Posts tagged “rolling stones”

That dream of finding an extra room in your house

In the summer of 1992, I came across this book, The Rolling Stones Complete Recording Sessions, in a bookstore on University Ave. in Palo Alto. Flipping the pages, I discovered the existence of an entire universe of Rolling Stones music that existed, albeit underground, beyond what was on the existing set of albums. Beyond recordings of live concerts, there are dozens and dozens of other songs, alternate versions, etc. This absolutely blew my mind, in an On Beyond Zebra! fashion.

From this book, I was inspired to launch an online community for Rolling Stones fans, Undercover, that still runs today. That was 1992, twenty years ago! I’ve met fans and made friends from around the world, including the author of the book, now in its 3rd edition!

Whether wistful or purely parodic, the notion of extending a closed set of content into new ones continues to fascinate me. While fan-fiction (including fan films) is extensively documented and discussed, I find these micro-forms quite cool and curious; in Martin Elliot’s book, he didn’t provide the actual Stones songs, just the library abstract that points to their existence, tantalizing the reader to experience them – somehow, somewhere – in a more complete form.

HEIGLR is a blog with fictional advertisements for fictional Katherine Heigl films that just might come out some day.

Seinfelt is a blog with plot synopses for Seinfeld episodes that never happened – but could have!

The Substitute

Kramer takes on a substitute teaching position, primarily because he already owns a pipe and a tweed jacket with padded elbows. He becomes frustrated when Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason is incomprehensible to his class of third graders. George’s girlfriend takes him to see a foreign film, which he finds so abhorrently pretentious that he decides to become a rabid football fan, deeming it “the lowest common denominator of popular entertainment.” An endangered species of eagle nests upon Elaine’s windowsill, disgusting her daily by bringing back enormous rats for its chicks to feast upon. When she calls 311 to ask if they can dispose of the birds, she gets a follow-up from the EPA, who say that her apartment is now a wildlife refuge and she must vacate. In a dusty old shoebox, Jerry discovers explicit photographs from his parents’ honeymoon.

TNG Season 8 is a Twitter feed with “plots from the unaired 8th season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Understanding the fan community

Ben Ratliff writes an interesting piece about Grateful Dead fandom (not the tie-dye, need-a-miracle twirling, but the tape trading/DAT-head/live show collecting aspect). The article offers a couple of provocative perspectives:

1. The hierarchy of fan expertise
At the basic level, people know about published material, beyond that fans differentiate between the different eras, then choosing between specific performances (known by date and venue), then songs within a specific performance, and ultimately thoughts about the provenance of a specific recording (which source, which remaster, etc.).
This level of engagement (it’s easy to call it obsession if it’s not your bag, of course) is not limited to Deadheads, of course. Being a long-time Rolling Stones enthusiast, I’ve experienced some of that progression myself (and certainly observed debates among many of my fellow travelers along pleasurably obscure details). Indeed, going from the first level (I know what’s on record) to the second (discovering the treasure trove of unreleased material that other fans are sharing) is an On Beyond Zebra experience, like that dream where you find that you’ve had another room in your house all this time.

2. Long-tail meets plenitude meets paradox-of-choice
I remember my earliest days on the Internet where the most active non-technical communities were for fans of either Star Trek or the Grateful Dead. The Internet offered a dramatically increased ability to connect with other collectors and trade cassette tapes by snail mail. But Ratliff describes the massive increase in availability over the past few years as broadband, iTunes, and other online digital sources provide ridiculously easy access to the nearly 2,200 available shows. As more shows become available to more people, the landmark shows that everyone used as a common reference point for “best” have less of a footprint.

My analogous experience differs from Ratliff’s (although liking the Stones is not exactly like liking the Dead): I don’t need to choose Taylor vs. Wood (two lead guitarists with markedly different sounds and associated with markedly different eras). Since I can now listen to a version of Satisfaction where the Rolling Stones essentially covered Otis Redding’s then-popular cover version, or a 9-minute version of Brown Sugar with horns, or a live version of a relatively-obscure album track that really bring the song home, I now have a broader and richer fan-listening experience. Listening and listening again and hearing new things over the years is sufficient; deciding the best isn’t ultimately that useful once you’re in a position to even make a reasonable distinction.

