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Name: 2000 Man
Subject: Dirty Work, extended long winded version, part 2.
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2002
Time: 9:36:37 AM
Remote Address: 220.127.116.11
Message ID: 18275
Parent ID: 18274
Thread ID: 18274
I know this is over 10,000 characters, cuz it won't let me post it in one message! but like I said, I checked with the boss and he says it's okay. If you didn't like the first half, trust me - it doesn't get any better.
The Stones hired a producer for their new album, the hottest producer of the eighties, Steve Lillywhite. In retrospect, he wasn’t a very good choice. Lillywhite had produced hugely successful albums by U2 and Peter Gabriel. He also produced successful albums by the Psychedelic Furs and Simple Minds, two of the newer eighties acts with the “big” eighties sound. Lillywhite practically had the Midas touch during this period, but if the Stones had been paying attention they may not have used him. Steve Lillywhite produced Marshall Crenshaw’s ‘Field Day.’ Crenshaw was closer to the Stones style musically than the bands Lillywhite had been successful with, as Crenshaw relied on catchy riffs and a somewhat stripped down sound. The songs on ‘Field Day’ were crushed under Lillywhite’s bombastic production, and the album went nowhere. The Stones may have noticed that their music had more in common with Crenshaw’s than with Peter Gabriel’s ‘Steam.’ Lillywhite was known for his big drum sound (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=A51y67ul0h0j0 and http://www.morrissey-solo.com/people/lillywhite-billboard.htm ), a sound which may have served Jagger’s ‘She’s The Boss’ better than the Stones’ ‘Dirty Work.’ Dave Jerden had an interesting comment about working with the Stones when he said, “When we were mixing in New York, Steve Lillywhite changed the speed in one song, sped it up a little bit, and it was hardly anything. Keith walked in and he just went ballistic. He goes ‘Nobody, fucking nobody, fucks with the Rolling Stones! That tempo was cut at that speed and it stays at that speed!’” An interesting comment, especially since we have seen the results of ‘Fingerprint File’ and what it sounds like at its correct speed.
86 US Tour – Dirty Work
Even before the album was released, a tour seemed in the bag. The Stones had settled into their every three years US tour thing, and it was definitely overdue. They had all talked about touring, and it certainly seemed like it was going to happen. Mick told the New York Times that a tour was “quite possible.” Paul Wasserman had said that the Stones would tour the US at the end of summer ’85, after ‘Dirty Work’ came out, but the album wasn’t ready by then. Mick also told Rolling Stone “Hey, this is our first album for CBS, we GOTTA tour.”
That’s when things fell apart. When asked if the Stones had resolved to tour Bill remarked, “We have. I don’t think Mick has! Everybody else wants to tour. Charlie has some reluctance but he’ll go along. Mick doesn’t want to. The truth is, he’s the one who loses six pounds in sweat a show and has to get into physical shape. He has to run around for two and a half hours. If I was him, I’d think twice. He’s the one who’s going to get slagged off.” He continued, “But we’re one of the best live bands and I think we should do it. We should let the kids see what a real good touring band is like. I see a lot of young bands out on the road and a lot of them are anti-climaxes, like Ultravox and Simple Minds. They’re not well organized and they haven’t got a show. The music might be good, but visually Ultravox are boring and Simple Minds are just a huge rumble of noise.”
Keith was upset that Mick hadn’t committed to touring or not touring earlier, and felt somewhat strung along by Mick waiting so long to decide not to tour. This wound up being a big feud between Mick and Keith in the press for a couple of years, until they got back together and started work on ‘Steel Wheels.’
When asked about his decision, Mick said, “Touring ‘Dirty Work’ would have been a nightmare. It was a terrible period. Everyone was hating each other so much; there were so many disagreements. It was very petty; everyone was so out of their brains, and Charlie was in seriously bad shape. When the idea of touring came up, I said, ‘I don’t think it’s gonna work.’ In retrospect, I was a hundred percent right. It would have been the worst Rolling Stones tour. Probably would have been the end of the band.”
Maybe Mick was right about the tour, he certainly has stuck with his feelings throughout interviews. Where he usually seems to have at best a “selective” memory, he has steadfastly insisted that the band was not in shape to tour ‘Dirty Work,’ and that the tour would have broken up the band. Mick does sometimes seem to confuse his second solo album and the effects of those sessions with ‘Dirty Work’ and its issues. He mentions in some interviews that “after” ‘Dirty Work’ was recorded, he had to work on his album, which Keith knew all about. The rest of the band also seemed healthier than Mick is giving them credit for. Keith did a lot of projects with other people, eventually leading to his first solo album, ‘Talk Is Cheap.’ Ronnie did a tour with Bo Diddley, Bill got things going with Willie and the Poor Boys and Charlie toured England with his Big Band and recorded ‘Live At Fulham Hall.’ It seems that Mick’s heart was really into doing something without the Stones, and he just couldn’t seem to find a way to tell them that he wanted some serious time off to do whatever he wanted. Not just three months or half a year. He wanted to do something different, and the Stones wanted to tour. Maybe if ‘Dirty Work’ had been pushed back a year the results would have been different. As it stands now, the album is almost secondary to what was going on during the time it was made. Keith was really ready to participate in a new album and tour. Ronnie was up for it, bill was ready to go, and in hindsight Charlie (who was in the middle of a nasty heroin habit), seems like he was healthy enough to do a tour.
Would the Stones have broken up? Possibly. If Mick felt that strongly about not working with the Stones at that period in his life, and he was forced to, maybe he would have called it quits. As it stands, it’s obvious that Mick really wanted to do something else, but felt obligated to do the Stones thing. He tried to balance two things that both needed his undivided attention. If he had made the decision to do either ‘She’s The Boss’ OR ‘Dirty Work,’ the end results probably would have been better remembered today. Two comments by Keith at that time are telling: “After the last time the Stones worked together we said we’d carry on playing regularly…and, for once, Woody and me kept our promises. You got to keep practicing, playing, getting those ideas coming.” Also, “Even if the Stones didn’t exist, I’d just wander around the world playing in bars for drinks – and to see if I could cut it.”
Maybe if Keith had been there earlier for Mick, Mick would have been there more for Dirty Work.
Steve Appleford’s The Rolling Stones It’s Only Rock And Roll: Song By Song.
Several issues of Rolling Stone, circa 1985-1989.
Rock Express Vol 10 issue 102.
Some issues of Spin.
Goldmine, Oct. 20 1989
NO articles by Nick Kent were used, because I think he makes stuff up and it’s been PROVEN BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that he does, indeed make stuff up. If you want to use the article in Spin, August 1986 as rebuttal, I'll tell you now that your source sucks, Rush Limbo is more credible.
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