The Rolling Stones are in Hawaii. Aloha means hello and goodbye.
Mick Jagger hoists his first glass of 1957 Chateau Margaux to a table of 20. “To the shortest American tour in history,” he says.
* * *
The Rolling Stones, the heart of their Pacific tour cut out when Mick Jagger was refused a Japanese visa because of a 1966 marijuana conviction, are in Hawaii, where on January 1st, by previous vote of the electorate, possession of two ounces or less of marijuana was no longer a felony but, rather, a petty misdemeanor with maximum punishment set at 30 days and/or $500. “More likely a $25 fine, like a traffic ticket,” according to one resident.
The Stones, who don’t talk so much about free concerts any more since that one in 1969 in California, are in Honolulu, where on January 1st each year—since 1969—upwards of 75,000 persons have gathered for music festivals atop Diamond Head Crater, on land owned by the state and used by the National Guard. And perhaps because they’re Hawaiians, islanders, their Sunshine Festivals have been largely innocent parties, just the way their director, Ken Rosene, conceived them: “to get a lot of people together to have a good day.” In Hawaii you can talk like that, and keep a straight, have-a-happy-day face.
The Stones, no longer playboys after dark, stick close to their Hilton in Waikiki, the power side of town. Waikiki is the contempo melting pot, stalking and stomping grounds for prostitutes, gamblers and fighters, not to mention surfers, sunbums, and, ignoring it all, the tourists. The night before Sunshine ’73, while Copperhead is doing a sound check 760 feet up at the crater and entertaining the volunteers setting up, a man is killed in Waikiki. It was simple: A local, a beefy Samoan, working as a doorman at a club on the main drag, Kalakaua Avenue, got a little backtalk and hit the guy just a little too hard. Somewhere else in Waikiki, a local put out a doorman’s eye with a whiskey glass. A melting pot, all right, equal parts paradise, Manhattan, Miami Beach and Las Vegas.
“You don’t talk back to local cops here,” Ken Rosene is advising between Stones concerts. “They come back twice as strong.”
But Bill Graham will try anyone once. So while the kids, these mellow little suntanned specimens, float around smiling in their colorful lack of clothes, it is co-promoter Graham, from San Francisco, who gets the heat hot, trying to pull rank on a Honolulu cop and nearly ending up at the bottom of a beige-shirted pile of beef.
So Graham hoists his glass of ’57 Chateau Margaux at the 1 AM dinner, and Mr. Ready-Quip reflects the utter tiredness around the table, as he manages the basic toast: “To Hawaii.”
* * *
Thank you for your wines, Ah-no Lew-loo,
Thank you for your sweet and bitter fruit…
—Mick Jagger, “Sweet Virginia,”
first show, January 21st,
Honolulu International Center.
* * *
By the time dinner breaks up, at 4 AM, the Stones will have rung up a bill of $1700 for 20, mostly because Mick cleaned out all the ’57 Chateau Margaux left in the cellar here at Nick’s Fish Market, something like 16 bottles at $85 the bottle, plus other spirits and plenty of continental seafood. And yet it was kind of a high pointless night, everybody silent and nibbling, Charlie Watts and Mick Taylor smoking and drinking and chatting, ignoring the silver platters of hors d’oeuvres spread out in front of them; Keith Richard and Mick Jagger sitting together nearby, almost formal in their quiet. Keith looked wasted; he still had some of his nasty, pasty, deadeye make-up on. Mick’s was washed off, and he looked older, more fragile than he does onstage. When he smiles, he puts his whole face into the effort, teeth bursting up front over the famous labial-lookalike lips, sometimes a hand moving up to cover the throaty laughter while the eyes close or glisten, childlike. But here, at 1:30 AM, he is yawning, the hand keeps moving up …
* * *
On a warm Monday evening at five o’clock, this voice comes rising out from the patio of the Hawaiian Hilton. No guitars or ukuleles; no gourd rattles or coconut drums; just this lone voice from the bandstand, singing out to a cluster of tourists. All the matched and screaming shirts and blouses are stilled for the moment. It is the traditional torch-lighting ceremony, and today it is being preceded by the singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Somewhere in Texas, the 36th President lay dead (Hey, hey, LBJ …). Somewhere in Paris, some kind of Vietnam peace was within some kind of grasp. And I’m looking down at this frozen little luau from an 11th floor balcony of the Hilton’s Rainbow Tower, where I’m still waiting for word from those five tourists, W. Grace, F. Truman, P. May, L. Hutton and T. Bailey, known up on the 30th floor as Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. Because aside from whatever else is happening, the Rolling Stones are in town.