Deadheads and Stones fans are connected communities with passion and purchasing power and Ratliff’s article is worth reading for some insight on – at the extreme end – how those communities evolve and transact.

We Are The Product

There’s an advertising aesthetic I’ve long been fond of, showing a diverse range of customers tiled to demonstrate, often in a faux-anthropological fashion, that the product appeals to everyone, but that as different as people are, they have this one thing in common. The other message conveyed is that you, or “we” are the brand, collectively, evoking every cheesy movie scene where one by one the people in the crowd step forward and identify themselves as the oppressed protagonist, showing solidarity and often confounding the square villains who don’t understand true friendship (think “I am Spartacus!” from Spartacus, “I am Malcolm X!” from Malcolm X, “I am a drag queen!” from To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar).
Some examples:
Rolling Stones, No Security, 1998

Tokyo subway, 2002

Verizon ad, 2002

This notion, if not exactly the same visual treatment, is being evoked effectively in the I’m a PC ads and the associated website

(Thanks to Tom Williams and Phoebe for their help with this post)

On the subject of me: Five Things

Troy Worman pings me for this new-ritual blogger effort (it’s called a meme, but is a chain letter a meme? The propagation is built-in, rather than being a side-effect of the compellingness of the content….) where you post “five things” about yourself. And then tag a bunch of other bloggers to do the same thing.

There’s no threat of deadly peril as in old-school chain letters, so that’s nice. But I’ve found it a bit exclusive. The “cool” folks got pinged months ago with this thing. In the interest of inclusiveness, I’m going to throw this open to anyone who wants to contribute their own five things. If you’ve got your own blog and want to participate, consider this your opportunity. Email me, or trackback, or comment, and I’ll add you to the body of this post. If you don’t have a blog (and let’s face it, most don’t) then leave your five things in the comments. If you want them anonymized more than the blog will let you, email me, and I’ll post it for you.

Five things about Steve

  1. In my public school (called elementary school in the US) the default assumption was that boys took shop and girls took home economics. I was the first boy to take home-ec. I simply asked. They weren’t trying to stop me, but they were very worried when they called my mother to verify this was acceptable. If it had been 10 years later, they would have drafted a release from liability, just in case. The next year, of course, all students took both. I was no Rosa Parks, but I did create a small change that was past due.
  2. Our dog Brody (Golden Retriever, 5 1/2, rescued) is my first pet (I’m not counting several goldfish named George).
  3. Back in the 90s, Tom Williams and I tapped into the latent storytelling need that would re-emerge as blogging when we created Turn Signals. A fax (originally) newsletter that took stories from the press and rewrote them in a dryly bemused tone. Indeed, we were always passing photocopied articles to each other in the office and so it was suggested that we productize it. You can see a few issues here (PDF).
  4. I really like cereal. I have my preferred cereal system, where boxes are stored in a cabinet from oldest to newest, so nothing goes stale. I like to have two boxes open at one time; where one is sweeter and the other is healthier (although they are all pretty damn sweet these days).
  5. In 1992 I started the first online community for Rolling Stones fans. It’s still going to this day.

The Face(s) of Rock and Roll

The SF Chron asks readers Do the Rolling Stones still have it? Aside from the content, here are some of the people whose responses they used:

We saw the show last night and this is of course a valid representation of the demographic. It’s just still an emotional collision to be at a stadium concert and see people who resemble your parents in the seats behind you. The Stones are aging, and too much has been written about that, but we’re all aging as well. I’ve noticed a gentle version of this at Tragically Hip concerts, where the band and their fans have grown into early middle-age together, but it’s a more soothing transition. Here, with the Stones and their fans, we’re forced to confront the absolute opposites of the image of rock and roll and the reality of rock and roll.

At the same time, we’ve got this whole School of Rock thing going on, where kids who weren’t born when we were rocking out in high school are now recording or performing some of the same music. Is there any rebellion for a 15-year old in 2006 to be windmilling a la Townshend as his parents beam in approval? Were kids singing Pat Boone along with their parents 40 years ago, or is there a new form of co-option going on? This MeFi thread about kids covering Rush songs doesn’t quite get there (although some of the example YouTube links are fun) and I certainly can speculate but I don’t know the answer.

I think it was Dennis Miller, in his younger rebellious (and long-haired) days who joked that Pete Townshend was going to have to change the lyrics in the upcoming (the first of many, it turned out) reunion tour to “Hope I die before I get oldest.”

