Where are all my friends?
January 10-12, 1977: At Aylesbury Crown Court in London, England, Keith
Richards is tried for possession of LSD
and cocaine. Mick Jagger and John Phillips are in attendance. Keith Richards pleads not guilty and is found not
guilty of possession of LSD but guilty of possession of cocaine. He is fined but no jail sentence is given.
(1977): On trial again
What is on trial is the same thing that's always been on trial. Dear old them and us. I find this all a bit weary. I've done my stint in the fucking dock. Why don't they pick on the Sex Pistols?
Keith's drug problems
How did I handle (Keith's drug problems?) Oh, with difficulty. It's never easy. I don't find it easy dealing with people with drug problems. It helps if you're all taking drugs, all the same drugs. But anyone taking heroin is thinking about taking heroin more than they're thinking about anything else. That's the general rule about most drugs...
I think that people taking drugs occasionally are great. I think there's nothing wrong with it. But if you do it the whole time, you don't produce as good things as you could. It sounds like a puritanical statement, but it's based on experience. You can produce many good things, but they take an awfully long time... When Keith was taking heroin, it was very difficult to work. He still was creative, but it took a long time. And everyone else was taking drugs and drinking a tremendous amount, too. And it affected everyone in certain ways. But I've never really talked to Keith about this stuff. So I have no idea what he feels.
Early February 1977: Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart record with Ronnie Lane
and Pete Townshend at Olympic
Sound Studios in London.
February 16, 1977: The Rolling
Stones sign a four-album record deal worth $14 million with WEA in
North America and EMI in the rest of the world.
(1977): Obligations and ambitions
There's a pressure from the band 'cause they want to work and make the best music that they can. Then there's pressure from without 'cause we promised we would make certain albums - four new albums - and so we will. I'll do it, you know. English people are very funny like that. An Englishman's word and all that. And it really works. It's no joke.
None of it's got anything to do with money. I mean, it translates itself into money, but none of us is greatly concered with making money. None of the pressures are concerned with money nor with image. I just try and make the best music I can. Without being rude to any member of the record-buying public, that's not what pushes me to write songs. I do my best, but I don't do it while consciously thinking, Wow, I'm going this for my public. I know some people do. That's really an old-fashioned show-business concept, you know. The first obligation is obviously to myself or my own integrity and it must be 'cause how can I gauge what the public really wants? Your first obligation is to your own self, to your conscience or whatever you call it. Don't let yourself down.
You may be letting yourself down in the eyes of other people, your group, your peers, your musician friends, you know, but it's because you don't know what they want. And they change all the time anyway; it's an ever-changing fuck, people, isn't it?
February 20-23, 1977: The Rolling
Stones, without Keith Richards, are in Toronto, Canada, holding band
rehearsals. Keith Richards is late in arriving, still at his home Redlands in West Wittering, Sussex,
February 24, 1977: As Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg arrive in Toronto,
Anita is arrested at the airport for
possession of cannabis and other substances. Keith Richards checks into the Harbour Castle Hotel.
February 24-26, 1977: Keith Richards
joins the Rolling Stones' rehearsals in Toronto.
February 27, 1977: Keith Richards is arrested in his hotel room in Toronto
with large quantities of heroin, cocaine
and drug paraphernalia. Keith Richards is instructed he is being charged with possession of heroin with the
purpose of trafficking and is given a short court hearing before being released on bail.
and Charlie Watts (2011): Keith's 1977 bust
Mick: I don't know whether I thought there wouldn't be another Stones album. The way I recall it is we just had to wait and see. But there was a lot of talk of a jail sentence, as it was such a heavy drug atrest. He had SO much heroin on him (laughs). It was like an industrial amount. You're automatically done for trafficking so the onus is on you to prove that you're not.
Charlie: It was a worry, but I didn't think it was the end of the band. We'd done Exile... and been busted then. Not me, but "we" as in the name The Rolling Stones. The real worry was whether we could tour again.
February 27, 1977: In the evening,
Keith Richards joins the Rolling Stones for another rehearsal in
February 28, 1977: Mick Jagger flies home to New York City to visit his
sick daughter Jade. Bill Wyman and Ron
Wood score heroin for Keith Richards in Toronto, to prevent withdrawal.
February 28-March 3, 1977: The
Rolling Stones continue rehearsing in Toronto with Mick Jagger.
March 4, 1977: In Toronto, Anita Pallenberg pleads guilty to possession
of heroin and cannabis, is fined and
released. Mick Jagger returns to Toronto, Canada, and greets Margaret Trudeau, wife of Canadian Prime
Minister Pierre Trudeau.