Once again, the gathering madness. Chartered flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver. Stories in the local papers about kids waiting in line through Christmas Eve and Day for tickets, about how Don Norton, manager of a gas station in Pearl City, left his line Sunday morning at 2:30 AM because his wife Maria was having their first child. He got someone to save his spot, and he was back in line at the Honolulu International Center within two hours. A couple flew in from Boston to see the concert, explaining, very simply, “It’s the whole Mick Jagger thing.”
Imagined madness. The Stones people, as they always do, keep asking, “What’s the angle of your story going to be?” I think they know that there’s no real story. But if I am patient, the tour manager says, I will get to talk with Jagger, and he will tell me whatever news there is—about Japan and Jamaica, about the live album that won’t come out, the new studio album that will, The Beard, that won’t; the TV special, that will. I will ask about his place in the new high society, about his being a husband and father. But I must be patient, and I am, because, after all, there’s no reason—especially no journalistic reason—to be impatient.
And so, a few flashes on the way to Mick:
“It’s interesting,” says a 25-year-old schoolteacher from Waianae, ages and an hour away from the sunbum ambience of Honolulu. “All this activity”—she is observing the local boy ushers, the cops, the light, sound and stage crew members, the STP (Stones Touring Party) people—accountant, travel agency woman, baggage man, guitar caretaker, security guards, record company people, promoters Barry Fey from Denver in official tongue jacket, Graham in his blue volcanic tie-dyed tank-top, and local radio giant/promoter Tom Moffat, in Aloha shirt; tour manager Peter Rudge looking like a wired Paul Simon; stage manager Chip Monck onstage, walkie-talkie strapped to his walking shorts—and the kids, all glowing from another day on the beach, all jabbering away excitedly…all this activity—”just for one person.”
The first show, more than anything, was loud, to the point where Chip Monck would deride the sound crew who’s been with the Stones since the U.S. tour last year. “They seem to think the development of sound means getting it louder,” he said after the three concerts. By decibel measurement, the sound was 7 db short of the point at which ears shrivel. First act was Z.Z. Top, who took every available decibel and poured out an ornamented Grand Funk sound.
The Stones did their usual set, Jagger looking drunk, teasing the band, toying with the mike, evoking Rod Stewart with one move; Fred Astaire (the mike being Ginger Rogers) the next. Strong rhythmic support, as always, and superb work from Bobby Keys on sax and Jim Price on trumpet and trombone, and Nicky Hopkins and Ian Stewart alternating on piano.
Early on, a girl rose from her seat near the front row to do that shiver-wiggle dance that young maniacs have perfected over the years. A teenaged usher immediately moved to her row to stop her. Sure, she was obstructing the view, but the usher had this look about him. He seemed genuinely annoyed that people could do that, right in front of everybody. He sat in a chair in the aisle, facing away from the stage.
The next day, Monday, Lyndon Johnson has died, and the Stones are asleep, out shopping, or otherwise not around.
Newman Jones, a lanky kid who runs a guitar repair shop in Arkansas, talks about how he got onto the Rolling Stones’ touring payroll. “It’s hard to say why they call on anybody,” he says. “I was traveling through Europe last fall carrying this old guitar—one of the first Rickenbacker electrics—that I thought Keith might like. I went to his house in France, looked around, and he bought the guitar from me. Then they came to L.A. Well, in France someone stole his guitars, so he needed some work done on some new ones he’d bought. I came in from Tennessee, and now I’m on tour to do repairs, and I’m the guy that hands Keith his guitars onstage. He uses five different guitars during a set, and they all tune differently.” One of them is a beauty that Newman built: “Like a car with all the options,” he says, with a maple neck, cherrywood back, rosewood top, and just five strings, for open tuning, for the hard rockers like “Street Fighting Man” and “Jumping Jack Flash.”
Up in Peter Rudge’s suite, the tour manager continues to nurse the Stones’ wounds. They are not all over Honolulu and the outer islands, he says, because they are still so depressed about the Japanese cancellation. They are pissed, in fact. He is busy working out a modified budget for the rest of the tour, offering two-week vacations to STP staffers in exchange for a cut in salaries. “Japanese television is here to interview Mick,” he says. “They wanted to film the concert. Absolutely not. We still intend to go back to Japan. Next? Probably Europe next summer. Celebrate the Common Market, you know.”
