Andrew loog Oldham : an interview

Andrew Loog Oldham is one of the key figures in rock n roll.

As manager of the Rolling Stones he helped to change pop culture in the 60s and invented the role of the pop group manager as agent of change and supersonic hipster revolutionary maverick genius…

 

LTW: Were the Rolling Stones really “bad boys” compared to the Beatles?

Andrew Loog Oldham: Not at all. If it came to a stand off I think the Beatles would have won. The Beatles had three scrappers and the Stones, a possible two. In other words, a lamb dressed as mutton.

LTW: You basically tackled managing and producing the biggest band of all time without any “technical” experience. How did your concept of production change as you began getting more records under your belt?

Andrew Loog Oldham: On the run. We were always learning on the job. It was the first time in the studio for all of us. And we had no time to think. As our singles became more and more successful we had to have another ready every 14 weeks.

LTW: What should a good producer do versus to a good engineer?

Andrew Loog Oldham: aaah! Depends on the act. Look, let’s put it this way. If an engineer wants to become a producer he had better have a natural knack for the song. It is all about serving the song and that process is different from the sound. A great example would be what Kim Carnes and Val Garay did with the Jackie De Shannon-Donna Weiss song “Bette Davis Eyes”. Wonderful, it all changes. When I started out you could get away with a lot of waving and conducting in the studio. Enthusiasm was our strongest suit. If I were kicking off today I’d need to be a musician and have a reasonable grounding in technology so that the engineer could not get lazy on me. . Engineers are like gunners, they are not the pilots.

LTW: Did Malcolm McLaren completely rip off your “flamboyant” style?

Andrew Loog Oldham I have no idea, I never met him. We were nearly the same age, half-Jewish, redheaded and grew up with single mums. That’ll make you flamboyant!

LTW: What was it like touring with Goldie and The Gingerbreads?

Andrew Loog Oldham: Very nice. Like nice they were all one of the lads. We met them first in New York at a party. I think Tiny Tim was singing at the same party.

LTW: You later, without recognition from mainstream society, recorded with their front-woman Genya Ravan. What do you feel Genya possessed (and possesses) that her peers failed to grasp?

Andrew Loog Oldham: I don’t know. Maybe some management that could have fixed the race a bit, at the appropriate time.

LTW: How did the partnership come about? Who do you think plays guitar on the track “All I Want Is My Baby,” Jimmy Page or Keith Richards?

Andrew Loog Oldham: I really cannot remember. If Keith played at all it would have been acoustic. I wanted him in the booth. We were having fun, though I have read that Bobby Jameson was not.

LTW: Why didn’t y’all record some of his self-penned songs? He’s a great poet.

Andrew Loog Oldham: We were only interested in Mick and Keith songs. He was just what we wanted, an interesting, flamboyant American with one glove.

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