By Mike Doherty - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 0 Comments
At first glance, Prince Rupert Ludwig Ferdinand zu Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, scion of a ruling line of the Holy Roman Empire, seems an unlikely associate of the Rolling Stones. However, Sir Mick Jagger’s proclivity for “crossing the portal into a different social world,” as Loewenstein puts it, was established as early as the late ’60s, when the two met and bonded. At the time, the Stones were being taken to the cleaners by the British taxman and their manager, Allen Klein; Loewenstein, who owned a merchant bank, was in a position to help.
His 40-year business relationship with the Stones forms the basis for this book, and Jagger, unimpressed, has decried Loewenstein’s lack of “good manners” in penning a financial tell-all. Indeed, there are embarrassing revelations here, such as the time the front man, considering himself the band’s “quasi-manager,” tried to skim off an extra share of the profits. Loewenstein describes how over the years he saved the Stones from one another as well as from greedy promoters and hangers-on. He explains how financial decisions influenced the Stones’ art, as he relocated them to the south of France (hence, Exile on Main Street), hooked them up with Atlantic Records in the U.S., and showed them how to run a profitable tour as an efficient “hierarchy” comparable to a court. Throughout, he offers eye-opening insight about the transition rock bands must make from idealist rebels to shrewd businessmen if they’re to learn how not to be exploited.
Loewenstein, with his colourful anecdotes, proves an amusing guide. At times his banker’s perceptions (e.g., that the Stones should have sold the band to an investor) do mark him as a little culturally tone-deaf, and although he portrays his former charges in an affectionate way, he dismisses the Stones’ oeuvre as, for instance, “rhythmic music expressing trite emotion.” The prince remains a minor, if intriguing, character in the history of music royalty, recalling T.S. Eliot’s description of Hamlet’s Polonius: “Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse.”
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By Emily Senger - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 10:48 AM - 0 Comments
The Rolling Stones are back and celebrating 50 years of rocking out.
The Rolling Stones are back and celebrating 50 years of rocking out.
The band announced its nine-stop “50 & Counting” North America tour Wednesday, which continues with concerts the band gave in New York and London last year to celebrate their 50-year anniversary.
“We did a few shows in London and New York last year…and had such a good time that we thought…let’s do some more,” Mick Jagger is quoted as saying on the band’s website. ”It’s a good show. Lots of the classic stuff everyone wants to hear…with a few little gems tucked in here and there. ”
The only Canadian city on the stop is Toronto on May 25 when the Rolling Stones will play at the Air Canada Centre. Tickets go on sale April 8 at 10 a.m. and will almost certainly sell out.
Other U.S. cities the band will hit up include: Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, December 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM - 0 Comments
This week David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, makes his feature debut as the writer/director of Not Fade Away, a coming-of-age story of a garage band trying to make it in New Jersey during the 1960s. The movie has elements of memoir. Like the film’s lead character, Douglas (John Magaro), Chase spent some of his youth as a drummer in an obscure New Jersey rock band, and his romance with the era’s music has never left him. Chase cast Sopranos star James Gandolfini to portray the drummer’s exasperated father. Springsteen guitarist Steve Van Zandt, who played Silvio Dante in the TV series, serves as the movie’s meticulous music producer.
I talked to David Chase earlier this month in Toronto:
Q: I’ve seen a lot of attempts to dramatize the Sixties music scene, and I don’t think any film has nailed the details with more authenticity than Not Fade Away.
A: Glad to hear you say that. We worked pretty hard at it. I knew it was a dangerous proposition to do another ’60s movie. but I knew for sure I didn’t want to see any tie-dye or trips to San Francisco or naked girls in the mud. We’ve seen all that. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:28 AM - 0 Comments
This week: An electric vehicle wins car of the year and Pepsi launches a “fat-blocking” soda in Japan
Awash in oil
The International Energy Agency said the United States will become the world’s largest energy producer by 2020, overtaking Saudi Arabia. It will also surpass Russia as the top producer of natural gas, thanks to new technologies like hydraulic fracking. Though the tectonic shift underscores the importance for Canada to sell more oil sands crude overseas, the prospect of North American energy independence promises to eliminate a key source of geopolitical instability: America’s long and often troubled relationship with the Middle East.
According to the latest data, women now make up almost half (46.6 per cent) of the U.S. labour force, while a recent American study found that if female employment rates were to match male levels, overall GDP would rise by five per cent. In other encouraging news, Lockheed Martin named Marillyn Hewson its new chief executive, which means half of America’s six most powerful defence contractors are now led by women. We can only hope the Pentagon—and the C.I.A.—are taking note.
