Bob Stanley’s ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’

Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley to publish ‘The Story of Modern Pop’ book. Bob Stanley is a sometime-critic of pop music and the founder of Saint Etienne. His upcoming book is (apparently) 800 pages long and has the best (and yet, the most obvious) title of any book on pop yet written. The book is an attempt “to bring the whole story to life, from Billy … Continue reading Bob Stanley’s ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’

From the Archives: Stanley Booth (2000)

Steven Ward’s August 2000 interview with the great Stanley Booth, another out-of-the-blue coup for Steven. Incidentally, a few months ago, on a family excursion, I travelled for the first time ever to the deep south, including Waycross, Georgia, which was practically down the road from where we stayed. Every time we passed the sign leading to Okefinokee Swamp — we never did make that turn, sadly — I couldn’t help but mutter to myself, “Wow, we’re in Stanley Booth country now.” 

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The True Adventures of Stanley Booth
E-mail interview with the Stones’ greatest chronicler

By Steven Ward, August 2000

Stanley Booth is one hell of a writer. The evidence is clear once you pick up his book on the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, The True Adventures of The Rolling Stones . Many writers and Stones fans feel that Booth’s tale is not only the definitive book on the Stones, but one of the definitive rock books, period.

Why? Like I said before, Booth is one of hell of a writer. Also, because a younger Booth actually was there. He went to parties, sat in on press interviews, ate dinner, did drugs, and drank and toured with the band during one of their most creative periods–after Brian Jones died, but before Exile on Main St. took shape. Booth was at Altamont during the filming of Gimme Shelter and the stabbing death of Meredith Hunter. He also witnessed the awe-inspiring, passionate performance the Stones gave after Hunter passed away–maybe the only way the band could deal with the evil and destruction that was growing out of the community that was the free concert’s audience that day in 1969.

But Booth is much more than a guy who followed the Stones around in the late ’60s. He’s an intellectual Southerner that learned to read before he was three and wrote his first novel at nine. A voracious reader who is as comfortable with Twain and Faulkner as he is with Eastern philosophy scribes, Booth is a man consumed–passionate about good writing, and not just music writing. As the Waycross, Georgia native says in the interview below, he does not have much use for people who write “about” music. He writes stories about people. His history of the musicians who represent the South, Rythm Oil: A Journey Through the Music of the American South is about to be re-released in October by Da Capo Press. Run out and buy it. Booth is currently working on a biography about his buddy and fellow Waycross native, Gram Parsons.

Below are some of Booth’s thoughts on rock journalism, the Rolling Stones, favourite books and authors, and the answer to a question many people like to pose to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards today: “Can you ever be too old to rock and roll?”

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Steven:   The first thing that pops into my mind is, do you still keep in touch with any of the Stones and what do you think of the last few albums and tours?

Stanley:   Yes, I still keep in touch with the Stones, though we do go for long periods without communicating. This happens when friends grow older and have kids and grandkids.

The Stones still do more or less what they used to, but history has changed the context in which it happens. The Stones’ actions will probably never again carry the weight they bore in 1969. I don’t enjoy the big stadium shows, and I find the precision of the later tours off-putting. Keith, Charlie, Ronnie, Bobby Keys, are still great. But I prefer the earlier Stones records, up through Tattoo You, I guess. On that album Sonny Rollins plays more and better than any Rolling Stone ever played on anything.

Steven:   I know you grew up in Georgia. Give me some bio info connected to that experience. How old are you, where exactly did you grow up, etc.?

Stanley:   I lived in Georgia from 1942 till the end of the fifties, seventeen years. I was born in Waycross, near the Okefinokee Swamp, a heavily Protestant area with many blacks and many white racists. In fact practically all the whites were racist to some extent. Racism was in the air one breathed. Physically it was a great world for a boy–pine trees, alligators, horses. I lived for a time in a turpentine camp in the pine woods near Waycross and even when I didn’t live there, stayed there a lot with my grandparents. I thought it was Heaven until one of the black woods hands tried to stab my grandfather. I was five years old then and it opened my eyes to the fact that the world wasn’t perfect.

Continue reading “From the Archives: Stanley Booth (2000)”

Interview with Mark Sinker, Editor of ‘A Hidden Landscape Once a Week,’ a book about the UK music press which any critically-minded person will enjoy lots

Mark Sinker is the editor of A Hidden Landscape Once a Week, a critical history of the UK music press “in the words of those who were there.” With the bulk of its pages transcribed verbatim from a conference on music criticism organized by Sinker—and with the book itself funded through Sinker’s successful Kickstarter campaign—Landscape is comprised of roundtable discussions and debates, one on one … Continue reading Interview with Mark Sinker, Editor of ‘A Hidden Landscape Once a Week,’ a book about the UK music press which any critically-minded person will enjoy lots

Summer Fun with The Dean x 3

1. The Dean lands ass first in, of all places, Billboard. Yes–a new column. Anyone wondering how that guy who grades albums like a damn college professor got a column in the bible of the music business should consider one factoid. At 72, that guy has been covering what we’ll call rock and roll longer than anyone in America: 47 years, and not bored for … Continue reading Summer Fun with The Dean x 3

Friday Eleven (1/10/14)

A selective inventory of the past week — good, bad, indifferent, etc. 1. Moby, “Move (You Make Me Feel So Good)” + parts of his Best Of (“Go,” Anthem,” “Feeling So Real”) — All the uptempo, ravey, transcendence-as-a-cosmic-joke stuff. 2. Brandy Clark, “Pray to Jesus” – But none of the fast stuff from her album, I don’t think. 3. Prince, “Something in the Water Does … Continue reading Friday Eleven (1/10/14)


Sorry for the lack of posting recently, but it’s been an unusually busy and brutal December. Have one, possibly two, Pet Shop-related posts I’m hoping to do before Christmas, but we’ll see — if not next week, then almost certainly in the new year. Other stuff possibly on the agenda in the weeks ahead: – a year-end Top 10 — my first in at least … Continue reading Agenda

Loving A and Loving B

“My nephew went to Download Festival recently and saw Iron Maiden and also was in the D&B room, consuming all different types of music that were fast and loud and had no other links. “There isn’t that tribalism anymore, if you like ‘A’ you can’t listen to ‘B’. It doesn’t exist anymore and it’s a good thing. Things rubbing up against each other can be … Continue reading Loving A and Loving B