2Stoned

2Stoned

by Andrew Loog Oldham

Hardcover

$0.00

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780436280153
Publisher: Secker, Martin & Warburg, Limited
Publication date: 12/10/2002
Pages: 420

About the Author

Andrew Loog Oldham was born in London and currently lives in Bogota, Colombia.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Roberta Goldstein, friend and muse: There's a whole generation out there that doesn't go a day in their life without the Rolling Stones in it. When the Stones came here for that first tour they were poor, they were brilliant. We had a lot of parties -- we were a party. One of the best took place the night the lights went out in New York. That was in 65. The Stones were in a hotel on the West Side. Brian was there playing his harp when the lights went out.

You could see America through their eyes. The Stones loved the attitude and energy of New York; we'd walk it and we'd talk it. Andrew loved New York, too. It was a movie come true for him -- the Brill Building and 1650 Broadway, running around from office to office listening to that Jewish rock 'n' roll coming out of New York. It all had that sweet sound, the Carole King sound, the music of Bob Crewe. It wasn't 'I see a red door and I want it painted black.' It was more up; it was pop.

Al Kooper, musician/writer/producer: I was weaned at 1650 Broadway in NYC from 1958 to 1965. I started in the offices of Leo Rogers, an underhanded personal manager with a great deal of charisma. 1650 was the 'real' Brill Building. 1619 Broadway was the 'actual' Brill Building, but two hundred times more action and success took place in 1650. The 'actual' Brill Building was the last bastion of Tin Pan Alley and was widely regarded as an old man's building. Other than Leiber, Stoller, Bacharach, Barry and Greenwich, everything else took place at 1650 Broadway. The problem was 1650 was just 1650; it had no title to hang any memorabilia on. So the Brill Building gets all the credit, but that'scompletely false. In the offices of 1650: Paul Simon, Tony Orlando, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Neil Sedaka, Lenny Bruce, Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles, Chuck Jackson, Aldon Music, Roosevelt Music, Allegro Recording Studios, Artie Ripp, Bobby Lewis, the Jive Five, the Cadillacs, the Isley Brothers, Aaron Schroeder, Gene Pitney, Luther Dixon, the Strangeloves, Bob Gaudio, End Records, Gone Records, Bell Records, Amy-Mala Records, Scepter Records, BelTone Records, Dimension Records, and yours truly. The education I received in that building for seven years far outweighs any university matriculation. The adjoining coffee shop, B/G, had the greatest pancakes in the United States. I commuted from Queens. Also from my neighbourhood were the Temptations (the white version, with Artie Ripp) and Paul Simon and Artie Garfunkel. Nearby neighbours were bassist Harvey Brooks and pianist Paul Harris.

Dylan and the Beatles began the destruction of 1650. The new hip area became Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan. But from 1958 to 1965, all the great music that came out of New York City was primarily conceived at 1650 Broadway.

Roberta Goldstein: It was magic as soon as the Stones opened their mouths. We'd never heard anything like that accent. When they were singing you couldn't really tell what country they were from. When they started giving interviews, they had such incredible style. Mick was very bright, as was Charlie. The rest were very quiet. Keith was very shy; I loved Keith for his shyness.
They'd saved a lot of money to get over to the States and every day and every minute counted. Then there was Alan Stroh, what a darling. He worked with Bob Crewe, came from a very rich family in the meat business, and lived for show business. Alan was the manager of Mitch Ryder - this was during the period when Mitch and Bob were having all those hits. Everybody was broke, running hard, living well and helping each other out. I went out with Alan and Bob every night. Andy Warhol would be drooling in the corner - oh, anything to get to our table.

The English were just blowing me away, me and a billion others. We'd first met them all on that first Stones tour of America. Then I went to London. On the first day I arrived, Andrew had just bought this brand new Rolls-Royce. We went to the Scotch of St James and Paul McCartney was there. We all went to Andrew's house afterwards. I'd brought over Beach Boys records and we sat around listening to the Beach Boys. We were so young and innocent and everybody thought we were wild.

Andrew was like a little giant, but he had so many people pulling on him. When you manage a group it's like having five kids - one wants vanilla, one wants raspberry, one wants chocolate. This is when the 60s began for me. There was just so much talent and fun around, just so many people doing great things, like Dion, another genius who never got his due. On that first tour I saw the Stones do some TV show in an NY studio, something like Saturday Night Dance Fever or Clay Cole. There were like four hundred screaming little women. Mick would be sitting on the side of the stage looking like he was going to sleep, so relaxed. But as soon as it was time to go to work, that man started to move. He gave himself a hell of a workout; he was working out before people knew what a workout was.

At this point they weren't into hard drugs at all. I'm talking marijuana here and a few pills there. One time the Stones were on a concert out of town and Keith's girlfriend Linda Keith and I took an acid trip. The group flew back every night to New York, so they were out in North Carolina on that particular day. I don't know where Andrew was. He only liked to go to towns that had Bonwit Teller stores; Macy's didn't cut it for him. Anyway, Linda says, 'I don't want Keith to know that I took a trip.' So Keith gets back late to the hotel in Manhattan and he's like pumped from working and flying and he sees us staring at the walls. He goes, 'What did you girls do tonight?' 'Wow!' we said, 'we smoked this really strong thing.' We did have some, actually -- it was strong pot. We gave it to him, and the poor guy threw up.

