DC at Night

DC at Night

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rolling with the Stones

Rock journalist Rona Elliot wants to make one thing very clear about her new enhanced E-book Never Stop: My Conversations with Rolling Stones. "It is not an expose; it's more like a love letter from a fan," Elliot says.

And Elliot was a fan of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the rest of the Stones long before she became a noted music correspondent for MTV and The Today Show. In fact, she first saw the Stones, whose longevity has allowed them to stake claim to the title of the greatest rock and roll band in the world, in 1965 in California  She paid $5 for her ticket. On their last tour in 2006, she paid $400 for her Stones ticket. "Now that really shows you how much times have changed," Eliot says with a laugh.

With the Rolling Stones' announcement they will be playing 4 concerts (2 in London and 2 in New Jersey) to celebrate their 50th anniversary later this year, Elliot's recent appearance at the Newseum to discuss her new work was extremely timely.

The e-book is based, on large part, on interviews that Elliot conducted over the years with Jagger and Richards, who first met as British teenagers sharing a passion for American blues.

"Mick and Keith's relationship is different than whatever you think it is," Elliot said. "They're portrayed as having a tangled rivalry, but they'll go into a studio and have 3 songs by noon if Keith gets up by noon.

But there are basic differences in the ways the pair, who labeled themselves the Glimmer Twins, approach their stardom. "Keith always answers from the heart. Mick does seem to be more guarded and more wary of what people read into him. He has more of a wall," Elliot said.

But when it comes to their music, both are consummate performers. "Mick dances and practices 3 hours a day and Keith does the same thing with a guitar," Elliot said. "You can count on Mick and Keith to deliver a great performance."

Since their emergence in the early 1960s, the Stones have always challenged the Beatles for rock superiority. "But the Beatles and the Stones appeal to different body parts," Elliot said. "The Stones make you think of sex. The Beatles make you think of loftier things. But the Stones are right there with the Beatles. If you are a product of the 60s, there's the Beatles and the Stones and Bob Dylan."

Of course, the 60s are known as much for drugs as for great music. And no living musician is more associated with drug use and abuse than Richards, who a few years ago composed and released a best-selling autobiography. "The fact that Keith Richards remembers anything is amazing,"  Elliot joked. "But now he is the wise elder; the man who actually shows what rock and roll is and what rock and roll has to offer."

Rona Elliot and her new enhanced E-book
But what about people who contend that the aging Stones, all of whom are in or nearing their 70s, are too old to rock? "They don't need the money. They don't need the fame," Elliot said. "But they show us that the game isn't up if you're not 25. They prove you're not limited by a number.When people tell me 'well Mick Jagger looks like a prune' I tell them he's dancing 3 hours a day - what are you doing? The Stones serve as a reminder that we all can continue to make contributions. Long after we're dead and gone people will be listening to the Stones just like we are still listening to Mozart."

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
The Stones will be busy between now and the end of 2012. In addition to the 4 scheduled concerts, they are also releasing a new documentary of their 50 years together titled Crossfire Hurricane. It will air on HBO. They will also be offering a new packaging of 50 songs, 48 hits and 2 newly recorded tunes.  You can hear the 1st of the new tunes "Doom and Gloom," the 1st single from the Stones in 7 years, by clicking here.

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