ROLL OF A LIFETIME FOUNDING BASSIST BILL WYMAN LOOKS BACK AT THE STONES.
Bill Wyman didn't expect the Rolling Stones to last.
``I had an 8-month-old son at the time, and I thought I'd keep a few things - just like anybody might - to show him I was in a rock 'n' roll band once, that we made a record and were on TV.''
As the Stones got bigger, Wyman, the band's original bass player, kept collecting - posters, ticket stubs, newspaper and magazine articles, playlists, private photos and whatnot.
``I continued to save them because I found it quite interesting and here we are today. And I've got this massive archive and all the guys used to ridicule it and say, 'Why're you keeping all that rubbish?' ''
The memorabilia has become the basis for Wyman's new book, ``Rolling With the Stones'' (DK Publishing; $50), his first-person account of what went on during his 31 years with the band.
``Some 95 percent of the books about the Rolling Stones are just filled with scandal gossip and invented stories and don't give justice to what the band achieved over the years,'' says Wyman, who was talking from his London home. The handsome coffee-table book has plenty of fascinating bits and doesn't skirt the darker side of the band's history - drugs, groupies, fights, Brian Jones' death - but Wyman wasn't interested in perpetuating myths like the rumored murder of Jones, which he calls outrageous.
Since he left the band in 1993, Wyman has devoted himself to his own music and other interests, including an earlier book, ``Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey: A Journey to Music's Heart & Soul.'' The 66-year-old ex-Stone remarried 10 years ago and has three daughters, ages 8, 6 and 4.
As a man who liked to stay in the shadows on stage - ``I'm not an out-front person'' - Wyman had the luxury of being in the middle of rock 'n' roll's biggest circus while keeping a distance at the same time.
With the Stones coming to town this week, we asked Wyman - who with Charlie Watts formed the ``straightest rhythm section in rock 'n' roll'' - to give us a few snapshots of the band.
GREATEST ROCK 'N' ROLL BAND OF ALL TIME?: (Takes a deep breath and laughs.) That's a matter of opinion. When the label first came up, I probably thought to myself, ``Yeah, we're probably one of the best live bands there is and have been from the beginning,'' and probably still are now - or they are now in the present day - because they have those fantastic front men. And something happens when the band's on stage. They just gelled, always did and always will. And many people have tried to imitate the Stones and never quite got it right. I always thought that we were a really good bad, but there are lots of really good bands. ... Throughout my entire career I always thought this band was a great band live - blow anybody off the stage. In the studio - maybe not quite as good as the Beatles or artists like that who maybe wrote slightly better songs. But never mind, 'cause that's my opinion. I only understood the magnitude of this band when I did this book. ... It kind of hit me how big and important this band was over 40 years.
BRIAN JONES (guitarist, 1962-69): Hugely important at the beginning because he formed the band. He chose the members. He named the band. He chose the music we played. He got us gigs ... did marvelous things on a lot of songs in the mid-'60s with dulcimers, marimbas - anything he put his hands on he could get a tune out of and turned songs around into something they weren't when they started. Very influential, very important, and then slowly lost it - highly intelligent - and just kind of wasted it and blew it all away. Like John Lennon said, ``He ran out of runway.''
CHARLIE WATTS (drummer, 1963-present): Just a wonder ... one of the sweetest blokes I've ever met ... gentle and quiet. ... He can sum up a situation in one line, which can floor you every time. A fantastic drummer, and I still would love to play with him again if he wasn't so busy. He sent me a parcel from the (current) tour, as if I were in some kind of German prison camp during the war, of T-shirts, programs, posters. ... He does sweet things like that.
MICK JAGGER (lead singer, 1962-present): Great in business. He's brilliant in picking other people's minds and learning fast. ... Of course he's absolutely a genius on stage and very detailed. He's not always right. He tries to push his thing in the studio and he will be wrong sometimes. But he usually has the right idea of what he wants and he usually gets it. You feel he's very unsympathetic with many things that trouble you personally, but when crunch time comes, he will come up with the goods. My father died while we were on tour in Japan in 1990, and the two people who came to my aid - because I had to play a concert that night and six more in the next week - were Charlie and Mick. Mick slid a note under my door. ... I really like him sometimes and I really don't like him sometimes. ... (Laughs) He can switch. He can be be two, four, 10 people, and I like the ordinary person he is when he's down to Earth and basic. I can relate to that. I can't relate to the show-biz bit he comes on with because I see right through it.
