August 4, 2015
The Life And Times Of
Andrew Loog Oldham
Of The Rolling Stones
Oldham, Andrew Loog: Stoned, 2001, Vintage
Oldham, Andrew Loog: 2Stoned, 2003, Vintage
Oldham, Andrew Log: Stone Free, 2012, Escargot Books
Oldham, Andrew Loog: Rolling Stoned, 2013, Because Entertainment
Who Is Andrew Loog Oldham
For those who know this introduction will be superfluous, but for those who don’t know this essay will be an introduction to a man who through his exploitation of the Rolling Stones was an important influence on that memorable Sixties decade. Perhaps moreso than is commonly thought.
Out on the consuming edge of the record industry in those days the name Andrew Loog Oldham seemed to be displayed as prominently on the record covers as The Rolling Stones themselves. In the early days Andrew Loog Oldham might be known before Mick or Keith and certainly the other members of the band. Yet Oldham wasn’t in the band so who was he? And then records were issued bearing the name The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. Where did he get that name Loog anyway? And just as suddenly the name Andrew Loog Oldham disappeared but the Stones remained. Who was this guy anyway?
In those days when information could be gathered, if at all, at the proverbial snail’s pace, things have changed today when I can make a few clicks and see Andrew moving and hear him speaking; actually see his fabulous style of dressing as he described it. In addition he has written two thousand pages describing himself more or less in full. Now we can know who Andrew Loog Oldham is and what his relationship to the Rolling Stones was.
Andrew’s, we’ll take a familiar approach throughout, great tragedy is that his fated life opportunity showed up too early. He was only nineteen in 1963 when the opportunity that few ever get a chance to grasp showed up on his front doorstep, so to speak. That was the appearance of the London music group The Rolling Stones. In order to come into his inheritance as he was under twenty-one and couldn’t legally act in his own name, Andrew had to find a surrogate to act in his stead. Chance provided an old reprobate by the name of Eric Easton. Eric was a plodder who had served as an organist at the resort town of Blackpool while representing two or three nondescript acts of which one was the redoubtable Mrs. Miller. While not a household name at the present time Mrs. Miller whose act consisted of being an amusingly terrible singer, had her moment in the spotlight both in England and the US. She did have records released and they did sell no matter how modestly.
Easton was slow on the uptake not realizing the cultural shift that was taking place with the arrival of the Beatles and would have been incapable of managing the Stones without Andrew’s grasp of the changing cultural situation of the Sixties. However he was not too slow to understand money in the bank of which he made off with a fortune or two much to the chagrin of both Andrew and the Rolling Stones.
Andrew’s four volumes are records of his vicissitudes being a young Lancelot reaching for the Grail. Andrew was green, he was. In ordinary times he would have been cleaned and discarded never to be heard of again but these were the Sixties and not normal times. Even in failure the times conspired to make Andrew comfortable by luxury standards, perhaps even rich, but not filthy rich. The marvelous Sixties did that for so many people most of them undeserving. By undeserving I mean takers with nothing to offer.
Well, this isn’t a tale about justice but one of the Sixties in which the whole concept of justice disappeared like the vapor from a nuclear plant. As an extra special gift of the times to Andrew he is today still alive and kicking having passed the seventh decade barrier at 71 years of age. The good didn’t necessarily die young just the unlucky. Andy is lucky.
He can be seen introducing his third book, Stone Free, at his Face Book site for those interested. Always the fashion plate he is a dapper impression of his hero Phil Spector, pointy nose and all. His hair is becomingly combed back on the sides making for a very presentable 71 year old young at heart gentleman. He wears a mint green light jacket and shirt, something of a cross between a butch femme and an effete hommy, but altogether passable. He projects a pleasant aura indicating little brain damage from his very legendary drug use. A look at him shows how Alex, the chief Droog of A Clockwork Orange may have looked as he made the passage from rough youth to a more dignified mature, the word ‘old’ does not apply to one like Andrew, or I might vainly say, myself.
