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.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 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.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Grace Jones and Clean Bandit headline a boisterous new event from the Bestival crew
Uber-producer Diplo loses his edge and indulges in middle of the road EDM sounds
The story of a hidden identity and a debut full of personality, wit and invention
Honouring a jazz icon in sometimes challenging, sometimes thrilling style
Admirably succinct entry point into first five years of Brit-punk pioneers
The Americana roots phenomenon digs enjoyably into his Midwestern roots
Prolific musical craftsman gives a tantalising reminder of his former self
American roots music's freshest face talks dancing, touring and 'dreamlike melancholia'
Listen to the hottest new transcontinental music
A change of direction sees the indie rockers headed for the charts, but at what cost?
Horrors frontman's side project soundtrack Peter Strickland's S&M masterpiece
One man, one woman, on piano and cello, wow Brighton into silence