Monday, October 17, 2011

Beatles vs Stones

I liked the Rolling Stones better than the Beatles, and if you were a teen in the late 60’s to 70’s, this choice had to be made. It defined who you were. Maybe it still does.
I am listening to Keith Richards’ book, Life,  on CD in my studio, and then caught Martin Scorcese’s documentary on George Harrison the same day. Keith was the guitar player for the Stones; George for the Beatles. I was struck by a sharp contrast between these 2 British rock stars who rode the same wave to fame.
George used his music to say something important. It was message driven music. He railed against the Tax Man and advocated Eastern mysticism and philosophy. Whereas Keith was obsessed with what he could learn from playing guitar. He was driven by a need to get a chord he’d heard or a blend of sound that felt right. George was a teacher who used art in his lessons. Keith was a student and his art was his teacher. And that’s why I’ve related to Keith and the Stones more than George and the Beatles.
It's not that I disliked the Beatles nor mysticism, and George wrote some of the best, like Here Comes the Sun and Something. It's just that, as far as music goes, George wasn't all in the way that Keith was all in. There's this old quote that gets attributed to different people, that goes:
"If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you."
Music was that thing within Keith that saved him. And that is what pottery is like for me. I'm not expressing joy or awe in my work. Joy and awe are expressing through me when I am making pottery, and that's why I make it.

I don’t have anything to say with my art, yet it has taught me to live a life filled with satisfaction. What I find there is beyond words, beliefs, theology.

flower bowl in OneClayBead
Who are you, as an artist? Stones or Beatles?


  1. Per your question on Twitter, when I was younger I would have said Beatles but now I really feel more of the soul in the Stones music.

    Love your entry, I love the history and motivation of the greats.

  2. I think younger people can relate to the Beatles better in general. And truthfully, I probably liked the Stones better initially because they pissed my parents off more. But by college I just liked where the Stones took me.

  3. I think I have been George


    omg I want so bad to be Keith

    time to re-examine
    thanks for this

  4. Oh wow, forget who you relate to. I am neither...but if I had to pick it would most certainly be keith. You floored me with, "I'm not expressing joy or awe in my work. Joy and awe are expressing through me when I am making pottery, and that's why I make it." I have never been able to articulate that before. That is EXACTLY what it is!

    This is wonderful!!

  5. Haha..This question really was essential when i was young! and I have to admit, I m with both!
    Beatles AND Stones!
    ..and I love every member of these two bands for other reasons ! (ok, maybe Paul is not so my favorite..but anyway some of the greatest songs are his)

    Thanks for bringing this!
    made me laugh and reminds me on endless discussions in the 70ths.

  6. George has always been my favorite musical artist, his music has spoken to me at so many times in my life, many times hearing the words again for the first time, hearing a new meaning for my life. I remember leaving Florida on the way to my NC life, hearing All Things Must Pass, and having a sense that all would be well!

    For me the Stones have always meant great music, dancing to Jumping Jack Flash and singing as loud as I could. George has always meant music with a message that touched my heart.

    Now, I love hearing the Stones and X-Pensive Winos after hearing Keith's autobiography.