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The Rolling Stones' Interlude in Paradise: Honolulu on $1700 a Day

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People have been wondering about this strange man who spells him on the piano now and then, this man with the middle-American look, with the monster-mashed face. There's even a blowup photo of him pasted up in Peter Rudge's suite, right next to the ice box. It is, of course, Ian Stewart, the Stones' first roadie, a friend of theirs as long as Nicky's been, and Nicky knew them back in 1962, when he was with the Cyril Davies group at the Marquee and the Stones were the "interval band" on R & B nights. "Stew," Hopkins explains, "did 'Sweet Virginia' on the record; he recorded part of Let It Bleed. I was touring with (Jeff) Beck during Sticky Fingers, and he did that, except 'Sway' was mine. So he plays them onstage. Stew is a boogie piano player, an incredible rock & roll player. He knows every boogie piano record; he has every boogie piano record."

And Mick Jagger?

"I think people just accept him for what he is."

And what is he?

"I don't know. Whatever people want him to be, or expect him to be."

* * *

Tuesday morning, the band should be packing up and heading for the mainland before going off to Australia in early February, to prepare for the final quivers of this decapitated tour.

Near noon, out on the breakfast patio, Leroy Lennard, Mick's security guard, has some news: There was a party last night – if you want to use such a festive word to describe a few people standing around drinking in Barry Fey's room, and then a dozen or so Honolulu lulus – "models," someone called them; "dancers," Leroy had been informed – showing up and scaring off Mick and Keith, who ducked out to another guard's room and watched TV. Anyway, the 30th floor is secure – some elevators have broken down, and besides that, Leroy's removed the outside knobs from the fire escape doors, and he's just checked in on Mick in bed: "He's sprawled out like a lion after a kill."

And Keith? Leroy pauses. "Keith is the one taking this Japanese thing the hardest. He'll let out with this smile, and then . . . [Leroy lets his sample smile dissipate]. Man, I told him last night he was bullshitting. . . ."

* * *

Room 3001, Barry Fey's room, looks more post-conference than post-orgy. Bill Graham is seated, using Fey's phone, on the line to the mainland, negotiating for some future concert. Fey, the major rock concert promoter in Denver, was an assistant manager at a Robert Hall clothiers; his first promotion was a show in Rockford, Illinois, headlining Baby Huey and the Babysitters, to whom he paid $90. Last year, he did well by the Stones for ten Midwest dates, and now he is sharing in this paradise quickie, in a gross of $172,000 for three shows in a small hall, capacity 8500. "What an area to work in," Graham exults. "A great balance. Work hard for a gig, and then rest." Graham, shirtless and shoeless, does an impression of a 15-year-old blonde he saw last night, "in total orgasm, going from Mick Jagger . . ." unhhhHH . . . "to Mick Taylor. Nonstop." Barry Fey, tubby and tanned, pats himself on the back, on his bed, for booking ZZ Top. "They got the people off, quick. Even got an encore. I made the right choice."

"And neither of us owns a piece of them," adds Graham.

* * *

Of all the Stones in Hawaii, it appears that Mick Jagger is the most resistant to sunshine. Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman had found some time to go speeding around on a catamaran, and everyone had ventured out of the Hilton Hawaiian Village at least once, to go shopping.

"Sho-ping," sneers Mick. "What's there to fucking buy in Hawaii?"

At two o'clock, Tuesday, he has finally awakened, and we're about to kill two birds: let Mick have a good time and do a photo session. Jagger has been invited to take a cruise on The Flying Cloud, an 82-foot, restored 1929 schooner owned by George Walker, who came in from Kona, 100 miles away, to accommodate Mick Jagger.

George Walker. That's—Right, from the Merry Pranksters. Ken Kesey . . . Neal Cassady . . . The Bus . . . nine years ago. And Cloud – Right, the Beatle / Arab / Ringo / Help! / acid vision out of the Electric Kool-Aid book. George Walker had been thinking about the sea ... about maybe trying out a $15,000 floater when he ran across this Rolls-Royce of a schooner, which he snapped up at the bargain price of $300,000 by selling off some inherited land. Now, the captain of the ship meets the Rolling Stone. George proceeds to fill Mick in on all the Hawaiian legends . . . about Captain Cook, and the Forbidden Island of Niihau, and Mick takes it all in. He's come prepared for the sea. He's wearing his aloha shirt, his lime pants, track tennies, sports watch, and a turquoise Afro/jockey cap to catch the wind. He meets the vegetarian crew, six men, two women, inspects the laboriously re-wooded deck, checks downstairs in the forecastle and the galley, where a tape is playing Crosby, Stills and Nash. As the ship moves off from the Ala Wai Harbor and smoothly gathers up speed, Jagger easily roams the deck, staying quiet, looking fragile. The ship heads out past Koko Head, into the Molokai Channel, begins to hit the wind, has to slice through mounting swells. Jagger holds on to the shrouds, posing here and there, old Mick and the sea. . . . Six miles out, Walker turns The Flying Cloud around and offers the wheel to Mick. Jagger sits down, consults for a moment – "Aim for that big white building," Walker instructs – and Mick becomes captain for the next two, three miles, discarding his floppy cap leaning from side to side, surely guiding the schooner through the 20-knot-per-hour winds back toward Honolulu. He is, he says, relaxed, and ready for dinner.

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