* * *
For the first show Monday night, Mick Jagger wears a vintage LAND OF ALOHA shirt, a bluish silkie complete with hula dancers, surfers and sunshine, gathered at the waist, over his velvet jumpsuit. The shirt begins to look ludicrous soon enough, as Jagger suddenly begins a dramatic, nearly a capella introduction to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” searing and reminding of Turner in Performance. Which is to remind us that, after all, Jagger is an actor. Mick, this time with yellow make-up above the eyelids, looks like an aged Fellini vamp. The set seems slow; the audience holds back. A young girl, having stood for the first number, is soon slumped back in her seat. “I think he looks tired and old,” she says to a friend.
The limos are ready to whisk the Stones back to the hotel between shows; Keith, moving quickly down the stage-steps, pauses at the door, recognizes the patient reporter. “We’ll see you at the hotel, right?”
At the hotel, I’m told by someone in Keith’s room that he is busy…something about a TV interview. At the suite where the Japanese crew is set up and waiting, all is hushed. At 9, on time, Jagger arrives, all washed up and dressed in white football jersey, number 86, and chartreuse bellbottoms. For the next 15 minutes, he is terribly civil, smiling in anticipation of each question, telling his Japanese audience how their government’s refusal of a visa for him made him “unhappy, very dishonored,” how he would still like to visit Japan, even if just as a tourist, “to go to the country as well as the town.” Asked about chopsticks, Mick formed his biggest smile, flashed the diamond set into one of his front teeth, leaned forward, and told how an “old Chinese gentleman” taught him to handle the sticks, how Mick still hadn’t learned to eat without letting the sticks touch his lips. The Japanese interviewer smiled automatically and moved on to the next question.
In the elevator, Mick laughed it up with Marshall Chess, president of Rolling Stones Records, imitating a Japanese accent. “That chope-stock bit,” he said, giggling, hand to the face, “that’s bullshit. I made it up.” He said we could talk at the party after the second show.
The second show Monday night is the upper, the breakthrough the Stones needed. All the charter-flown audiences are here raving it up. Honolulu meets San Francisco by way of Jerry Palmer, who looks to be the gay community’s queen bee, standing tall in black turtle-necked leotards, boosted by four-inch heels on white sequined slipper shoes. His nails are dipped in silver, his face and mouth in lava red. His glittering hair is shaped to give him the look of a Roman, with maybe a stardusted artichoke squashed on his head. And that dance she is doing, aimed at Mick, is not the Hula.
Chip Monck has the overhanging 10-by-40 Mylar mirror tilting back and forth, so that from backstage, where the seven super-trouper spotlights are fixed like anti-aircraft machinery, you see the people in repetitive waves, all seemingly flying backward, now forward, as they stand on their chairs. The house lights are up and the kids are allowed, as they have been the previous two shows, to move towards the stage. On “Street Fighting Man,” Keith pounds and sashays away on his five stringer, completes his break and rolls his eyes toward Mick, proud. Rose petals and orchids fly out to the audience, and the band members march down the stairs, into the sleek limos, one blue, one white, one black, sweeping out behind the flashing blue lights of the Honolulu police escorts. The Rolling Stones’ 1973 American tour is over.
Back at the hotel, the word spreads: There is no party. Instead, Nicky Hopkins will leave his wife Lynda and come down for a drink.
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 Z.Z. 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.
We decide on Chinese food. At the hotel, Charlie Watts and Mick Taylor are hanging around, nothing to do, shrugging, almost, to show their helplessness. It’s dinner for five at Wo Fat, this garish red and gold facility for baby luaus and Cantonese food. It is a social gathering and the talk is light. Taylor tells why he’s so quiet on the stage: “I don’t want to upstage Mick.” Jagger talks about the time he visited the gay Continental Baths in New York, and why he split in such a hurry: “Well, these guys in these towels, they’d walk up to me and drop their towels and just stand there.” He laughs about his arch-promoter Bill Graham: “You remember that dinner at Nick’s?” Ah, yes—Honolulu on $1700 a night. “And Bill and Barry are sittin’ there at the ‘ed of the table. And all they do is tell these promoter jokes that nobody else could understand. [Adopting a rough American accent:] ‘Hah! I booked so-and-so and paid this much, hahahaha.’ And that’s it, all night!”
Mick Jagger is seven months away from age 30, and he acts it, constantly on the edge, on stage and off. Writers have had out and out field days figuring him out, but almost always from a distance—the distance between stage and loge seat; the distance between protected pop figure and inquiring reporter, so that he is a devil, a unisexual zombie, a cockteaser, a man by turns ruthless, unhappy, fey, charming, quiet, generous, and sensitive. That’s what I had read, anyway.
