'Foundation Stone' by Alan Clayson & 'Brian Jones' by Douglas Noble
From Guitar Magazine - February 2004
This edition of Guitar Magazine features two excellent articles on Brian Jones. The first - entitled 'Foundation Stone' is written by Alan Clayson who investigates 'the lost soul of the world's greatest rock'n'roll band'.
The second article, simply titled 'Brian Jones' is an extremely technical critique concentrating on Brian's musical abilities by Douglas J. Noble - appealing mainly to the musical purists but none the less, an interesting insight for us mere mortals into Brian's incredible proficiency as a musician.
Foundation Stone by Alan Clayson - (Page 23)
Quote – "Brian Jones satisfies all the requirements of a doomed rock hero: great looks, great hair, lots of drugs, a loveless upbringing, bohemian wanderings, neurotic self-absorption. Illegitimate offspring's, aspirations to bridge the gap between lowbrow pop and higher artistic expression, a visual image that remains strangely modern – and, to round it off, an all-too early grave. His was a triumphant and tragic life, yet since his death he has somehow moved into an orbit separate from that of The Rolling Stones, the group he formed in 1962. There's an annual event in Brian's home town of Cheltenham that draws growing multitudes of pilgrims from across the globe, many of whom are linked by a tightly-organised appreciation society – located at the Brian Jones Fan Club www.brianjonesfanclub.com – dedicated to Brian alone".
This six page in-depth article draws excerpts from Alan's excellent biography on Brian but also includes three separate boxed articles within the main text. 'Brian's Appliances' reports on the variety of guitars used throughout his career and 'Moroccan Roll' discusses how a week's holiday in Jajouka, an area within the Rif foothills of North Africa, influenced Brian and how the sun-scorched life got under his skin. The third mini-article entitled 'Eastern Promise – Brian's Best Moments' dissects nine of the most popular early Stones recordings and highlights Brian's influence over them. 'Mort Und Totschlag' also comes under the microscope and director Volker Schlondorff's comments just jump at you as he says of Brian: "It wasn't just that his music was special, it was that the score was so spontaneous and vital. Only Brian could have done it. He had a tremendous feeling for the lyrical parts and knew perfectly the recording and mixing techniques to achieve the best sound".
Brian Jones by Alan Clayson (Sanctuary Publishing) is in the stores now, priced at £9.99 (GBP).
Brian Jones by Douglas J. Noble - (Techniques Workshop, Page 99)
Mick'n'Keef might have written the songs, but it was often Brian Jones who put the right flavours into the Stones' early tracks. Douglas Noble dons a blonde moptop and imagines teenage girls screaming themselves silly as he dissects the man's modus operandi….
Quote - "Although he's often overlooked when discussing the legend that is the Rolling Stones, and though the late Brian Jones may never have quite fulfilled his potential, his influence on the band – particularly as a talented multi-instrumentalist – shouldn't be forgotten. Jones had piano lessons from the ages of six to fourteen, studied music theory and played the clarinet – and this early musical training enabled him to pick up other musical instruments remarkably quickly".
Quote - Justin Sandercoe who plays Brian Jones in The Counterfeit Stones, explains his view of the man's guitar style: "Brian Jones is really copying a lot of the early blues stuff that you can hear on Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson recordings" He goes on to say: "And of course, Chuck Berry was probably the biggest influence on the early Stones as lead players".
This article then goes on to discuss Brian's fascination with instruments and in particular the sitar. Noble quotes Brian's own words on his technique in playing and tuning the sitar: "Out of the eleven resonating strings there are five main ones. The first is tuned to the fourth interval, the second to the fifth, the third to the tonic, the fourth also to the tonic and the fifth to the tonic of the lower octave. The frets have to be adjusted and tuned like a western diatonic scale. The melody is played on one string and the other strings are used for droning. Incidentally, you might be slightly baffled as to why different people state that there are about twenty resonating strings, whereas I have said there are eleven. The answer is that it varies on every sitar". There's the proof; Brian definitely knew his stuff.
The last two pages of the article describe and illustrate exercises, suggested by Noble, to demonstrate Brian's guitar and sitar techniques. Various riffs and licks are explained in great detail and for all you musicians out there - this is an absolute must-read.
An example of one of Nobles ten exercises is shown here. Exercise One entitled Little Red Rooster style riff. The description for the exercise is as follows - The Rolling Stones' version of Willie Dixon's 'Little Red Rooster' features Jones playing electric slide in open G tuning (D,G,D,G,B,D). Recorded in 1964, this track shows that Jones was one of the first-ever British rock musicians to record using a bottleneck. Fellow Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards went on to make open G tuning an integral part of his style, a move inspired under controversial circumstances by Ry Cooder, who later guested on the 'Exile on Main Street' sessions. Here are two techniques used in the Stones' 'Little Red Rooster' - a blues riff on the middle two strings followed by a slide on the upper strings.
Douglas Noble is a professional guitar tutor, author and the Music Director of 'Univibes', the international Jimi Hendrix magazine, he is also an examiner for Rock School/Trinity College of Music.