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The Rolling Stones Impose High Ticket Prices for U.S. Tour

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The remainder of the press conference was typical. Someone asked that the question about ticket costs be repeated. Sam Cutler, the band's tour manager, repeated it, stumbling over the word ticket, saying "pricket." This prompted Keith Richards to lean over and give him a little kiss.

Following that it was just one kneeslapper after another.

Art Kunkin, editor of the Los Angeles Free Press, asked Jagger to comment on Timothy Leary's running for governor. "Isn't it a bit late for California to have a psychedelic governor?" Jagger asked back.

Rona Barrett, a television gossip columnist, asked her questions: "What time do you normally get up?" "Are you really an anti-establishment group or is it all a put-on?" And: "What do you think about fellow performers like Shirley Temple going into politics?"

Even when someone asked Charlie Watts if he were planning another book (a reference to his illustrated tribute to the late Charlie Parker) and Watts gave a simple "no" as his answer, everyone collapsed, giggling.

At the end of it, little had been learned, but everyone – perhaps especially the Stones – seemed to have had a good time. It was rather like watching Johnny Carson with a laugh-track borrowed from The Lucy Show.

Somewhat more seriously, Jagger did say there would be time while in Los Angeles to complete the group's next album, Let It Bleed, which, he said, was to be released within a month's time, before the Stones returned to England in early December.

All that had to be done, Jagger said, was to mix two or three songs and record one vocal that had been erased accidentally in London while he was making the film Ned Kelly in Australia. Recording was to be scheduled in the Elektra studio here, before the tour begins, pending settlement of a minor disagreement over studio time with the Doors, who were then using the studio for their next album.

Jagger also said that although the Stones' contract with London expires in 1970, there were no plans to form an independent record company. (There had been reports the Stones were meeting with at least one young Los Angeles record company executive to discuss this project.)

"No," Jagger said, "I don't want to become a weird pseudo-capitalist. The only reason for doing that sort of thing is to change the line of distribution, right? And if you don't change the line of distribution, there's no point. All you've got is a little holding company and the record company is still releasing your records. So unless you've got a fleet of lorries and sell records for half price, there'd be no point in doing it."

Other dates on the tour include the Oakland Coliseum, November 9th; San Diego Sports Arena, the 10th; Phoenix Coliseum, the 11th; Dallas Coliseum, the 12th; Auburn (Ala.) University, the 13th; University of Illinois, the 14th; and Chicago Amphitheater, the 16th.

The Stones then take a week off to tape an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, resuming the tour in Detroit's Olympia, the 21st. This will be followed by concerts at the Philadelphia Spectrum, the 25th; Baltimore Civic Center, the 26th; Madison Square Garden, the 27th and 28th; Boston Garden, the 29th; and the West Palm Beach (Fla.) Pop Festival, the 30th.

Before beginning the tour, the Stones had fully three weeks to ready themselves. Except for the planned few hours in the recording studio, this gave them ample time for vacationing.

Which is what they were doing immediately following their October 17th arrival in Los Angeles: splitting up, some staying in the Beverly Wilshire, others in private homes.

Charlie Watts was staying with his wife Shirley and daughter Serafina in a huge mountain-top home owned by the DuPont family high above the Sunset Strip, for example, while Jagger and Richards were staying with Stephen Stills in an estate near Laurel Canyon built by Carmen Dragon and formerly inhabited by Monkee Peter Tork.

It was the DuPont manse that was to serve as the group's West Coast headquarters and it was there the Stones gathered the day after their arrival for a meeting, then pushed all thought of business aside to make use of the home's sumptuous facilities.

During the day, friends, writers and Sunday hangers-on came by to watch Bill Wyman on the tennis court (wearing boots), knocking a ball around. "Sure, you can take pictures," he said, "but we're only amateurs." Inside the house, Charlie Watts was going through a large box of albums just delivered from a Sunset Strip record store.

Someone entered the 40-foot living room with a 180-degree view of Los Angeles and asked, "Is Mick here?"

"Be here later," came the listless reply.

"Catch you then."

In the kitchen the girl the Stones had hired to cook their meals was preparing bouillabaisse. She knew the boys had decided to go to a Japanese restaurant that night, and then on to the Ash Grove to see Taj Mahal and Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, but she was afraid the food would spoil.

Someone else was picking out a tune on the piano.

Outside a mustachioed chauffeur in black snoozed behind the wheel of a Cadillac limousine.

The Rolling Stones were in town and everyone seemed to be waiting for something to happen.

This story is from the November 15, 1969 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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