Oyster Boy Review 16  
  Winter 2002
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Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones

Kevin McGowin

For pretty much as long as I can remember, I've liked the Rolling Stones pretty much as well as the next person. I think they were a kick-ass rock band in their prime, and to some degree still are, though I'm not one of those people who sees them in the way some opera fans see Wagner, which is either total adoration or utter enmity; I like a great many of their songs and, as such, have followed the much-publicized debacles of their individual personal lives since about 1970.

With this book, Davis breaks no more new ground than he has with his previous books on Led Zeppelin and on Aerosmith, both of which I also read—in fact, he breaks less. If you even know who the Rolling Stones are, and I'll bet you do, you have at least suspected that women, drugs, and booze may have played major roles in their 40-Year-Odyssey. As for being "Gods" or "Almost Dead," one hopes Davis is writing ironically: these dudes are none of the above any more than anybody, including Stephen Davis. "Gods," perhaps, in the sense that they have obviously tapped into some Dionysian archetype made more poignant by their much-ballyhooed longevity as a band, but if Davis taps into this, I must have nodded out.

So let me just break down for you the information contained in this book, which incidentally displays a rather unfortunate lack of familiarity with or appreciation of either the Stones' music or their overall cultural importance: they liked to party, and one of their guitarists died from either heroin or murder in 1969, so they got a new one, and then Ron Wood, who's a heroin addict, too. Keith was also a heroin addict but now he's just on coke, as are Mick and Charlie, but only while they're touring. Mick hates to wear condoms, and Keith drinks Stoli mixed with Sunkist. That's his poison. And while Mick quit cigarettes years ago, Keith chain-smokes Marlboro Reds, and is a total ass to his fans.

How was that? Good, was it?

You're a fool if you thought so, but that's the Book, and I just saved you $27.50.

No, really, the Pleasure was Mine.