Rolling Stone



WHEN ‘ROLLING STONE’ was a rickety operation being run out of a San Francisco loft, and the music business was still so low-key that you could score an interview with Jim Morrison by simply bumping into him, Ben Fong-Torres was there. One of RS’ first star writers, he finally gets his own spotlight in the excellent new documentar­y Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres, directed by Suzanne Joe Kai. Fong-Torres was a more-than-almost-famous figure in his own right in the Seventies, as he wrote about artists from Ike and Tina Turner to Ray Charles to Bob Dylan and George Harrison (whom he unforgetta­bly took to task for a lackluster tour). In the film, former subjects (Elton John, Carlos Santana) and colleagues (RS founder Jann Wenner, Cameron Crowe) share tales of Fong-Torres as a dogged reporter, sharp editor, and generally mensch-y dude. Fong-Torres’ own story is fascinatin­g: The son of Chinese immigrants, he once found himself the only Asian kid in an all-white school in 1950s Texas after his dad moved there to help start a new restaurant. “Probably more than a few times, musicians, especially those of color, in some way connected to me as a kind of a fellow outsider,” Fong-Torres says. “I think they saw me as a fellow marginaliz­ed person, doing something extraordin­ary — just as they were.”

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