Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

Filming Rolling Stones

Posted by Phil On July - 17 - 2013

Why I don’t really like the Rolling Stones.

I recently watched the Rolling Stones performance at Glastonbury on BBC  IPlayer and read that the BBC/ Stones negotiations had been difficult.  Finally only a very much shortened version had been allowed to be transmitted, without the best numbers    This brought back memories of similar problems I’d had directing the  filming of  them years ago for the Beeb.

Rolling stones logo-small

My Rolling Stones sweatshirt

After months of negotiations we arrived at the football stadium with the film crews  (this was actual film not video) to discover that we were only allowed to film three numbers from their set. 

It was a very hot day and I remember sitting in the dusty  lane outside the turnstyles with the irritated cameramen as we waited to hear what we were going to be allowed to shoot.

Various Stones flunkies appeared and disappeared. as we sent messages.  “Satisfaction?” …”no”  “Brown Sugar?”  “no?”
“This was before the days of emails, so we showed copies of the correspondence, none of which had given any limitations in what we could film, but it transpired that the Stones were deeply suspiscious of  BBC crews as they  didn’t want the BBC to build up an archive of  all the Rolling Stones tracks.

Dave Pritchard, the producer,  was furious and at some level in the Stones management, they accepted that we had been misled. So they came up with a placatory offer. “How about an interview with Mick Jagger”

Dave was delighted, but we had no presenter with us. “Phil, can you figure out what to ask him?”
So I sat in the dust and weeds and tried to work out what to ask him.  What do you ask someone who’s been interviewed so many times.? I hadn’t any idea what they had been doing recently or even the names of recent albums.   It would be terrible to get a great opportunity like this and blow it on crass questions.

Moral – Always do your research!

It was intensely hot, we had no water, as we stuck in between the outer and inner security.

1. “How’s the tour going? ”  No..far too obvious.  He must have been asked that a million times.
2. “Do you still get the same excitement performing live?”

..and so on.       

I eventually worked out 10 questions.   ..just as the news came back.  “The interview’s off.”

So finally ringed by security we trudged though under the stage as they played above us. I had a splitting headache  from the heat. It felt like we were going to a public execution .

Setting up in fornt of the stage , the music was so loud, the cameramen couldn’t hear anything I said. Our minders wouldn’t let us film the audience.   They didn’t want me to go from camera to camera. We hadn’t been allowed to see the stage before, figure out good angles .  So the cameraman just busked it. The stage was so huge you couldn’t get a shot of the whole band.  So we mostly ended up with multiple shots of Mick Jagger. From my point of point of view it was a complete mess.

We used the footage. It wasn’t great.

So the Rolling Stones are not my favourite band   …but I did buy  a T shirt  ……..and kept the list of questions for years after.

 

Update: I found a couple of photos I took that day.

Mick Jagger at Bristol 2Mick Jagger

 

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