I was pretty sure I would never own a Kindle. My love for the paper book is so big that I tried long and hard not to let this “wicked” gadget bewitch me. And then I went and I bought the gizmo.
As I “kindled” myself just as I was about to finish the online course on the history of The Rolling Stones, the first book I laid my virtual hands on was one by Andrew Loog Oldham, their manager, the guy who took them from being a resident group in a bar to being international stars. For the same reason (just having finished the course), I decided on something slightly different than exactly what I had finished learning about. So I chose his newest book: “Stone Free”.
Oldham takes each “hustler” (that’s his term) in the British music industry of the 60’s and paints his portrait, relying mostly on his own, personal history with each one of them. These hustlers are the managers of Bob Dylan, The Who, The Beatles, as well as the stars of that age.
I have to confess that getting used to Oldham’s writing style was no easy task for me. He’s as British as they get in every comma, in his topic, style, and especially in his humour. And if that wasn’t enough, all the dialogues he reproduces are filled with the 60’s London slang. That’s why I started appreciating Kindle’s in-built dictionary from the very first page I ever read on this device.
Once you get used to its style, “Stone Free” is quite the charmer. It has a very sharp sense of humour which the author generously directs at anyone, especially at his very own self. This book is actually a directory of the people who turned music (at least the British side of it) form a craft into a powerful industry. I read this book with great pleasure and I’m saving the rest of the books by ALO for later, so as to not gobble the whole desert in one bite.
You can buy this book here.
My favourite “Stone Free” quotes:
“The word ‘hustling’ has been degraded by the times, but if I can ascribe purity to such an activity, it is marked by the author’s divine apprehension that he is witnessing the coupling of a singer and a song in the bedroom of a cathouse to which he holds the keys.”
“A good artist, with respect to the relationship with his hustler, is like a good dog. He is trainable, and if treated well, willing to please. But if the player confuses his role as a leader with that of a parent or a lover, the dog’s inner beast will eventually bite.”
“It seldom works in the star’s favour when the hustler crosses the line from professional to personal.”
“Make sure your vision isn’t on the wrong side of the next techno wave.”
“There must be always something missing, that the artist intuitively relies on the manager to provide. Once a growing boy has had his fill of milk, the need for someone to hold the bottle disappears. It is a sad fact of the hustle that ultimately the best hustlers eliminate themselves from the picture.”
“It’s often easier to talk to the drummer when you’re distracted and you’ve got nothing to say – they don’t mind, they are elsewhere as well.”
“We aimed to live in an unreal world while earning real money.”
“Jerry is so damned imaginative I sometimes think he has spent the better part of his life avoiding his own ideas in case they killed him.”
“I love people who say they have no regrets; I’d like to meet this guy, Mr. No Regrets. Even Jesus has regrets. I don’t trust a man who can’t be embarrassed and who has no regrets. Never.”
“The things that get into the papers are not the ideas that the entrepreneurs hatch, it’s the accidents that they cannot predict, but which they learn to manage regardless, expecially in America.”
“Failure confirms the manager’s incompetence, success breeds the suspicion that the manager is unnecessary.”
“Sid met his maker. He got it. He wanted it that way. He was a fan of the group, originally an then he became a member of his favourite group, which is something that most fans dream of. His dream came true, so what was he going to do then? To be, in his mind, the greatest Sex Pistol. And how was he going to do that? Die! And who was going to kill him? His mum. She was a junkie. She scored for him. He asked fo it.”
“When you hear someone disparage a former partner without restraint, remember, you’ll be next.”
“Our motto, “Happy to be a part of the industry of human happiness”, artfully expressed our hopes and schemes.”
“Now, in most cases, when a producer, manager or record label is asked about underpayment, they simply lie. They are innocent of stealing from the artist until proven guilty, by a very expensive and/or very clever accountant and/or buyer. Who is probably stealing from the artist as well.”
“I know that the pain of rejection is never limited to the snub at hand. It comes in waves, reverberates like a chord with all the other disappointments in a life. Rejection is an old friend who can only hurt you if you are foolish enough to let it.”