By Chris M. Junior
They were onstage as speakers, not performers, but what Ian McLagan, John Doe and Wayne Kramer had to say about The Rolling Stones was worth listening to as much as any music they’ve made on their own.
Faces/Small Faces keyboardist McLagan, X leader Doe and MC5 guitarist Kramer were among the participants in the South by Southwest panel “It’s Only Rock & Roll: Fifty Years of the Rolling Stones” on March 12, sharing personal memories about the band as well as opinions about their body of work and their personalities.
McLagan remembered as a young man being told by a friend at art school in England about “a blues band that plays every night.”
“ I walk in, and they’re white guys – they’re [around] my age," said McLagan. "They convinced us that we could do it, too.”
Doe says the Stones’ early attitude influenced X. He was just as impressed with the way the Stones have mellowed.
“You represent less danger as you get older,” said Doe. “[If you] become a nasty, crabby old man, then nobody wants to hear about you. … The Stones [have become] more generous, more encompassing.”
Kramer recalled seeing the Stones in “The TAMI Show,” which he viewed multiple times at a drive-in near his Detroit home.
“It was very exciting: the way they sounded, the way they looked, the way they dressed,” Kramer added. “Every generation is looking for their voice, their music, their artists, their clothing styles, and The Rolling Stones [was the one] for my generation. … I embraced them completely. It was like a tsunami.”