NEWS LETERS A Stoned Gaze Back at 2005 JAN 2006 NEWS

Happy Old Year

Well I guess see you all went and got yourselves a New Year then, ...... latest upgrade was it?.... fully digitised no doubt? ....."Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of the next generation, new and improved Roman Calender Year, Model AD-2006 with 365 incorporated consecutive dating capabilities, multi-phasing Moon options, day and night modes and enhanced bank holiday and multi-faith religious festival compatibility”...... To be honest, we really can’t see the point. All this pressure, ‘your old years run out, no longer in warranty, get yourself a new one’. Well we don’t buy it, we just keep having the old one serviced we're still getting life out of our 1967 reg. model. Anyway it would seem, from the evidence of the sellout notices posted at our first shows for 2006, there are quite a few of you still out there who seem to share our penchant for recycling old material.

Well living in the past, as is our habit, we naturally take this traditionally optimistic and forward looking opportunity at the start of another year, to take a wistful glance up the fundament of the last. The Pacific Rd Arts Centre in Liverpool was a venue new to the band when we visited it early in the year. Whilst more on the Mersey beat than our own, we were gratified to find that a packed house of closet Stones fans willing to brave the Beatlemaniacs scorn to welcome us and we are looking forward to the prospect of our return, scheduled for May 2006.

We managed to punctuate an increasingly busy touring schedule on the home front with some very successful sorties abroad. Although not exactly the normandy landings, it required some determination on our part come embarkation, the Calais port authority seemingly unable to muster up a gang plank. Arc en Ciel in Belgium was a venue and audience that stands out as a particularly enjoyable high, one has to add, somewhat in contrast to events in Hull where Bill had a bit of Bummer and over which We shall draw a discreet veil (I’ve seen the video and I didn’t see any veil Ed) See Story

Camera, Action, Rolling... Stone Me!

Events off stage seem also worth more than passing mention. There is nothing more that Byron prefers to encounter than a camera, particularly when it’s pointing his way. Imagine then his joy during the Spring to find an entire film crew prepared to devote their time to recording his antics as he reenacted scenes from the last days of Brian Jones. It was for an investigative TV documentary production exploring Jones’ mysterious demise. Mind you, despite shooting at locations from Cotchford Farm to Chletenham, the most entertaining footage would have been from entirely unscripted events while shooting in his own neighbourhood, Highgate. Regretably, these scenes will all have ended up on the cutting room floor, destined not to reach our screens unless that is ‘The Keystone Cops meet Benny Hill on Acid’ gets commissioned, or Channel 5 runs out of high speed car chases for Police Camera Action, and turns to ‘Beat Bobbies Sidewalk pursuit’.

The incident, as readers of London’s Evening Standard of 28th April may have read, occurred when filming was interrupted one afternoon by the cries of a distressed woman across the street who was struggling to prevent a man attempting to carjack her 4x4 as she loaded her shopping. Choosing a busy high street in broad daylight and with a camera crew on hand probably doesn’t mark the would be thief down as a criminal mastermind.With his escape blocked by traffic con-gestion and a feisty response from the victim who succeeded in wrestling her car keys back, he abandoned his mission and fled only to find the long dead founder of the Rolling Stones and early rock’n’roll martyr in full psychedelic regalia, together with accompanying film crew, in hot pursuit.Unfortunately, he was sporting the ‘in’designer footwear of the 60’s by Anello & Davide. In truth in those days they catered rather more for yer poncey poofs and prancing ballet dancers rather than vigilante crime busters, a 'Ken Market' walk may place you well in time, sadly it will also place you last in a race against today's Nike shod Ghetto Hoodies. So, with a world regressing to the baby walkers of it's childhood and the heel mines of Cuba in terminal decline, the villain made good his escape. Still the good citizens of Highgate Village will sleep safer in their beds at night in the knowledge that the criminal underworld should be giving their neighbourhood a wide berth for fear of encountering ‘The Kaftaned Crusader not to mention Ruby the Wonder Lap-dog’

Despite the health risks to the Prince of Dartford, the band performed at several at open air events last year in the daylight hours. In the event, there was little danger from exposure after sunrise, it was after all an English summer so who needs a sun bloc factor. Indeed at at the Middlesbrough Music Live Festival, life savers would have been more reassuring. Opening time for the Heavens was our queue for arrival on stage, so if nothing else, the clouds got off on us. Yet despite the worst downpour in years, triggering flash floods that drowned half a county and an audience there principally to catch the mainline and “Indie” original bands on the bill, 5000 enthusiastic and happy fans stuck it out braving the open and a thorough drenching to see our set. “It was a wet T-shirt contest that should have made the Guinness book of records” quipped Mick.

