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Keith Richards Meets the Mounties and Faces the Music

Page 4 of 8

On Day 11, after Rudge misses an appointment to meet me, I get a phone call: "Mr. Flippo? This is Mr. Jagger."

"Bullshit," I say. "This is Rudge or some lackey. Listen..."

"This is Mr. Jagger. I can prove it. You had a note delivered to me that said you wanted to talk to me. Wal, I'm just sitting around waiting to get busted. Come on up."

Christ, I think, it is Jagger.

I go up to 34. No bodyguards around, so I wander on down to 3424 and there, through the open door, is Jagger, dressed in a tan suit and red boots, sitting alone, watching TV. He waves me in.

"What happened to all the vaunted Stones security forces?"

"Why bother?" he says. "Have a seat."

Charlie Watts comes in and after a moment the two of them are giggling at a Candid Camera segment where some poor woman in a beauty shop keeps seeing a demon image in a mirror opposite her. Deviousness obviously appeals to the Stones.

"How did you like the show last night?" Jagger asks.

"Great," I say, "especially when you finally baptized the press."

"That's not quite the way I meant it," he smiles. "Are you having a good time?"

"As good a time as you can have hanging out in limbo. How does it feel to be a bar band again?"

Jagger: "Very nice, it's a nice gig. We got half the bar money the first night -- $371. We didn't do it for the money, obviously. We wanted to get a good sound, and we liked the idea of playing a club.

"We didn't do that many new songs; we did a lot that we've recorded but have never done on shows. We did 'Let's Spend the Night Together.' I don't ever remember playing that live, apart from once. And stuff like 'Little Red Rooster' that we haven't played for years.

"Toronto just seemed part of North America. It was easy. But it didn't turn out that way. Keith got busted -- it won't be so easy for Keith."

On Margaret Trudeau:

"She just dropped by [Mick says this with a sly grin]. Someone said she wanted to come to the gig, so we took her. I had never met her before. But I guess she likes to go out to clubs and go rocking and rolling like everyone else -- young girl, you know."

"One of our mums," Watts adds.

On the Stones' anxiety level:

"I don't want to talk about it, because the more I talk about it the worse it gets. I don't want to talk because they all read this fucking crap -- that's the trouble, these people. . . It's difficult, you know. You get busted all the time; it makes it very hard."

What about the future?

"We can't really do a five-year plan at the rate things are going. I did do a plan for two years, but it's going to be changed [laughter]."

Would the Stones tour if Keith was in jail?

"Yeah, I should say so, if they wanted to. If the Stones wanted to tour badly or wanted to go onstage, I think they'd have to, and obviously we wouldn't if Keith were only in jail for a month or two months. But if he were in jail for a long period of time, I suppose we'd have to. We can't wait five years. In five years we won't be touring at all -- not much anyway, just a few lounges."

Do you think the Saturday performance at El Mocambo might have been the Stones' last performance, as the Canadian newspapers have been saying?

"Oh, no, not that again." He throws his hands in the air. "Our Knebworth concert was the 'last Rolling Stones performance.' We'll let you know when the last one is, or we won't let you know."

Charlie Watts: "When my drums start to get blown up, that's the last one."

Jagger continues, "Well, I think that's all rubbish. That is just journalistic claptrap. That's just looking for a pathetic angle."

Well, I say, that's not what I'm after, but when I came into the hotel on Wednesday, the feeling here was Prisoner of Zenda -- the band will never get out unless you pull an Entebbe raid.

Jagger laughs. "It's not that difficult to get out of here."

Yeah, I say, but they took all your passports.

Jagger sits bolt upright: "What? Why would they take our passports?"

Well, that is what Wasserman told me. He said the Mounties seized 28 passports and...

"Wasserman told you that? Why would they possibly take Charlie's and my passport? They took Keith's. But they didn't take ours, what for? Wasserman told you that, you sure?"

I'm certain, I say.

"If I ask him, he'll deny telling you that. What else did he tell you?"

He said -- wait a minute, I'm telling you what you're paying someone to tell me.

"Wal, I didn't tell him to tell you anything. So, what can I say?"

We talk music for a while and then Mick decides he wants to watch TV some more.

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