March 4-5, 1977: The Rolling Stones
perfom two unannounced concerts at the El Mocambo Club in
Toronto, recorded for use on the upcoming live album.
& Keith Richards: The El Mocambo gigs
Ron: Yeah, it was a good time of development for me. I made them play Come On (sic), Little Red Rooster, all those. Right from the first song I felt very pleased at the fact that no one said, Oh, we can't do that one, it's too old. Everyone just went straight into them.
Keith: The minute I got onstage, it felt just like another Sunday gig at the Crawdaddy. It immediately felt the same... It was one of those weird things in Toronto. Everybody's going around talking doom and disaster, and we're up onstage at the El Mocambo and we never felt better. I mean, we sounded GREAT. People were down, asking Is this the end of the Rolling Stones? In actual fact, it was a real period of activity for us, and everybody in the band was confident. In a way, these things always bring you closer together because you've got to deal with them. What happens to me affects the whole band.
March 6, 1977: Mick Jagger and Rolling Stones tour manager Peter Rudge
ask Margaret Trudeau to leave their
hotel to avoid unwanted publicity, which she refuses.
(March 6): Touring without Keith
(Would we tour without Keith if he was in jail for a long time?) Yeah, I should say so... Obviously we wouldn't if Keith was only in jail for a month or two months, but if he was in jail for a long period of time, I suppose we'd have to...
We can't wait 5 years. In 5 years, we won't be touring at all. Not much anyway, just a few lounges.
(1977): Media attention
All I wish is that everybody who bought People Magazine would buy the fucking records.
March 7, 1977: Keith Richards appears in court again in Toronto. The charge
of possession of cocaine is added.
March 8, 1977: Keith Richards returns to court, is rearrested for the cocaine
charge and his passport is retained.
He is released on $25 000 bail. Mick Jagger and Ron Wood leave Toronto to start working on the live recordings
in New York City.
March 8, 1977: Keith Richards,
Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts record overdubs for the El Mocambo
recordings at Interchange Recording Studios in Toronto.
March 9, 1977: Keith Richards shops at Eaton's in Toronto and purchases
Elvis Presley records and toy figurines
for his son Marlon. Charlie Watts leaves Toronto.
March 11, 1977: Bill Wyman and Astrid Lundstrom leave Toronto, leaving
March 12-13, 1977: Keith Richards records unreleased solo recordings at
Sounds Interchange Studios in Toronto
with Ian Stewart, playing piano and performing country songs by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, The Everly
Brothers and others, including Merle Haggard's prison lament Sing Me Back Home.
(March 1977): The Toronto tapes
I got time to put down on tape all these songs I learned from Gram Parsons. I was very tight with him for a long time. I've never really done anything, in the eight since years since he taught me, anything more than put them on cassette to just remember the lyrics. So I thought I would put them down, as a dub sort of thing. It's mostly country songs. Merle Haggard and George Jones. Stu and I have cut Worried Life Blues together and it has rather a Big Maceo/Tampa Red feel to it.
Mick and I play them whenever we get together and if we want to do them, then they are now half-ready to go, you know? So I took this opportunity to sort of rack my brains and put down everything I had floating around in my head: songs, half-songs, rifs... So that killed some time in Toronto.
I'm not really interested in doing a solo album. I haven't got an album's worth of stuff that I think I can interest people with anyway. Myself, that's what I think. I don't think I want to put myself in that position of writing a song, see - that position of Do I keep the song myself or do I give it to the Stones? It would cut us all in pieces and I don't want to put myself through that. I can do nearly everything I want to do with the Stones and what I can't do with the Stones I'm not good enough at doing.
There is probably going to come a time when I will do one, but it won't be a decision of mine.
March 14, 1977: Keith Richards attends another court hearing in Toronto
and a date is set for June 27 when a plea
will be entered. His passport is returned but needs to obtain a visa to another country to leave Canada.
The Toronto authorities
In actual fact, when it's all said and done, I was treated fairly well by the judicial system, I mean, which doesn't include the cops particularly. I mean, in that respect that time I was feeling very - the only reason they were leaning on me was because there was a possible chance of promotion to bust a big guy rather than some nobody who's probably doing far worse things, you know. I would consider a mass murderer might be someone you'd go after rather than just pop a rock and roll star. It's dead easy to get me. No hasslements involved. Maximum return for minimum of effort. That was my impression of most of the guys that actually arrested me.
Mid-March 1977: Mick Jagger,
Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and Ron Wood hold a band meeting in New
York City to discuss the group's future and settle details of their new recording contract.
