REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha
Rolling Stones Gear Gets the Red Carpet Treatment
Available Now from Backbeat Books- £40 Hardcover 672 Pages - 9/10
Rolling Stones Gear, subtitled "all the Stones' Instruments from Stage to Studio", is a coffee table monolith, a beast of a book, crammed with hundreds of photos some of which will be new to even the biggest Stones fans. Written by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost, it aims to tell the story of the band through the equipment they've used over 50 years of recorded work, if it doesn't quite succeed in doing that it shouldn't detract from what is certainly the most visually stunning book so far published on the broadly acknowledged "Greatest Rock and Roll band in the world". Presumably in order to stop the book from becoming a rather dry parade of guitars and effects pedals, the authors have included a broader biographical narrative as well as references to sessions, unreleased demos and out-takes, similar to the approach taken with Babiuk's earlier
Beatles Gear book from 2001. It's an approach that's broadly successful and the text is cohesive and retains interest throughout, however at times it feels as though the book is trying to be all things to all people and ends up falling a little short in some areas. For instance, Martin Elliott's
Complete Recording Sessions is a far stronger primer for covering unreleased material and the authors haven't added a huge amount to their own work by trying to cover similar ground here. Pointing out any minor shortcomings in the text is, however, somewhat irrelevant when every page offers stunning imagery both familiar and unseen of the band and their equipment. Given unprecedented access to the band's archive this book offers a unique insight into the instruments they've used both live and in the studio. Whether you are a fan of the band or just interested in pictures of some of the most important guitars in rock, this is a stunning treasure trove of photography from throughout the band's career, from the early days in South London right up until the current '50 and Counting...' tour. Personal favourites include some rarely seen and suitably murky shots from the sessions for
Satanic Majesties as well as some great live shots from an outdoor gig in Fresno 65, but there's so much to see here it really is an essential addition to the coffee table of every Stones fan.