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The Stones & Alice Cooper add zest to vintage documentary on Canadian music scene from 1973

During the opening sequence of this documentary on the Canadian music industry from 1973, The Rolling Stones rip through “Jumping Jack Flash” as the crowd at the Montreal Forum go wild. Mick Jagger struts across the stage, before dousing the audience with a bucket of water and handfuls of rose petals—why? I dunno, each to their own, I suppose…

Not to be outdone, Keith Richards plays his guitar as if each chord struck will bring pestilence, plague, death and disaster down on some faraway land. Richards plucks at his guitar with great gothic dramatic posturing—while in the background Mick Taylor plays the tune.

By 1973, the rock ‘n’ rollers of the early 1950s were middle-aged, mostly married with kids. The new generation of youth who filled their place were long-haired, turned on, tuned in, many believing that music could change the world. Where once rock had been about having a good time, now the feelings it engendered were the driving force for political change. Pop music made the kids feel good—and that feeling was how many thought the world should be.
Well, it never happened, as music—no matter how radical—is in the end… entertainment. Those who took their political education from twelve-inch vinyl platters were quickly disappointed and soon awakened by pop’s utter failure to liberate the world, bring peace and harmony and all that. Nice though this idea certainly was, it was all just a pantomime—like Keef having fun hamming up his guitar playing.

Of course, the music industry is a far more sinister business than this—as this documentary Rock-a-Bye inadvertently points out. From the start, our choice of music was manipulated by long hairs with no taste in fashion as shown by their suits and ties and ill-fitting tank tops. These men picked the records that received the necessary air time to guarantee their success—thus making billions for the music industry. As Douglas Rain quotes one cynical record plugger in his commentary, who claimed if he played the British national anthem “God Save the Queen” on the radio often enough it would be a hit. The youth were only there to be manipulated and sold product—plus ça change….

This is a good illuminating documentary and apart from The Stones, there are performances from Ronnie Hawkins (plus interview), Muddy Waters and Alice Cooper. There’s also an interview with Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin’ Spoonful who lets rip a four-letter word (mostly bleeped out) tirade on the state of music in the 1970s. What Yanovsky forgets is that music is a business and only the amateurs and the rich will play for free.
Watch the entire documentary, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Killer & Friends: Keith Richards, Gary Busey & Ruth Buzzi jamming with Jerry Lee Lewis

Gary Busey, Keith Richards, Ruth Buzzi and Jerry Lee Lewis
Top L to bottom R: Gary Busey, Keith Richards, Ruth Buzzi and Jerry Lee Lewis
Hosted by Dick Clark, Salute! was a short-lived syndicated TV variety show centered around Jerry Lee Lewis that ran for a year from 1983-1984. Each week the show featured different musical guests like Marvin Gaye, Johnny Cash, Ella Fitzgerald and Glen Campbell, all who performed with Lewis during the show. Since that sounded pretty great, I decided to see if I could dig up any video footage from Salute!.

Thankfully the all-giving Internet didn’t let me down and produced a video of Lewis performing “High School Confidential” (originally recorded by Lewis in 1958) with Keith Richards (!) and what appears to be a cocaine-powered Gary Busey. And Busey (former vocalist and drummer for his own band from the 70s called Carp), who always remembers to bring the crazy to the party, does not disappoint here.
Keith Richards, Mick Fleetwood and Jerry Lee Lewis on Salute! 1983
Keith Richards, Mick Fleetwood and Jerry Lee Lewis on Salute!,1983
There are also a few other clips from Salute! out there that pair the likes of Lewis with Mick Fleetwood and Keef (performing of cover of Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie”) and the woman who gave us the gift of purse-wielding spinster Gladys Ormphby, the great Ruth Buzzi (who looks super-hot BTW) performing and amusing version of Lewis’ song, “Breathless.” All three videos are posted after the jump. A word of caution, watching the 1983 version of Gary Busey (or any version of Gary Busey for that matter) might give you a contact high.

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Woman transforms her face into Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Keith Richards and more

Lucia Pittalis before transformation

As RuPaul once said, “You’re born naked and the rest is contour and shading.” And Italian portrait painter and artist Lucia Pittalis proves that point with these insane makeup transformations. Lucia uses her own face as a canvas and turns herself into these iconic characters that are simply fan-fucking-tastic. She nailed Keith Richards, IMO.