I never liked speed, and that's probably why I go more for depressants, because my natural energy is very high. In the old days I really didn't want to deal with being a star every day and you could kind of hide inside heroin, it was like a cocoon; a soft wall between you and everything else. Probably not the best solution to the problem, but at the time I didn't think about that. It's an experiment that went on too long - getting heavily busted, blowing it for the Stones and for my family. I had to stop so I did.
People talk about cocaine addiction all the time, but I know what addiction is: opium, heroin, you know? That's when you're climbing the walls and you see your own fingernail marks 'cause you think there's something behind the wall.
(1978): The mystical 33rd year
Originally (when I said that) that was just an overall observation. I went through it and didn't feel anything in particular... I don't know though... I was 33 last year and the effect has taken a few months to make itself felt. There was that whole Toronto incident and at the end of that I just knew I had to finish with dope. So I guess I did undergo something of a traumatic experience at 33...
June 27, 1977: Keith Richards does not show up at his court date in Toronto.
A new date is set for July 19.
July 1977: Ron Wood separates from his wife and starts living with Jo Howard
in his rented house in Los Angeles.
July 13, 1977: Keith Richards and Stephen Stills jam in New York City.
July 16, 1977: Dr. Anita Stevens reports positively on Keith Richards and
Anita Pallenberg's continuing psychiatric
treatment and psychotherapy.
July 19, 1977: Keith Richards does not show up again for court in Toronto.
The trial date is set for December 2.
Keith Richards' bail is not forfeited.
(1977): Going on tour
As a result of the bust, live work has been right out of the question. When someone's on bail - as far as I remember when I was on bail - it's just a fuckin' nightmare going out on a tour. The police in every country are just so ready to pounce, you know - they've obviously been alerted, received special instructions to pay particular attention, to keep an eye out constantly for you, particularly when you're on the charge Keith's on. I mean, Christ, I'd never go out on the road with a geezer on a heroin pushin' charge. No way. Very problematic, that is.
July 24, 1977: Bill Wyman plays bass behind Muddy Waters again at the Montreux
Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
August 1, 1977: Ron Wood shoots a scene in London pretending to be a punk
rocker for the Beatles parody film
August 16, 1977: Death of Elvis Presley. Mick Jagger is on holiday in Turkey.
August 16-September 1977: Keith Richards and John Phillips resume recording
sessions for the latter's solo album
at Media Sound Studios in New York City.
(1977): Making an album without Keith
I couldn't make a total Rolling Stones album without him. I COULD make another kind of album, of course... I've learned a lot from Keith you know. I mean, actually I could go into the studio and make a Rolling Stones-type album... not archetypal Stones music perhaps, but then who needs that all the time? But then again I've always said that Keith could go in by himself and make a great studio album. I believe he could too... The point is that it's easier having someone else alongside you in the driver's seat taking care of his side of the scheme while you take care of your part. And of course there's that chemistry thing there too...
September 1977: Ron Wood declares to the press he wants his full 20% share
of the Rolling Stones' earnings.
During the month, in New York, Mick Jagger shoots a fake-serious interview for the film The Rutles.
September 12, 1977: Mick Jagger holds a press conference at the Savoy Hotel
in London, England, to promote the
release of Love You Live.
September 14, 1977: The Rolling
Stones, minus Keith Richards, hold a promotional party for the
release of Love You Live at The Marquee in London.
September 14, 1977: On the same day, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood attend Paul
McCartney's Buddy Holly Week
concert at the Kilburn Gaumont in London, England.
15-16, 1977: The Rolling Stones' third live (double) album,
Live, is released.
(1977): Love You Live
A lot of alien journalists have said to me, Oh, you just did this live album 'cause it's the LAST album in your contract or something. I mean, wow, I worked harder on this album than I do on a studio album. I'm not boasting or anything, but I did and Keith did work harder mainly because it's a double album. It was not in any way a throwaway thing. It was really important, 'cause we had made only one really live album before, so this one HAD to be good.
What we tried to do is make the sides have to stand up on their own. I mean, 'cause peole aren't going to pay a hell of a lot for a live album. So each side should stand on its own, have a pacing just like the show has a pacing.
Yeah, it's a really good-sounding album. It's very difficult for me to be obejctive about in any kind of honest way. I've played it and listened to it so many times that I don't know if it's wrong or right. I mean, it sounds OK.
(September 1977): Tour plans
I'd like to go back on the road, but I'd like to get another album done first, so we have a bunch of new songs to play on the raod. We've never toured the States with Black And Blue so we've got that. And if we've got another album, we'll have enough material to take it around without having to do the songs we've been playing for TOO long, so we don't get bored at ALL.
