“I was born in a crossfire hurricane / And I howled at my ma in the driving rain / But it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas!” — The Rolling Stones, “Jumping Jack Flash”
When the Stones released that single in 1968, in their mid-twenties and a mere six years into their career, they couldn’t have had any idea that said storm was going to carry them as far as it has. The seminal rock and roll band is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the gas is still flowing. Mixed metaphors aside, they’ve just announced a comprehensive documentary called Crossfire Hurricane, coming to U.S. audiences via HBO on November 15, and the U.K. via BBC and select theaters.
Director Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) has warned/teased, via statement, that “this is not an academic history lesson.” Instead, we’re to expect “an aural and visual rollercoaster ride” that’ll allow viewers to “experience firsthand the Stones’ nearly mythical journey from outsiders to rock and roll royalty.” Or as Mick Jagger put it, “from the band everybody hated to the band everybody loves.” Eternal badasses though they may be, it’s easy to forget that the group was once seen as the Anti-Beatles.
The announcement seems to give hope to those dissuaded by the shelving of the supposedly revealing cinéma vérité doc of 1972, Cocksucker Blues. To wit: “Riots and the chaos of early tours are graphically depicted, as is the birth of the Jagger-Richards songwriting partnership. The many dramas they encountered are also fully addressed, including the Redlands drug bust, the descent of Brian Jones into what Richards calls ‘bye-bye land,’ and the terror and disillusionment of 1969’s Altamont Festival.”
Never-before-seen historical footage has been promised, along with unreleased live performances and interviews spanning the band’s five decades, plus (deep breath) commentary by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood, as well as former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.
The Stones are also rumored to have a pair of two-night stints in the works before the year is out, their first concerts since 2007, set to go down at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the O2 Arena in London. Last but hardly least, they went into a Paris studio last week to record a couple of new songs for a new box set. The tip-off? A photo tweeted by Jagger himself.