Back to School for the Bobbies: Brian Jones Revisited

Casey McKinney


It’s September, so back to schoolwork (and perhaps the short sellers will now be back to work stabbing at Wall Street after the half year bull run), while in England the Police are finally back to work on a case, taking seriously the idea that there may have been more to Brian Jones’ death than an accident.

Yes it’s been over 40 years now since Jones – a founding member of the Rolling Stones – was found dead in his Sussex home swimming pool.  The cause, as it was officially reported at the time, was drowning induced by an overdose of drugs and alcohol.  But there have always been rumors that maybe Jones had been murdered.

A couple of days ago, Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone magazine reported that British police had reopened the case after “600 pages of documents regarding Jones’ death were handed over to authorities” by Scott Jones, an investigative journalist (read more here).

One of Jones biggest fans (besides the perhaps equally troubled and talented Anton Newcombe and clan) has been Genesis P-Orridge of the bands Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle.  P-Orridge first met Jones when Genesis was age 15, having just literally bumped into Mick Jagger at a television studio in Birmingham, spilling his coke. He was then invited to hang with the band for about 45 minutes after.  His enthrallment with Jones at that moment never abated, and in the mid ’80s he penned a pop classic about his hero, “Godstar.”  In an 1986 interview Genesis discusses the song that revivified the spirit of Brian Jones’ music long before this latest revisitation of his mysterious death on July 2nd, 1969.

On the LP Godstar: Thee Director’s Cut there’s about a ten minute interview with artist/poet/mystic Brion Gysin about the time Jones came to visit him in Jajouka.  Can’t find the clip for free on the net (buy the album!), but it’s funny to hear Gysin, who was such an influence on William S. Burroughs, the Beats and more than you can imagine, talk about how he figured Brian, as he first impressed him – a probable dim pop star who probably couldn’t play an instrument – to then find so quickly how talented Brian was.

In any case, we’ll see if anything turns up, check around the tabloids.  If it’s more than the sensationalism of an anniversary, maybe the mystery (what mystery you might ask, when Jones’ builder Frank Thorogood admitted on his deathbed that he killed Brian…see aforementioned Rolling Stones article) will finally be put to rest. In the meatime also do some hunting around Youtube yourself. There’s some great footage to keep Brian Jones’ memory alive.

art by Danny Jock

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