We also had our annual day at the races in Leicester during the summer. Although always good fun, it’s a case of win some lose some – Mick’s winsome in his jockey silks and we all lose our shirts. At least we got a chance to see Ronnie Wood’s mate Frankie Detorri ride his luck and Mick sang a few favourites to keep the punters entertained.

The Kids Are.. (Well) Alright

It took a trip to the Marlborough Village Inn during the August bank holiday weekend for the band to find it’s place in the sun. In a part of the world that is renown for unexplained phenomena, the inhabitants of Ramsbury, a village in the bosom of Wiltshire, seemed quite unfazed by a Western style Ho-down being held in their midst – actually as I recall, the bosoms were only just in, when it came to the posse of would be Cat Ballou girls dispensing Tequila at this jolly family jamboree. An intriguing aspect about our effect on family audiences at these occasions is the curiosity we seem to arouse in the children. In spite of, or maybe because of, our weird appearance and raucous din, far from driving them away, we tend to attract little ones in droves as they throng around the stage – Byron in particular would seem to have the fascinating appeal of a Pied Piper. This has proved a bit confusing for the less with it band members at times – mentioning no names, but we have on occasion had to reassure Charlie that there were in fact small children in the audience, not a stand offish crowd of adults in the distance. Certainly the Ramsbery ‘Teenies’ conformed to type and it was from their ranks that the undoubted entertainer of the year emerged, although whether she would get Mick’s vote is moot. Mick regards centre stage as his domain by right, he is certainly not accustomed to find his ‘look at me I can run, sing and jump while dressed up like a big girls blouse’ routine coming off second best, particularly to a bunch of 7 & 8 year olds. Enter stage ‘up’ the precocious Ashley and friends performing extraordinarily authentic Hand Jive routines from an era way beyond their years (Let’s face it, probably beyond the years of most present except Bill. Ed).

Of course Bill had to have his own weird take on events, it was no coincidence that we were in Wiltshire, he opined and how did we think kids so young could have acquired such accomplishments. Citing as his authority a book by his good friend Iggy Van Helsinki, ‘In laws from Mars and other Cuckoo Theories’, (surprisingly still awaiting a publishing deal we gather) he reckoned we had probably just witnessed a new super race of children, sired by visitors from beyond the stars and destined to take over the world. The ‘hand jiving’ was, he insisted, a paranormal gift of telepathic communication based on a semaphore evolved from dance routines, now defunct, but all the rage at the time of the original visitation.

However, lest we risk a stampede of worried Ramsberry fathers to the paternity clinic, we would like to reassure you that we have cancelled Bill’s subscription to Fortean Times and told him the ‘Twilight Zone’ is out of bounds. But one thing upon which I think we can all agree, the evidence was incontavertable, Ashley and co are truly superstars and so we take this opportunity to present them with our ‘Rollin’Stoned Personalities of the Year’ award – well at least we would do if we had one.

 


Spaced Invader? .... If you've got the
village, we can supply the idiot

Back to adult pastimes, most years we get to do a Beer Festival or two and 2005 was no exception with the band booked as the closing attraction for this years Camra Festival at Olympia. Festering concoctions of hops, yeast and the odd drowned rat.... and that’s just from the Tea kiosk.

And so we hit the home straight of the year at an increasingly frenetic pace. It was hard gigging most weeks although we did manage one night out at the movies in Novemeber when invited to appear as guests of Steven Woolley at the premier of his suitably eponymous film ‘Stoned’.

Byron was in character and caused a few paparazzi double takes. Personally I doubt the whole premise of the film. A while back a man in a pub sold me a bootleg copy of a hitherto unscreened video, ‘Confessions of A Builder” and I tell you, it’ll blow the Wolley film away when I get it released.

There were of course, along the way, many private functions and corporate bookings and to all those who engaged the band we would like to offer our thanks and gratitude.

 


..... and on that Bobshell

Also, we should not forget our regular bookings, they have escaped mention here, but they are the back bone of our touring year and just seem to go from strength to strength, The relationship we have built up with the audiences, managers and promoters of these venues is very special to us and we thank you all for your support and loyalty over the years.

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.... And Also a Very Sad Old Year

Sadly, away from the whimsy of the conceit that is ‘The Rollin’Stoned’, there is a real world which occasionally has a nasty habit of creeping up on you. Despite it’s many highs, 2005 was a year also marred by some personal tragedy. Indeed there were times when the year seemed to be turning into depressingly long obituary column of friends, associates, not to mention some mighty legends from the world of music.
On a personal note, in April the Band learned with great sadness of the death of Ray Tucker. The Rollin Stoned owe Ray a considerable debt of gratitude for his invaluable assistance over quite some years. It was largely thanks to his initiative and the many selflessly devoted hours of his time that the band web-site evolved beyond a simple web address. He saw it's continued development and must take most of the credit for the well received and informative resource we have today. A familiar face on the London music scene, we first met when Ray took the trouble to contact us after having been at a gig quite early in the band’s life. He introduced himself as a life long and dedicated Stones fan who had, having seen The Rollin stoned, felt moved to leave a message on a certain rival brand’s notice board (with whom Byron had once been unhappily associated) declaring them to be an insult to the ‘Stones’ and not a patch on ourselves.

