Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Midnight Jambler

The question comes over the transom: Did the Stones jam?

To form any kind of answer, we must first define our terms. What does it mean to jam?

My definition is this: to (intentionally) get to a point in a musical performance where you can’t get back to the original song. Not without some doing: you can meander and solo your way back there, or find your way back into another song, or start throwing drumsticks at musical guests and start an intra-band fracas, but you’re no longer playing the song you started.

The Stones do not do this. The Stones vamp while Mick points his potato salad at the cheap seats; Keith might signal the band to keep playing for a few more bars under a solo; they might even improvise a twelve-bar. There is no possibility of a Mind Left Body Jam breaking out.

The Stones don’t jam, because the pyro goes off on this beat, and the giant inflatable hookers sway during this song, and so on.

Mainly, tho, the Stones don’t jam because of one simple fact: Stones’ songs go a certain way. People want to hear Brown Sugar, not this year’s weird re-arranging of it. Mick gives the people what they want.

Still to come: Live At The Max.


  1. Posting here,

    The person to blame for this stones diversion is most definitely YOU.

    Shame on us for not reading your posts, but shame on you for not reading your comments. I solved this this morning, if indeed this is what needed solving.

    In “Just a Kiss Away” Aug 26, You said…

    “Sure. But still: Stones tune. Not a KISS song. You want to take a vacation from the Dead, you want Mick and Keith and Charlie and their employees.

    Never wrote about the Stones.


    Love me some motherfuckin’ Rolling Stones.

    There’s your weekend, then. Just no KISS.


    So you are taking a vacation, and had me beat Spencer, and harass Maggie on her Birthday over it.

    So are you saying we can get out of this before Sunday Night, back to ToTD, instead of ToTS..?

    Perhaps some of us have adjusted to the new topic?

    I have to ask why you have a physical copy of Ace Frehley’s book.. are you the author?


    • Are jew John Ostrosky? He’s the coauthor, he wrote scripts for a while in Hollywood, then moved to Florida? Part of that I may have fabricated.

  2. A couple years ago I had a conversation with Phil in the checkout line of our local grocery store. It was a funny discussion, but one highlight was when we were talking about Phish and he said “Not a jam band. You know…no noodling!”

    So there you have it, Phil doesn’t see Phish as a jam band. True story. So if Phish doesn’t jam, i doubt the Stones do.

    This was an interesting comment from Phil many levels. I wish I had a real keyboard to give you the rest of the conversation…maybe another post, when we’re actually talking about the dead.

    I’m now wondering if maybe he said “You know…no choogling”?

  3. Lot to be said about the ways the different groups conceived of the conceptual space of the “song”—as a fixed text to be replicated or as a hybrid of fixed and open texts that permits discursive play.

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