September 16, 1977: Bill Wyman and Astrid Lundstrom hang out with Ringo
Starr and Keith Moon in London.
September 17, 1977: Ron Wood and Jimmy Page play a charity gig in a pub
in Plumpton, England.
September 20, 1977: Mick Jagger,
Charlie Watts and Ron Wood are interviewed for UK TV's Old Grey
September 27, 1977: The Rolling
Stones, Keith Richards included, hold another promotional party for
Love You Live, in New York City.
(1984): Punk rock
Well it was a very mixed feeling when the punk thing happened. It was very early on. It was 1976 it started to happen... 1977. And yeah, it did seem... Everything in rock and roll seems to go round and come round, that sort of thing. So you see, you know, kids spitting into the cameras and all that... And it did seem a bit of a replay, but it brought back a lot of energy and it brought back rock and roll to people who couldn't really play music. All those people who could sort of play music were OUT. You know, those sort of grandiose-style rock bands were out. And people who couldn't really play were back in again - like US. So that was kind of nice, you know.
And it sort of revitalized a lot of people and made people think... They may think two things: they may think, Well, is that all there is? Cause we've done it before, and they may think, Well, energy is really a good thing to have in rock and roll. You don't have rock and roll without energy. And that was what, at that point, was lacking.
& Keith Richards (1977): Punk rock
Mick: We're the best punk band of all.
(T)here's a lot of clothes shops in the Kings Road, dear, and I've seen 'em all come and go. Nobody ever slams the door on me in the Kings Road. They all know I'm the only one who's got any money to spend on their crappy clothes. Though even I would draw the line on spending money on torn t-shirts!
(T)o tell the truth... I mean, I've never really liked what goes for white rock and roll, you know. Never ever, come to that. Speaking as one white person to another (smirk)... No, I just can't dance to it. I find it very, very difficult to dance to white people playing 'cause they get all the accents wrong. It's not even that it's too fast, it's just that all the accents are in the wrong places, you know. I mean, I've ALWAYS felt like that about white rock - from Elvis to the Sex Pistols - and I'm not going to stop thinking that way because of any new band, you know.
(If Johnny Rotten says I should have retired in 1965), then he should definitely retire next year. He was on Top of the Pops in England and that was a cop-out for the Sex Pistols. It's difficult for Americans to know what Tops of the Pops means, but it's the only pop music show on television - and I do mean pop - and the only place for Top Twenty Records and it's the most banal - it's aimed at a real teeny market, people with clean hair and all that... Now they're on the front of the Rolling Stone. That's a real cop-out. If I was Johnny Rotten, I wouldn't do either. I wouldn't do Top of the Pops and I'd tell Rolling Stone to go fuck themselves...
I don't care what Johnny Rotten says. Everything Johnny Rotten says about me is only 'cause he loves me 'cause I'm so good. It's true (grins)... (H)e says all (these) nasty things about me. I know that he feels he has to because I'm, along with the Queen, you know, one of the best things England's got. Me and the Queen. (smirks) Anyway, I wouldn't do those things he's doing 'cause in a year the Sex Pistols are gonna be phffft! Cause things happen much quicker these days.
No matter what Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious do, they can't be more disgusting than the Rolling Stones are in an orgy of biting... I think even Sid Vicious is basically a nice guy, but Johnny Rotten keeps talking bad about me. He'll get his rotten teeth kicked in one day.
Keith: I don't think that Bowie or Johnny Rotten or all the Zeppelins are anywhere in the future let alone the present. Jagger believes punk is today, is now. To think you've got to somethign new just for the sake of doing it isn't real. It's the equivalent to when a lot of Dixieland bands added electric guitars, calling themselves R&B just to stay up with the times. For a band of the Stones' position to do that would have been ludicrous. It's fatal for the Stones to try that. Why the fuck do WE have to try to sound like the Sex Pistols for? What's the point of listening to that shit? It's for mass-media consumption anyway.
September 29, 1977: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood are interviewed
by Andy Warhol for his Interview
September 30, 1977: Keith Richards and Ron Wood take the Concorde to Paris,
France, to start rehearsals for the
Rolling Stones' next recording sessions.
October 10-November 25, 1977:
The Rolling Stones start recording sessions for Some Girls at EMI-
Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris, France, with engineer Chris Kimsey.
