The Afternoon I Met The Spirit of Brian Jones: A Happy Ghost Story Part Four
There are two types of employees who work or have worked for famous people;those who sell others out incessantly and those who do not. The Tony Sanchezs and Geoffrey Giulianos of the world have their place in the used book store of life but that's not my scene. The only thing I'll elaborate on in working for a time in The Stone circle is that seeing all the Rolling Stones cds in one place , lined up in order was pretty damn cool. The average fan goes into records stores and sees some of the famous decca reissues, buys a few, lends a few, loses them, scratches them (in my case) and there they all were-even 'Sucking in The 70's.'
I also had my fever for cowbell cured as the very one that opens 'Honky Tonk Woman' was in my daily life, at least that's exactly what it sounded like, though I never asked.
If Brian Jones' spirit had played a practical joke on me by guiding me directly to The Stones camp it was a good natured, kindly one. And ultimately his memory and the Rolling Stones legacy takes on less of a big bad black voodoo daddy vibe with each year too (change is good) .As mocking skeptics fall silent , the truth is starting to shine a light.
With very notable exceptions the press always got it wrong and seemed to rarely listen to the fans or the music. The Rolling Stones were the first white pop culture figures to be unabashedlyPro Black America, and pro third world in some of the last hardcore days of Fascist colonialist Western Europe . Not to mention totally celebrating homosexuality with no excuses, long before it was safe, one can even argue that they are one of the straight allies that made it safe. They illuminated different sub- cultures for many kids in a way that Margaret Mead or even National Geographic never could.
Trapped in a redneck California town for a few years as a teenager, I was obsessive about The Stones, to the point of always mimicking Mick.
A classmate asked one day at recess
"Why are you always walking like a nigger?'
"I'm walking like Mick Jagger" I replied without flinching
In those Neo Con years I had tools with which to adapt and the Stones to throw. AE Hotchner completely missed this essential part of the Stones lagacy in his well written 'Blown Away.' After the usual gory Altamont opener and supposed death keil of the 60's spiel. Various voices attempt to explain the cryptic JFK like demise of Brian Jones .Ultimately Mick Jagger and collegues are labeled apolitcal and selfish iconoclasts. This has about as much truth as Ashlee Simpson covering 'Bitch'' in a Zepplin T-shirt (sorry for that image) or being touted as 'groundbreaker' for getting a makeover every year (somebody had to finally say it).
To state that the great rock stars never changed the world for the better is too miss the same thing that sadly the archticts of communism did;without color, without sex, without drama and comedy people are not able to be social and thus won't get together, feel good about life and get things done..
With the world now irrevocably illuminated by the internet the great musicians and artists pre-mtv are tuning out to be more of a remedy for societal ills than most politicians.
Fireman and entertainers are getting to the scenes of disasters and mass death before
most world leaders are these days.
I'm sure Mick Jagger will continue to be held to the most unfair standards by some journalists, as with Pete Townshend ,these are standards that are usually met and easily surpassed.
And what of Brian Jones and his Winnie the Pooh Wonderland? After everything I've read (and the things I've seen..) I sincerely feel that unless the Rolling Stones had been an all girl band and Brian a chick, that there was no clear way to do a good ol 1990's style crisis intervention. If Mick and Keith had not been two of modern histories most focused and dynamic performers perhaps but those two were and are on a mission. And the biggest lesson for any fan, especially an artist who wants acclaim, stay as focused as the Glimmer Twins and don't let anything get in the way except a good loyal accountant.
But Brian Jones will soon be the subject of a new Stones approved bio pic and famous once again. He may even have many more visitors to his forest palace in Southern England, maybe even a new crop of pretty girls. I still remain a wishy washy agnostic but I never will forget his spiritual presence that rosy English day in 1997. And while his death may always be unresloved like my own brother's that does not have to be the summation of one's entire life. Brian Jones and his amazing musical legacy, coming to a stadium near you can and does live on. In encouraging budding musicians to take up the dulcimer , in inspiring young buxom women to trespass on sprawling British estates and most importantly to add even more color and glitter to The Valley of The Rock Gods where a fans a fan and the children dance to the pipes of pan.
Amanda Casabianca September 2005