For the first time in the 64-year history of Motor Trend magazine’s prestigious car of the year award, an electric vehicle won: Tesla’s Model S sedan. The car is a testament to American engineering, said the magazine, noting “it drives like a sports car . . . but it’s also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius.” That a small, California-based start-up can top all the global automakers is a wake-up call for the industry. Silicon Valley is the new Detroit. Continue…
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, October 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Unlike fellow Rolling Stone Keith Richards—or Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Neil Young and Pete Townshend—Mick Jagger has failed to produce a memoir. He tried once. In 1983, he spent nine months with a ghostwriter, then returned a £1-million advance because he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) remember anything of interest. But the price of not enshrining your past is that someone will do it for you. As the Stones mark their 50th anniversary, Norman, who has written biographies of several music legends, adds a tome to the mountain of lore about the world’s consummate rock star. His book lands just three months after Christopher Anderson’s Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger, a breathless ream of gossip about a sex addict working his way through 4,000 women like so much plankton.
Norman’s diligent biography, which dwells on the ’60s and ’70s, is more substantial, and less salacious, if marred by a winking tone. Even though he discredits the infamous legend of Marianne Faithfull being caught in a compromising position with a Mars bar in the Stones’ 1967 Redlands drug bust, he can’t let it go—it becomes the book’s icky leitmotif. What’s most revealing in the book is how Jagger has survived some serious threats. Treating him as a dangerous subversive in the ’60s, the FBI colluded with Britain’s MI5 to plant “Acid King” David Snyderman among the Stones as an agent provocateur. (He set up the Redlands raid.) And ever since Altamont, the Hell’s Angels have threatened to kill Jagger, who was later spooked by John Lennon’s assassination and took to carrying a gun.
Norman, meanwhile, makes some sense of the sexual conquests, the seven children and the cravings of a rock czar who manages to be both a cool Lothario and weepy romantic. Most sympathetic is Jerry Hall, towering above all the supermodels and plundered girlfriends of rival rock stars; Carla Bruni and Angelina Jolie are the ones who got away; L’Wren Scott is the one who tamed him. But at the end of this half-century coming-of-age story, Mick’s most enduring bond remains his fractious marriage to Keith.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 1:04 PM - 89 Comments
While the Commons spends the day debating a Liberal motion calling on the House to defend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms against the attacks of Julian Fantino, an anonymous senior Liberal laments the unilingual nature of the Prime Minister’s rock show and a Conservative backbencher enthuses as follows.
PM Harper rocktastick at CPC Christmas Party (Stones, The Who, The Guess Who)–tonight, Iggy rumoured to read poetry at Lib Xmas Party!!!
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, May 21, 2010 at 12:25 PM - 3 Comments
My video of Mick Jagger fielding questions after the Cannes premiere of ‘Stones in Exile’. As one viewer pointed out to me, at the end Mick seems to have had a senior’s moment. When asked to name a favorite film he picks Apocalypse Now, saying that it came out the same year as Exile on Main Street. Not true: Exile came out in 1972, Apocalypse in 1979. But when you’re the Rolling Stones, that decade is probably just one big acid flashback.
By Brian D. Johnson - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 10:52 AM - 0 Comments
Thumbing this blog on my Blackberry while standing in line for the ‘Stones in Exile’ documentary, premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight program in Cannes. Got here 90 minutes before the start time and there was already a crowd. The movie is less than an hour long. So this must be the first time I’ll have spent more time in a movie line-up than in the movie. The attraction is that Mick Jagger will be doing a Q and A after the screening. He’s doing so little press—30 minutes rationed among 4,000 journalists—that this is our only point of access. The line is building; half a dozen cops are standing by, expecting. . . Qui sait?
The film documents the time the Rolling Stones spent in 1972, just up the road from Cannes, recording their now legendary double album, Exile on Main Street, in the dank basement of Keith Richards’ mansion amid drug deals, thefts and the sudden wedding of Mick and Bianca. The Stones are behind the film, so I assume it’s sanitized, to an extent, unlike Robert Frank’s raunchy verite doc, Cocksucker Blues. We’ll see.
It’s now 4 pm. One hour to go. I wonder if things will get ugly. . .