If you want to see more of her work, you can follow Lucia on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Frank Zappa

Iggy Pop

Bette Davis

Keith Richards
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Poem for Keef’: Patti Smith’s poem for Keith Richards, 1978
12:40 pm


Patti Smith
Keith Richards

There’s a delightful slapdash quality to the magazine Rock Scene from the 1970s. The magazine, which was edited by Richard Robinson, featured contributions from Alan Betrock, Lenny Kaye, Leee Black Childers, and Lisa Robinson. I can’t speak for the intentions that went into Rock Scene, but to me it reads like an attempt, largely successful, to offer the demographic that gravitated towards, say, the Stones and the Ramones a Tiger Beat all their own. A typical issue from May 1977 name-checked the following acts on the cover: Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, the Heartbreakers, Aerosmith, Television, the Sex Pistols, and Gene Simmons. That mix of mainstream hard rock and cutting-edge impulses from the world of punk was typical of the magazine—most importantly, the Bay City Rollers, Donny & Marie, and Leif Garrett, to cite a random issue of Tiger Beat from the exact same period, were nowhere to be found.

The cover of every issue trumpeted the number of pictures to be found within (“OVER 150 PHOTOS”), and If they were grainy b/w pictures that were laid out in half an hour max, all the better. Rock Scene, which came out every two months, spent as much time documenting the insider-ish parties backstage at Max’s Kansas City or CBGBs as the gigs themselves.

The February 1978 issue of Rock Scene contains a startling artifact that, well, scarcely exists in Internet terms. (At least, none of the many Google searches I’ve tried was able to find it.) The cover of that issue promised “PATTI SMITH: POEM FOR KEEF” and damned if there isn’t a poem by Patti Smith about Keith Richards tucked in there on page 13.

By the way, the legendary Stones guitarist and songwriter is mentioned in three places in this issue (at least as pertains to the poem)—cover, table of contents, and on the page with the poem—and every time the final “S” is left off of his last name, as in “Keith Richard.”

The poem is called “Wreath.” I’ve done a little checking in the various poetry collections under Smith’s name, and it apparently isn’t included in any of them. It’s not in WITT (1973; a longshot to be sure) or Early Work, 1970-1979 (published 1994). The best chance would likely have been Babel, published in 1978 and covering poems of the previous five years, but it isn’t in there either.


on the hills of rif we come to greet you
through the halls of myth we choose to roam
crown of thorns
shroud of love
our gifts we offer
and the waters of life
of health
of stone
on the hills of rif we call, undefeated
crown of thorns
kreed of love
and language comb
on the hills of rif we rise
salute you
ja-kiss your face of light and bone

Click on the image for a larger version:

I found this issue of Rock Scene at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives, which is located at the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts on Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, Ohio. It is free and open to the public. Visit their website for more information.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Poppies, pot and flying saucers: A short intro to the fashion of Nudie Cohn, country music clothier

There is an impression of country music as wholesome, simple, and rooted in the conservative values of middle America and the South. One of the many counters to that argument is Nudie Cohn and his Hollywood-sewn “Nudie suits.” These fashion masterpieces are all excess, sometimes with sexy images of naked ladies, pot leaves, pills and poppies, worn by everyone from Hank Williams to Keith Richards to Ronald Reagan. On top of all of that seedy flash, the sequence and flourish is downright camp—he designed for Liberace, and check out the Nudie suit that Elton John wore in this ad for “Rocket Man.”

Nudie’s beginnings were far humbler than the “country luxury” aesthetic he came to create. Born in 1902 in Ukraine, Nuta Kotlyarenko was so poor that he often had mismatched shoes collected from cast-offs (an indignity he later paid homage to by intentionally wearing mismatched boots—though generally of his own high-end custom design). After immigrating to America and changing his name at age 11, Cohn followed in his boot-maker father’s footsteps and apprenticed as a tailor. In 1940, he and his wife moved to LA and started Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in their garage, quickly becoming the preferred couturier of the country music scene.

Hank Williams
Nudie Cohn’s influence went way beyond country though. As he adapted with the 1960s counterculture, his work became even more subversive—the “pot, pills and poppies suit” he made for Gram Parsons (see below) is one example, but was not the only time Cohn used druggy imagery. What made his work impressive though—be it the (supposedly $10,000 suit that cost $50 to make) gold lamé suit he made for Elvis or his own insane custom 1964 Pontiac Bonneville—was not only the over-the-top styling, but the sheer attention to detail and quality craftsmanship of a custom Nudie suit festooned with rhinestones or embroidery. His work has been so influential, obvious imitations rarely measure up, and the glitz and eccentricity of the Nudie Suit was essentially retired after his death in 1984. Nudie suits are highly collectible. Notable collections of Nudie suits have been amassed by actor Vincent Gallo and the late Dennis Hopper.


