Could you ever imagine traveling along with your icon for nearly two decades? That is what one journalist did for 17 years of his life.
Journalist and author, Bill German, followed his beloved and punishing English rock band, the “Rolling Stones”.
German, Born in Sept. 1962, started out as he would describe, “a typical fan”. All he needed was to hear was one “Rolling Stones” song from the speakers of his sisters bedroom, and he was hooked.
German started his first ever newsletter of the group in Oct. 1978, known as the “Beggars Banquet”, was “Keith Dont Go” about Keith Richards was arrested for drugs.
He called it “Beggars banquet” because of a stones album and because it could be a banquet of stones knowledge that beggars could afford.
As German started his quest to become a journalist for the “Stones”, he did all he could to become noticed. German found sources throughout New York, such as people who were at clubs, and wrote about it.
In 1981, German made a life changing decision, when he dropped out of New York University, to follow the band.
His first breakthrough was in 1981, in the “Tattoo You” tour, German got backstage for Keith Richards birthday party. This was what German needed, in order to live his dream.
After a couple more “Beggars Banquet” fanzines, German got the call he had always dreamed for. 1983, German said, “I got a phone call from management, and got asked to be the official magazine of the band. It wasn’t even a dream come true, because it never seemed possible”
As the official magazine for the band, German was given nearly full access to the band. On Germans 21st birthday, he interviewed Mick Jagger for the first time.
Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards called Mick a “Nice bunch of guys” because of his multiple personalities.
German, like many other fans of the group, knew head guitarist Keith Richards was an alcoholic. Richards admitted in his first interview with German, recalling, “(Richards) knew he screwed up because it almost cost him the most precious thing is his life, the Rolling Stones.”
In Feb. 1984, the first official “Beggars Banquet” was released. German was now part of the group, so they had the final say for what goes into the fanzine.
German knew in the first few years, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had hated each other. Although German knew, he could not make it public in the fanzine.
In 1986, Fellow guitarist Ronnie Wood wrote an autobiography called “The Works” authored by German. The books release party was without one member, Mick Jagger, which hurt Wood.
In 1989, the band recorded an album called “Steel Wheels” and received $65 million guaranteed by a ticket promoter. The band reconciled and became hard to work with the band.
German said, “It soured me a bit.” This was the last time German would write for the group and was his last issue of the “Beggars Banquet”.
German called it quits after 17 years with the band. He retired in 1996, at 33 years-old and finished with 102 issues of the fanzine.
German said after retiring, “I had no regrets about doing what I did, and had no regrets about quitting.”
German wrote a book about his experience with the band, called “Under Their Thumb”, titled after the infamous song, “Under My Thumb”.