Ray Tucker
Sadly missed friend and advisor to the band
Ever open to flattery as we are, this obviously endeared him to the band and gave him a head start in our good opinion stakes (I use the racing metaphor advisedly). He subsequently offered to help organise and administer the band web site on a voluntary basis and also act on our behalf when required – Whether this was prompted out of enthusiasm for the band, or merely pity for an outfit that displayed all the acumen of those not only born yesterday but with a short term memory deficit, is hard to say – whatever the case, his offer was gratefully accepted. The fact that Ray had no previous Web design and administration experienced did not deter him and with the help and guidance of Jason Legge a client and friend he set about mastering the mysteries of ‘IT’ without more ado.
As a knowledgeable Stones fan of occasional ‘wealth’ (William Hills permitting) and ‘Taste’, we naturally welcomed his critical good opinion as an encouraging endorsement of the band and what we are about. The direct and uncompromising nature of his introduction to us was typical of his approach and one with which we became familiar. His band allegiance afforded us no immunity from his bluntly honest criticism whenever he felt standards may be slipping, or if he felt we were coasting.

Ray with 'Charlie' and Micky Waller
'One Scotch, One Bourban and a Beer'

As you may have inferred from my somewhat laboured metaphors, one of Ray’s other passions was horse racing and in that, he found a soul mate in The band’s own Jockey, aka ‘Sir’ Mick. The two could often be found at gigs weighing up the odds or celebrating the odd spectacular Yankee - Yes, I’m afraid the truth is out, forget any choreographic influences of Tina Turner, James Brown etc, all those times you’ve seen Mick performing, he’s just been frenetically tic-tacing the odds to interested punters at the back. Never mind John McCririck, next time you see Mick, stick out his bum, clap his hands and pull his jacket back off his shoulders, he’s telling you “put your shirt on this one lads”.

As ill health began to take it’s toll, Ray’s presence at our gigs sadly became very rare, although, to the end, he and Mick were in close social touch and still trying to give the bookies as many kickings as they could. It is regrettably often true that only in a person’s absence, do we come to appreciate fully their contributions. Having taken over the administration of the website and other affairs from Ray, I well understand the amount of largely unrewarded effort he must have had to put in on our behalf. I can also well imagine the frustrations, operating from his vantage point in the real world and trying to organise people who would it seem be troubled making a simple decision even if it came flat packed, gift wrapped and delivered to the door with accompanying comprehensive self assembly manual and training video entitled “How to make a simple decision in three easy steps”. His spleen was however vented relatively sparingly, he might wing us with the odd barbed e-mail on such occasions, but I suspect there may have been many more that he removed from the breach. Running the web site pretty much to the end as he did, our band issues must certainly, in perspective, appeared somewhat trivial. He will be always be appreciated and remembered fondly as a friend of the band and an integral part of the it’s history.

Also Leaving the Stage

I mentioned earlier, Ray’s name was not alone on what was a dismal roll call. The news of the death of Chrissie Wood in early summer came as considerable shock. To the lurid tabloid world she was the ‘Original rock chic’ and ex wife of Ronnie, to those in the band who knew her and were close, she was the proud mother of Jesse (latterly prouder grandmother to his new baby), great fun to have around and a good friend and encouraging supporter of the band, she will be very sadly missed by many.

There was indeed a significant VIP element in the year's departures lounge and Chrissy and Ray certainly left in illustrious company, Dick Heckstall had not long left the stage, soon to be joined by Long John Baldry and Carlo Little. Carlo was a hugely popular and admired member of the musical fraternity and the news that he had lost a long and typical courageous battle with cancer in 2005 was a great sadness to all. (See details below for ‘Carlo’s Night of Honour’) One thing is certain, we have to be grateful for the rich musical legacy that is the generous bequest these pioneering giants of R'n'B leave behind.

Rollin’Stoned were privileged to share the stage with Carlo at a memorable Brian Jones Anniversary party that we promoted at London’s Scala Theatre in 2002. It was a thrill for us to have performed with the man who played with the early Stones and has been described by Keith Richards as one of the best rock and roll drummers around.

“Musical Night of Honour” for Carlo Little On March 26th 2006 A ‘Night of Honour”is to be held in memory of Carlo at York House, Teddington, London


Carlo Little at the Scala
Keeping time while Charlie waited
 

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