Saturday, June 26, 2010


I've got to say, I've really been digging listening to The Rolling Stones' classic Exile On Main Street over and over since the reissue came out. Tonight I watched Stones In Exile, the documentary about the album.

The doc was pretty cool, it was interesting to see footage of the era.  But you know Mick Jagger really isn't too into talking about it (in a recent interview he said he didn't know the point of it, other than getting paid, or something like that), and Charlie Watts really really isn't into talking about it. Keith Richards is cool with talking about whatever, but he didn't have any incredible insight, nor did former members Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman, although it was cool to see and hear them in the doc. My favorite parts were the interview segments with Bobby Keys, who played sax on the album (and still plays on their records and tours today). But I enjoyed the doc.

What I loved about the DVD though, was a bonus feature with extended interviews with "Exile fans": Jack White, Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, and Caleb Followill from Kings Of Leon, as well as Martin Scorsese and Don Was.   I used to do interviews with rock stars, and I often was more interested in talking about things other than themselves - especially music that really, really meant a lot to them. Whoever did these interviews, I was definitely envious of, because these were the types of conversations I loved, back in the day. It was fascinating to see what Exile meant to these folks: to Jack White, it was an album that could confound rock critics, they could no longer box the Stones in. To Sheryl Crow, it was how they looked at the place where she was from, the south. is one of the most proudly modern and commercial artists - but he likes the fact that it is an entire body of work, and part of a greater continuum of work, and one that isn't reliant on having hit singles.  It's the "cool" album to like, because it isn't as well known. Followill, the son of a preacher man, thought it sounded like the devil's music, and loved it. Don Was, an artist and producer (who has produced The Stones' records of the past 15 years) can't figure out what is on the essence of the album (which I'm sure some critics will have field day with).  And Liz Phair, as her fans know, has a pretty complex relationship with this particular record. Maybe the doc will get some Stones fans to pick up her debut, the classic Exile In Guyville. I know Mick, Keith and Charlie exec-produced the doc, but I would think that they might be weirded out by all of the things that everybody said about the album - not just Liz (but especially Liz!).

A cynic could say that they selected the artists they interviewed for marketing purposes, but I take a different point of view.  Through these interviews, you really see why the album, and the band is so relevant today. I give the main doc a B but this feature an A.

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