Helen “Bobbie Nudie” Cohn in custom gown

Roswell-themed suit with UFOs made for Keith Richards
More Nudie after the jump…

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Mick Jagger and Keith RIchards turn up in pretentious Italian art film, 1972
07:36 pm


Mick Jagger
Keith Richards

Mario Schifano, an Italian pop art painter and collagist who exhibited alongside Warhol and and Roy Lichtenstein, released this unusual art film Umano Non Umano (“Human Not Human”)  in 1972. The plotless Godardian inspired episodic documentary is quite boring (I don’t speak Italian, so it’s quite boring to me) but it is notable for the inclusion of two odd scenes, one with Mick Jagger and another with Keith Richards (Anita Pallenberg, once Schifano’s girlfriend, is also in the film, and there are appearances by Carmelo Bene and Italian existentialist novelist Alberto Moravia.)

At about 36 minutes in, Mick Jagger is seen prancing around like an idiot in a pink suit with a corsage doing a not terribly convincing—and spinning—lip-sync of “Street Fighting Man.” He looks like he has to take a wicked piss the whole time. At the one hour and one minute mark, Keith is seen arsing around making avant-garde electronic music. That part is actually pretty cool, but the rest of it’s pretty awful. Beware of boobies, as this is mildly NSFW.

Although Umano Non Umano came out in 1972, I’d imagine that Mick Jagger’s scene was probably shot sometime prior to when Marianne Faithfull left him for Schifano in 1969. Two pages are devoted to their affair in her 1994 autobiography, Faithfull. According to her Schifano was a massive coke freak.

Maybe that’s why he thought the incessant heartbeat noise going on throughout this film was a good idea?

Thank you, Chris Campion of Hollywood, CA!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rock stars with their cats and dogs

Cool pictures of musicians with their pet dogs and cats, which show how even the most self-obsessed, narcissistic Rock god has a smidgen of humanity to care about someone other than themselves. Though admittedly, Iggy Pop looks like he’s about to eat his pet dog.
Patti Smith and stylist.
This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
Bjork and a kissing cousin.
O Superdog: Laurie Anderson and friend.
More cats and dogs and musicians, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Keith Richards’ isolated guitar solo from ‘Sympathy For The Devil’
01:28 pm


Keith Richards

Keith Richards’ guitar solo isolated from one of the takes (possibly the one released) of “Sympathy For The Devil.”

No shredding here. There’s a kind of jazzy call and response feel to the whole thing. Richards is playing his custom Les Paul. Direct to board?

Thanks to Steve Almaas.

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Don’t Mess With Keith Richards

Don’t mess with Keith Richards: The Stones legendary guitarist doesn’t hesitate or flinch when dealing with a “rogue” fan during a concert. Mick Jagger meanwhile…

With thanks to Carl Hamm

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Double Gonzo: Hunter S. Thompson interviews Keith Richards
11:40 am


Hunter S. Thompson
Keith Richards

Keith Richards and Hunter S. Thompson muse on The Beatles, the afterlife, getting a full blood transfusion and using the Hells Angels for concert security.

Wayne Ewing, who shot this video, writes of the behind the scenes goings on at the Hunter Thomson Films website:

The interview itself was, like most of Hunter’s interviews, quite disappointing. You can begin to see why it took me so many years to shoot and piece together enough material with Hunter to make intelligible films – Breakfast with Hunter & the work-in-progress Breakfast with Hunter: Vol. Two. Old television interviews with Hunter like these abound on the internet, except this one has Keith.

At 4am we stopped shooting, and I urged the crew from Denver to wrap as quickly as possible. Rather than splitting asap as you expect, Keith hung around while we wrapped, sitting on the couch in the kitchen, not wanting to leave the inner sanctum of Gonzo quite yet. Hunter clearly wanted to get the Denver crew out so he could have more private time with Keith, who by now had fallen asleep on the couch, looking exactly like the famous 1972 Annie Leibovitz shot of him splayed out in a chair. As the crew endlessly wrapped cables, an unconscious Keith began to slide off the couch onto the floor.

Good luck understanding much of what the good Doctor says. Keith speaks the Queen’s English compared to mush-mouthed Thompson.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Friedman brothers’ rarely seen ‘Keith Richards Goes To The Dentist’

It’s a pleasure to present a rarely seen comic strip from the demented minds of Josh and Drew Friedman.

Keith Richards Goes To The Dentist is classic Friedman and would have easily found a home in the legendary Zap comix, alongside R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson.

