Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Old Gods Almost Dead – The 40 Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is a bit of a sensationalistic writer - he also penned Hammer of the Gods (Led Zep) and Walk This Way (Aerosmith) - and so he does get a bit carried away with lurid gossip in his tomes (LOTS of sex and drugs), but he does also include a lot of information on recordings, tours and the relationships between the band members (and their friends and loved ones). Of course, due to the nature of his writing, you need to take everything with a grain (or barrel) of salt, but it does keep it entertaining.

Of course, everyone knows the basic story of the Stones by now, but I always find it fun to relive the 60's and 70's, as they were the best times for r'n'r music. But, Brian Jones is such a tragic figure that it does get a bit depressing, not to mention the fact that they all treat each other a bit cruelly, even when they were all friends.

Davis concentrates a lot on the many affairs that the men had - and there were innumerable, including stealing from each other and from their friends - and how poorly they treated their spouses/loved ones. Mick is portrayed as constantly hitting on women, Keith and Ron Wood as being constantly wasted, Brian as a mental wreck, Bill pretty overall disgusted with the insanity and Charlie and Taylor just wanting to play. He is harsh to the point of callousness in his criticism, but maybe the subject deserve it at times.

There are annoying little noticeable errors here and there, such as Brian playing a Thunderbird guitar instead of a Firebird or Slim Harpo simply influencing "Hip Shake Thing" instead of being the writer, but despite all this, it keeps moving and keeps you reading. The books ends in the early 2000's, as they constantly amaze everyone around them by their longevity, which they continue to do. Let's hope that they are still not "almost dead"!