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Brian Jones Hopes for the Rolling Stones

1st June, 1962

Hey Mick and Keith,

So happy you’ve agreed to join up with me and my little beat combo. Thought I’d get down on paper exactly what I was thinking in regards to the group. Consider it a sort of manifesto (Mick will explain that to you Keith).

1. We are Rollin’ Stones. No ‘G’. Howlin’ Wolf didn’t need a G, neither do we.

2. We are to play authentic down-home rhythm and blues. Nothing else. I want this group to spread the word of the blues to the world in the most legitimate way possible. It needs to be pure.

3. Drums, guitar, keys, harp. That is all we need. It works for Muddy, so it should work for us. No ‘fancy’ additional instrumentation just for the sake of it. No choirs, no cowbells, no strings, no bizarre effects, no brass, no strange ethnic percussion.

4. In order to be taken seriously, our stagecraft needs to be staid and sedate. No flashy dancing or ridiculous moves. Mick will be allowed to sway a little during the more vigorous numbers.

5. Likewise, our appearance needs to be neat and understated at all times. Nobody has come to see us; they have come to hear the blues. There will be no need for any ‘showbiz’ style clothing or extravagant stage-wear. We are better than that.

6. No alcohol (and certainly no drugs) to be consumed before a performance. After the show, we will allow ourselves a single alcoholic beverage (either a pint of beer or mixed drink) to celebrate/unwind.

7. Mick to practise his harmonica.

8. Our core audience will be like-minded blues enthusiasts/intellectuals. Weshould allow questions to be asked during the set concerning the origins of certain numbers, have answers prepared and amass expert knowledge. I would hope that for some shows we would talk about the blues as much as we play it. I can’t imagine there will be much of a female contingent at the events, but if they are devotees of the blues they will certainly be welcomed.

9. I consider The Rollin’ Stones to be ambassadors for the genre. As such we should treat all journalists with respect and talk openly about our feelings concerning the music. No one will be interested in our personal lives, so we should be prepared to talk about the songs at length and not deviate from that subject.

10. We will play authentic blues numbers only. Songs that concern the real poor black experience in the Southern United States. There is far too much good material out there already so there should be no need at all to expand our repertoire with any original songs. But if we do decide to create our own musical numbers, it must be gritty and visceral. No ridiculous songs about wizards, mental deterioration/demonic practices, painting, sex or anything maligning the role of woman in today’s society.

11. Ian is the backbone of the band. We should get him front and centre whenever possible. He’s the best musician and the one that looks the most ‘blues’.

12. We all have our careers to fall back on. Mick has his business course, Keith’s been to art school and I can turn my hand to anything. Think we should give this a solid 18 months to two years. That should be enough Rollin’ Stones for anyone.

13. And finally we must remember the Three Ps at all times, gentlemen. Punctuality, Personability and Professionalism. There is no benefit in getting a reputation for being disorganised or disruptive. If we abide by these Three Ps and the other factors outlined here, I think the Rollin’ Stones may well become a jolly good group.

Yours in Blues, Brian

P. S. I’m thinking of changing my name to Elmo Lewis. What do you think? Is it Blues enough?

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