They used to play cards on the flight, and Keith would complain that he was always losing. So we gave him a bi-phetamine and the next night Keith went out again on another gig. He got back and said he'd won $300, so he was very happy.

The Stones were really fresh and innocent and hoping to make it big. Then everything came at once; it was like a snowball that just became an avalanche, with the clothes and the talking and the movies -- all at the same time James Bond came out. Everything just mushroomed. It was like Englandmania. The English won that war; even crappy acts became successful.

Bob Crewe lived wonderfully at the Dakota; it was fantasyland. That's where I met Andrew. Bob threw a beautiful party for the Stones, very posh, catered by one of the finest people in the city and then, of course, Mick sat on a table and broke everything . . . class act. Andrew enjoyed it because he got to meet all the moguls and mogulettes. Ahmet Ertegun was there, and Harry Cohn, whose father started Columbia Pictures. That impressed Andrew. Liza Minnelli was there. That was a damn good party.

Bob's home was a gathering place. I met Lionel Bart there, Brian Epstein, Leonard Bernstein (who also lived in the Dakota). Bob's was one of the most fabulous apartments you'd ever lay eyes on. And it wasn't even his best apartment, just his Dakota pad. The really good apartment was on the East Side on Fifth Avenue. I called it Glitter House. You could fall asleep and hear the animals in the Central Park Zoo; it was three storeys of heaven. Set designer Sean Kenny would be there with Lionel or Andrew; he did a lot of work with Anthony Newley as well. He invited us to a preview of Stop The World (I Want To Get Off). It was just incredible. We didn't have to go to London for the swingin' 60s -- it came to us. It was like the Beatles and . . . voilà! Suddenly the 60s had moved to New York. You gotta understand that at this point very few people knew what the hell they were doing.

ALO: Young men grow, innocence goes, and the kids, albeit all right, start to become street fighting men. We had this almost molecular affinity with America. Its music fed the soul of the Stones -- it was the soul. American music was life-giving plasma; it was our future, the great escape as we flamed into being with fashion and rhythm. It was the explanation, the clue, the glue and the door to the room at the top to which absolute beginners and definite winners found the key.

When one is young, summer records define your life. Later they explain it. In June of 1964 the US charts were topped by the Dixie Cups' rendition of the Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich ditty 'Chapel Of Love' on the Red Bird label. The Beach Boys' 'I Get Around' and the Four Seasons' 'Rag Doll' completed this trio of great Popness while Herman's Hermits, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Peter and Gordon, Billy J. Kramer and the Dave Clark Five nipped at their heels with the best and worst of the British Invasion. Even the Bachelors got to no. 12. Throughout this magical spring and summer, the Beatles always had some half a dozen singles in the US Top 20.
The Rolling Stones were running late. In Britain we were running within our breath; in America we would soon be running ahead and out of it. One single, 'I Wanna Be Your Man', had been released and withdrawn. The side had then been coupled with 'Not Fade Away' and rereleased, and apart from a few idyllic plays in the Midwest, would do just that. The Stones' first LP outing, dressed and sold to no. 1 in the UK -- via its urgent accuracy and my immaculate no-name imagery -- had been repackaged behind my back by London Records and given a title, England's Newest Hitmakers, putting the event lower on the graphics pole than a Freddie & the Dreamers cover. We were pissed off.

In Rockin' Britain (and somewhat in Europe) the Stones already had a track record from their two Top 10 singles, a Top 10 EP and a no. 1 album - plus an avalanche of good cop/bad cop press, adulation and scorn (the good cops being the Mop Tops). I screamed inches of ink while my erstwhile partner from the vaudeville machine, Eric Easton, booked the hoopla. The hoopla, the Rolling Stones, played and delivered. Game, set, match. Now Eric handed over the North American booking to a crew named GAC, who could have been CIA if appearances and attitude were anything to go on. These ten per centers lived in a conservative Barnum-less world of staggered vents, brogued battleship shoes, broadcloth button-down shirts and Washington power haircuts and were more at home with Jackie Mason than Nanker Phelge. To get as many newspaper inches for the Stones in the States as I'd been able to get at home, they'd have had to heist an atomic bomb.

America! Where presidents were knocked off, the widow in the pink pillbox hat and bloodstained Chanel mini passed as royalty, and the British Invasion was looked upon with the same disdain as the Twist, hula hoops and surfin'. I suspected my British box of tricks was not going to work here. We desperately needed a vocal following, and to get that we needed real plastic bullets, real hits, and lotsa, lotsa radio play.

On 1 June 1964 at New York's formerly-Idlewild-recently-renamed- Kennedy Airport, the Stones were welcomed by a few hundred girls that London Records had managed to round up. If the Beatles' landing four months earlier had been directed by Cecil B. DeMille, our arrival was helmed by Mel Brooks. All those Yank cars that had seemed so exotic and out of reach back in Blighty were a dime a dozen in the States. In the drizzle of the Manhattan drabness, they looked strangely cumbersome and lacklustre. Once we left the airport we were invisible; not a soul knew who we were. The movie was out of sync with life as I'd known it, jump-cutting between black and white and colour. The voices didn't match the picture. Putting reality together with the movie was a strain, and, as for the soundtrack, it had become a hollow-reverbed nightmare -- the audio was wrong, all wrong. I don't recall being excited; all I remember is being scared.

