Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rolling Stones: Stones in Exile - New York, NY - 2010-05-11

Rolling Stones, Stones In Exile Premiere Screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, May 11, 2010.

How many times can you hear these songs in one lifetime and still love them? Listening to "Tumbling Dice" - loud & remastered - in a movie theatre, set to images of early-70's-era Stones...well, all I can say is I never heard the song before...

Let's get it out of the way: Stones In Exile leaves out a lot. How can you discuss in depth the making of Exile and not so much as mention Gram Parsons? There are other obvious quibbles but there always are when the Stones or any other band puts out anything "official". This is their version of the story and they're entitled to it. We have wikipedia for the rest...Let's instead focus on what is in the movie...

Bobby Keys, man. The interview bits with him will leave you, um, rolling...wait 'til you see the part about him "teaching Charlie Watts to play drums" and coming up with the epic drum part on Ventilator Blues (which you should go listen to right now).

Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman. Great contemporary interviews.

Anita Pallenberg and drugs. No whitewash here. Lots of Anita photos & video, contemporary interviews, and loads of frank discussion about KR's descent into heroin and smack. He gives some frank talk about it, too. Sure, it could have been more detailed and lurid but there's enough of that shit out there. The room positively squirmed when one of the grown men, who was an eight-year-old at the time of the making of the record, talks about staying up all night, watching the totally open drug and alcohol use, and relates his role in it all: his job was to roll numbers for the adults...and by the way, Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithful are officially tied in my eyes for reigning beauties of the era...

Most surprisingly, the roles of Mick & Keith are handled more candidly than I expected (though those who claim to know will say Mick's input into making the record, at least the parts in France, are overstated - apparently he spent most of his time canoodling with Bianca in Paris as opposed to pulling all-nighters in NellcĂ´te...who can blame him?). The film comes off as a tribute to Keith, though. All of the band members, but especially Bill & Charlie, speak so lovingly and almost with a tone of awe concerning Keith's methods, madness and the making of these songs.

Perfect film? No way. But it succeeds in making me want to revisit the record, procure the reissue, and take in the band, record and era with fresh eyes and ears.

Dig it.

Help a brother out and order Stones in Exile on Amazon.

Check out what our friends at Wines That Rock had to say about the event.