‘My Life as a Rolling Stone’ – Whole greater than sum of parts

EPIX docuseries takes intimate look at Mick, Keith and company

Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts (from left) are featured in “My Life as a Rolling Stone,” premiering Sunday on EPIX.

A unique angle and a lot of revealing interviews and footage make “My Life as a Rolling Stone” a must-see for any music fan.

Premiering Sunday, Aug. 7, on EPIX, the four-part documentary series shines a light on each member of The Rolling Stones through a musical lens. So lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and the late drummer Charlie Watts each get their own hourlong episode as they reveal their personalities and passions and share memories of 60 years as a member of what many consider to be one of the world’s greatest rock bands.

There is also lots of performance video, rarely seen archival footage and interviews with family, friends and peers, an overall mix that producer Sam Anthony (“Jig”) thinks will appeal to hardcore Stones fans and newbies alike.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts (from left) are featured in “My Life as a Rolling Stone,” premiering Sunday on EPIX.

“I think that the thing that people forget about bands, particularly successful bands,” he says, “is that they’re musicians but they’re also personalities. And the really successful bands that we all love are generally made up of very disparate personalities, very different types of people in the same way as a marriage is often made up of two very different people that somehow make something that is greater than the two parts. You know, a band like the Stones who’ve been together for 60 years, that seems to be the secret … that they had these personalities and the personalities were all complementary but completely different.”

That was certainly the case with Jagger and Richards, childhood friends in the 1950s from the same neighborhood in Dartford, England, who formed a lifelong bond over a shared taste in music, particularly American blues. But while Jagger was outgoing and comfortable interacting with fans and media, Richards was painfully shy, which in part drove him to substance abuse in his younger years, as the series notes.

Their relationship has seen its highs and lows over the years and the series indicates it’s never been as strong as it is currently. And their musical sensibilities have largely remained the same, which has led to one of the most successful collaborative relationships in rock history.

“However things are going,” Anthony says, “if they can get in the same room as each other, they can look each other in the eye and say, ‘This kind of works. We shouldn’t kill it.’ And the other one is fairly likely to agree because their track record is so great. And they spent a couple of years, really, working very, very, very, very hard to get established and then that was it. And then they’ve been megastars ever since.

“So they have a formula and it works and it’s a formula that they love, so that’s not too bad a thing to have.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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