On the mid-high seas, in Chinatown and, now, in his hotel room with an hour to kill, Mick Jagger is neither devil nor angel; yes, he looks like he’s got nasty habits; yes, it’s difficult to pin him down when the question hits too close to the nerve, and he does carry a mask at all times, he sashays, 24 hours a day. But also, he cares so little about what people say, and guess, about him. “The whole Mick Jagger thing,” indeed. In conversation, he smiles through my questions and through his own answers, implying, “You ain’t got much of a story, do you? Well, neither have I. But we both got a job, don’t we? [American accent:] AFTER ALL, THE PUBLIC WANTS TO KNOW.”
First, he denies the Stones being depressed, pissed, about the Japanese cutoff: “It’s just a minor sort of frustration. The main thing that bugs us is we got nothing to do for ten days, but that’s about all. It’s not a great financial loss.”
Second, there’s the live album, expected last November, from the U.S. tour, one album of the Stones, one album of Stevie Wonder and somewhere in there a couple of jams, Stevie singing “Satisfaction” and Mick winging “Uptight.” Then, according to Mick, Allen Klein and Decca, the Stones’ old business manager and British label, stopped the album. By contract, the Stones were prohibited from re-cutting any songs previously licensed to or released by the original label. And besides, Abkco and Decca and London had Christmas plans of their own: More Hot Rocks.
“Yeah, well,” says Mick, “they’re just greedy and stu-pid, cutting their own necks despite their noses. We’ll just put out a live album of something else, maybe some old tour stuff, maybe some new things, maybe a mish-mash”—and probably in the fall, since the Stones are now finishing up the new studio album for release in March or April.
What’s this about being a part of the high society Cat Pack in New York?
That’s just a magazine thing.
And the Best-Dressed List?
That too. I really do my best not to be well-dressed.
How has Bianca changed you, if she has at all?
I don’t like talking about women.
What about being a father?
I don’t want to talk about family either.
(Room service interrupts with coffee; I ask again about his baby daughter Jade.)
I don’t see the baby; I’m always fuckin’ on the road. It’s my own choice, but I’m fucking negligent, I just am. But when I was a kid, my father was away a lot. It’s important to be there in the formative years of childhood, but I’m not there. And short of carrying the kid about in the next room, which I also don’t particularly dig, you just see your kid when you can, same as anyone else. [Changing voice:] IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY.
Then why did you choose to become a father?
I didn’t; that’s why I don’t want to talk about it. ‘Why do I have a child?’ I have lots of other children that I also like.
Charlie will talk about parenthood. Charlie will stay in South of France all the time. I just don’t. Even two weeks in one place gets to be a maximum. The only time we stay anywhere longer is to finish off an album. I could go back to South of France but I never liked it there; soon as we cut the first album we left; I left im-me-diately. I visit Ireland a lot; I had a house there for six months, and I prefer London, but I can’t go there. So I’m very happy moving every two weeks. I’ve got it down.
Onstage, on that shiny white floor, I see you as kind of a child, a kid playing in the kitchen, your older brothers standing around ignoring you.
(Mick, laughing:) I was going to make popcorn on the side of the stage. This is the last year of the rose petal, actually.
See, we had a lot of different shows for Japan; we were just building up for that. We were going to do seven shows in one place—we’ve never done that before—and by the time you’ve done three or four, there’s all kinds of things you can do, fuck around. I was going to cook popcorn, hundreds of things, we were really mad, had it all going…But it needed two weeks rehearsal, and they never gave it, the State Department, God bless ’em.
Anyway, we didn’t do a fuckin’ show in Japan, so it didn’t matter. I was actually more brought down because I would’ve really gotten it off and would’ve got all the popcorn up in crates and hundreds of other gimmicks and crap.
People always seem amazed to see you playing harmonica on “Sweet Virginia.” It’s lip-synched, isn’t it?
(Mick, laughing:) Yes. I’m tolerable, but I’ve forgotten it all. You have to play every day for that—however, your mouth bleeds. That’s the problem. You go home to see your old lady and you’re bleeding. (Into a Manchester growl:) “‘Ello, Dahlin’,” and your mouth is all covered with blood. …
I can just see Ralph Steadman doing your next album cover.
(Mick portrays Steadman submitting his work:) “I’m not sure if this is really gonna sell the album!”…
So what’s the cover going to be like?
