Before I share a little about this compilation, let me share a little about myself. My father loves rock and roll from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and therefore I grew up listening to classic rock and schooled to know “who sings it”. My best guy friend is also a total music fiend, and shares my love of classic rock. So for Christmas, I found a similar compilation of Rolling Stone interviews, (read it before I gave it to him) and had to have one myself. Not only were the interviews about the music, but they were also about the comedians, the writers, the movie stars and directors from those decades. Well, turns out there were three being sold online and I bought them all. I don’t splurge often on buying books- I dream of having a library one day, but realistically I just don’t have the space or funds to support the habit- but when I do, there’s a reason.
These interviews are compilations of Rolling Stone magazine from the late 1960’s all the way to the new millennium. Written by different journalists, each interview manages to delve into the personal thoughts of music legends and era icons. Rolling Stone has the reputation of getting the private moments, the exclusive information, and the raw emotion in it’s interviews, from the most high profile guests. The questions are deeply researched, and the answers open and honest, and written as spoken. It’s an answer to everyone who has wanted to know what it’s like to be a fly on the wall near Lennon, or Jagger, or Springsteen.
For me, these interviews are a way to connect myself to the icons that I grew up with, that my parents grew up with. For any one, they are a way to see what they were like off stage, off TV, out of the limelight. I love reading about their inspiration, the artistry behind their product. And personally, I get a thrill when I can mentally “hear” the interviewee’s diction in their responses. Some of my favorite excerpts: (SPOILER ALERT?)
- Pete Townshend from The Who, outlining the album Tommy: “…musically then I want the thing to break out, hand it over to Keith-“this is your scene, man, take it from here.”“
- Oriana Fallaci, on her interview style via this example from a press conference with the moon mission astronauts: ““The question is: Are you scared?” Well, after discussing it with Aldrin and Collins, Neil Armstrong was elected to take the walk. “Well,” he hesitated, “you know, the adrenaline goes up.””Ah, bullsh*t. Say you’re scared!”“
- Joni Mitchell, on happiness: “I feel happy suddenly, I don’t know why. Some days, the way the light strikes things. Or for some beautifully immature reason like finding myself some toast.”
- Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones, explaining the ingredients that made “Satisfaction” a signature song: “It has a very catchy title. It has a very catchy guitar riff. It has a great guitar sound, which was original at the time. And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kind of songs.”
If you’re a classic rock fan, a rock and roll fan, a blues fan- this book is for you. If you’re into journalism, and want to see some emotional examples- this book is for you. If you want to see celebrities in a different light, or get inside their minds- this book is for you. If you just dig music, or history, or just want some artistic or political inspiration, take this book off the shelf. Obviously, I’d recommend it to everyone.