From The Desk Of Everett True: The Rolling Stones

My name is Everett True. I released the first record on Creation Records (My Bloody Valentine, Jesus And Mary Chain, Oasis, Pastels). I was the first music critic to write about Sub Pop Records. I founded two self-published magazines in the 2000s—Careless Talks Costs Lives and Plan B Magazine. Entertainment Weekly reckoned I was “the man who invented grunge” (1992). Kurt Cobain called me the “biggest rock star critic in the world” (check the video). Jonathan Donahue called me “our generation’s Lester Bangs,” but frankly I’m better than that.

I have written several books, a couple of which are still in print (Ramones, Nirvana).

The Electrical Storm (illustrations by reclusive French genius Vincent Vanoli is a collection of stories from my life, Some of the names have been omitted to keep me from having yet another target on my head (the list is legion), but in some of the cases if you think about it enough you can put together the clues of who the story is about. I started out by doing my own fanzine, and have long been a proponent of DIY culture. Hence this crowd-funding enterprise: an attempt to raise enough money to publish my memoirs, which come as a collection of short stories in the style of William Saroyan.

If you like this story, imagine another 100 or so of them, and donate at the link below to help get this book published.

Otherwise known as Grunge: My Part In Its Downfall, being an attempt to recollect a life probably best forgotten, the life of Everett True. Sad racy stories. Downbeat enthusiasm. Funny, cruel, clever, brutally honest … once you’ve read this, you will never be able to take music criticism seriously again. Like you ever did.

1

A Hotel Room In Oklahoma, 1997
French windows overlook a skyline that’s frankly disheartening: a handful of distant skyscrapers and endless freeways, interspersed by the odd mall. A table filled with drinks is set between the music critic and the three co-conspirators. Every now and then, a joint rolled by the able fingers of Mr. Keith Richards passes hands. Ice clinks in glasses.

Frequently, Ronnie leans over to kiss Sheryl. Sheryl, still in makeup and leather trousers from her cover shoot, looks like anyone’s idea of serious rock-chick material. And Ronnie—good old Ronnie, as large, languid, leery and louche as Pan himself—he cannot believe his luck.

The four of us—plus security—we’re drinking and working, and discussing the blues and nipples that double as hat stands. Maker’s Mark and vodka. Ron’s wife raps on the door. “Go away,” barks Keith. “We’re working.” He turns to me and inspects my drink. “What’s that you’re drinking?” he commands. “Maker’s Mark! Good call.” He lights up a joint, satisfied that honours are even. He passes the joint to me.

Several thoughts run through my head.

How strong is this joint, that Keith Richards is smoking it?

I don’t smoke weed—well, not recreationally.

If I don’t take this joint from Keith and smoke the fucking thing right now, the interview’s over. That’s as clear as day.

I mutter “thanks”, and take a deep long toke. Keith looks away, distracted by Ron laying his head in Sheryl’s lap. I breathe out again—through my mouth. The Bill Clinton of the fucking music press, that’s me!

So, I ask bravely, how does it feel to have fucked up rock ’n’ roll. Are you guilty?

He mishears the question and laughs to himself. “Guilty? Sure, I’m guilty. Guilty of every crime you could name … ”

He becomes diverted by my accent. “Where you from, man?” he drawls.

“Brighton,” I reply.

“Brighton … ” He stops and thinks for a moment, lazily. “I think I own a property somewhere near there.”

Someone’s knocking on the door. Ronnie’s wife sticks her head round the corner again.
Keith: “Mind your head. It may get squashed in the door.”
Jo (Ronnie’s wife): “Ronnie. Can I have a word with you?”
Keith [stern]: “No, you can’t. We’re working. Go away.”
Ronnie [joking]: “What? What? Did my horse win?”
Jo: “Alright, I’m going.”
Keith [nasty]: “Go away.”
Ronnie [friendly]: “Come in, say hello.”
Keith [even nastier]: “We’re busy.”
Jo: “I’ll come back later.”
Keith [slowly and with emphasis]: “Go away. Go away.”
Ronnie [trying his damnedest to ignore the threat of Keith, and not succeeding]: “We’ll meet you downstairs.”
Jo: “You’re not going to … ”
Keith [with absolute finality]: “Josephine. Go away.”
Jo closes the door.
Sheryl: “I need a husband, so we can tell him to go away.”
Keith: “Ronnie’s lucky. He’s got me to do it for him.”

At the concert the following day, Sheryl decides she wants to watch the Stones play on the tiny stage in the centre of the arena, and so—without ceremony— the Stones’ personal security clears a path through for us just as “Sympathy For The Devil” starts up. Yeah, fuck. Sure. A thrill races right down my spine.

So the three of us, we’re stood there watching the Stones, right next to the stage—and fuck me if the beer I necked earlier hasn’t had its usual effect. I am beyond busting. I am also aware that I’ll never get back to this spot if I take my leave. (The previous evening, Ron had to physically intervene to stop hotel security beating me to a pulp.) So I stand my ground as piss trickles all the way down my jeans leg and out onto the ground.

Anything for the fucking story.

You can help crowdfund and order advance copies of the book here.

You can find out more information about the book company here (includes the now-legendary first volume of 101 Albums You Should Die Before You Hear).