The Stones stayed at the Astor Hotel on Times Square. I saved some money and went looking to get myself recharged and to cadge a sleep on Phil Spector's ground-floor office couch on the East River somewhere in the sixties. Phil's office was a dull, couched and plywooded affair - his taste was reserved for vinyl. I was not invited upstairs to the penthouse residence, where, I believe, a marriage was on the rocks.

The Stones were a small cult, a collector's item, i.e. we didn't mean shit. They did The Les Crane Show, hosted by some stagger-brained, lacquered pimp with a smile and demeanour so cut out and fake we felt like we'd stopped off on the wrong set and were in Hogan's Heroes meets The Twilight Zone. God, suddenly old Auntie Beeb seemed great and far-seeing in comparison and we missed her so! It's okay to have your home kind question and ridicule you, but I took this vulturistic gnawing and nit-picking at the Stones' very soul as a personal violation of all that was dear to me. Brian Jones looked like he'd been turned inside out, his heart and soul flayed and scalped before his very own eyes. He hurt and we hurt for him, though nowt was said except a curse on those stillborn Yanks. If we'd anything to declare at Ellis Island, perhaps it was that our skins were not as thick as we'd thought (the Stones' collective leathery eye had not yet formed).
But that was all about to change and did, with Charlie in the lead, as we were stalked up Seventh Avenue by some creature from the Manhattan radio lagoon named Clay Cole. Cole looked like an electro-shock Anthony Perkins on steroids. His questions never got past 'Why did you grow your hair?' What a dolt! Didn't he know this kind of banter was reserved for the Mop Tops and Herman's Hermits? The movie snapped back into focus when the dapper Watts told this inane prick to fuck off. He did, and we moved on up to 57th suddenly feeling whole again. You might say we were spoilt brats who didn't much care for this new bashing we were getting abroad. It was the old Christians and lions game. It was the original Planet of the Apes, and I was feeling more like Roddy McDowell than Mr NRA.

From the papier-mâché The Day of the Locust New York reception we winged to Los Angeles, hovered over it, and arrived as LA's surviving movieola barracudas were shit-deep in make-up and cliché. Just another day in the celluloid killing fields. Yes, I was pissed off. The plane had bad lighting, most of the colours and fabric were tired and inspired by vomit, façade and disease, and the stewardesses looked best in long shots, evoking Sandra Dee and all of Alfred Hitchcock's best blonde apparitions.

The image on the West Coast screen momentarily moved from B-movie to VistaVision as Phil Spector's right-hand promo man Sonny Bono greeted us at the airport with an open heart and hand to La-La Land. There was hope yet. Thirtysomething Salvatore Bono looked as whacked as the Stones - and he worked for a living! Bono was all Sicilian LA heart. Clad in barber-pole striped trousers, an Italian sweater of the sort thus far only dared by Carnaby poofters, sole- and heelless calf-length Indian moccasins, and paisley neckscarf, he was a sight to see. In his car boot were boxes of Caesar and Cleo 45s because, in those pre-'I Got You, Babe' days, he was part of a duo called Caesar and Cleopatra with his then-girlfriend, Cher.

The next day the movie went back to black and white as we started rehearsals for The Dean Martin Hollywood Palace Show - the first surprise being that there was no Dean to be seen. Two days of rehearsals with a Dean stand-in followed. Meanwhile, Deano was out on the links, touching 6 2Stoned (11pt) p1- 13/9/02 4:35 pm Page 6 up his tan. He turned up for the filming, immaculate and decadent (which equalled rich), and proceeded to insult the Stones as his way of getting in and out of a commercial break and into the bowels of America's suburban heartland. The insults one could handle, and the goodfella laconicism -- just. It was not having thought of a stand-in for Mick that hurt to the management core.

James Phelge, Phelge's Stones: Not much news was getting back to the office regarding the Stones' progress on the tour. I rang Keith and spoke to him at one of the hotels where they were staying. He was generally 'knocked out' with America, saying they might be going to the Chess studios and that the tour was going great. We only spoke briefly as he was busy with a press conference and I was running out of change for the pay phone, so I didn't find out much more. I had to wait until they arrived back in England, when we met up again at the office for a full debriefing. The boys had spent a small fortune on clothes while they were away and were determined to show them off back home. Most of the clothing was lightweight American summer wear and Charlie looked particularly cool in a finely striped blue and white jacket that Andy Wickham, Andrew's PR guy, described as 'surf wear'. Some of it certainly looked as if it belonged on a beach.

I asked Keith about the television show when the band had met Dean Martin. Keith turned up his nose, describing Martin as a 'right fuckin' offer'. Apparently he had given the band a hard time, making them the butt of sarcastic jokes at every opportunity. Mick had tried to be sarcastic in return by saying it was 'so nice to have Mr Martin on our show', but that sounded somewhat tame, if not childish.