Son of Boston-Globe-quote

Stones ticket prices take a plunge

“I feel like they’ve kind of been mailing it in for a while,” says Steve Portigal, who in ’92 started the first Stones Internet discussion group, “I used to fend off comments about the band being too old, but I’m embarrassed to say I’ve changed my mind about that.”

It’s not word-for-word what I said, but I guess it’s close enough. And a little different than the previous Boston Globe quotes (here, here).

Q107 Culpa

Last year I applauded Q107 for owning up to their deceptive presentation of a Rolling Stones bootleg as a simulcast of a club show in Toronto. I was probably too easy on them in hindsight, but whatever. Some other folks pursued the misleading handling of it by The Mighty Q with the government regulatory body, and got some satisfaction. The ruling is quite lengthy (but includes a lot of detail from the broadcast) and says, in part

As a preliminary matter, the Panel wishes to note that “promotions” are not limited to such advertising as occurs prior to a broadcast, aired in order to entice listening (or viewing) of an upcoming program; they may also include trailers, bumpers and other types of promotional material that are aired during a broadcast. Such promotions serve to identify a program that is already underway for those listeners/viewers who may be surfing or just tuning in, on the one hand, or to encourage already engaged audience members to remain tuned to that broadcast. It follows that the bumpers aired by Q107 going into and out of the commercial breaks during the Rolling Stones concert, as well as other language used by the host, all fall under the heading of “promotions”, as anticipated in Clause 12 of the Code. The question for the Panel is, then, whether those promotions were misleading.

On that point, the Panel considers that an ordinary reasonable listener could reach only one conclusion. The show promised to them was to be the live Rolling Stones Concert from that night. Nothing less. While the station said, in its reply to the complainants, “We certainly did not intend to deceive any of our listeners”, it hardly took their sensibilities into account. From the get-go, it said, “As promised, live Stones in Toronto comin’ up -“. And how coincidental was it, from a listener’s perspective, that the broadcast of the “old” concert began at precisely the same time as the live concert? And that the background sounds at the start of the concert were those of a crowd cheering and instruments warming up? To compound the likelihood that the audience would believe it was that night’s live concert, the radio host said:

Uh, the club gig, live, tonight, right now in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. As promised all day, the Stones live in Toronto. Enjoy everybody, on Q107. [Emphasis added.]

According to the complainants (but unverified by the CBSC), similar comments about the upcoming “live” Rolling Stones performance were made on air for at least 36 hours leading up to the broadcast. Also, the bumpers during the broadcast stated “This is the Rolling Stones live in Toronto” and “This is the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band live.” The repeated juxtaposition of the word “live” and references to the Phoenix show occurring in the identical time period as the broadcast concert clearly left the impression to any listener that the broadcast was indeed that of the live 2005 Rolling Stones show. This impression was compounded by the sounds of a crowd cheering and other typical concert noises which served as background audio when Scholes was speaking. Further remarks such as “Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne, the club gig for the Stones before they embark on their tour. It’s, uh, happening right now. More live Stones comin’ up, hang on” would have led any reasonable listener to assume that they were in fact listening to the concert then taking place at the Phoenix.

The only consequences are that Q107 has to broadcast this decision a number of specific times. But still, it’s pretty cool.

Earworms meet Mondegreens

An Earworm is a (usually annoying) song that gets stuck in your head. A mondegreen is a misheard lyric.

Now, I bring you the evil combination – the mondeworm.

Let’s start with an example: The Rolling Stones have been getting a lot of press as of late for their soon-to-released song Sweet Neocon, which most people haven’t heard. We’ve heard about it, just haven’t heard it for real. But it’s easy to picture how the song would go in your head if the chorus sounds like Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. or Sheryl Crow’s Sweet Rosalyn. Just say, in your head, neocon for either Car-o-liine or Ros-a-lynnn – either way, you’ve got yourself a new piece of brain candy.

I’m sure there are others!


Q107 misleads listeners; apologizes

I wrote previously about how Q107 had presented a broadcast of live Rolling Stones as if it was a simulcast of a club show in Toronto, and how many of us protested and they responded. Well, they got some press out of the whole thing, too.

