Life Question #11 - Odd one out

by Keith Richards & James Fox

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Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby Liz » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:14 pm

Pg. 129: But the Decca deal meant that Stu had to be dropped from the band. Six is too many and the obvious odd one out is the piano player. That’s the brutality of the business. It was Brian’s task, since he called himself the leader of the band, to break it to Stu. It was a very hard thing. He wasn’t surprised, and I think he’d already made his own decision about what he would do about it if it turned up. He understood it totally. We expected Stu to go, “F**k you. Thanks a lot.” That was where the largeness of Stu’s heart really displayed itself. From then on, OK, I’ll drive you about. He was always on the records; he was only interested in the music.

Why was it obvious that the piano player should be the one laid off?

Comment on this incident and on Stu’s reaction to it.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:24 pm

I think probably because the keyboard or piano player is generally not one of the front men anyway so its easier to lose them. In this case though I get the feeling it wouldn't have mattered what instrument he was playing Stu just didn't have the look. I think it was a harsh decision though and in the end he was still around he just didn't appear on the photoshoots but he was forever in the credits.
I think he did still want to play with them and realised that it would be better to take a back seat and stick around, as Keith said he was on all the records and played at all the gigs right up until he died, but he always did kind of look out of place sort of.

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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:43 pm

I am not sure I understand why six is too many, unless Decca was willing to pay only five. I guess in general odd numbers are more pleasing artistically, for photos and album covers and things. Otherwise the six being too many statement confuses me. The other band members seemed to have been quite willing to let him be officially dropped -- but continue to work. :-/

The Stones' music was hard and loud rock and roll, more suited to drums and guitars. Can't say I have ever really noticed much piano in their music I have listened to recently. And like GG says, the guy in the back (except maybe for the drummer) doesn't have the same visibility as the lead singer or lead guitar player.

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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby Liz » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:08 pm

nebraska wrote:I am not sure I understand why six is too many, unless Decca was willing to pay only five. I guess in general odd numbers are more pleasing artistically, for photos and album covers and things. Otherwise the six being too many statement confuses me.

That's what I thought when I read it. :perplexed:

I have noticed the use of the piano, but I think only in their later works (after Stu was axed).
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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:11 pm

Liz wrote:
nebraska wrote:I am not sure I understand why six is too many, unless Decca was willing to pay only five. I guess in general odd numbers are more pleasing artistically, for photos and album covers and things. Otherwise the six being too many statement confuses me.

That's what I thought when I read it. :perplexed:

I have noticed the use of the piano, but I think only in their later works (after Stu was axed).


Especially since he continued to hang around and play the piano -- so six were still being used. :perplexed:

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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:37 pm

Actually piano has played a strong part in the sound its sometimes not obvious, of course Stu only played on certain songs as he considered some to be beneath him :lol: but you can hear it when Nicky Hopkins played and Billy Preston, of course in later years Chuck Lavell has probably made most difference by being more noticable. Of course over the years other members of the band have played piano and keyboards on some of the tracks including Mick Jagger and Keith himself. In fact Keith has played keyboards and bass on many of the Stones tracks.

I always thought though that Stu was dropped becasue he just didn't fit in with the look of the band not for any other reason nothing to do with the numbers of band members but that may have been a consideration to the record company.

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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby stroch » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:50 pm

I think it was just his looks -- not anything at all about the instrument or the number of band members. It amazes me that he was willing to accept working for the Stones rather than being one of the Stones -- quite a demotion. He must have loved the life, and maybe he was self conscious about his face -- it was rather large -- and welcomed the more anonymous role. I don't think he liked Oldham though, as it was him and not Decca that wanted to bounce Ian.
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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:57 pm

stroch wrote:I think it was just his looks -- not anything at all about the instrument or the number of band members. It amazes me that he was willing to accept working for the Stones rather than being one of the Stones -- quite a demotion. He must have loved the life, and maybe he was self conscious about his face -- it was rather large -- and welcomed the more anonymous role. I don't think he liked Oldham though, as it was him and not Decca that wanted to bounce Ian.

Yes, I believe that is true in fact Oldham may have asked him to leave before they got the contract with Decca. Possibley one of the details Keith was hazy about.

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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby Buster » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:57 am

I suspect the reason Stu was the odd man out had little to do with the instrument he played. It is virtually impossible to explain to anyone who hasn't been in a band, but sometimes there are people who are wonderful musicians, great to be around, friends of all of the others, and they still don't belong in the band. Sometimes it works the other way around as well - a "lesser" musician may have some of the undefinable characteristics that make a band gel. Case in point - I play "second trombone" in a band that has absolutely no need for one. It is not my skill (or notable lack of it) that has made me a welcome part of the many gigs we play. Instead, it is my tendency to find the humor in things, a willingness to jump in where needed, an ability to play tuba at a moments' notice and a general attitude of "we do this because we love it" that keeps me involved. That said, when professionalism is required, when the band really wants to present a solid image, I'm just not the guy for the gig.
I think the Stones, and Stu, knew the image they were after, and that is why the piano player was cut.
As an aside, Keith commented several times in the book that the Stones were a two-guitar band - the inter-weaving of the instruments was an integral part of their sound.

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Re: Life Question #11 - Odd one out

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:31 pm

As I said in an answer on another question, it reminds me of family dynamics. Buster, you sound like the fun one in the family! :lol:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!


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