Jann Wenner launched Rolling Stone in 1967 at age 21. At age 76, his feelings on rock music, the backbone of his tenure helming the magazine, have significantly changed.
Wenner took part in an interview with The New York Times to promote his new memoir Like A Rolling Stone. The feature kicks off with a bold intro: “Rock may be dead, but Jann Wenner is still rolling.” Later in the piece, Wenner is quoted saying of rock music, “I’m sorry to see it go. It’s not coming back. It’ll end up like jazz.”
On top of that, Wenner had some choice words about the Rolling Stones referring to the band in his book as an “oldies review.” He told NYT about seeing the Stones live, “Since I have to use a cane to get around, going to see them at a coliseum, it’s just like, why? It’s an interesting show, but I’ve seen it 20 times.” (Wenner would tell Dowd if the Stones played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn near his home in Montauk, he would attend.) Wenner added, “Now they’re older and Keith has certainly slowed down. Mick is still a miracle, but he’s so old looking. I don’t mind, but they look like people out of ‘Lord of the Rings’ or something.”
Wenner’s memoir comes just over five years after the release of Joe Hagan’s Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine. While Wenner chose Hagan, himself, to pen the book, he told NYT, “I made a terrible choice of a writer, who turned out to be a gossip reporter more than a really careful in-depth writer.” Wenner added, “I gave him this great opportunity to look at my archives, but he was too interested in the sensational gossip stuff.”
In response to Wenner’s statement to NYT, Hagan replied, “I still have an affection for Jann and I’m flattered that I could inspire him to write his own book, even if he fails to credit me.”
Hagan noted, “While his ‘gossip’ comments are hilarious coming from the former publisher of Us Weekly, I also find it sad how blind he is to the journalistic ambition of my book, which was an homage to the style and spirit of Rolling Stone at its best — Jann’s true legacy.”
Perhaps, the only way to get any sort of understanding of Wenner is to read both Sticky Fingers and Like a Rolling Stone, which comes out tomorrow (September 13.)