There’ve been a slew of great stories around the Rolling Stones for generations now, maybe more so than any band, so you’d be forgiven if you’re sporting a tattoo of the Tongue logo, but can’t exactly recall the short-lived band, The New Barbarians. Thankfully, rock journalist Rob Chapman’s got you covered.
In the fantastic, coffee table-sized, hardcover, crammed with a slew of great pics, Chapman tells the story of The New Barbarians the supergroup of sorts led by the Rolling Stone’s Ron Wood, Keith Richards and filled out with members of The Meters and Faces and a few others. The band was put together not long after Richards’ well-publicized Canadian drug bust and served mainly as a vehicle to promote Wood’s solo record, “Gimme Some Neck.”
The author manages to juggle detailed reporting without collapsing the story under too much minutia; the result is a great chapter in the rock n’ roll history book. The band only lasted long enough to play two shows in Canada (as part of Richards’ court-mandated public service), 18 shows in the U.S. and two tacked on festivals in England. Despite two British guitar gods taking the stage night after night, the concerts were plagued by controversy thanks to someone (allegedly the tour manager) promising promoters that big names would be making guest appearances each night; folks like Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, and others. The big names never materialized, some fans rioted leading to false advertising lawsuits from several state AGs. All of this is documented brilliantly in Chapman’s book, which comes with a 10-track CD recorded live on the 1979 tour. It’s only rock & roll, but I like it.