ALO: Apart from the Dean Martin experience everybody enjoyed Los Angeles. You could see a lot more of the girls in such a climate and, LA being LA, the Summer of Love was already here. Most of the girls didn't need to undress; they already had. We got good news from England - the album was still no. 1. On the 5th the Stones played their first US concert at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernadino. A lot of enthusiastic fans showed and placed (even if the promoter didn't). The Stones felt better for it; they were back doing what they did best.

Sonny Bono took us for a ride to the RCA studios on Sunset. That afternoon I met three important elements in the Stones recording future: Jack Nitzsche, Dave Hassinger and the RCA studio itself. Thank you, Sonny, for being an angel in your own time and helping us find our breath.

We next flew south-west to San Antonio, Texas on propellers. Here in God's country our East Coast education in buttoning our lips served us well. In San Antonio we weren't just freaks, we were rodents. The Stones were to play two days at a State Fair. Wood-panelled station wagons manned by offduty good ol' boys greeted us with surly what-the-heel-kinda-freaks-we-gothere? disdain. Some mellowed out when they realised we weren't 'contagious or queer', but we didn't when we realised that we were due to play directly after a grand mer troop of performing seals. The menfolk chewed gum, cud or baccy. While scuffing their heels in the sand, they eyed us like bulls in heat at the idea of some pansy-quiffed matador for dinner. The more enthusiastic girls, well . . . Whereas in LA, girls just wanted to touch and be touched, down near the border they were a little more hands-on. They wanted to poke, squeal, and see if we were real.

The mood was tense. This was not turning out to be the America of anybody's dreams. For once the Stones and I didn't have much to say to each other. Something was awry and it wasn't us. We had a crisis on our hands and I needed a serious diversion -- quickly -- that would save the moment and allow the band to get their druthers. We weren't scoring except for the sex, which wasn't going to put us high on the charts, either, except in a doctor's office on a 'my dick stings when I piss, doctor, and I'm due home in a week' basis.

How to keep the dream alive? Keep it moving!

While the Stones Barnum 'n' Bailey'd and freaked 'n' geeked at the State Fair, I worked the phone in the downtown two-storey San Antonio motel. The bookings were lacklustre, with far too many days off for a three-week tour. New York and Detroit were somewhat promising, but the idea of Minneapolis, Omaha and Harrisburg without a hit record did not bode well. We'd left our status behind in our faraway homeland. After one year of solid slogging through and finding our recording legs and then beating down the Beatles' braveheart wall by winning fans north of St Albans via performance, we'd jumped on to our first 505 transatlantic flight and kaleidoscoped into this crazy, half-baked, mid-60s, partially Beatle-ised USA playland without the benefit of even Tom Wolfe. We'd made it through two dislocated American wonderlands -- the Brill-funky-Broadway of New York and the surreal beach-party mind-bend of LA -- and now we'd been unceremoniously plunked down into this sawdust fiasco in San Antonio. In a normal life, one should have enjoyed the rest, the dust, the breeze and the change, and given thanks for the opportunity to break bread and visit a piece of America in all its very own life-affirming, cattle-prodding, queer-baiting glory.

But I was up for, and we had time for, no such thing. Brian made some effort to be at one with the locals, but with him it was hard to tell what was real and what was an ongoing, insatiable cry for attention. Bill and Charlie put bullets in their respective guns, with Bill firing blanks at every Miss Motel America in sight and Charlie trying out some genuine six-shooters on the outskirts of town. Keith, I hoped, was writing about it, while Mick rested his self in the arms of Texas, writing about that (I also hoped). I starred in my own version of The Parallax View, gnawing my quicks nigh to the bone, wondering how to stop this reel from slipping the spool as I turned for assist to my old pal, the phone.

So I called Phil Spector and asked him to get us booked just as soon as was possible into Chess studios. Phil called back and said he'd set up two days of recording time, two days hence. So I was all beam and sheen when our driver, a Cool Hand Luke type, stationwagoned me out to the State Fair grounds for the last day of the Stones troll. I wondered if somewhere behind the glare of his prison-guard reflectors he'd heard of the late Lt. Andrew Loog. If I told him that my father was from Texas, would that change anything? I doubted it. I bit my tongue, now as sore as my nails, and resisted. There wasn't any point in engaging in small talk or trying to explain what we were doing there.

To them we were stone freaks -- or worse -- but compared with what was to come in the Brit export line, we were more akin to Herman's Hermits. If they wanted to see themselves reflected in a distorted mirror they'd have to wait for the Sex Pistols, who would launch themselves at Randy's Road House down the road some thirteen unlucky years later.

As I wondered whether I'd dressed down enough for the locale, I pondered why Texans seemed to dress only in denim and beige. Was it so they'd match up with the upholstery, with earth, ergot, barley and sage? And why was it that these beer-pawed Texans always drove one-handed, leaving their right arm curled around the passenger seat as if it were their goddamn God-given right to have someone curled up next to them? I felt too thin, wimpy and wiry to have my potential Texan fatherhood taken seriously by these big bad johns. After the long dust-filled ride over I happily greeted the lads. We now had something really exciting to talk about -- the mythical Chess studios.