In other news, I had dinner with a group that included the Brit producer of a Thai film that premieres in competition Friday. He was worried the director wouldn’t make it, because his visa was stuck in the Red Zone of Thai combat. The producer said Thierry Fremault, the director of Cannes, asked him: “Would you like me to call Sarkozy?” In the end, the director got his visa without presidential intervention. But as the producer said, “What other festival director in the world could offer to do that?” For the record, for those who enjoyed the phonetic riddle of the Icelandic volcano, the Thai director is named Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his movie is Lung Boonme Raluek Chat. That’s a lot of thumbing.
4:20 p.m. More crowds. More cops. More cameras. Holy Altamont! Will Mick have the Hell’s Angels escort him through the mob?
4:35 p.m. Screams from the mob of fans and paparazzi in the street. Can’t see him but clearly Jagger has arrived. He’s now in the building; I’m not.
4:50 p.m. I’m in! Sitting next to a NY Daily News columnist who says he named his cat after Bianca Jagger. Says he knows Bianca, and she was not amused. Neither was Aretha Franklin when he named a previous cat (a fat one) after her. OK, enough live blogging. . . Later.
By Ken MacQueen - Friday, October 23, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 2 Comments
Newsmakers of the week
The thorn in Stelmach’s side
It was a rough week for Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. A new poll suggests he and his Progressive Conservatives are in free fall. His televised speech, intended to reassure Albertans about his handling of the recession, was widely panned and his attempt to set an austerity example with a 15-per-cent cut in his premier’s allowance fell on deaf ears. The nurses’ and teachers’ unions have rejected his call for voluntary wage freezes. And on Saturday, the Wildrose Alliance chose former journalist Danielle Smith as its new leader—continuing the Alliance’s evolution from cranky protest party to credible conservative alternative.
To ghostbust, you must first believe
Peter Aykroyd, an 87-year-old former federal civil servant who lives in a spirit-infested family homestead north of Kingston, Ont., has penned one of the season’s odder memoirs. A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters tells the multi-generational story of his spiritualist family. The foreword is supplied by his famous son, Dan, Saturday Night Live comedian and co-writer of the hit movie Ghostbusters. Dan writes how his family, from his great-grandfather onwards, were serious and scientific investigators of the paranormal. “Part of Ghostbusters’ appeal derives from the cold, rational, acceptance-of the-fantastic-as-routine tone that Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, director Ivan Reitman, and I were able to sustain in the movie,” he writes. With good reason: the Aykroyds are believers. Dan’s grandfather was a Bell Telephone engineer who considered the possibility of contacting the spirit realm via a crystal radio set. And one of Dan’s daughters, he writes, claims “glops of light and other shapes attend her when pictures are taken in and around the old family farmhouse.”
They did it for their families
An extramarital affair with a legislative assembly clerk has damaged the personal life and reputation of Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland. Now his political future rests with Ted Hughes, a no-nonsense former judge and one-time B.C. conflict-of-interest commissioner. Hughes conducted a hearing in Yellowknife to determine if Roland breached the public trust by keeping secret his relationship with clerk Patricia Russell. Both were married and have since left their spouses to live together. During the hearing Russell denied allegations she shared confidential caucus discussions with her lover. Roland told Hughes they kept the affair secret out of consideration for their families. Hughes may table his report by the end of October.
Beatles vs. Stones, next generation
The children of two of rock’s biggest names have taken a different approach to fame. James McCartney, son of Paul, has always avoided attention. He recently debuted his band Light to just 30 people in a tiny Oxford pub. McCartney, 32, and his band went to extraordinary attempts to conceal the name and parentage of their lead singer. “James has a way with melody,” wrote an approving gossip columnist for the tabloid Sun, “and a set of pipes which are more than a match for his dad’s.” Meantime, Mick Jagger’s toothy daughter Georgia May Jagger is sprawled topless atop a Union Jack in a new advertising campaign for Hudson Jeans. While crossed arms or strategic camera angles keep the photos just on this side of decency, they have still caused a stir, because, to paraphrase an old Beatles tune, she is just 17.
This little piggy went to Paris
Newsmakers spoke in haste last week when it suggested Paris Hilton was unlikely to acquire a British-bred micro-pig because the extremely intelligent animals aren’t available in the U.S. Hilton has now ordered a bred-in-the-U.S. Royal Dandie Extreme miniature pot-bellied pig from an Oregon breeder. “So excited for my new piglette [sic] to come home to me,” she Tweeted on Friday. The always predictable folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are less than enthused, saying she treats her pets as “disposable.” In fact, the pet-loving Hilton has quite a menagerie; it’s boyfriends that end up in the discard pile.
