Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

#216 – P.F. Sloan – What’s Exactly a Matter With Me

PF Sloan wrote an impressive list of songs in the mid Sixties, including Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction,” Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man,” as well as hits for the Mamas & the Papas, Grassroots, Herman’s Hermits, the Turtles and others.  He met Elvis & the Beatles, and hung out with Dylan & Stephen Stills.  But, like a lot of staff songwriters, he was employed by a record label run by ruthless individuals, which eventually led to Sloan leaving the music business for many years.  Sloan, along with S.E. Feinberg, have just written his autobiography, What’s Exactly a Matter with Me – Memoirs of a Life in Music, from Jawbone Press.  In addition, he has a brand new musical endeavor, My Beethoven.  P.F. Sloan talks about writing the theme to the T.A.M.I. Show, working with Ann Margaret, and helping produce “Paint it, Black,” for the Rolling Stones

#147 – Simon Wells – Rolling Stones Drug Bust Book

It was a turning point in popular culture.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were arrested in early 1967 on drug charges stemming from a party that Richards held for close friends.  Local police, tipped off by an opportunistic newspaper, raided the festivities, setting off a series of events  which led to a media frenzy, and the arrest and eventual temporary imprisonment of both band members.  What was supposed to be a show of force by the old guard establishment on the young hedonistic hippies, ended up with an entirely different outcome.

Author Simon Wells chronicles the events down to every lurid detail in his new book, Butterfly on a Wheel – The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust. Wells talks with Icon Fetch about dispelling many of the rumors surrounding the affair, including the legendary Marianne Faithful Mars’ bar incident. He also touches on how he obtained his evidence, and the lasting impact that the overturned charges had on popular culture.

Classic Album – Rolling Stones – Some Girls (CD review)

Rolling Stones – Some Girls (1978) CD review – The Stones were looked at as old farts by the mid-Seventies.  Their last effort, Black and Blue, was a bloated mess, and new musical styles were popping up everywhere.  On one side, disco was beckoning people to party on the dance floor, while on the opposite end, punk was tossing aside the old guard and getting back to basics.  Somehow, Some Girls manages to take elements of both new trends, yet still sound like the Stones.

The record opens with “Miss You,” the finest disco single by any rock artist (sorry Rod Stewart!).  Bill Wyman shows his versatility – it’s his slinky bassline that drives the song.  But, what makes the track work is that, unlike other dance songs of the day, it’s dark, both lyrically and musically, especially in the spoken-word middle breakdown.  That’s followed by the lean rocker “When the Whip Comes Down” – the Stones haven’t sounded this energized in years.  They also turn in yet another Temptations’ cover in “Just My Imagination,” that is both gritty and tender.  “Beast of Burden” has a reggae overtone and “Respectable” is a furious rocker.  Keith Richards has  his best vocal since “Happy” in the autobiographical “Before They Make Me Run.”

They even have time for a swipe at tele-evangelism in the country spoof “Faraway Eyes.” The album closes with the funky, attitude-driven “Shattered,” with Mick Jagger adlibbing at his sneering best.  If there is one recurring theme, it’s New York City, which was the epicenter of both the disco and punk movements of the time.  What sets Some Girls apart from their previous albums of the Seventies is the sound; their earlier records were mostly dense and muddy, while here the guitars are bright and crisp, and Charlie Watts’ drumming sounds like it’s been wrapped so tight that it might snap.

Although Tattoo You from a few years later is pretty good, Some Girls is the Stones’ last truly great album.  USELESS BIT OF INFORMATION: For whatever reason, the 8-track version of Some Girls contained extended versions of a couple of songs, including “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden” that actually has an extra verse of the song.   – Tony Peters

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (book review)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – My Life With the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and Other Wonderful Reprobates – Sam Cutler (ECW Press) book review

The Altamont free concert debacle in 1969 was a huge black eye on the history of rock n’ roll.  It single-handedly put an end to the peace and love movement, and its mere mention conjures images of death and destruction.  But, so much of what surrounds that fateful day is mythologized.  What really happened? And, who was responsible?

Sam Cutler was the road manager of the Rolling Stones during that time and was directly involved in all aspects of the concert.  In You Can’t Always Get What You Want, someone who was really involved with things gets to tell his story.  He sheds light on how the Stones felt pressure to give something back to the fans in the form of a free show, yet how little care went into the organizing of said event.

Cutler claims to have been against the idea in the first place, but, because of the misguided hierarchy within the Stones’ management, he was left powerless. He was one of the few people of any authority who stayed around for the entire concert, even after several people had died and violence was everywhere in the form of wannabe Hell’s Angels (he is featured in the movie Gimme Shelter, doing stage announcements between songs).

He was also the only member of the Rolling Stones camp to stay behind in the US to help straighten out the mess.   Some of Cutler’s claims are valid: the people who suggested the concert had never planned such an event before, and the Rolling Stones were largely disinterested in the planning process.  Other times, when he suggests that the FBI were purposely spreading bad LSD to concert-goers, he borders on paranoia.

Despite being fired by the Stones, Cutler quickly took up the same responsibilities within the Grateful Dead.  Much of the second half of the book chronicles how Cutler helped the famed San Francisco band get out of debt, and become one of the biggest touring act of the seventies.  He’s also got some warm recollections of Janis Joplin, who lived just down the street from him for awhile.  During much of the book, the author is in a constant state of drug-induced euphoria, it’s downright amazing he can remember anything at all.  Upon finishing the book, you realize that Cutler is a pretty smart guy.  After all, he was involved with one of the great tragedies in all of rock, yet managed to bounce back quite nicely.  A great read for any fan of sixties rock.

He Managed the Stones & the Dead

Sam Cutler is a rather interesting guy.  I talked to him from his home in Australia (isn’t Skype a wonderful invention?).  Sam has a new book out called “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” where he chronicles his time as tour manager for two of the greatest rock bands of all time, the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead.

His tenure as road manager for the Stones was brief; he handled one tour of America in 1969, which went well until the Altamont free concert, which turned incredibly ugly, resulting in several deaths.

The thing is, history has it wrong, according to Sam: everything written about Altamont usually involves Hell’s Angels, the Stones and a racially-motivated murder.  Cutler explains his side of the story (he was actually there at the concert) and points the blame at some rather unusual suspects, including some young, Hell’s Angels Wannabees, and the FBI.

He also talks about the similarities and differences between the Stones and the Grateful Dead.  Sam also had a chance, while living in San Francisco, to become good friends with Janis Joplin.  He talks candidly about what kind of person she really was.  Of course, touring with the Stones and the Dead, there’s plenty of the rock n’ roll lifestyle; stories of partying, drugs and women.  Surprisingly, hallucinogens haven’t seemed to affect his memory one bit; he remembers these occurrences like they were yesterday.

#14 – Sam Cutler – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

You Can't Always Get What You Want by Sam Cutler

Sam Cutler was the tour manager for the Rolling Stones during their 1969 tour that ended in the Altamont concert tragedy.  He later became the road manager for the Grateful Dead, helping them get out of debt and on their way to being one of the top-grossing bands in the world.  Sam is the author of a new book called “You Can’t Always Get What You Want: My Life With the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and Other Wonderful Reprobates.”  Icon Fetch talks with Cutler from his home in Australia, where he gives some of his thoughts on what went wrong during the Altamont free concert, and  shares memories of the Dead and Janis Joplin.  You can download an App for your I-phone and hear Sam read the book by clicking here. Click below for the Sam Cutler interview.