All of them saw me beaming and knew something was up. 'Pack your bags,' I said. 'There's a change in the itinerary; we're going to Chicago to record.' From their all-at-once heartfelt smiles of wonder I knew that it was still worth playing God.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Copyright© 2003 by Andrew Loog Oldham

First Chapter

CHAPTER 1

Roberta Goldstein, friend and muse: There's a whole generation out there that doesn't go a day in their life without the Rolling Stones in it. When the Stones came here for that first tour they were poor, they were brilliant. We had a lot of parties -- we were a party. One of the best took place the night the lights went out in New York. That was in 65. The Stones were in a hotel on the West Side. Brian was there playing his harp when the lights went out.

You could see America through their eyes. The Stones loved the attitude and energy of New York; we'd walk it and we'd talk it. Andrew loved New York, too. It was a movie come true for him -- the Brill Building and 1650 Broadway, running around from office to office listening to that Jewish rock 'n' roll coming out of New York. It all had that sweet sound, the Carole King sound, the music of Bob Crewe. It wasn't 'I see a red door and I want it painted black.' It was more up; it was pop.

Al Kooper, musician/writer/producer: I was weaned at 1650 Broadway in NYC from 1958 to 1965. I started in the offices of Leo Rogers, an underhanded personal manager with a great deal of charisma. 1650 was the 'real' Brill Building. 1619 Broadway was the 'actual' Brill Building, but two hundred times more action and success took place in 1650. The 'actual' Brill Building was the last bastion of Tin Pan Alley and was widely regarded as an old man's building. Other than Leiber, Stoller, Bacharach, Barry and Greenwich, everything else took place at 1650 Broadway. The problem was 1650 was just 1650; it had no title to hang any memorabilia on. So the Brill Building gets all the credit, but that'scompletely false. In the offices of 1650: Paul Simon, Tony Orlando, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Neil Sedaka, Lenny Bruce, Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles, Chuck Jackson, Aldon Music, Roosevelt Music, Allegro Recording Studios, Artie Ripp, Bobby Lewis, the Jive Five, the Cadillacs, the Isley Brothers, Aaron Schroeder, Gene Pitney, Luther Dixon, the Strangeloves, Bob Gaudio, End Records, Gone Records, Bell Records, Amy-Mala Records, Scepter Records, BelTone Records, Dimension Records, and yours truly. The education I received in that building for seven years far outweighs any university matriculation. The adjoining coffee shop, B/G, had the greatest pancakes in the United States. I commuted from Queens. Also from my neighbourhood were the Temptations (the white version, with Artie Ripp) and Paul Simon and Artie Garfunkel. Nearby neighbours were bassist Harvey Brooks and pianist Paul Harris.

Dylan and the Beatles began the destruction of 1650. The new hip area became Greenwich Village in downtown Manhattan. But from 1958 to 1965, all the great music that came out of New York City was primarily conceived at 1650 Broadway.

Roberta Goldstein: It was magic as soon as the Stones opened their mouths. We'd never heard anything like that accent. When they were singing you couldn't really tell what country they were from. When they started giving interviews, they had such incredible style. Mick was very bright, as was Charlie. The rest were very quiet. Keith was very shy; I loved Keith for his shyness.
They'd saved a lot of money to get over to the States and every day and every minute counted. Then there was Alan Stroh, what a darling. He worked with Bob Crewe, came from a very rich family in the meat business, and lived for show business. Alan was the manager of Mitch Ryder - this was during the period when Mitch and Bob were having all those hits. Everybody was broke, running hard, living well and helping each other out. I went out with Alan and Bob every night. Andy Warhol would be drooling in the corner - oh, anything to get to our table.

The English were just blowing me away, me and a billion others. We'd first met them all on that first Stones tour of America. Then I went to London. On the first day I arrived, Andrew had just bought this brand new Rolls-Royce. We went to the Scotch of St James and Paul McCartney was there. We all went to Andrew's house afterwards. I'd brought over Beach Boys records and we sat around listening to the Beach Boys. We were so young and innocent and everybody thought we were wild.

Andrew was like a little giant, but he had so many people pulling on him. When you manage a group it's like having five kids - one wants vanilla, one wants raspberry, one wants chocolate. This is when the 60s began for me. There was just so much talent and fun around, just so many people doing great things, like Dion, another genius who never got his due. On that first tour I saw the Stones do some TV show in an NY studio, something like Saturday Night Dance Fever or Clay Cole. There were like four hundred screaming little women. Mick would be sitting on the side of the stage looking like he was going to sleep, so relaxed. But as soon as it was time to go to work, that man started to move. He gave himself a hell of a workout; he was working out before people knew what a workout was.

At this point they weren't into hard drugs at all. I'm talking marijuana here and a few pills there. One time the Stones were on a concert out of town and Keith's girlfriend Linda Keith and I took an acid trip. The group flew back every night to New York, so they were out in North Carolina on that particular day. I don't know where Andrew was. He only liked to go to towns that had Bonwit Teller stores; Macy's didn't cut it for him. Anyway, Linda says, 'I don't want Keith to know that I took a trip.' So Keith gets back late to the hotel in Manhattan and he's like pumped from working and flying and he sees us staring at the walls. He goes, 'What did you girls do tonight?' 'Wow!' we said, 'we smoked this really strong thing.' We did have some, actually -- it was strong pot. We gave it to him, and the poor guy threw up.

