Rock­ers still break­ing rules

The Stones’ doc­u­men­tary is all about the mu­sic, not re­grets, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

THE Rolling Stones, the great­est rock ’n’ roll band that ever ex­isted, is the one that shouldn’t have ex­isted very long. If the life­style didn’t kill them, it’s amaz­ing the cops didn’t.

They were crazy drug­gies who had end­less sex with end­less dan­ger­ous hu­mans, smoked and drank to mas­sive ex­cess and ate junk by the trunk-load.

They were ar­rested and al­ways got away with it, and thumbed their noses at the very peo­ple who let them go.

As wild­man Keith Richards says at the end of Cross­fire Hur­ri­cane, the nearly twohour, 50th an­niver­sary (yes, that’s right) film that they pro­duced with Brett Mor­gen: ‘‘Usu­ally, it’s the guy in the black hat that gets killed in the end. Not this time, brother, not this time.’’

If you’re look­ing for an in­tro­spec­tive look back with lots of re­grets, this spe­cial isn’t for you.

First off, if Mick Jag­ger and the guys had the nerve to com­plain about liv­ing the best life any skinny bunch of guys ever lived, we’d all start hat­ing them im­me­di­ately.

And if you’re look­ing for the women in Mick’s life – Bianca Jag­ger, Jerry Hall and Mar­i­anne Faith­full, for starters – this ain’t that film ei­ther.

What this is, how­ever, is a movie about their mu­sic, their evo­lu­tion and their wild ways. In fact, you won’t even find them – the con­tem­po­rary Stones, I mean – here. The whole film is made up of archival footage with the au­dio recorded re­cently of Mick, Keith, Ron­nie, Char­lie, Mick T, and Bill, who sat for what seems like an end­less in­ter­view for the film.

If you weren’t born when the Stones broke all the rules, you will get to see why th­ese old guys were/are the great­est of all time. If you were around then you al­ready know, but you still won’t be­lieve it.

Even though this is the band’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, it’s not a Sweet’N Low ver­sion of rock ‘n’ roll, Stones-style.

Be­cause of who they are, ev­ery sin­gle moment of their lives from 1971 was chron­i­cled. Now they are get­ting to pick and choose how they want to be por­trayed. And what they picked was mostly about the mu­sic.

Mick, who likes to be a street guy, shifts his ac­cents con­stantly from courtly to Cock­ney, ad­mit­ting that he has al­ways been a method ac­tor play­ing a part.

The story of how they be­came so dis­gusted with gui­tarist Brian Jones’ heroin ad­dic­tion that they fired him two weeks be­fore he was found dead in a swim­ming pool is told – and the ev­er­p­re­sent cam­era was there to record their shock and hor­ror.

Then there’s the pure ter­ror of the Al­ta­mont con­cert, where the Hells An­gels, hired for se­cu­rity for some in­sane rea­son, showed up so jacked up on Rip­ple wine and heroin that they killed a con­cert-goer.

Cross­fire is a dif­fer­ent way of mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary – only voices in the present and only video in the past. But who said the Stones ever played by the rules? Fri­day and Sun­day, 8.30pm ABC2.

Re­plays

The Rolling Stones: Mick Jag­ger, Keith Richards, Ron­nie Wood and Char­lie Watts.

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