Some thoughts on the unsurprising downfall of the Rolling Stone founder and editor, including a Brothers and Sisters excerpt.
Gary Trudeau had Wnner's number in the early 70's and made fun of him in Doonesbury (Duke once said he needed both hands for social climbing). He is the very epitome of establishment but he pretends to be cooler than cool. His prejudices against certain great rock acts are bizarre. Maybe now that he is gone Jethro Tull will get nominated.
Thanks for turning something negative -- Wenner's well-deserved roasting for being a cringe-y Boomer disappointment -- into something positive: a timely reminder that, Wenner's founder status and outsized influence notwithstanding, he is not the all of Rolling Stone, and the magazine was frequently better than his narrow vision.
Thank goodness for Cameron Crowe's work, and also Ellen Willis' (R.I.P.).
Nice read to begin my day up here in a somewhat soggy Tupper Lake, NY!
I also recently completed Brother & Sisters. Nice work Alan. Of all the rock bios I ever read (and I've read A LOT of them), One Way Out was head and shoulders above the rest. Brothers & Sisters is a most worthy follow up. Congrats.
I read Sticky Fingers, and while not really surprised by what a sleaze Wenner is, I was surprised by how many people he conned.
Maybe now Boz Scaggs can finally get in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, though that award looks less prestigious by the year. Mark Knopfler and Van Morrison had the right idea by not bothering to show up when voted in.
Yeah, I never considered Wenner as anyone of cultural significance beyond a bright and timely entrepreneur with capitalist intentions in the midst of the ‘60s Revolution. He surely was no altruistic visionary. He was fine pushing booze and cigarette ads and shilling for record companies in return for access for years so why would one consider him in any other light? The irony is how Wenner profited from the Black music industry with the deep well of iconic artists and sounds and seriously, couldn’t think to include any one pioneer’s voice? I long ago stopped reading RS or getting my cultural weather report from them. On another more delightful note, I found your Brothers and Sisters to be among the very best of any Brothers’ books. Scholarly researched and written with nuances from the special time that had never seen the real light of day. I haunted record and head shops for any DA session vinyls and any ABB magazines since the early 70s and thought I knew a lot. Then your book came out! Loved it. In my view, the Brothers and Sisters incarnation came as close to keeping alive the lightning-in-the-bottle magic of Duane and Berry’s short years. It’s when they became true superstars all the while haunted by the ghosts of what once was and the tsunami of fame’s temptations. It’s remarkable the Brothers went as long as they did although nothing was as creative or pure as ‘69-‘71 or the ‘73-‘76 Phoenix years. The very last runs of the Brothers were bittersweet to me. Most of the shows relied on the canon from the best two incarnations playing tribute to their leaders, youth, and early musical genius. I know legions of new fans came aboard in all the ensuing years, but damn, to have been there then was such a treat! That was my youth! You really captured it, man. Congrats Alan!
Great excerpt Alan! I’m glad that Crowe spoke with you at length…it’s really a great perspective needless to say!
Another good read. Thanks Alan. As a young teenager in the early 70's my go to for rock & roll news was Circus magazine. I could hardly wait for the latest issue to hit the stand at Book City every month. I gravitated to Rolling Stone as I got a bit older. It was the only way to get my fix in the pre-internet days of the Stone Age. Keep up the great work.