They used to play cards on the flight, and Keith would complain that he was always losing. So we gave him a bi-phetamine and the next night Keith went out again on another gig. He got back and said he'd won $300, so he was very happy.

The Stones were really fresh and innocent and hoping to make it big. Then everything came at once; it was like a snowball that just became an avalanche, with the clothes and the talking and the movies -- all at the same time James Bond came out. Everything just mushroomed. It was like Englandmania. The English won that war; even crappy acts became successful.

Bob Crewe lived wonderfully at the Dakota; it was fantasyland. That's where I met Andrew. Bob threw a beautiful party for the Stones, very posh, catered by one of the finest people in the city and then, of course, Mick sat on a table and broke everything . . . class act. Andrew enjoyed it because he got to meet all the moguls and mogulettes. Ahmet Ertegun was there, and Harry Cohn, whose father started Columbia Pictures. That impressed Andrew. Liza Minnelli was there. That was a damn good party.

Bob's home was a gathering place. I met Lionel Bart there, Brian Epstein, Leonard Bernstein (who also lived in the Dakota). Bob's was one of the most fabulous apartments you'd ever lay eyes on. And it wasn't even his best apartment, just his Dakota pad. The really good apartment was on the East Side on Fifth Avenue. I called it Glitter House. You could fall asleep and hear the animals in the Central Park Zoo; it was three storeys of heaven. Set designer Sean Kenny would be there with Lionel or Andrew; he did a lot of work with Anthony Newley as well. He invited us to a preview of Stop The World (I Want To Get Off). It was just incredible. We didn't have to go to London for the swingin' 60s -- it came to us. It was like the Beatles and . . . voilà! Suddenly the 60s had moved to New York. You gotta understand that at this point very few people knew what the hell they were doing.

ALO: Young men grow, innocence goes, and the kids, albeit all right, start to become street fighting men. We had this almost molecular affinity with America. Its music fed the soul of the Stones -- it was the soul. American music was life-giving plasma; it was our future, the great escape as we flamed into being with fashion and rhythm. It was the explanation, the clue, the glue and the door to the room at the top to which absolute beginners and definite winners found the key.

When one is young, summer records define your life. Later they explain it. In June of 1964 the US charts were topped by the Dixie Cups' rendition of the Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich ditty 'Chapel Of Love' on the Red Bird label. The Beach Boys' 'I Get Around' and the Four Seasons' 'Rag Doll' completed this trio of great Popness while Herman's Hermits, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Peter and Gordon, Billy J. Kramer and the Dave Clark Five nipped at their heels with the best and worst of the British Invasion. Even the Bachelors got to no. 12. Throughout this magical spring and summer, the Beatles always had some half a dozen singles in the US Top 20.
The Rolling Stones were running late. In Britain we were running within our breath; in America we would soon be running ahead and out of it. One single, 'I Wanna Be Your Man', had been released and withdrawn. The side had then been coupled with 'Not Fade Away' and rereleased, and apart from a few idyllic plays in the Midwest, would do just that. The Stones' first LP outing, dressed and sold to no. 1 in the UK -- via its urgent accuracy and my immaculate no-name imagery -- had been repackaged behind my back by London Records and given a title, England's Newest Hitmakers, putting the event lower on the graphics pole than a Freddie & the Dreamers cover. We were pissed off.

In Rockin' Britain (and somewhat in Europe) the Stones already had a track record from their two Top 10 singles, a Top 10 EP and a no. 1 album - plus an avalanche of good cop/bad cop press, adulation and scorn (the good cops being the Mop Tops). I screamed inches of ink while my erstwhile partner from the vaudeville machine, Eric Easton, booked the hoopla. The hoopla, the Rolling Stones, played and delivered. Game, set, match. Now Eric handed over the North American booking to a crew named GAC, who could have been CIA if appearances and attitude were anything to go on. These ten per centers lived in a conservative Barnum-less world of staggered vents, brogued battleship shoes, broadcloth button-down shirts and Washington power haircuts and were more at home with Jackie Mason than Nanker Phelge. To get as many newspaper inches for the Stones in the States as I'd been able to get at home, they'd have had to heist an atomic bomb.

America! Where presidents were knocked off, the widow in the pink pillbox hat and bloodstained Chanel mini passed as royalty, and the British Invasion was looked upon with the same disdain as the Twist, hula hoops and surfin'. I suspected my British box of tricks was not going to work here. We desperately needed a vocal following, and to get that we needed real plastic bullets, real hits, and lotsa, lotsa radio play.

On 1 June 1964 at New York's formerly-Idlewild-recently-renamed- Kennedy Airport, the Stones were welcomed by a few hundred girls that London Records had managed to round up. If the Beatles' landing four months earlier had been directed by Cecil B. DeMille, our arrival was helmed by Mel Brooks. All those Yank cars that had seemed so exotic and out of reach back in Blighty were a dime a dozen in the States. In the drizzle of the Manhattan drabness, they looked strangely cumbersome and lacklustre. Once we left the airport we were invisible; not a soul knew who we were. The movie was out of sync with life as I'd known it, jump-cutting between black and white and colour. The voices didn't match the picture. Putting reality together with the movie was a strain, and, as for the soundtrack, it had become a hollow-reverbed nightmare -- the audio was wrong, all wrong. I don't recall being excited; all I remember is being scared.

