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Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: boston2006 ()
Date: December 3, 2006 19:11

Sunday, December 3, 2006
‘Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music


By Scott Bauer THE ASSOCIATED PRESS





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“Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones.” By Robert Greenfield (Da Capo Press, $24)
Drugs, sex and rock ’n’ roll — in that order — are detailed in Robert Greenfield’s book “Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones.”

In it, he describes the decadent times surrounding the Rolling Stones’ recording of “Exile on Main Street,” the band’s masterpiece double album.

Anyone looking for a song-by-song analysis of the album in this book is advised to go elsewhere. So, too, is anyone who wants any semblance of detail about the recording sessions themselves.


But if you want to know what type of heroin Keith Richards favored while holed up in the south of France to record the album in the summer of 1971, or with whom Mick Jagger was sleeping at the moment, “Exile” is for you.

Greenfield does an admirable job trying to cut through the smoky haze to go back 35 years and more or less accurately re-create what went down at the Villa Nellcote on the French Riviera. And at least he’s honest when he passes along tall tales from that time and then ferrets out what may be the truth, or at least a more believable version of the story.

To be sure, the tale told by Greenfield is one full of chaos, over-the-top drug use and, frankly, boorish behavior by the bad boys of rock ’n’ roll. He describes pointless recording sessions so dominated by the boredom of waiting for either Richards or Jagger to arrive that gambling tables were installed to help pass the time.

Oh, they take tons of Quaaludes and acid, too.

Greenfield’s is far from a scholarly tome. If anything, he tries too hard to fit his writing style to that of the band. He’s no Hunter S. Thompson, but who is?

Readers would have been better served if Greenfield had sprinkled in more details about the actual music being made along with the excessive behavior. He seems to assume, and perhaps correctly, that anyone interested in reading the book will already know all about the album. But it’s too important a piece of the story to be only superficially addressed toward the end of the book.

Unfortunately, one gets the sense that part of Greenfield’s motivation for writing the book is to settle some scores and get his own version of the truth out there. Who’s to say who’s right or wrong, but it wouldn’t hurt if he could be less petty.

That said, it is an entertaining read — if only to marvel at the fact that Richards is still alive and (somewhat) well.

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: LieB ()
Date: December 3, 2006 19:56

Thanks for the review post. I still cant't make up my mind if I should waste my time on that book or not.

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: Montrealsuperfan ()
Date: December 3, 2006 19:58

I just bought the book yesterday. Give me a few days and I'll let you guys know if its any good.

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Date: December 3, 2006 21:56

Gee, Greenfield shone on STP and subsequent books. Now it seems he's gone the way of The Stones: churn out shite and charge top dollar for it. So much for the revolution, eh?

"The wonder of Jimi Hendrix was that he could stand up at all he was so pumped full of drugs." Patsy, Patsy Stone

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: with sssoul ()
Date: December 3, 2006 22:26

well, but what Greenfiel "shone" on in STP was (for me) not the music, or the musicians.
he was good when it came to the hangers-on and the atmosphere around the tour -
oh and on the Rhode Island airport incident of course - that's hands down the best bit in the book. :E
he says himself in the introduction that he's not into the Stones' music, and his writing doesn't show much affinity for the artists
nor did it sound like he had much access to them. a lot like Robert Frank, in that respect.
so i'm not surprised at this kind of review of the latest book.

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: bowleggedsow ()
Date: December 4, 2006 03:55

Just finished the book a couple of days ago. I really was not impressed as there really wasn't anything groundbreaking and the focus was more on the well-documented drama surrounding Keith. Was hoping for some more detail about the songs on the album. Surprisingly, the so-called '3rd Act', was an update on the Stones over the last 3 years. What that has to do with Exile still puzzles me.

I was really put off by the author's pompous attitude and his back-handed potshots at other Stones biographers. He really lacked class.

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: Come On ()
Date: December 4, 2006 10:45

Exile is a successful way to do an double-album. Pop by and set some tracks...Beatles did the same way with their double-album..

2 1 2 0

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: Beast ()
Date: December 4, 2006 13:35

I agree with bowleggedsow's opinion. This book is more of a tabloid gossip story than anything else, with Keith and Anita as the main characters. Call me a prude but there's a part about the fate of the as yet unborn Angela and the circumstances of the pregnancy that I found quite distasteful if you consider that Angela might read the thing. Greenfield spins out what relatively little info he has by adding unnecessary embellishments of his own all the time, which add nothing information-wise and detract from the writing. For example, he finds umpteen different ways to repeat that Keith and Anita did a runner from Nellcote - i.e., they fled the coop, they skedaddled, they did the lam and so on, which goes on for half a page. He does this sort of thing endlessly throughout. This is also presumably why the last part has nothing to do with Exile - he just needed to pad out the whole thing more. Without all that padding, it would be an extremely slim volume. And it doesn't reflect well on him that he has a go at other authors and disses their work. He tells the author of Old Gods Almost Dead, for instance, to check with him next time he wants to know the true facts.

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: Montrealsuperfan ()
Date: December 5, 2006 16:31

I just finished the book.

$29 (Canadian) wasted. What a piece of trash. Its basically a re hash of the Tony Sanchez book that I read 20 years ago.


Happy holidays everyone.

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: Rev. Robert W. ()
Date: December 5, 2006 18:08

bowleggedsow Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> ...was hoping for some more detail about the songs on the
> album. Surprisingly, the so-called '3rd Act', was
> an update on the Stones over the last 3 years.
> What that has to do with Exile still puzzles me.
>
> I was really put off by the author's pompous
> attitude and his back-handed potshots at other
> Stones biographers. He really lacked class.


I've been pretty impressed with Greenfield in the past, but was thrown when he trashed (admittedly dubious) Stones chroniclers A. E. Hotchner and Stephen Davis--not backhandedly, but by their names--on page 59.

That's a bold move that doesn't wind up looking so cool when, several paragraphs later, Greenfield mentions that "Jumping Jack Flash" appeared on "Sticky Fingers."

The book is poorly written, poorly edited, badly organized and does vitrually nothing to, ahem, shine a light on the recordings that are its reason for being.

Greenfield and Da Capo didn't even get the book into shops in time for the fall North American dates...

Re: Exile on Main Street’ is light on the Rolling Stones’ music
Posted by: Baboon Bro ()
Date: December 5, 2006 18:54

We have a thing in my country called "libraries".
There you can borrow books.
If you like to keep them afterwards, you can always buy it.

Did you know you can most often - or possibly always -
order any book from the whole world to your local library,
to borrow it yourself.

But I aint sure I will order this one.



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