The great founding genius of The Rolling Stones will be celebrated, half a century after his death, with The Golden Stone Years, A Tribute to Brian Jones’ at Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Surrey on August 17.
Donovan and Hurtwood Park owner Kenney Jones, formerly of The Who, The Faces and The Small Faces, have enlisted music director Mike Stevens and the ELO band to back up their special guest performers.
The line-up includes Donovan, Kenney Jones & the Jones Gang, The Stranglers, The Waterboys, Glen Matlock & the Tough Cookies featuring Earl Slick, Steve Harley (Cockney Rebel), Jonny Kaplan and the Lazy Stars, Lola Lennox, Joolz Jones (Brian Jones’ grandson), London Contemporary Voices Choir, DJ Milf of EMF, Stephanie Rainey and MC Liz Kershaw plus surprise guest appearances.
Kenney, who drummed in The Faces alongside future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, admits he didn’t get to know Brian Jones terribly well: “But I did some film music with him. I did a drum solo with him. But actually, the first time I met him, I was completely taken aback how posh he was… and he had a very deep voice, a very low voice. But I remember him as a lovely guy. He was very easy going in those days, but I am sure he was Jack the lad just like the rest of us. We had a good working relationship. I am not sure what we talked about. Music, probably!
“And I remember thinking it was quite strange when they said that he was found dead (in the summer of 1969) in his swimming pool. I thought to myself I am sure he can swim, and then there was all sorts of speculation about what might have happened. But I suspect it was mostly likely natural causes – though he may have taken something.
“But he was great. He had a natural ability to write songs. He came from a very bluesy background, the American blues and r’n’b.”
The Stones emerged a couple of years before Kenney himself hit the big time with The Small Faces who had their first hit in 1965: “It was so exciting. Everything was new. It was like a whirlwind and it still feels like I am in a whirlwind now. I left school and it is like bang, here I am now all these years later. I caught my mum and dad – who are sadly no longer with us – scratching their heads and thinking ‘What have we given birth to!’ I was an only child. I learnt to play the drums at 13 and I went off at 14 and I had a hit record at 15.”
Since then, plenty of musicians have tragically fallen by the wayside, not least Brian Jones. Kenney puts his own longevity down to the way he plays the drums but also down to the fact he quickly realised drugs weren’t for him.
“I tried them in the early days, in the Brian Jones days. I took some little tablets called blues. The only reason I did was because we were doing two or three gigs a day, but I didn’t like them. I just didn’t like the fact they made me play faster or slower. They weren’t for me. Drugs never really appealed to me.”
Sadly Kenney is now the sole survivor of The Small Faces: “I was with Rod (Stewart, Faces lead singer) and Ronnie (Wood) at some bash a few years back in London and someone said to me ‘Are you sad that you are the only member of The Small Faces left?’ And I said yes, it does feel lonely. And Rod just said ‘No, you are not! You have got us!’
“The Small Faces were the most creative band I ever played with and were the first love. The Faces were the most party, happy go lucky band I have ever played with. And with The Faces we cracked America. The Small Faces never went to America. But The Faces were a completely different band. We were slightly more r’n’b. But The Faces were also the great party band. It was like going to a party every night!”
The Brian Jones day will be in support of The David Lynch Foundation UK and The Racehorse Sanctuary. The event will offer all the excitement and spectacle of polo, the chance to eyeball a jaw-dropping array of high-performance super cars and a star-studded concert featuring a tribute to the “Golden Stone” to commemorate 50 years since his untimely passing. Tickets priced from £60+b/f are available from EventBrite
Gates open at 12pm. Polo will start at 2pm followed by the concert at 4pm. Finish time for the event is 10.30pm.