Andrew Finds That Life Has It Hazards
I don’t really envy the English kids that came along after my birth year of 1938. The war years were tough enough but then the long years of national poverty after 1945 must have been grating. I can’t imagine a life without candy that the lads and lasses had to endure for nine long years. In my paradise in the US candy bars in those days at a nickel were monstrous. I couldn’t eat a whole one at one sitting. Stuffed at less than a half. Andrew must have known hardship and suffered horribly.
The war babies, mostly from ’42 and ’43 can have no memory of the war but the long ten years of rationed everything gave a cast to their psyches. When the war babies grew up and became rockers they laid out long tables of delicacies and then ignored them letting them go to waste. The pain was forgotten but lived on in the subconscious. Andrew was conceived in ’43 and popped out in ’44. Tragic for Andy, he should have born in ’42 and been 21 in ’63.
His was a special case. In a country in which the majority of men were US soldiers, normality had flown out the door in ’43; his mother not unnaturally took up with one. It was a tough time. Andrew’s father, Andrew Loog, was a soldier from Texas. He had a wife and son back there. As a younger man I applied my moral training to people in Andrew Loog’s situation and condemned them but now hopefully wiser and certainly older I understand. As a soldier in an active war Andrew Loog could die at any time so why not a little happiness? Perhaps he cringed at violating his peacetime morals. In any event as a member of a bomber crew he didn’t even make it across the Channel just after impregnating Andrew’s mother with his future self. Big Andy hoped he’d dodge the bullets but as it didn’t happen at least it resolved what would have been a difficult emotional situation.
Big Andy hadn’t married Little Andy’s mother so that made little Andy the bastard son of a bigamous father. Having been in the orphanage myself being a bastard means nothing to me. But society is unkind to bastards and orphans. Having read all four of Little Andy’s reminiscences more than once it seems clear that his bastardy left its mark on Andy. He had stormy relationship with his mother, perhaps beating her frequently while in his late teens. She said he did but he says he can’t remember doing it while it would have been wholly outside his character, however, he definitely admits booting her out of a moving car while she was pregnant. Those temper tantrums he had!
Possibly Andrew blames his mother for bringing him into the world as a bastard. He shouldn’t, better a bastard than not at all. Now, Andy discusses this from different angles constantly in his memoirs so my purpose here is to try to put his mind at ease.
The war had a devastating effect on social life especially in England which was merely a staging area for US forces in those years. Churchill was merely a stooge of Roosevelt’s. Just as in WWI a million or English men died or were incapacitated meaning that just that many women were condemned to spinsterhood or whatever. Oh, I know that the dyke Gloria Steinem said a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle but Steinem was an unnatural woman. Andrew’s mother wasn’t.
As she gave Andy his father’s full name, that is Andrew Loog, I’m guessing that given the times and circumstances she really loved the guy so she named what surely must have been her darling Andrew, Loog, tacking on her name Oldham. Maybe I’m sentimental, but coming from the orphanage, I find that touching.
Now, Celia Oldham, for that was her name, was a Jewish girl. Andrew Loog I’m guessing from his name was probably of Dutch ancestry. Probably a Protestant but possibly a Sephardic Jew. Andy may know but I don’t.
So, here Celia Oldham is post-war with the little tyke, Andy, and no husband or father for his child. There is a massive shortage of men after the GIs clear out so while Celia is attractive the mating pool is small. Celia did the next best thing and probably with Andy in mind did it well; she became the mistress of a wealthy man while including Andy in the equation. Not only was he wealthy he was a decent man who maintained her and Andy as a second family. No kidding. He kept them in relative style while putting Andy through the public schools. (Public is private in England.)
What more could a single mother with no prospects do? Perhaps Andrew’s schoolmates were typical louts and ragged him continuously for being a bastard. I know that in the orphanage during and after was hell on wheels but that was the hand that was dealt and I had to play it; four deuces, trey high. Could have been worse. I’m not saying my psychology wasn’t affected and as Andy tells it his sure as hell was.
My point is that life being what it is he should be grateful for a loving mother who made the very best of a bad situation.
