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Performing "Rock me baby" with Buddy Guy
Orpheum Theatre, Boston September 8, 2002
Scanned from IORR No. 45, photo by Kevin Mazur

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Topic: Unbroken, Unbowed, the Stones Rock On Return to archive
10-01-02 11:04 AM
Jaxx i found this article in today's ny times. if this has been posted already, someone clue me in so i can delete. if not,grab a cup of java and enjoy. this is a lengthyly one.

Unbroken, unbowed, the Stones rock on
Bernard Weinraub The New York Times
Tuesday, October 1, 2002

CHICAGO Ask Mick Jagger about growing old - and everyone does ask - and he grimaces. "Musicians don't think about this very much," said Jagger, 59, seated in a hotel room here, where the Rolling Stones performed three recent sold-out concerts. "Rock 'n' roll requires a certain amount of energy. You just can't do rock 'n' roll sitting on a bicycle going 10 miles an hour. You really have to wind the energy level up - that's part of the main ingredient. It's not like you have to be a brilliant musician, but you need a kind of explosive kind of musical energy to play rock 'n' roll well. And we have that."
Keith Richards, the Stones' legendary guitarist, put his view of aging another way. Seated backstage at Comiskey Park before one of the concerts here, Richards, also 59, sipped a glass of orange juice. Incense burned beside an ash tray as he lighted a cigarette. "I want to do it like Muddy Waters - till I drop," he said.
The Rolling Stones, who have defined rock 'n' roll as much as any group for more than 35 years, insist, almost defiantly, that their creative vitality and, yes, their health are thriving. Having become enormously wealthy as members of the most successful rock band in history - the Stones' 1994 "Voodoo Lounge" tour grossed an industry record of $124 million - they said they had no desire to settle down in their mansions.
"This is not something you retire from," Richards said. "It's your life. Writing songs and playing is like breathing - you don't stop." Richards lives in Weston, Connecticut, with his wife, the former model Patti Hansen, and their two teenage children. He also has two older children from his long relationship with the actress Anita Pallenberg in the 1960s and '70s. "The Stones are incredibly strong and a well-oiled machine," he added. "Ideas keep popping up. After every tour - you've been on the road maybe three years - you go home and forget about it for, like, a year, and then after about 18 months, you start to expect a phone call. And after a few weeks, it'll be like Mick or Charlie saying, 'Are we going to do anything?"'
Charlie Watts, 61, the band's quiet drummer, who has served as a mediator in the periodically strained Jagger-Richards relationship over the years, wasn't defensive about his age. "I think about the age issue myself," he said. "It doesn't upset me when journalists talk about it. I do know that I saw Duke Ellington when he was in his seventies, and he was fabulous. And he toured every day of his life. We lead a cushy life by comparison."
In the cities they have visited so far in their North American tour - Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia - the Stones have performed in locations of different sizes. The variety enables them to play contrasting shows. Richards called it "the Fruit of the Loom tour - small, medium and large."
More than Richards, Watts and the guitarist Ron Wood, who is 55, Jagger is especially sensitive to the age issue and makes it plain that every time he talks to a journalist, it's like visiting the dentist. Even more than successful contemporaries like the members of the Who, who have also faced age questions, the Stones have always promoted themselves as classic bad boys whose defiance is almost as significant as their music.
Jagger famously said in his youth that he couldn't imagine singing "Satisfaction," the Stones' signature song, at 30. As long ago as 1978, Chet Flippo wrote in Rolling Stone, "The Stones gave it everything they had - these old pros, crippled by age and dissipation, but still holding the flag high." (The bassist Bill Wyman quit the band in 1992 after 31 years partly because, he said, he did not want to continue playing the same songs.)
Joe Levy, the music editor of Rolling Stone, stressed that the Stones were still a powerful symbol. "In the '60s they stood explicitly for social change," he said. "Their stance was political, even revolutionary. They no longer carry that message, but they still carry the underpinnings of it - live by your own rules, your own passions. They do what they want, when they want to do it."
He credited their uncommon endurance to Jagger and Richards. "Jagger ensured the Stones' longevity by managing their business affairs with an iron hand," he said. "Keith has ensured their longevity by stubbornly managing their music. Together they form this remarkable power."
With songs that helped define and stretch rock 'n' roll, as well as Jagger's skills at prancing and preening to seduce an audience of stadium size - he was the first rock star to do so - the group seems unstoppable. "We're as frisky as teenagers," said Richards, who has written about 200 songs with Jagger.
