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The Stones Tour: Rock and Roll On the Road Again

Page 3 of 8

"People have all kinds of crazy fantasies about what might happen on this tour," Chip says, signing away his $15 per diem to pay for breakfast. "I think America is a crazy place and I for one don't want to encourage craziness by talking about it. What I would have liked to do is take along a midway, booths, and rides and put it outside the hall and have the Stones play four days in each city to cool things out.

"That would change the relationship . . . because if you protect something, people say, 'Hey, there's something to protect, why don't I see if I can't beat them?'"

Does it mean anything that Time and Life and Newsweek and Esquire are going to be along on this one watching?

"Not a thing. It means there's nothing else going on for them so they're gonna cover this. All they can do is push us one step further from the people in the street, the ones we work for.

"You know that I was at Altamont . . . and that was one terrible day for me . . . but up until then it was a good tour. We had a few people yelling, 'Paint it black, you devils,' so . . . OK, OK, give us a few minutes, we'll paint it black. . .."

Chip downs his orange juice and pries off the top of one of the four Heineken's that go along with breakfast. "Who knows?" he says, squinting up at the smoggy sunshine. "Why do we do this? I'm getting like 1200 bucks a week for it . . . not great pay . . . and it's been four months work already, and sometimes in the morning I say fuck it, I must be an asshole. But then on stage when it's working right and I'm almost falling into Nicky's piano, I know why. Take a look at all of us, Peter, Jo, Alan, it can't be the money. There's not enough to pay them for what they've been through. So you tell me why? Why are we all going this?"

* * *

It's just a five minute drive from Mr. Monck eating his breakfast to Danny's house. Danny's house has a white brick fireplace and good carpets in the living room and a pool in the backyard. It's his father's house and Danny's been living in it since his stepfather got too heavy, insisting he grease back his long hair before he came to the dinner table.

"This is my world," Danny says when he takes you into his room, which has posters and music magazines stacked neatly on the lower shelf across from where his albums are.

In June, Danny graduates from high school, and he'll probably go on to junior college in L.A. His father offered him a trip to Europe as a graduation present but instead Danny asked for a set of JBL speakers to go with his Garrard turntable.

"This is my sixth copy of Sticky Fingers," Danny tells me, as he drops it on his stereo.

Sixth?

"Yeah, the first five wore out, man."

What's it like when an album wears out?

"Oh you know. You can't hear the highs anymore."

Like a lot of L.A. kids, Danny first got into music through the Doors. He began hanging around their office when he was 13 and 14.

"I actually spoke to Jagger once you know," he says. "After a T. Rex concert at the Palladium, I saw him in the dressing room and I said, 'Hey man, how do you keep your head together?' And he said, 'I don't man.' I was just blown away. A kid again. Like Jagger is so amazing, man. I'd like to just observe him for a long time. There's nobody like him. He and the Stones are the class of the rock world.

"I've had my friends tell me about Alice Cooper or the Faces and I've seen 'em work. I even dropped some reds to listen to Grand Funk and they were still terrible . . . they're good live but their albums are nowhere . . .

"But the Stones, man. Every energy freak in L.A. is gonna turn out to see them. Dudes are takin' dudes, y'know. 'Cause who wants to worry about being cool at the concert and not gettin' up and dancin' because the chick you're with sits next to you in Algebra every day . . . Shit . . .

"I'd been after the biggest fox in school for a year and a half, askin' her out and stuff, and gettin' told no. She heard I had Stones tickets and she came over and asked if I had a spare. 'Get down, bitch,' I said, 'I ain't wastin' it on you' . . ."

As it turns out, Danny will be going to every one of the Stones concerts in L.A., the Palladium, Long Beach, and the Forum.

Why?

"To see if they deliver, man. If they're good, it'll be one thing. But if they deliver, can you imagine? I'll be a slur that whole weekend. Like the time the Dead played six hours and I was high on it for three fucking weeks. That's why I'm going. Everybody else? You'll have to ask them. Maybe because everyone else they know is."

* * *

So I asked kids who live out in the suburbs, good kids who drive Porsches and Peugeots, who said they'd stop at nothing to get inside. "What kind of badges they gonna be using, man?" Larry asked. "If they're metal, I can have one done in a day and a half at the metal shop in school. I mean, the only way I got tickets for the Forum in the first place was to impersonate a May Co. employee and then break into the store."

"Dig it," said a kid with a surf board at State Beach. "There isn't a kid in the world who wouldn't break in to see them. It's Jagger, right? He's a trip. Jumping Jack Shit himself. He's rich, he's cool, he's got a house in the South of France. I figure the Stones are a rip off, so why not rip them off?"

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