Lost In The Ozone Without A Parachute
As noted Celia Oldham was Jewish and while Andrew says that the religion didn’t play a big part in their lives nevertheless the mother is the culture bearer. The culture she passed on to Andrew must have been Jewish.
Judaism is an identitarian faith. To be Jewish is to separate oneself from the ‘gentiles’, from all others, the rest of mankind. As the US Zionist Samuel Untermyer was to proclaim on nationwide radio in opposition to Hitler’s claim that the Germans were the master race: We, the Jews, are the aristocrats of the earth. In other words, Drop this master race crap because you ain’t it.
Thus in a country nominally English, as Andrew describes his youth it was lived in an entirely Jewish community. As he describes it he associated with no one who wasn’t Jewish. Like the Jewish Bob Dylan he is always surrounded by Jews. As he set out to find his way in life he chose the record business as his métier. I think Andrew wanted to be where it was happening and as his antennae flickered about sensing for that taste of honey he perceived that his future lay in records. The entire music business if not the entertainment business was in the control of his fellow Jews.
Andy took his sense of reality from movies. There are a couple influential films he refers to frequently. One is the American film The Sweet Smell Of Success which however is about two Jews, the one based on the newspaper columnist Walter Winchell and the other his sidekick and the other is the British film Espresso Bongo. Naturally I obtained both movies and have checked them out. Also naturally at this age and distance I do not see them through nineteen year old eyes.
In Sweet Smell Andrew concentrates on the character Sidney Falco played by Tony Curtis. Andy identifies with Falco as a hustler in US terms and a Wide Boy in English terms. Thus Andrew identifies himself as a Wide Boy. Falco was an unsavory character, a stooge of his boss J.J. Hunsecker played by the repulsive Burt Lancaster. Curtis played the role well. One laments Andrew’s fascination with the character.
Espresso Bongo is a pretty decent rock film. It takes place I believe at the actual legendary 2i coffee house in which English rock was centered. The film puts you back in the day. The star is Andy’s all time hero Laurence Harvey who also turns in a stellar role. Harvey has that downtrodden hang dog look that carried David Janssen through the US The Fugitive TV series so well. As I lived in a constant depression until I was forty I knew the look and it suited me well. I identified with both Janssen and Harvey. Harvey was one of my favorite actors too. Depression and Laurence Harvey go together
In Espresso Bongo Harvey plays a role of a hapless manager of a singer who gets away from him much as Andrew himself would let the Stones slip away from him.
All the managers were Jewish and all exploited their ‘boys.’ Perhaps the most famous of these, what the English amusingly call manipulators, was Larry Parnes. As England emerged from rationing in the fifties and the rebuilding of the infrastructure destroyed by the bombing of WWII created a sort of false prosperity those young people who survived the bombing and rationing were coming of age. The war had caused a generational break. Young England began creating an England in their own image. They rejected the pre-war England of their elders. It was a world they never made. Of course neither had their elders.
Parnes sensing the direction began creating an image of recording stars to gratify youthful yearnings, especially of young girls. He found god looking boys giving them great stage names such Georgie Fame, Billy Fury, Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Vince Eager and my favorite, Lance Fortune. There can be but little question that he exploited, not to say cheated, his ‘boys.’ Parnes was both Jewish and homosexual, a killer combination that dominated the industry.
For instance this about Vince Eager from the Widipedia entry for Larry Parnes
Vince Eager began to wonder why he had never received any record royalties. ‘You’re not entitled to any.’ Larry Parnes told him. ‘But it says in my contract that I am.’ Eager protested. ‘It also says I have power of attorney over you, and I’ve decided you’re not getting any.’ Parnes replied.
Parnes was of course both Jewish and homosexual. As he had many of these performers on salary he was cleaning up. Of course he had merely plucked them off the streets and set them up designing their acts, teaching them stage presence, choosing repertoires etc., they may have been little more than employees. However they did have ‘contracts’ although as the above quote indicates they were more than one sided making the contractees little more than slaves
The whole record scene was exploitative and homosexual. When London’s leading criminals horned in on the record scene, the Kray brothers, Reg and Ron they were Jewish and homosexual while their older brother Charlie who was straight with no police record managed the business end of the record racket.
