come back and been in Spinal Tap, he would have played Brian Jones. If a cat has nine lives, they made a mistake with Brian and gave him 10! He unfortunately decided on his path and nothing was going to get in the way of him completing it.

Any Stones you still keep in contact with?

I had a very pleasant dinner with an ex-Rolling Stone, Bill Wyman in January. Outside of that, you donít run into your first wife that oftenÖ

Tomorrow in Part 3, we will find out about how Andrew Loog Oldham introduced The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds to the Beatles and about his indie label Immediate Records.

óPaul Kehayas

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