Stone Free: Andrew Loog Oldham | New music reviews, news & interviews
Stone Free: Andrew Loog Oldham
An interview with the former manager of The Rolling Stones plus an exclusive extract from his new book
The return of The Rolling Stones to the world stage is headline news, but the man who put them there in the first place has decided to reveal the tricks of being an impresario, the hustler that can make or break a band. In this poignant, exclusive extract from Stone Free, their former manager Andrew Loog Oldham contemplates Phil Spector, one of his inspirations with whom he was reunited in the wake of the death of Lana Clarkson, the woman Spector was convicted of murdering in 2009.
Stone Free is Oldham’s third book, following Stoned and 2Stoned. Unlike its predecessors, it isn’t an oral history-driven autobiography, but an evocative examination of his path through life with individual chapters on the larger-than-life characters that have influenced him, and the milestones which have cropped up: managers Larry Parnes, Albert Grossman, Allen Klein, Phil Spector, Brian Epstein, Malcolm McLaren and Don Arden; Oldham’s label Immediate Records; Mick Jagger. It’s also about what Oldham learnt.
“Stone Free has a binding with the past to move it forward,” explains Oldham. “I was not big on learning as a result of my school experiences. I wanted to be around whatever energy, either that was attracting me and pulling me towards it. The "it" was entertainment. I probably started to make an effort to actually learn when I started my books in '97, so that I could apply what I learnt to the books. It seemed a sensible way of removing luggage and making the load lighter. When somebody had something I wanted, I made sure I sat still and became interested as opposed to interesting”.
Integral to Stone Free is the hustle, a word that often has a pejorative ring, and one that has been degraded by the times. As to whether it can be rescued? “Who knows?” says Oldham. “Most of the letters I got on Stoned were from younger people who were curious about the game and found the book, yes I dare say it, somewhat inspiring. Apart from that I think the subject matter might be edutaining. Without Moby Dick, Captain Ahab was not that interesting or much for Melville to write about, was he? I’m trying to provide the blubber”.
Asked if the return of the Stones this year relates in any way to his experiences with them, Oldham retorts “not much. I saw them in 2003 in Twickenham. there were lots of people my age standing on their chairs for a better view. We'll see if they make it to this round. I think that this audience is from 1969 [by which time Oldham had ceased being their manager] on, and I have no idea why I think that. There would more likely be people my age backstage”.
Nonetheless, Oldham and the Stones and will always have their pasts as well as their present to draw on. Both of which came into sharp focus when Oldham encountered Phil Spector, in the extract from Stone Free which begins on the next page.
theartsdesk is changing
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. In September we reached our fourth birthday and feel that the time is now right, in line with other media outlets, to start asking our regular readers for a contribution to help us develop the site further. Theartsdesk has therefore moved to a partial subscription model. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
Take an annual subscription now simply click here.
more New music
After decades in obscurity, the enigmatic California folkie makes her first ever European performance
Unpleasant R&B insight into a drearily atavistic masculine psyche
Erstwhile firebrand proves the political passions are smouldering with a new set of Americana-influenced songs
Britney on video: a saga of salacious self-objectification and hyper-kitsch
Songs for soundtracks from shoegaze-influenced Bristol five-piece
Presumably the last word on 'White Light/White Heat' and the definitive collection of Texan Sixties stars
New wave heritage show flavoured with some tasty treats
Brisk account of the development of America’s music lacks atmosphere
Despite Will.I.Am's presence the pop superstar's latest has its moments
A great tour draws to a triumphant close
Have Simon Cowell's protégés finally grown up?
Is the New York art hippie's personal statement worth hearing?