From this story

Bartrem maintained that Q107’s intent was never to deceive, but does concede that the station could have been a little more specific in its programming intentions.

“I guess the way we positioned it on the air was ‘Celebrating this night at the Phoenix, we’ve got Stones live on air at 9:30.’ People heard ‘live’ and ‘Phoenix’ and put the two together and thought ‘simulcasting,'” he said.

“In hindsight, one line would have saved all the problems: ‘While some are enjoying the show at the Phoenix, let’s go back three years and enjoy what was going on.'”

Since he was one of the lucky 1,100 people to attend the show, Bartrem said he can’t speak to what Scholes said on air, but he is taking care to absolve the station’s DJs “of any kind of responsibility in this thing” and accepts full blame for the furor.

As penance, he has volunteered to be morning host John Derringer’s “Tool of the Day” today and will publicly proclaim the whole thing “totally my fault.” He has sent a mea culpa e-mail to everyone who wrote the station.

and from this story

The station evidently never specifically told its listeners it was simulcasting the Stones show from the Phoenix, but one listener, Steve Popichak, who e-mailed the Sun said, “During their broadcast, their announcer came on between songs and made references to this performance happening right in front of him right there at the Phoenix.”

“Well, it was live Stones,” DJ John Scholes told the Sun Wednesday night.

Blair Bartrem, Q107’s program director, yesterday told the Sun that the station received 30 to 40 complaints from fans, via e-mail. He said he takes responsibility for the confusion and that, in hindsight, the e-mail should have been clearer.

“I think a few of our Q listeners felt that we were trying to deceive them, which clearly wasn’t our intent,” Bartrem said. “I mean, there’s a trust that we have with our audience, obviously, and we’re not trying to pull a fast one.”

Bloggers on Tuesday and Wednesday were abuzz with anticipation about the perceived simulcast. An Ottawa resident filed a complaint with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council [over the playing of a bootleg? — SP]. He said other fans might do the same.

From discussions online, it appears that few believe that the deception was accidental or that the apology was genuine. I guess I was glad to get any acknowledgement of a mistake from a company.

But desite their claims to have responded to all who complained – I have not heard back from them, and obviously am not going to. I feel singled out!

Stones Club Show

The Rolling Stones played their usual end-of-rehearsal club show in Toronto. Local station Q107 suggested they were going to be simulcasting the show. Indeed, as the show started, they played a concert and played it very close to the edge of the truth. They didn’t identify the show they were actually playing on the radio as coming from 2002, they simply referred regularly to the show going on right now and their excitement about it. I don’t have any exact quotes but the DJ patter was designed to mislead, not clarify.

I grew up with Q107; I was horrified to see them playing a game like that with listeners. There were indeed fans around the world who stayed up late or got up early to catch this (supposed) simulcast, and were fooled. I wouldn’t have known what it was except that someone familiar with concert recordings posted to my Rolling Stones online community the actual source of the show being played. No doubt that others simply took the station at face value.

I wrote the station and encouraged others on the list to do so.

Come on guys – how’s about respecting your listeners instead of playing stupid games with them? If you aren’t playing tonight’s stealth Stones show, then tell us what show you ARE playing, don’t play coy games where you don’t actually literally directly honestly SAY that it’s tonight’s show but yeah (heh heh heh) you pretend that well, maybe we’ll reach our own conclusions.

That’s no way to treat people. Unless you are a telemarketer or a phone company. Q was never about the fine-print when I grew up listening to you. What the hell happened?

I have not heard back from the station, although others have. The first few I saw looked like this

Our sincere apologies if you are upset by the Q107 live programming with the Rolling Stones last night. We never claimed to be broadcasting the Phoenix show. We did say we were going to air live Rolling Stones. Our intent was not to deceive, but merely give the listeners who could not attend last nights show at the Phoenix, a
healthy dose of live Stones.

Thank you for your email, we appreciate comments from our great listeners.

The intent was absolutely to deceive. By being deliberately vague, they allowed people to come to their own (obvious, but incorrect) conclusions. Isn’t that deception?