As Andrew was coming up through the years this was the situation he perceived. While he couldn’t have broken into the Parnes style star system once the Beatles hit and the emphasis switched to groups an opening appeared. Parnes who had his star system going disdained the group thing leaving that open so that the Beatles manager Brian Epstein slid through the opening developing his group and star roster dislodging Parnes.
The market had expanded exponentially since the fifties when Parnes developed his system. Andrew, then, aquiver with the possibilities had his eye out for the new Beatles. He was told about the group working in Richmond called The Rollin’ Stones. He went, he saw, he signed.
A Clockwork Orange
As Andrew freely acknowledges by his late teens he was experiencing mental problems so I am merely discussing what he has disclosed. He says he was suffering from manic depression. Probably so, but he must also have blended in a little schizophrenia. The stresses of his childhood were taking possession of his mind. I know whereof I speak. This combined with his disastrous choices of role models that would be joined in 1962 by his reading of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange issued that year made him something of a phenom. Burgess, there’s another sicko.
A Clockwork Orange Boy, there was a Satanic book if there ever was one. The book took a certain mentality by storm, organized it and gave it expression. Its history is intimately connected with Jagger and Richards.
As influential in its limited sphere as the book was, Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 movie was perhaps the most destructive Satanic movie ever produced. It set the tone for the years that followed. The movie just tore a certain type of mind apart; Alexes by the dozen, nay, hundreds, thousands moved roved out every night after it was shown, snatching girls off the street. Clockwork was seconded by the movie The Collector that appeared about the same time. The book of Clockwork was less powerful but would still influence Andrew and through him Jagger and Richards. The other Stones led separate lives not involved with Mick, Keith and Andrew’s antics.
So Andrew’s brain is in a complete turmoil as he tries to find his way through the maze of life. Influenced by the real Larry Parnes and the fictional Johnny Jackson for a modus operandus he went in search of an act to manage and found his way to The Rolling Stones. Having discovered his mother lode, having a clear vision of what to do he was stymied by being only nineteen in shark infested waters without a cage.
Short of twenty-one he had to team up with a shark. As he was renting an office from an inoffensive appearing shark, Eric Easton, he convinced Eric to essentially through himself represent the Stones. Eric may have been a pretty sincere stodge but he was no fool when it came to his self-interest. He may have been close to a bottom feeder but that didn’t mean he hadn’t learned most of the tricks of the Great Whites. The ins and outs of contracts presented no problems to him while dizzy Andy and the naïve Mick and Keith probably hadn’t considered the existence of contracts. Give them a pen and dotted line under their name and they would sign. But, really, it was never a fair fight.
As Pretty Boy Floyd the Outlaw is alleged by Woody Guthrie to have said: Some will rob you with a six gun; some will use a fountain pen. Oh boy! Those contracts. The advantages are all on the side of the contractors; contractees beware. As Larry Parnes said: I’ve also got your Power Of Attorney and I say you don’t get anything. Revoking a Power Of Attorney is simple but how many amateurs think of it.
But legally contracts don’t really matter unless money is involved. There wouldn’t be a lot of money for a few years but when there was Andrew and the Stones not unsurprisingly got the bum’s rush.
Andrew’s brain was a regular pinwheel especially as in addition to his youth and mental condition he imbibed drugs freely. If your brain’s not already a mess drugs will certainly paint it black.
Even though Andrew chose poor role models he got the drift of what had to be done to make stars of random stones. Very few performers, they only become artists after success, know how to get from point A to point B and beyond. That’s where the manager, if he’s any good, comes in; he recognizes the possibilities of the raw talent and nurses them through the actual birth process. Believe me: this is worth a lot.
