The Brian Jones mystery rolls on
29 November, 2019 — By The Xtra Diary
Brian Jones’s gravestone
THE death of Brian Jones was a key moment in 1960s popular culture.
The Rolling Stones’ instrumentalist passed away aged just 27 and the official reason for the death of this well-known hair-raising party animal was a combination of drink and drugs.
In two weeks’ time, a new documentary marking the 50th anniversary of the musician’s death delves into his life and times, and proposes a theory that casts real concerns on the reasons given for his death.
The writers and producers of Rolling Stone: Life and Death of Brian Jones believe that Jones did not die because of a session on the sauce but that he was, in fact, killed in a fight at his Sussex mansion.
Investigative journalist Scott Jones had requested some years ago to see the police files on the death of the Stones’ drummer in 1969, but was told they were sealed for 75 years.
The locking away of the files set his newshound’s nose wriggling, and his work to find out why such a high-profile case should be kept away from the public prompted Nick Reynolds, musician in the band the Alabama Three and film-maker, to join forces with writer and director Danny Garcia to produce a film that considers what really happened to Brian.
“This is an attempt to clear up what happened and bring justice to his legacy,” Reynolds tells Diary.
Poster for the new film marking Brian Jones’s death in 1969
“The first version was he had an asthma attack in the pool and drowned. Then they did an autopsy and said it was because of drink and drugs.”
Reynolds claims this series of events is fabricated. He states the only drugs in his system were prescription drugs and they had been metabolised – he had not taken enough to kill him.
“The alcohol they found in his system was equivalent of four pints – again not enough to kill him,” he adds.
Reynolds believes the details were changed as part of a cover-up by police and the establishment, who at the time were terrified of the new counter-culture that the Rolling Stones were key figures in.
The film focuses on a possible reason for Jones’s death and a person they believe was responsible for it. “According to witness, there had been a fight at his farm during the day with a man he employed but had fired,” says Reynolds.
Allegations were raised by Scott Jones in November 2008 in an article in the Mail on Sunday.
Scott Jones alleged his namesake’s death was covered up by police officers, though a review by Sussex police claimed in 2009 that there was “…no new evidence to suggest that the coroner’s original verdict of ‘death by misadventure’ was incorrect”.
Not so, says Reynolds.
“The police investigation into the death of Brian Jones was deliberately botched because the powers that be wanted it to be seen as a warning,” he adds. “The Stones were targeted. They had already been hounded by the police and subjected to raids. This was a gift to the establishment.”
The film is to be screened with a Q&A on December 16 at the Regent Street Cinema. www.regentstreetcinema.com