Now we get this:

Thank you for your email note. We have received an inordinate amount of negative email concerning the Rolling Stones live broadcast which we aired last night on Q. You may have received a note from Q107’s Assistant Program Director, Michelle Dyer, or Andrew from Club Q…but I got thinking…”why should Michelle or Andrew take the hit on this?” While we did not come right out and say we were doing a simulcast from the Phoenix, we were perhaps vague in the way we positioned the program. I take full accountability for how this show was presented on air. Here’s what I’ve learned. Q listeners are extremely passionate about their music, and at no time should I take this for granted. It’s not like we aired bootleg Wham concert. Music matters here.

Having said this, here’s how I plan to take responsibility. I have asked John Derringer if I could be named tomorrow’s Tool of The Day. He has kindly said yes. So, tomorrow tune in at 8:20 to hear me take my lumps on air and apologize to our audience.


Blair Bartrem
Program Director

This is the most awesome response I’ve ever seen! And hey, they turned into a bit of a PR opportunity as well!

I’m so burned out on corporate misleading and evasion and being ignored and all that – and here we’ve got a company absolutely stepping up.

It’d be great if they got around to writing me back too, but I’ll take this as a victory for the consumer!

All right Q107!


I thought the Drudge Report was some sort of new vanguard of journalism. Isn’t the ability to craft sentences or edit copy some part of the practice of journalism? I’ve honestly never seen any of the Drudge Report stuff, so I was shocked to see this sentence appear in a recent article about a “controversial” new Stones song that takes aim at Bush/Rice.

“It is direct,” Mick Jagger says with a laugh to fresh editions of NEWSWEEK.

Is English not the first language to speak of that would be chosen by Mr. Drudge in is articulatedness of words?

PRESS RELEASE Rolling Stones Title New CD and World Tour “A Bigger Bang”

PRESS RELEASE The Rolling Stones new CD, ‘A Bigger Bang,’ will be released September 6, 2005, on Virgin Records. Continuing their historic songwriting partnership, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began the creative process last autumn and were later joined in the recording studio by Charlie Watts and Ron Wood. ‘A Bigger Bang’ features all new songs, and is the first studio album by The Rolling Stones since the 1997 platinum-certified ‘Bridges to Babylon.’ While in the studio recording the album last year, the band came up with the title ‘A Bigger Bang’ reflecting their fascination with the scientific theory about the origin of the universe.

That last sentence is hysterical. PR writers are the funniest people on the planet!

Maybe it went a little something like this

DISSOLVE TO Mick and Keith lying on their backs on the hood of their car, out in the parking lot behind Olympia studios.

MJ: Keef?
KR: Yeh, Mick?
MJ: Do ye ever….
KR: Wuzzat wuzza?
MJ: Ye know, like WONDER
KR: Zzz hwazuh?

MJ: Yeah, like wonder about how we all fit
KR: string usUP, lions cage

MJ: No, no, I know, I know, but where did it all ye know come FROM

MJ: Exactly man. Big bang theory. String theory. String cheese.
KR: Big bang?
MJ: Bigger bang! That’s it.
KR: Wuzzat wuzza?
MJ: no, you tell ‘er

Stones Press Release and time travel

Rolling Stones press relese

Fans, along with hundreds of members of the U.S. and international media gathered at Lincoln Center, were treated to the ultimate surprise performance by the Rolling Stones. As the famous opening notes of ‘Start Me Up’ blared across the plaza, a giant banner with eye-popping signature tongue logos dropped revealing the band performing on the balcony-turned-stage of the 100 year old conservatory, Juilliard. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood played three songs for an ecstatic crowd, including ‘Oh No Not You Again,’ a new track off their upcoming CD along with their classic hit ‘Brown Sugar.’

This release came out several hours before the performance was scheduled. Written in the past tense but written and released ahead of time. Obviously, this isn’t journalism, but still seems unethical. Reminds me of the Mitch Alborn scandal recently.


Bounce of the day:

My Rolling Stones mailing list, Undercover, is configured so that no one who is not subscribed can post. This basically eliminates spam. But it does trap some interesting, if misguided, messages.
Dear Mick,
My name is xxxx xxxxx
I am a student at Winchester shcool of art.
I have been a fan of your’s for some time now.
Your latest album ‘Goddess in the doorway”
Has inspired my most recent prodject,
I decided to do a ceries of paintings about yourself.
I have included photos of two of them,
Please will you be kind enough to wright back
and give me your opinion.
My e-mail address is :

[demime 0.97c removed an attachment of type image/pjpeg which had a name of Mick.jpg]

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About Steve