It is somewhat like Larry Parnes. He sensed what the teen public wanted and rather than wait for it to come to him, he created it from the rawest material and then took more than the lion’s share or the benefits. But then, he also inadvertently gave his ‘boys’ lives. There were actual careers awaiting them after Parnes had scraped off the cream.
The question then is were the Stones too talented to fail? I don’t think so. Not without Andrew to shape them and point the direction anyway. Andrew couldn’t sing or play but he could turn dross into gold not too much differently than what Larry Parnes had done with his ‘boys.’ The Stones were the evidence.
The key to the Stones’ success was when they learned to write songs. Would they have learned to write songs if Andrew hadn’t literally forced them into it? I would answer with a clear cut negative. The Stones playing nothing but crappy old Chicago blues and would have sank without a trace. In that sense Brian Jones insistence on playing ‘pure’ R&B would have led to dismal failure. But then, maybe that is what Brian wanted.
Let me point out here that in the US all this crappy old blues stuff was unlistened to but by a very small minority. Nor would the stuff ever have gained popularity without the English influence. Even today very few listen to that junk. ‘I woke up this morning, lordy, lordy…’
While Mick, Keith and Brian were boggling their minds concentrating on the ‘music’ Andrew realized that teen age girls (the Parnes influence again) weren’t going to get too enthused about grizzled old Negroes complaining about how their mama wouldn’t drop down. Does anyone think sprightly young teenagers looking for a good time are going to wallow in anybody else’s misery? Not likely.
So Andrew directed his ‘boys’ toward a more pop sound alienating the ever insistent ‘purist’ Brain from Mick and Keith. Bill and Charlie were pretty much just boys in the band.
Thus faced with the overwhelming competition of the Beatles, the lovable Mop Tops, Andrew made the fatal choice of turning Mick and Keith into his criminal Droogs, taking the low road and leaving the high road to the Beatles. Alex in A Clockwork Orange called the members of his gang Droogs. In a sense Andrew tried to make the Stones Andrew and the Droogs.
All very well but as Andrew got a little money his brain went from a pinwheel on a stick to real fireworks where pinwheels shoot flames. His brain was really in a whirl. He was passing out at parties. He became self-absorbed. He became interested in other projects that took his time, setting the Stones more or less adrift. His protégé Mick was no fool while being a quick learner. Why, Mick said to himself after becoming successful should I pay all these dufuses for what I can do myself. He couldn’t of course do it himself but it seemed like it at the time. He slammed the door in Andrew’s face.
Where’s Strength And Wisdom When You Need It?
The four years Andrew was with the Stones could have been a couple three or four lifetimes for the changes Andrew was forced through. Success is rightly called the bitch goddess. You’ll never know until you’ve said hello. The time from when he and Eric Easton signed the Stones to the time Andrew sold the Stones out to that Devil In Disguise Allen Klein nearly destroyed Andy. Allen Klein wasn’t in that much of a disguise either.
The trajectory of Andy’s career was so rapid it was hard to follow. It wasn’t so much that he bit off more than he could chew as that he tried to chew without biting it off. First things first, Andrew.
Obsessed with A Clockwork Orange he moved in with Mick and Keith where he gave them lessons in Droogism. Both were apt pupils. This is difficult to follow but his brain captured and sensing what seems to have been the book’s importance Andrew approached Burgess to buy the movie rights. Burgess told him the rights had already been sold but he wouldn’t tell Andy to whom.
It turns out that the rights had been sold to David Bailey the fashion photographer who had made Mick his ‘mate’ and possibly bought the rights jointly with Mick. If so, one wonders where Mick got the money. Sometime in 1963 the pair split with their rights to New York City to interest Andy Warhol in a film project. This also is rather remarkable because Andy was not yet that prominent while he hadn’t made any kind of stir with his puerile movies as yet. Somehow the rights passed to Warhol and finally to whoever acquired them to make Kubrick’s movie.