From hell, straight to Whistler
Skateboarding San Diego chef Dave Levey survived the fire-and-brimstone of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to win the top prize on his Hell’s Kitchen reality show on Fox TV. Levey wins a job for a year working under executive chef James Walt at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler. He starts Jan. 4, barely a month before the start of the Winter Olympics. Of course, he’s survived greater challenges. Not only did he endure the usual hazing by Ramsay, he spent most of the competition in pain after breaking his wrist. Such grit, combined with the 32-year-old’s skater-boy vibe, should make for a perfect Whistler fit. Levey says the tightly edited reality show was mostly real. “What people saw,” he says, “is very similar to who I am.”
Curves and all
Meghan McCain, daughter of former U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain, would like to get something off her chest. “Don’t call me a Slut,” she thundered in her column on the Daily Beast website. The furor erupted after McCain used Twitter to post a picture of herself spilling out of a low-cut tank top. Reaction to a revealing photo of a Republican-values gal generated almost as much Web traffic as a certain Colorado family’s errant balloon. First an abashed McCain Tweeted an apology: “I have clearly made a huge mistake and am sorry 2 those that are offended.” Then she got mad. “Honest, I don’t feel that I have anything to feel ashamed of,” she wrote in her column. “I’ve always embraced my curves and will continue to do so.”
Kids say the darnedest things
Lisa Scott of Paulina, La., promised her son Tyren she’d take him to see U.S. President Barack Obama, so last Thursday they went to the President’s town hall meeting in New Orleans. Tyren raised his hand during a question period and Obama gave him the floor. “I have to say, why do people hate you?” he stammered. “They supposed to love you…. God is love.” The President gave a diplomatic reply about how such anger is politically motivated, and people are worried about their futures. The answer was fine, but the question later gave some commentators pause. Just when and why had the hate and rage so troubling to a young boy become a daily part of American discourse? “It was a pretty good question, I must say,” Tyren’s mother later reflected.
Free from Evin
Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari was released on bail Saturday after almost four months in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Maziar, who holds dual Iranian- Canadian citizenship, was arrested June 21 after reporting on the demonstrations following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election. “Hopefully this is a sign that other journalists who continue to languish in jail in Iran will also be released in the near future,” said Annie Game, executive director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expres sion. Bahari’s wife, Paola Gourley, is confined to a London hospital where she is due to give birth to their first child on Oct. 26. It’s unclear if Bahari, who still faces charges, can leave Tehran to attend the birth.
Fortunately, only the marriage is dead
Just three years ago they were rockers in love. The musical marriage in 2006 of Avril Lavigne and Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley ended last week with Lavigne filing for divorce. Neither said what caused their “irreconcilable differences.” Lavigne was seen this summer in St. Tropez with oil heir Brandon Davis. Whibley was recently in Las Vegas with model Hanna Beth Merjos. It may simply be they married too young. As Lavigne said on her website, “Deryck and I have been together for 6 years. We have been friends since I was 17, started dating when I was 19, and married when I was 21. I am grateful for our time together, and I am grateful and blessed for our remaining friendship.” And Whibley is grateful to be alive. Internet rumours last weekend had him dead—not a good start to single life. Luckily that was just a hoax.
There’s a bit of a ham in any politician but the Elvis-loving former Japanese premier Junichiro Koizumi is uncommonly blessed. He once famously crooned the King’s tunes while on an official tour of Presley’s Graceland mansion. But now Koizumi, 67, is really reaching for the stars. His newest gig is as a voice actor for an extraterrestrial hero who fights aliens from outer space in the movie Mega Monster Ball: Ultra Galaxy. Sure, it was great to be premier of a major world power, but being Ultraman King has its advantages.
Sarko’s son also rises
Jean Sarkozy, all of 23 and repeating his second year at the Sorbonne, has been given a boost into the family business by his father Nicolas. The French president has appointed his son chairman of La Défense, the public agency administering France’s biggest business district, in west Paris. There are predictable cries of nepotism and even some of Sarkozy’s cabinet squirm at claims he is running a presidential monarchy. Sarkozy has denounced the “hysterical manhunt” against his son. Jean maintains a dignified silence, relying on what critics concede are two of his greatest assets: his golden good looks and his very nice hair.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 10:24 AM - 34 Comments
The Prime Minister seeks solace in song.
But there he was, playing ever more earnestly on the piano. He picked up tempo and volume for a few moments, tapping his foot under the piano bench, before turning around to look at everyone watching him.
“Recognize the tune?”
No one said anything for a moment.
“Gimme Shelter,” said Sun Media photographer Bob Tymczysyn.
Harper grinned, nodded and said, “Rolling Stones!” and turned back to the piano to keep playing.