Aw, fuck, you know, some bullshit or other. (Brightly to the tape machine, to the public:) It’s what’s inside that counts. ‘Sgonna be quite a good album, folks. (Shrinking, into a wisp:) It’s gonna be a bit different from the last one. Ahh…it’s gonna be evocative, and romantic and tender and loving.
What about the song “Starfucker?”
That’s the only song with any slice of cynicism. All the others are into…beauty. (The violins swell as Mick continues:) It’s very difficult to write about those sort of primitive emotions—without being cynical about it; that’s when you sound old. I mean, if you can’t go into a coffee shop and sort of fall in love with every glass of coffee, and listen to the jukebox—that’s difficult to portray in a song.
(Mick continues to dismiss himself as a songwriter and performer; he said the Forum benefit for the Nicaragua earthquake victims had good bits but was just a warm-up; so, in fact, were the Honolulu shows. Then after it gets good and revved up, slicing through the winds, the band coasts. And then there were the old days:)
You know what we used to do in the South? We would go on—and if the audience wasn’t very good, we’d do 15 minutes and go off.
Honolulu remembers that. I heard that in the 1966 show here you did 22 minutes and were drunk.
(Laughing again:) Yeah, 20 minutes—but I wasn’t drunk. I’m usually pretty straight when I go on. You just do it automatically. You’re complete off your head. Completely around the twist. I mean, you can try and get fucked up if you want, but then, basically you’re fucked up anyway.
Mick, after the Japanese refusal of your visa—are you sorry that you ever took drugs?
(Laughing again, louder than ever, what kind of interview is this?:) NO! I’M GONNA GO AHEAD RIGHT ON TAKIN’ ‘EM! (Then, seriously, maybe:) I don’t take drugs. I don’t approve of drugs, and I don’t approve of people taking drugs unless they’re very careful. Most people can’t control themselves, they’re not happy enough just to get a big high; they’ve got to get fucked up all the time.
(A writer for UPI had asked Mick, mid-way through the last tour, “What is your sense of American audiences so far?” and Jagger had replied, “They don’t seem to be quite so stoned as they were….I think they’re more straight, possibly younger.” Now. he is saying there’s “more and more” hard drug abusers, “everywhere, soon as you get anywhere somebody’s got a bunch of smack, floatin’ around.” And just as Mick recalls his own abuses—”in the acid stage; looking back at it it was a bit of a laugh”—a Honolulu police siren begins to sound, 30 floors down …)
What about that report about all of you being arrested for using heroin in France?
That’s propaganda. That’s what propaganda is, isn’t it—a distortion of the real facts. That’s what fucked us up; everyone thought we’d been arrested on heroin charges. That’s bullshit. They’d love to have us on heroin charges, I’ll admit, that’s their dream. But so far they haven’t managed to. They’re jumpin’ the gun.
What about Keith?
Same. Completely jumped the gun. They’d like to arrest him and put him in prison, I suppose. Like to do it to all of us. (Pouting:) But they can’t, in my mind…(long pause)…because they’re full of shit. (Laughing, again, then spitting, huffing out the words:) Disgusting people…fascist pigs. They really are!
What’s to be made of all this? The next time the Stones tour will probably be in Europe; the next time America gets to see them will be in spring, on TV, with a special scheduled on ABC in April, and in the film made by Robert Frank (“On-tour nonsense,” said Mick). The TV show, filmed at the Houston concert last year, may also include bits of backstage shots gathered by Frank. And after that, it’ll most likely be Mick in yet another costume. He’s just signed with CMA, who’ll be his agent in the matter of motion pictures, and he’s still reading scripts, trying to avoid the “period films,” looking to portray “a certain character,” no further explanation. Just: “I’ve got to stop doing rock & roll for a year.”
* * *
The last time I saw Keith Richard, he was heading out of the Rainbow Tower, heading, with Taylor, Jagger and Watts into a station wagon towards the Honolulu airport. Again, he turned to me, told me what hotel he’d be at next, how he really would like to cooperate. I said thanks and turned away to my own friends, still not sure what the story would be.
And now, back on the mainland, the phone rings. Hawaii calling. Ken Rosene, Sunshine Festival director, has been taking Chip Monck around Diamond Head Crater, talking shop, and now he’s got some news: Chip has quit the Stones tour; with all that optimism over Japan, in all that popcorn fever, he’d overspent by some $25,000, and there was a…meeting with Peter Rudge. So, since the Australian concerts are all outdoors, there’s no need for the Mylar and the super-trouper backlights, the Stones will just make do…coast…Rudge is off to Tokyo, to close the books. And Chip Monck, for one, is going off for a vacation—on Maui.