Destroyers of moral standards? Inventors of modern rock? Converting Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and Little Richard's Rock 'n' Roll into a more thumpy riff with increasingly serious lyrics. Perhaps?!
I have only seen this band live once and to me it was a revelation. The gig was Lord Bath's Longleat House in Wiltshire - 1964 - where the up-and-coming five piece took their positions on the front steps and entrance to this impressive lump of English history.
I have since visited the house with its Safari Park and numerous attractions and find it difficult to refrain from humming I just wanna make love to you - a tune I played with my band of the time. Brian Jones of course was also in attendance. By the time The Rolling Stones took to the "stage", the area in front of the house was heaving with hippies (of which I was one), seemingly as far as the drunken eye could see! It was like a football crowd pushing ever harder forwards towards a flimsy barrier and an inadequate number of stewards.
As the band struck up, the pressure increased, so that if your arms were at your side, that is where they stayed and if you had your arms aloft, they would eventually be employed in passing the plethora of fainted girls over the heads to the waiting St. John's people. There was so much screaming that the woefully inadequate output of Vox AC30 and 50 amps, could barely be heard, and I was standing not far from the front.
It was great to be able to look up the nose of this new and famous band that you had recently seen on your black and white TV - an antidote to the Beatles - this gang of grumpy young men wielding axes and generally being naughty. Wonderful, so much so, that some years later, after I had realised that I was not going to become a famous rockstar, I took up my paintbrush and depicted The Rolling Stones as a bunch of happy-go-lucky mercenaries, reclining near a campfire, cracking (presumably) vulgar jokes and eating smoked chicken. The picture contained a couple of visual indiscretions of my own (a condom and two Mars bars), which later I removed in the interests of decency and to avoid a potential lawsuit from Mars. The image was published in poster format in 1976, and sold quite well.
In 1985, I held a one-man exhibition at the Langton Gallery, in Langton Street, just off Kings Road, Chelsea, London and knowing that the Stones' office was situated nearby, I took around some of my Stones posters, hoping to be able to make gifts to the band and invite them to my exhibition just across the road. Here, I later realised, I had been far too optimistic, and the only person from the Rolling Stones' office to make an appearance, was a long-haired bloke I did not recognise, who was well out of his head, and he proceeded to drink most of the wine and fall asleep in a chair.
Back to the poster image. While visiting MCA records a while later, I noticed a poster on an office wall that had been reprinted from my own image, titled Another Time, Another Place. I was told it had been on sale on a Rolling Stones US tour. Something I had known nothing about and did not receive a payment for. Here is the offending piece bearing the imprint - 130 The Rolling Stones - CHELSEA PUBLICATION COMPANY, LONDON/NEW YORK. No phone number. Any ideas here?
My title here 'Matthews and The Rolling Stones' is perhaps a bit overblown, as I'm sure none of them know who the heck I am, but as with celebrities, we often feel that we know them because of the public exposure. I feel I know The Rolling Stones as a collection of survivors, from a series of battles in far flung locations, at far flung times. Another Time, Another Place.
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