Warhol did make a film based on the book although the connection seems tenuous while not being worth watching. More importantly Alex and his Droogs had a profound effect on members of Warhol’s group. The group left Warhol’s atelier, the Factory, at night on their predations a la Alex and his Droogs. I believe Bob Dylan is referring to them in this lyric from his 1965 song Desolation Row:
Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Come out and roundup everyone that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the [F]actory were the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders…
For some reason both Oldham and Bailey thought Mick was the perfect Alex while the Stones could be the Droogs. It didn’t work out but Mick and Warhol bonded like superglue. They would be very close friends until Andy died in 1987 when Mick flew to Pittsburgh for the funeral. Not only did the Stones practice Black and Blue at Warhol’s Montauk compound but Andy did two or three covers for them most notably Sticky Fingers. As a result of Mick and Warhol’s friendship the Stones always had the key to Greenwich Village.
So Andrew lost out on his bid for A Clockwork Orange. But then his brain racing a mile a minute and wanting to be a record magnate he founded Immediate Records. Not one for details Immediate stretched him pretty thin. I know we’re talking ancient history here, or at least ancient technology, so the reader will have to let go of the present to imagine the impact of Immediate Records on the cognoscenti of the time. I modestly include myself in that number.
Andrew was on the far edge of flamboyant; his ideal Larry Harvey who he met about this time thought him arch camp so Andy in his eye makeup and fey manners must have cut a startling figure. A lot of people thought he was queer and not just ambiguous. The Immediate label was an astounding pink, almost fluorescent seemingly confirming homosexual tendencies. It got your attention but in those days you almost had to apologize for buying a record with such a label. His covers were all good, in a class with the best and perhaps…. He signed and produced a lot of very good groups. The label’s production values may have prevented him from having any smashes, at least I don’t remember any.
I’m sure few will remember the Nice or even have heard of them but the first Nice was a pretty good record while the members went on to greater things. The sound wasn’t as immediate as it could have been. I worked it in my store but couldn’t get anywhere with it.
In those days British imports were all the rage on the West Coast while US records were despised. When I first went to England in the early seventies I was astounded to find the fans waiting for American pressings because they were thought better. Oh, I said, how strange. What makes them better? In so many words they said production values. In still other words they thought they had more immediacy. So Andy’s Immediate records lacked immediacy. I thought they were great anyway and they were always the first of the new releases I auditioned.
But, the devil is in the details, and Andrew wasn’t much on details so he went broke although he did hang in there until 1970. Not a bad record for an independent. He doesn’t tell us what happened to the masters but they must have been worth something.
By that time Andy was not only deep into drugs he was legendary. In Stoned and 2Stoned he has some great descriptions of being out of it if you like that sort of thing. His first two books were based on the oral biography method of Jean Stein’s biography of Edie Sedgwick called Edie. In that book acquaintances were interviewed and then cut and pasted to form a continuous narrative. Knocked out by ‘Edie’ Andrew did the same with the exception that he commented on the interviewees’ comments.
Rolling Stoned begins in a straight autobiographical style then begins to wander and meander. Andrew is always a good read but unless you want to read three different four hundred page books covering the same ground with variations I would recommend his most recent, Rolling Stoned, or perhaps 2Stoned. Still, I don’t mind…
Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones
And The Yobbo Revolution
…they’re just war babies with the bell bottom blues.
Along about 1968 Jagger among the Stones, at least, became disenchanted with his and their new manager Allen B. Klein of notorious fame.
By 1968, counting 1963 as the beginning of their labors the Stones had been working hard. Jagger and Richards had emerged as successful songwriters giving them a financial advantage over fellow stones, Jones, Wyman and Watts. By that time the band was said to have earned millions but had virtually nothing to show for it except for a heroin habit and several cases of VD. When one says heroin habit one reduces disposable income considerably.
The Stones last effort Their Satanic Majesties Request seemed to indicate a loss of direction. Their initial impetus had been expended. The impetus that began in 1963 had then played out. The good part of the Sixties was over and the bad part had begun with the ’66 release of the Doors first album containing the appropriately named song The End. The Rock scene had turned dark while turning the volume up.