KEITH RICHARDS (guitarist, 1962-present): In the early days, I was quite close to him. In the '70s I wasn't because of the drug thing and into the '80s. After that we were just working mates, really. On a personal level, I don't mix with him because he's not the same kind of person as me. We don't like the same kinds of things. I find him difficult. Sometimes he's a bully. Sometimes he's sweet. But he's very supportive, too. I remember one occasion when somebody said something detrimental about me or Charlie and he just leapt up and punched them in the face. He won't hear anything bad about anybody in the band. ... He's a great, great rhythm guitarist. I don't think anybody gets rhythm down like him. ... And he comes up with some great songs.
RON WOOD (guitarist, 1976-present): Woody is like the clown, isn't he? I love Woody 'cause he's just a loon. I was great mates with (Who drummer) Keith Moon for many years. ... Moony was a loon and Woody's like that. He was a great link between me and Charlie - the quiet ones - and Mick and Keith. In enthusiasm he's unbounded. ... He plays some loony stuff on stage when he's running around and doing somersaults. In the studio, he works very well with Keith and they link very well musically.
MICK TAYLOR (guitarist, 1969-74): He was a genius player when he joined us in 1969. He took the band somewhere else musically because he was playing things you wouldn't think of doing and his slide playing was absolutely stunning. The only drawbacks of him were he was very moody and also when he was on stage he only looked at his guitar. He never looked out at the audience or acknowledged them. Even I did that. ... He was never quite satisfied with what he was doing. ... He wasn't satisfied with what he was doing in the Stones. That's why he left. ... And, of course, he's had the problem with drugs, too. But he's a nice guy underneath it all.
IAN STEWART (road manager, piano player, 1962-85): Mustn't forget Stu. Stu was fantastic. Keith and Mick would tell you the same thing. Stu was loved by every band in England. He played with the Who, he played with Zeppelin, he played with the Yardbirds. Everybody loved his piano playing, his boogie-woogie and big-band stuff. Stu was the first person Brian enlisted in the band. ... When he became our road manager, he did the work of five men for the first three years of our career. That's probably why he died so young. He just probably burned himself out looking after us.
that was then ...
Brian Jones forms the Rollin' Stones; first gig at the Marquee Club, London
Band signs with Decca Records and is renamed the Rolling Stones; first English tour with the Everly Brothers and Bo Diddley
First American tour; first top 10 US single, ``Time Is on My Side''
First No. 1 single, ``(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction''; second No. 1 single, ``Get Off of My Cloud''
Third No. 1 single ``Paint It, Black''
Jagger, Richards and Jones arrested separately for drug possession this year; Jagger and then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with the Beatles; fourth No. 1 single, ``Ruby Tuesday''
Band fires manager Andrew Loog Oldham and hires Allen Klein; ``Beggar's Banquet'' released
Jones and the band part company - a few weeks later, he drowns in his own pool; Mick Taylor joins band; fifth No. 1 single, ``Honky Tonk Women''; ``Let It Bleed'' released; 300,000 fans attend the free Altamont concert, where Hell Angels stab a man to death
Mick and Bianca Jagger marry (divorced 1977); Rolling Stones Records launched; ``Sticky Fingers'' released; band goes into tax exile in France; sixth No. 1 single, ``Brown Sugar''
``Exile on Main St.'' released
Seventh No. 1 single, ``Angie''
``It's Only Rock and Roll'' released; Taylor leaves band
Ron Wood joins band
Richard arrested in Canada for heroin possession
``Some Girls'' released; eighth (and last) No. 1 single, ``Miss You''
``Tattoo You'' released
Ian Stewart (piano/road manager) dies of a massive heart attack
Band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; ``Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle'' tour
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, together since 1977, marry (divorced 1999)
Bill Wyman leaves band
``Voodoo Lounge'' tour
``Bridges to Babylon'' tour
``No Security'' tour
- Researched by Eric Wolfe
... this is now
Where: Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday.
Tickets: $51.75 to $362.75. Call (213) 480-3232 or www.ticketmaster.com
Where: Edison International Field, 2000 Gene Autry Way, Anaheim.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets: $50 to $350. Call (213) 480-3232 or www.ticketmaster.com
Where: Wiltern Theatre, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 4.
Tickets: $53.50. Call (213) 480-3232 or www.ticketmaster.com
8 photos, 2 boxes
(1 -- cover -- color) TIME IS ON THEIR SIDE
In their 40th year, the Stones come crashing into L.A.
(2) BRIAN JONES
(3) CHARLIE WATTS
(4) MICK JAGGER
(5) KEITH RICHARDS
(6) RON WOOD
(7) MICK TAYLOR
(8) ROLLING STONES
(1) that was then... (see text)
(2) ... this is now (see text)
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Oct 27, 2002|
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