Even the Stones are impressed by their ability to do what many other rock stars and bands could not: physically survive the '60s and '70s. But they almost didn't. Brian Jones, their most musically adventurous member, who left the band while battling drug problems, was found dead in his swimming pool on July 3, 1969. The coroner's report cited "death by misadventure."
Richards has acknowledged that he spent most of the '70s as a heroin addict in a narcotic haze. He said his arrest by Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1977 in a Toronto hotel room finally led him to beat his addiction, though the charges of heroin and cocaine possession hung over him for 18 months, threatening to land him in prison for a long time and end the Stones' career. (He was given a one-year suspended sentence.)
"I know I was the most likely to die," said Richards, his famous face heavily lined by years of hard living. "It was an experiment that went on far too long, and it's the only thing in the world that ever beat me. And I put up a hell of a fight."
As he put it: "O.K., one half of you is famous. You can have this Rolls-Royce and all that, and the other is like being in the gutter, and always keeping one foot in it."
The lives of the Stones - especially Jagger's marriages and affairs - have threatened, at times, to overshadow their music. But even after four decades, they seem intensely engaged in their work as musicians.
"They assimilated American roots music - Muddy Waters, Motown, rockabilly, rhythm and blues - and achieved something unique on their own," said Peter Wolf, the former front man for the J. Geils Band, whose new album, "Sleepless," features Jagger and Richards performing with him separately on two songs.
The Stones' absorption of the early rock canon is probably another reason for their longevity. Jagger and the other members of the band mentioned many American rock 'n' roll figures as significant models. Jagger pointed in particular to Eddie Cochran (who died in 1960 at 22), as well as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Elvis Presley. "I just absorbed a lot of that music and I know it well," he said, adding Richie Valens and the Everly Brothers to the list for reasons that went beyond their work. "I mean they had such great hair - how did they do that?"
Wood said he listened to Charlie Parker and Marvin Gaye. Richards said his mother, who sold washing machines and played the ukulele, constantly listened to Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstein, Sarah Vaughan and Count Basie. He said that as he grew older, performers like Waters and the great Delta blues guitarist Robert Johnson took hold of him.
While the Beatles sang "Eleanor Rigby" and other songs with British backdrops, the Stones were decidedly more American. "I think that's the difference between us and the Beatles," Richards said. "They were much more home grown. We were always looking out. It was the difference between Liverpool, which to a Londoner is very provincial, and London, where we came from."
Richards said his sometimes tense relations with Jagger were, for the moment, smooth. He once called Jagger "a lunatic with a Peter Pan complex." He had also been critical of Jagger's knighting earlier this year, saying it distanced the band from its scrappy roots.
But whatever their ups and downs, the two musicians have been in each other's lives since childhood. Richards said that his relationship with Jagger was complicated, but that they were inextricably bound to each other. "I mean I don't know the man for nothing - once in a while he needs to be put in his place," Richards said with a smile. "We've known each other since we were 4 years old. We are very different people in many ways. It's strange. We know when to stay apart and when to let things bring us together. We can't get divorced. You can get rid of the old lady, but I can't get rid of Mick, and he can't get rid of me."

10-01-02 11:16 AM
Maxlugar Beautiful.

10-01-02 11:17 AM
Jaxx you're welcome. nice read for the a.m. i do believe
10-01-02 11:35 AM
TracyGene That was a great review.Thank you.
10-01-02 11:39 AM
jb Great article Jaxx...I like the negative Beatle references....see ya all in 3 weeks!!!
10-01-02 11:48 AM
parmeda Jaxx...what a great article. Thanks for posting it.
I've enjoyed reading all of the media coverage that we've all posted so well as the personal insights. I can only hope that whenever someone runs across any piece of information from their local areas, they will act quickly to get it posted here.
I for one, can't get enough of this. In the words of Mick himself, "...Don't Stop. Honey, please don't stop."

Keep these coming...
10-01-02 11:50 AM
jb Who won the auction parmeda? LOL!!!
10-01-02 11:55 AM
I don't know jb.
Isn't there another day or two left?

...right back at ya
10-01-02 12:00 PM
jb I won something today for 59.50...
10-01-02 12:05 PM
Lazy Bones The "Fruit of the Loom" tour. That's our Keith. Thanks for posting, Jaxx.