I find the Friedman Brother’s idea of a tribute to The Rolling Stones truer to the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll than the piles of coffee table books and redundant BBC documentaries that flood the marketplace. This is a tribute more in keeping with the band’s earlier transgressions. But, I’ll let Josh tell you about it:

In recognition of the worldwide celebration of The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary—an occasion almost too good to be true—I present this primitive comic strip, which ran in High Times, Feb. 1981. The World’s Greatest Band contains two geniuses, and such grand, fantastical characters, that we are blessed to still have them on earth. But, being Englishmen, there once was this problem with their teeth. I sometimes wondered why The Rolling Stones didn’t have a cartoon series on Saturday morning television, like The Beatles. Perhaps it could have gone down like this:




The strip in all four of its glorious pages can be viewed at Josh Friedman’s website Black Cracker. It’s gutbustingly funny.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Absolutely groovy photo of Gram Parsons and Keith Richards
06:34 pm


Keith Richards
Gram Parsons

Easy riders.

Gram Parsons and Keith Richards on a motorcycle. Never saw this photo before and I’m totally in awe of Keith’s sunglasses.

Thanks to Nick Kent.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Keith Richard’s first network TV interview
02:28 am


Keith Richards
Friday Night Videos

Keith Richards interviewed on Friday Night Videos (a spin-off of Midnight Special ) in 1984.

Listening to Keith in this interview you can sense the memoir he would write two and a half decades later. A great storyteller with great stories to tell.

Many thanks to Jim Laspesa for sharing his awesome archive of rarely seen, hard-to-find and just plain cool videos.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Simon Wells: ‘The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust’

The recent News of the World ‘phone hacking scandal wasn’t the first time the red top used illicit means to obtain stories. Back in the swinging sixties, the paper regularly bartered with the police for information to use in its pages. 

One of the News of the World’s tip-offs to the cops led to the most infamous drugs trial of the twentieth century, where Mick Jagger, Keith Richard of The Rolling Stones, and art dealer Robert Fraser were imprisoned in an apparent attempt to destroy the band’s corrupting influence over the nation’s youth.

For the first time, the true story behind the arrests and trial is revealed by Simon Wells in his excellent book Butterfly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust. Wells’ previous work includes books on The Beatles and The Stones, British Cinema and most recently, a powerful and disturbing biography of Charles Manson. In an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, Wells explained his interest in The Stones drugs bust:

‘As a student of the 1960s it was perhaps inevitable that I would collide with the whole Redlands’ issue at some point. Probably like anyone with a passing interest in the Stones, I first knew about it mainly from legend - the “Mars Bar”, the fur rug, the “Butterfly On A Wheel” quote etc. However, like most of the events connected to the 1960s I was aware that there had to be a back story, and not what had been passed down into myth. This story proved to be no exception, and hopefully the facts are as sensational (if not more) than what has passed into mythology. Additionally, as a Sussexboy - I was familiar with the physical landscape of the story- so that was also attractive to me as well.’

Just after eight o’clock, on the evening of February 12 1967, the West Sussex police arrived at Keith Richards’ home, Redlands. Inside, Keith and his guests - including Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, the gallery owner Robert Fraser, and “Acid King” David Schneiderman - shared in the quiet warmth of a day taking LSD. Relaxed, they listened to music, oblivious to the police gathering outside. The first intimation something was about to happen came when a face appeared, pressed against the window.

It must be a fan. Who else could it be? But Keith noticed it was a “little old lady”. Strange kind of fan. If we ignore her. She’ll go away.

Then it came, a loud, urgent banging on the front door. Robert Fraser quipped, “Don’t answer. It must be tradesmen. Gentlemen ring up first.” Marianne Faithfull whispered, “If we don’t make any noise, if we’re all really quiet, they’ll go away.” But they didn’t.

When Richards opened the door, he was confronted by 18 police officers led by Police Chief Inspector Gordon Dinely, who presented Richards with a warrant to “search the premises and the persons in them, under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1965.”

This then was the start to the infamous trial of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Robert Fraser.
More on Simon Wells ‘The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Tom Waits resurrects Captain Beefheart with the help of Keith Richards

Keith Richards and Marc Ribot provide suitably down and dirty guitar riffs for this tune by Tom Waits that sounds eerily like Captain Beefheart. It’s been obvious from the get-go that Waits owes a big debt to Beefheart but this enters the realm of mystical channeling. And I like it.

Here’s Waits writing about Trout Mask Replica:

The roughest diamond in the mine, his musical inventions are made of bone and mud. Enter the strange matrix of his mind and lose yours. This is indispensable for the serious listener. An expedition into the centre of the earth, this is the high jump record that’ll never be beat, it’s a merlot reduction sauce. He takes da bait. Dante doing the buck and wing at a Skip James suku jump. Drink once and thirst no more.

“Satisfied” by Tom Waits from the new album Bad As Me Directed by Jesse Dylan.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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