Rolling Stones 2016

Do The Rolling Stones Discriminate Against Black Bassist Darryl Jones?

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By Heat Street Staff | 7:26 am, November 30, 2016

The BBC has stoked questions of racial supremacy within the Rolling Stones by pointing out that the band’s black bass player Darryl Jones does not appear in photo shoots and is not paid as much as much as its veteran members.

In an article titled Darryl Jones: the unknown Stone, the BBC’s Brian Wheeler asks: “Is it time their long-serving black bass player won more recognition?”

Jones, who is American, is a highly rated bass player who has been with the Stones since 1994, replacing Bill Wyman who quit after 30 years.

The band is about to release its latest album, Blue and Lonesome, giving rise to the interview.

Now 54, Jones previously played bass with jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. He has performed on every Stones album and tour over the last 23 years.

But while Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood have raked in millions during that time, Jones is understood to have earned far less because he is a mere salaried employee of the Stones rather than a full band member.

Asked if he has ever discussed becoming a full member of the band, the BBC article quotes Jones as saying:

“It has not really come up very often. Obviously that would be a really wonderful thing for a person like me. I have been a sideman for more than 30 years now. I think most musicians, somewhere deep down inside, even if they are sidemen, or if they are hired players, there is a desire to be in a band. And I would not be being completely honest if I said that it would not be wonderful, it would not be amazing, to be considered and, you know, jump into this organisation as a full member. But that is not a decision I am in a position to make.”

The Stones have a history of treating newcomers badly.

Guitarist Mick Taylor joined the band in 1969 but was never accepted as a full member and quit in 1974.

His replacement, Ronnie Wood, was also salaried employee for at least a decade before being considered a full member and thus being offered an equal profit share from albums and tours.

Are the Rolling Stones – a band founded upon a deep appreciation of black American music – guilty of racial discrimination?

That seems to be the question to which the BBC wants an answer.