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SXSW Panel: It’s Only Rock & Roll – 50 Years of the Rolling Stones

I see a red door and I want to paint it black

By Tim Stegall, 7:25PM, Wed. Mar. 12

SXSW Panel: It’s Only Rock & Roll – 50 Years of the Rolling Stones
photo by Gary Miller

Firstly, do not start your Rolling Stones panel by playing “Satisfaction,” mixing down the vocal, and having live gypsy violins on top! And don’t keep doing this through “Paint It, Black" and other Stones hits. “Oh, it’s just kids adapting the Rolling Stones for the times.” No! Bad idea. Stop it NOW!

What is a good idea is having the half-century history of the Stones discussed by prime company: Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, X’s John Doe, and Austinite Ian McLagan, the only member of the panel to have actually played with the Stones.

Certain key aspects of the Stones universe didn’t get covered. The importance of both Charlie Watts and Brian Jones wasn’t even touched upon. Fricke struck a good point early on, when asked if he considered we’d be talking about the Stones 50 years later. When he bought his first Stones 45 (“Paint It, Black”), rock was still on a monthly basis.

“Rock was instantaneous,” he said. What’s the hit that month?

Naturally there were artists by that point – from Picasso to Duke Ellington – who were well past middle age and doing the work of their lives.

“No one talked about age, then,” pointed out Fricke. “They talked about doing it.”

Doe spoke about how influential the UK bad boys’ attitude was by the time X and punk had come along, before adding they “represented less danger” over time.

“Who wants to hear a cranky, nasty old guy, anyway?”

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