The Stones stayed at the Astor Hotel on Times Square. I saved some money and went looking to get myself recharged and to cadge a sleep on Phil Spector's ground-floor office couch on the East River somewhere in the sixties. Phil's office was a dull, couched and plywooded affair - his taste was reserved for vinyl. I was not invited upstairs to the penthouse residence, where, I believe, a marriage was on the rocks.

The Stones were a small cult, a collector's item, i.e. we didn't mean shit. They did The Les Crane Show, hosted by some stagger-brained, lacquered pimp with a smile and demeanour so cut out and fake we felt like we'd stopped off on the wrong set and were in Hogan's Heroes meets The Twilight Zone. God, suddenly old Auntie Beeb seemed great and far-seeing in comparison and we missed her so! It's okay to have your home kind question and ridicule you, but I took this vulturistic gnawing and nit-picking at the Stones' very soul as a personal violation of all that was dear to me. Brian Jones looked like he'd been turned inside out, his heart and soul flayed and scalped before his very own eyes. He hurt and we hurt for him, though nowt was said except a curse on those stillborn Yanks. If we'd anything to declare at Ellis Island, perhaps it was that our skins were not as thick as we'd thought (the Stones' collective leathery eye had not yet formed).
But that was all about to change and did, with Charlie in the lead, as we were stalked up Seventh Avenue by some creature from the Manhattan radio lagoon named Clay Cole. Cole looked like an electro-shock Anthony Perkins on steroids. His questions never got past 'Why did you grow your hair?' What a dolt! Didn't he know this kind of banter was reserved for the Mop Tops and Herman's Hermits? The movie snapped back into focus when the dapper Watts told this inane prick to fuck off. He did, and we moved on up to 57th suddenly feeling whole again. You might say we were spoilt brats who didn't much care for this new bashing we were getting abroad. It was the old Christians and lions game. It was the original Planet of the Apes, and I was feeling more like Roddy McDowell than Mr NRA.

From the papier-mâché The Day of the Locust New York reception we winged to Los Angeles, hovered over it, and arrived as LA's surviving movieola barracudas were shit-deep in make-up and cliché. Just another day in the celluloid killing fields. Yes, I was pissed off. The plane had bad lighting, most of the colours and fabric were tired and inspired by vomit, façade and disease, and the stewardesses looked best in long shots, evoking Sandra Dee and all of Alfred Hitchcock's best blonde apparitions.

The image on the West Coast screen momentarily moved from B-movie to VistaVision as Phil Spector's right-hand promo man Sonny Bono greeted us at the airport with an open heart and hand to La-La Land. There was hope yet. Thirtysomething Salvatore Bono looked as whacked as the Stones - and he worked for a living! Bono was all Sicilian LA heart. Clad in barber-pole striped trousers, an Italian sweater of the sort thus far only dared by Carnaby poofters, sole- and heelless calf-length Indian moccasins, and paisley neckscarf, he was a sight to see. In his car boot were boxes of Caesar and Cleo 45s because, in those pre-'I Got You, Babe' days, he was part of a duo called Caesar and Cleopatra with his then-girlfriend, Cher.

The next day the movie went back to black and white as we started rehearsals for The Dean Martin Hollywood Palace Show - the first surprise being that there was no Dean to be seen. Two days of rehearsals with a Dean stand-in followed. Meanwhile, Deano was out on the links, touching 6 2Stoned (11pt) p1- 13/9/02 4:35 pm Page 6 up his tan. He turned up for the filming, immaculate and decadent (which equalled rich), and proceeded to insult the Stones as his way of getting in and out of a commercial break and into the bowels of America's suburban heartland. The insults one could handle, and the goodfella laconicism -- just. It was not having thought of a stand-in for Mick that hurt to the management core.

James Phelge, Phelge's Stones: Not much news was getting back to the office regarding the Stones' progress on the tour. I rang Keith and spoke to him at one of the hotels where they were staying. He was generally 'knocked out' with America, saying they might be going to the Chess studios and that the tour was going great. We only spoke briefly as he was busy with a press conference and I was running out of change for the pay phone, so I didn't find out much more. I had to wait until they arrived back in England, when we met up again at the office for a full debriefing. The boys had spent a small fortune on clothes while they were away and were determined to show them off back home. Most of the clothing was lightweight American summer wear and Charlie looked particularly cool in a finely striped blue and white jacket that Andy Wickham, Andrew's PR guy, described as 'surf wear'. Some of it certainly looked as if it belonged on a beach.

I asked Keith about the television show when the band had met Dean Martin. Keith turned up his nose, describing Martin as a 'right fuckin' offer'. Apparently he had given the band a hard time, making them the butt of sarcastic jokes at every opportunity. Mick had tried to be sarcastic in return by saying it was 'so nice to have Mr Martin on our show', but that sounded somewhat tame, if not childish.

ALO: Apart from the Dean Martin experience everybody enjoyed Los Angeles. You could see a lot more of the girls in such a climate and, LA being LA, the Summer of Love was already here. Most of the girls didn't need to undress; they already had. We got good news from England - the album was still no. 1. On the 5th the Stones played their first US concert at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernadino. A lot of enthusiastic fans showed and placed (even if the promoter didn't). The Stones felt better for it; they were back doing what they did best.

