“In a way, I see this as a time capsule," says noted vintage instrument expert Andy Babiuk of his just-published book, Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio. "Fifty years from now, people will still be listening to The Rolling Stones. Some kid will stumble upon their records in whatever form they’ll be presented on, and that kid will wonder, ‘How did they make this music?’ This book answers that question."
It took over nine years for Babiuk to research and compile Stones Gear (co-written with Greg Prevost), which documents on 672 pages and in hundreds of photos (many of which have never been published before) all of the instruments that The Rolling Stones have used – and, in some cases, still do – during their 50-year plus career.
"Writing this book was a mammoth undertaking but also a labor of love," Babiuk says. "Gathering all of the information was what really took all the time. It’s not like this stuff is available in a library. You have to put all the pieces together yourself. But I had a lot of help from some incredible people, including members of the Stones and people from their organization. I certainly thank them enough for all the access they gave me."
In 2002, Babiuk published Beatles Gear, the definitive word on the instruments used by the Fab Four. According to Babiuk, Stones Gear required a wider canvas: “With The Beatles, there was kind of a 10-year period to cover; they stopped making music in 1969. The Stones are past 50 years now – a lot more time and a lot more instruments. Some people thought that maybe I should just focus on The Stones in the '60s, or maybe into their Mick Taylor period. But they’re still a viable band making music, so to me, you have to look at the whole thing. It's a rich, incredible history.”
Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio is published by Backbeat Books and can be ordered at Barnes & Noble. Also, be sure to check out Andy Babiuk's Fab Gear store as well as his Facebook page.
On the following pages, Babiuk discusses eight prime pieces from Stones Gear.