Gary Pig Gold Rolls Over The Stones

GaryInEdithGroveWell before all the 49th (or is it 51st?) Anniversary doom ‘n’ gloom of bloated coffee table retrospectives and HBO documentaries – not to mention thousand-dollar-plus “reunion” ticket prices – there was quite simply, quite pimply, just a promising little mock-blues band from the wrong side of London, stealing empties to pay for the gas heater and cherishing all the Bo Diddley B-sides they could find, steal, and/or cover whenever Alexis Korner allowed them to sit in for a song or two.

Those, as I bet at least one Dartford renegade may still agree, were The Days.

Unconvinced? Like our host says, don’t believe a word I say then. But, take careful note nonetheless of our….


QueenBrian1.   BRIAN JONES’ HAIR

Not only the longest, and the blondest, but the most distinctive coif to come out of the (first) British Invasion …hence his invariably being positioned as the focal point of the band’s publicity photos, not to mention album covers. “Personally, I always make a point of cleansing my hair after every meal,” a young Brian would defiantly inform the press when asked if the band, as their promo boasted, bathed only during months with an “R” in them.


Take equal parts Col. Parker and Phil Spector, mix with a liberal helping of Laurence Harvey (cf: “Expresso Bongo”), garnish with a dash of Anthony Burgess, and you have the AndrewLoogwonderlad who transformed himself from failed pop crooner Sandy Beach to frustrated Brian Epstein gofer to chart-topping svengali of the world-famous anti-Beatles. And all within a mere eighteen months! Needless to say The Rolling Stones, not to mention Malcolm McLaren, would not – in fact, could not have ever risen to successfully battle the rock wars without the skilled example of ALO.


As a young impressionable tyke of nine, I remember how totally dumbstruck I was when chancing upon the Stones on a Red Skelton special in ‘64. After months spent innocently bopping to squeaky-clean moptops on The Ed Sullivan Show, imagine my stupefaction when Mick Jagger, striped sweatshirt hanging, first suggestively shook his maracas in my parents’ living room. Keith hunched menacingly black and pirate-like over his guitar. The rhythm section, shaggy and sullen. And, ever the individual, Brian Jones nattily attired in a modish three-piece, every golden lock in place. It must’ve worked:  My grades, to say nothing of my standards, started tumbling the very next day.


ComeOnThe scene is Olympic Sound Studios, London, May 10, 1963 as recording of “Come On,” the Rolling Stones’ first release, has just been completed:

Roger Savage (engineer):  “What about the mixing?”

Andrew Loog Oldham (producer):  “What’s mixing?

And thus the stage was shakily set for decades of recordings which in many ways gave birth to, and in retrospect certainly define, the very essence of garage (grunge, roots, and/or punk) rock. From their initial cacophonous Oldham-by-the-seat-of-his-Levis sessions straight on up to their current multi-million-dollar-yet-still-somehow-Portastudioesque-sounding productions, Rolling Stones records are best-selling examples of the fine are of Feeling over Finesse; of Emotion over Edification. And the ultimate irony? “Come On” is now available on SACD.


Especially on “Paint It, Black”!


betweenFrom “December’s Children” to (the untruncated original issue of) “Some Girls,” without forgetting “Through The Past Darkly,” “Sticky Fingers” (particularly the Spanish edition!)  and the until-recently-banned “Beggars Banquet,” Stones songs have always come both lovingly and luridly packaged inside the most quintessential photos, graphics and liner notes this side of “The Seen your MotherWho Sell Out.” Grand Prize Winner? Without a doubt the bloody-morning-after portrait adorning the superb “Between The Buttons,” again starring Brian “Miss Amanda” Jones. (Runner-up:  the infamous she-male sleeve on the “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow” single).


Forget “A Hard Day’s Night,” the NFB’s own “Lonely Boy,” and even “Gimme Shelter”:  for a true docu-style glimpse of those once-swinging Sixties, “Charlie Is My Darling,” produced, of course, by Andrew Oldham, boldly treads where no Arriflex had been before  (e.g.: into an Irish hotel ballroom circa 3 A.M., where them shit-faced Glimmer Twits butcher Elvis and even Dion (!) whilst sliding tumblers full of champagne back and forth across a grand piano top). Also watch the band being savagely attacked on stage, and hear Brian describe what “surrealism” means to him. Too bad this all took a half century to make it to DVD though…


Nary a Stones album or concert has existed solely on the works of Jagger/Richard(s) …some dusty old (rhythm ‘n’) blues tune has been given the nod, and been performed in testament to, the moss upon which the band has always rolled (excepting during that “Satanic Majesties” detour). Hands-down Number One fave cover-tune Of All Time, however, has to be their little-heard manic mangling of “I Wanna Be Your Man” which, with all due respects to Ringo, absolutely shreds the Fabs’ version. And howzabout that Dylan cover on “Stripped,” huh?!! Anyways…


KeithSnortedFrom the early daze of urinating on gas stations (“we piss anywhere, maaann…”) in 1965 to their jet-setting, trend-setting string of designer drug busts in the Seventies, the Stones have always been their own best press agents. Not surprisingly either, having graduated with day-glo colours from the Andrew Oldham “As Long As They Spell The Name Right” school of PR. And long after most of his bass-playing contemporaries had retired to Britain’s loftier cricket estates and dry-out clinics, the oldest Stone was still taunting ires by marrying every schoolgirl-slash-model within reach. Yes, I miss Bill Wyman. Don’t you?

10. LEWIS BRIAN HOPKIN JONES,  1942 – 1969



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DBAWIS ButtonGary Pig Gold may have grown up in Port Credit, run away to Hamilton to join his first rock ‘n’ roll group, hung out with Joe Strummer on his first-ever night in the UK, returned to T.O. to publish Canada’s first-ever rock ‘n’ roll (fan)zine, run away again to Surf City to (almost) tour Australia with Jan & gary-pig-gpld-facong-left1Dean, come home again to tour O Canada with that country’s first-ever (authorized!) Beach Boys tribute band …but STILL, he had to travel all the way back to the USSR to secure his first-ever recording contract

4 Responses to “Gary Pig Gold Rolls Over The Stones”

  1. Yoleine Tamari Says:

    Oh Yaeh!!

  2. Bang on Gary.I agree about Brian,no Jones,no Stones.The magical notes that Brian played on those early records and his musical direction that led the Stones had this lad hooked right away.After his death some very good albums came out but they were never really the same.Charlie is one of the best drummer’s ever.Great column Thanks.

  3. I have to laugh, Brian. I knew it was a parody when I saw the #1 reason was Brian’s hair. Interesting perspective and serious, if you’re a hairdresser. Thanks for the laughs.

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