Sonny Bono took us for a ride to the RCA studios on Sunset. That afternoon I met three important elements in the Stones recording future: Jack Nitzsche, Dave Hassinger and the RCA studio itself. Thank you, Sonny, for being an angel in your own time and helping us find our breath.

We next flew south-west to San Antonio, Texas on propellers. Here in God's country our East Coast education in buttoning our lips served us well. In San Antonio we weren't just freaks, we were rodents. The Stones were to play two days at a State Fair. Wood-panelled station wagons manned by offduty good ol' boys greeted us with surly what-the-heel-kinda-freaks-we-gothere? disdain. Some mellowed out when they realised we weren't 'contagious or queer', but we didn't when we realised that we were due to play directly after a grand mer troop of performing seals. The menfolk chewed gum, cud or baccy. While scuffing their heels in the sand, they eyed us like bulls in heat at the idea of some pansy-quiffed matador for dinner. The more enthusiastic girls, well . . . Whereas in LA, girls just wanted to touch and be touched, down near the border they were a little more hands-on. They wanted to poke, squeal, and see if we were real.

The mood was tense. This was not turning out to be the America of anybody's dreams. For once the Stones and I didn't have much to say to each other. Something was awry and it wasn't us. We had a crisis on our hands and I needed a serious diversion -- quickly -- that would save the moment and allow the band to get their druthers. We weren't scoring except for the sex, which wasn't going to put us high on the charts, either, except in a doctor's office on a 'my dick stings when I piss, doctor, and I'm due home in a week' basis.

How to keep the dream alive? Keep it moving!

While the Stones Barnum 'n' Bailey'd and freaked 'n' geeked at the State Fair, I worked the phone in the downtown two-storey San Antonio motel. The bookings were lacklustre, with far too many days off for a three-week tour. New York and Detroit were somewhat promising, but the idea of Minneapolis, Omaha and Harrisburg without a hit record did not bode well. We'd left our status behind in our faraway homeland. After one year of solid slogging through and finding our recording legs and then beating down the Beatles' braveheart wall by winning fans north of St Albans via performance, we'd jumped on to our first 505 transatlantic flight and kaleidoscoped into this crazy, half-baked, mid-60s, partially Beatle-ised USA playland without the benefit of even Tom Wolfe. We'd made it through two dislocated American wonderlands -- the Brill-funky-Broadway of New York and the surreal beach-party mind-bend of LA -- and now we'd been unceremoniously plunked down into this sawdust fiasco in San Antonio. In a normal life, one should have enjoyed the rest, the dust, the breeze and the change, and given thanks for the opportunity to break bread and visit a piece of America in all its very own life-affirming, cattle-prodding, queer-baiting glory.

But I was up for, and we had time for, no such thing. Brian made some effort to be at one with the locals, but with him it was hard to tell what was real and what was an ongoing, insatiable cry for attention. Bill and Charlie put bullets in their respective guns, with Bill firing blanks at every Miss Motel America in sight and Charlie trying out some genuine six-shooters on the outskirts of town. Keith, I hoped, was writing about it, while Mick rested his self in the arms of Texas, writing about that (I also hoped). I starred in my own version of The Parallax View, gnawing my quicks nigh to the bone, wondering how to stop this reel from slipping the spool as I turned for assist to my old pal, the phone.

So I called Phil Spector and asked him to get us booked just as soon as was possible into Chess studios. Phil called back and said he'd set up two days of recording time, two days hence. So I was all beam and sheen when our driver, a Cool Hand Luke type, stationwagoned me out to the State Fair grounds for the last day of the Stones troll. I wondered if somewhere behind the glare of his prison-guard reflectors he'd heard of the late Lt. Andrew Loog. If I told him that my father was from Texas, would that change anything? I doubted it. I bit my tongue, now as sore as my nails, and resisted. There wasn't any point in engaging in small talk or trying to explain what we were doing there.

To them we were stone freaks -- or worse -- but compared with what was to come in the Brit export line, we were more akin to Herman's Hermits. If they wanted to see themselves reflected in a distorted mirror they'd have to wait for the Sex Pistols, who would launch themselves at Randy's Road House down the road some thirteen unlucky years later.

As I wondered whether I'd dressed down enough for the locale, I pondered why Texans seemed to dress only in denim and beige. Was it so they'd match up with the upholstery, with earth, ergot, barley and sage? And why was it that these beer-pawed Texans always drove one-handed, leaving their right arm curled around the passenger seat as if it were their goddamn God-given right to have someone curled up next to them? I felt too thin, wimpy and wiry to have my potential Texan fatherhood taken seriously by these big bad johns. After the long dust-filled ride over I happily greeted the lads. We now had something really exciting to talk about -- the mythical Chess studios.

All of them saw me beaming and knew something was up. 'Pack your bags,' I said. 'There's a change in the itinerary; we're going to Chicago to record.' From their all-at-once heartfelt smiles of wonder I knew that it was still worth playing God.

Copyright© 2003 by Andrew Loog Oldham

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