The spirit of Some Girls
I'd moved to New York at that point. The inspiration for the Some Girls album was really based in New York and the ways of the town. I think that gave it an extra spur and hardness. And then, of course, there was the punk thing that had started in 1976. Punk and disco were going on at the same time, so it was quite an interesting period. New York and London, too. Paris - there was punk there. Lots of dance music. Paris and New York had all this Latin dance music, which was really quite wonderful. Much more interesting than the stuff that came afterward...
(I didn't want to make a disco album.) I wanted to make more of a rock album. I just had one song that had a dance groove: Miss You. But I didn't want to make a disco album. I wrote all these songs - like Respectable, Lies,When the Whip Comes Down... It was a really great record. I seem to like records that have one overriding mood with lots of little offshoots. Even though there's a lot of bases covered, there's lots of straight-ahead rock and roll. It's very brass-edged. It's very Rolling Stones, not a lot of frills.
Respectable is the kind of edgy punk ethos. Yeah, the groove of it - and on all those songs, the whole thing was to play it all fast, fast, fast. I had a lot of problems with Keith about it, but that was the deal at the time.
& Chris Kimsey: Some Girls
Keith: I think a lot of (the reasons for the quality of Some Girls) was Chris Kimsey. We were at a point where we asked ourselves, Are we just going to do another boring Stones-in-the-doldrums sort of album?
First of all those mid-70s LPs remind me of being a junkie (laughs). What happened was I'd been through the bust in Canada, which was a real watershed - or WaterGATE - for me. I'd gone to jail (sic), been cleaned up, done my cure, and I'd wanted to come back and prove there was some difference... some... some reason for this kind of suffering. So Some Girls was the first record I'd been able to get back into and view from a totally different state than I'd been in for most of the 70s.
We're talking about that post-Exile period: Goats Head Soup, Black And Blue, which was really an audition for a new guitar player, and Only Rock 'N Roll. We were dealing with a whole load of problems that built up from being who we were, what the '60s were. There was the fact that we all had to leave England if we wanted to keep the Stones going, which we did, and then trying to re-deal with each other when suddenly we were scattered half-way around the globe instead of see you in half an hour. Also dealing with a lot of success and a lot of money over a long period. We'd been working non-stop and then suddenly had to deal with a backlog of problems that had built up because nobody'd had time to deal with them.
Chris Kimsey: If I had any plan at all regarding sound, it was simply to get more of a live sound. Before I began working with them, their last few albums like Black And Blue and Goats Head Soup had sounded too clean in places, almost clinical. When I first went to Paris to set up the room at Pathé Marconi, it was intended for rehearsals only. But the room had such a good sound even though the disk was only 16-track, they began to feel comfortable. It made for a more relaxed atmosphere which led to a certain spontaneity in the music.
November 4, 1977: Keith Moon visits the Rolling Stones recording in Paris,
is arrested at the Ritz Hotel for rowdy
behaviour and jailed, then bailed by the Stones' lawyers the next morning.
December 2, 1977: Keith Richards appears in court at Toronto's City Hall
in Canada, where a preliminary hearing is
conducted. The judge refuses to drop the drug trafficking charge. Keith Richards is ordered to show up again on
February 6, when a trial date will be set.
December 9-21, 1977: The Rolling
Stones resume recording sessions for Some Girls in Paris, working
on Miss You, Just My Imagination and Black Limousine among others.
|Mick Jagger (2011): Running the band
(Was I r)unning the band? It was a role I had for good or bad. Keith was a heroin addict and if you're a heroin addict it's hard to do much more than be a heroin addict and play the guitar - that's quite enough of an achievement. You might want to do all this other stuff but if you're a herion addict you are limited. And his drug bust was very heavy, and if you're talking about jail, that's worrying too, so it's all you can do to turn up for the music never mind anything else... (How clear-headed was I at this time?) Not a hundred per cent (laughs). Fuzzy. But I was functioning.
December 25, 1977: Mick Jagger spends Christmas with Jerry Hall at the
Savoy Hotel in London, England. Keith
Richards spends Christmas in his new upstate New York home with Anita and Marlon. He takes them to see
Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Keith Richards is back to using heroin again.
Nearing the end with Keith
Keith would still come and see me, but not often, so I just dived into another huge binge of alcohol and drugs. But I remember on Christmas and birthdays he was always there - that's how hard it got. If we wanted to be together, the lawyer couldn't have stopped us, but then there were also Keith's friends...
And then Keith had some girlfriends as well, and I was basically in the country by myself... Keith was never there and I was here and he was doing a record and then I had Marlon. Marlon was like nine years, ten years old and he hadn't gone to school. So we had to find a way of like inserting ourselves into society. I didn't want to have this regular life, with Marlon going to school, but I had to. There was no other way. So I drank myself into oblivion.
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