Anyone who has seen BrownBoot knows that the rock & roll combo does have a certain looseness and swagger that gives then that hard-to-come-by "Stones vibe." The Boston 6-piece, who recently were featured in the Rock n Roll Rumble, even performs spot on Faces covers from time to time with just the perfect amount of charm and slop. It's a surprisingly hard balance to strike. These songs can't just be copied note for note. It's a spirit thing.
So it's no real surprise that BrownBoot were asked to contribute to the For the Sake of the Song series performance of the Rolling Stones' classic double-album Exile on Main Street tonight at the Middle East, which will also feature the Lo-Fi Angels, the Matt Borello Band and Exile on Elm St (Tom Bianchi, Danille Miraglia and others). To call BrownBoot 'ringers' in this instance might be an understatement, but maybe it's not. I talked to BrownBoot guitarist Rodrigo van Stoli (also of Bang Camaro) about it and this is what he had to say.
JD: So, is this going to be a note for note thingy?
RvS: I don't believe in playing Stones' tunes note-for-note. They don't even do it themselves! We are going to do our take on these tunes, but considering our influences it will be pretty close.
JD: Is BrownBoot the only band doing this?
RvS: Nope, four bands--each band doing a side. We do side one, the best one of them all!
JD: Compared to a lot of records being made today, Exile is a record that really doesn't have a whole lot going on in terms of chord changes. It's not really 'pop' music.
RvS: If the melody is strong, all you need is one chord. And love.
JD: So how long did it take to get side one of Exile together? Did you have to make any accomodations?
RvS: Three practices. And yes, we don't have a sax player. Matt Sullivan, the guitar player, and Joe Kolwalski (keys) are covering the horn bits. (Actually, we do have a sax player, but he has to play bass!)
JD: What makes Exile songs 'good enough,' or stage ready, I should say?
RvS: Attitude. And not getting caught up in the minutiae. The details that we know and love were probably accidents, for the most part.
JD: Did you learn anything?
JD: It has words? When I hear "Tumblin Dice" i just hear "esh a ka na tormin/ na ka do ra lormin."
RvS: Pretty much. If you read the lyrics that are out there, you stick yourself in a box.
JD: They get into some witch-doctor, New Orleans, Van Morrison territory on that one.
RvS: Mick doesn't enunciate anything. Old Mick is great. These days he actually pronounces stuff.
JD: Why do you think that so many people rate this as the Stones best album? It doesn't seem very adventurous at all, compared to their previous work.
RvS: This record is them kind of surrendering to their gods. I think bands reach a point where they are comfortable enough in their shoes to just play music, instead of necessarily making a statement.
JD: My understanding is that they had become dysfunctional and weren't spending enough time together at that phase to write classic 'pop' songs, like "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
RvS: I would argue that 'trying to write pop songs' is more reactionary than instinctively spitting out blues riffs.
For The Sake Of The Song Presents: The Rolling Stones' Exile On Mainstreet
featuring: BrownBoot, The Lo-Fi Angels, The Matt Borello Band, and Exile on Elm St.
Middle East, Cambridge
Thursday, May 31
Also, see BrownBoot with the Dick Valentine Band (Electric Six)
TT the Bears
Thursday, June 14
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About the authorJonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »
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