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Stones in Exile
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In the spring of 1971 the Rolling Stones departed the UK to take up residence in France as tax exiles. Keith Richards settled at a villa called Nellcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer and this became the venue for the recording of much of the band s masterpiece Exile On Main Street . Stones In Exile tells the story in the band s own words and through extensive archive footage of their time away from England and the creation of this extraordinary double album, which many regard as the Rolling Stones finest achievement.
Extensive additional footage including interviews with all the band members, footage from C...sucker Blues and Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts returning to Olympic Studios and Jagger s country house Stargroves where a lot of the early work on the album was done.
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Audio from recording sessions. Commuting around the South of France, Charlie lived six hours away. Eight-man band with kids, and technicians. Can't separate family life from professional activity in the tribes. Random images like album cover. Difficult recording conditions. Crazy entourage setup. "Mick's rock, I'm roll," says Keith. Marshall Chess with a nice mullet. Mick playing a Flying V. Jammin'. "As unrehearsed as a hiccup," says Bobby Keys, "it wasn't exactly spontaneous combustion." A very nice blues jam with Mick and Keith going away, with Mick also playing guitar.
The Stones playing pool, Mick swigging from a flask. Jake Weber's father was a race car driver, drug smuggler and adventurer, Jake was 8.5 years old at the time. Describes downtime and creative process. Picking away at guitars, the basement at night was the epicentre. Great Dominique Tarlé picture of Jake with five classic Keith guitars - a flying V, the famous ampeg Dan Armstrong plexiglass guitar, an SG and a big Gibson ES-355. Swigging from bottles of Jack Daniels. A glimpse into the recording process. Andy Johns, recording engineer, noted that "they would play very poorly for two or three days on whatever song. And then if Keith got up and started looking at Charlie, then you knew that something would go down. And then Bill would get up and put his bass at that sort of 84° angle, and you'd say `ah, here it comes, they're going to go for it now, ha ha ha.' And it would turn into this wonderful, God-given music." Some funky animation from still photos of Keith's fretting hand moving, Bill's bass shifting to an 84° angle (how did they do that?). The giant dinner, everybody gathered once a day. Jake's function in life was to roll joints. A decadent life, everything was out in the open, this was the light before the moment of darkness. Charlie Watts: "everybody had a great time, but it was very stressful. You're having a good time, but ready to go back home. The only one who wasn't like that was Keith, of course, who was being supplied in his mansion, with his band downstairs, it must have been heaven for him in a way." A real live rabbit in a tray next to the guitars. The anecdote of Keith in the bus saying "oh, I forgot something, we have to go back," then he proceeded to simply drop a TV out of the balcony. Keith singing "Happy".
Keith's voice heard more than Mick's, until the end. "We always went to LA to finish our records. That was our modus operandi." Keith: "It was kind of fun playing it to lots of musicians and friends in LA. It was interesting to get their input, because everything that went in at Nelcôte was a just bubble, really." Mick: "We'd never made a double album before, so we were a bit naïve about it. It was just a bit too much work, considering that we'd had all these pressures, plus we were a bit burned on it." Mick made "Tumbling Dice" out of a conversation with the maid, "Casino Boogie" had no lyrics, they were desperate so they used a cut-up method. This is illustrated with visuals. Beautiful. Description of the after-production at Sunset Sounds. Overdubs gave the songs a new twist. Little jams improve the original sessions. Awesome Robert Frank session footage of the band walking down the street, Mick Jagger yawning and stretching his face, and then it's up on a billboard. Wild post-release pastiche of the media swirl of radio, billboard and magazine-cover (Rolling Stone), with a great "Rocks Off" images mélange, Kasey Casem voce-over, playing with Stevie Wonder. Don Was: "Exile on Main Street dramatically altered the vocabulary of record-making. There are textures on that that no-one ever laid down before." Irrelevant statements from Sheryl Crow, Martin Scorsese, Benecio Del Toro and others at the end.
Keith Richards: Wanted to get started in the basement, then decided to keep it on, so much experimentation because of the sound of the various basement rooms. Dense sound down there. First month was touch and go, then it started to flow. Wanted to be a soul band, added horns with Bobby Keys and Jim Price. Two guys fitted into the size of the band, gave it extra texture and turned into a soul band. Bobby and Keith found out after many years that they had been born within hours of each other. Never intended Exile to be a double album until they realised that they'd recorded so many songs that they didn't know which to cut.
Bill Wyman: The engineer and the producer and the band couldn't see each other, and they had to communicate by voice, and it's a miracle that it worked out, the whole band was only there 30% of the time, sometimes they were all there, except for Keith, who was just upstairs, despite Charlie coming five hours from where he lived, Bill and Mick Taylor coming two hours from where they lived, Bill coming one hour from where he lived. Mick Taylor was, musically, the better musician than any others in the band; he was young, and some of the things he had done were amazing, but he was incredibly boring onstage despite doing these incredible licks and solos.
Mick Taylor: he talks! Keith and Anita were mixing domesticity and art. Although the recordings were in the basement, there were constant power failures, and primitive and basic procedures. Ended up being a holiday resort for the Stones' friends and all their friends, "and in the midst of all this partying, we were trying to make an album."
Anita: the guitars get the best seats. Kids are kids, they can sleep with any noise. They had a great attitude for adults, and the adults had to deal with them, especially Jacob and Charlie. Confronting adults and playing with them. Good vibe. A freeloading brigade. Anita became a bouncer as the freeloaders piled up, throwing everybody out. Moved from room to room. Weird sailor shoot-outs when they were in town. Charlie bought an Edwardian villa, still has it. Keith is very easy to play with, very comfortable. Exile picked up a lot of stuff that was missed off of earlier releases.
An interview with Ronnie Wood: "I'd never played the songs, but I knew them." "It hits the nail on the head whether the songs are mixed or not."
Return to Stargroves: Jagger: completely, exactly the same. "I had this house for 1970 to 1975. It does have a lot of memories, because one of the reasons is that we recorded here, but it has other memories for me too, children, my parent, all that sort of thing, my brother lived here a lot. He liked it a lot, my brother, having this very large house. I don't blame him." Earliest recordings for Exile, such as Sweet Black Angel, were recorded there.
Extra interviews: Liz Phair's comments the best, listens to "Loving Cup." Sheryl Crow's comments on "Sweet Virginia." Will.I.Am is a moron. Kings of Leon guy, from Memphis, is too childish. Jack Black is savvy. Martin Scorsese is the only commentator of the same age as the Stones, maybe also Don Was, who talks passionately about the extra tracks, like "Sophia Loren" and the new mix of "Loving Cup." Very expressive and passionate about the band.
Packaging is not that great - three-panel foldout booklet contains a pic of Charlie, a pic of Keith holding an acoustic, and a pic of Mick with a flying V guitar. The other side has a collage of Robert Frank pics. Through the transparent DVD case you also see a pic of Keith and the two Micks jamming.
Most recent customer reviews
Bill Wyman's critique of Mick Taylor's stage presence is classic!