The Stones are simultaneously one of my favourite bands ever and one which I can never quite warm to. I know it sounds like a weird, psychologically impossible distinction but let me try to explain.
Basically, my experience with this band is almost entirely tied up with my friends during sixth form, especially one guy who continues to be one of my very best friends. He's something of an alpha male, who enjoys beer, barbecuing, gangster films and classic rock and I just never knew if the Stones represented an (unironic) summation of all these things for him. They're his favourite band but I didn't know if he saw the differences in Gimme Shelter and Start Me Up that I did. I never wanted to make a big critical deal about it but it did make me wonder.
Nevertheless, whenever 'Brown Sugar' was pumped out during a house party at a reckless amount of decibels, all of that was immaterial. I can honestly say that I've had more visceral pleasure from the Stones than from thousands of other bands, quite a few of whom I'd claim to like more than them. 'Walk Before They Make Me Run' completely soundtracked an amazing lads-on-tour holiday to Copenhagen last summer and it still thrills me, as does almost every damn thing on Forty Licks.
Yet I don't feel that I can call them my band because my way of experiencing music has been, for the most part, about making discoveries on my own. I'm listening to Lee Perry now and he just sounds like 'me' more than the Stones ever could because I've grown to love him in my own time, on my own terms - despite the fact that I doubt that the pleasure I get from either is quantiatively different. The Stones are a monster, a completely undeniable, fuck-off monster, but they're for sharing. In some ways, this makes them better than most things, but I simply can't get into a record of theirs sitting on my own, browsing through BCB.
Apart from Exile, but I got into that way before any of the other associations emerged. That will be my choice for album.
Song - 'Gimme Shelter'
Brother Spoon wrote:I would probably enjoy this record more if it came to me in a brown paper bag filled with manure, instead of this richly illustrated disgrace to my eyes.