The Stones knew dark so they quickly reinvented themselves as a Dark band turning out Beggar’s Banquet in 1968. Out there on the buying end of rock and roll I groaned. The new Stones were born as the Hounds of Hell emerging from a drug fueled Freudian unconscious. Just what the world didn’t need.
While Jagger and Richards engaged the world with their follies the other three members had to suffer enduring the ignominy in silence. Richards would go on to astound the world with his drug offenses. While Jagger himself descended into darkness as a Satanist carrying his inamorata Marianne Faithfull along with him.
While both deny other than a titillating passing interest in Satanism the facts imply a more serious involvement.
These years that should have been bright were the beginning of dark times, darker than the Communo-Nazi era for the world. Deny it if he can, Jagger was a leader on the downward path.
Undeniably the Fifties and Sixties were a trying period but which decade of the century hadn’t been? Fear of both Communism and the A-Bomb, not to mention the Neutron Bomb, kept people tense. There was a disturbing lack of balance in which TV, newspapers, and magazines presented developments. Nevertheless the beginning of the post-war period was one of astounding advances in knowledge both in Science and the Liberal Arts. Huge layers of ignorance were sheared away. For instance the knowledge of geological tectonic plates that demonstrated how the planet evolved was, shall I say, earth shaking.
In 1950 the highest an object had been was measured in feet; the atmosphere hadn’t been penetrated. Seven years later the Soviets put the Sputnik in orbit. Telstar went up in July 1962 to tremendous astonishment and acclaim opening the way to the future and the fabulous prosperity of the late Sixties and the Seventies.
Medicine cured syphilis and all venereal diseases, killing and disabling diseases were gone and even TB and polio were ended. At the beginning of the Fifties a child had to ponder being debilitated by both as a probable occurrence. The diet was improved immensely and made more varied. But, as life improved the psyche grew darker, dissatisfaction with virtual perfection was endemic. Murder and crime increased dramatically. Charlie Whiteman in his UT tower, Richard Speck’s ritual murder of the Chicago nurses. While the good genie let many good things out the bottle at the same time a cloud of darkness followed. The country chose to embrace the darkness rather than the light.
During the Sixties Satanism was on the rise. We all know there is no existing entity called Satan but Satanism is a fact of the psyche. First truly released by Freud in 1900 Satanism had been emerging as a social force. A 1966 cover of Time Magazine asked the question Is God Dead? This sparked a fair controversy at the time. That same year, less conspicuously and metaphorically saw the birth of the Son of Satan, Andy, in the book Rosemary’s Baby by the Jew Ira Levin followed by the movie of the same name directed by the Jew Roman Polanski. Rosemary’s Baby was followed by a spate of Satanic novels and movies. The shift from God’s Son, Jesus, to Andy was quite noticeable but we were slow to comprehend.
The Satanic movement had been building since the middle of the nineteenth century when the Frenchman, Eliphas Levy, reorganized the occult along modern lines. The Golden Dawn brought Satanism into prominence in the English speaking world. The Golden Dawn was captured by the pervert Aleister Crowley who guided Satanism through the first half of the century. He died in 1946. A druggie and sex fiend, his sex magic in the Sixties was joined by that of the Jewish sex madman, Wilhelm Reich, also a notable Freudian. Reich had even had his books burned by the US government but like a phoenix his sexual ideas rose from the flames during the Sixties. ( See the movie WR, The Mysteries Of The Organism, read organism as Orgasm. This movie is not for the weak of mind.)
The magical crowd had coalesced in the beginning of the Sixties. In England it was led by the Satanic Process Church that emigrated to the US, LA based, and back to England. In the US the chief Satanist was the San Francisco based Anton Lavey with his acolyte in Los Angeles, Kenneth Anger. It is to be noted that the sex magician Charles Manson was associated with all these people in one form or another.
Jagger and his consort Marianne Faithfull were drawn into the flames through their friend in London, Groovy Bob Fraser who seemed to be the clearing house for all strange in London. He introduced Mick and Marianne to Kenneth Anger while they found their own way to the Process Church. Mick was recruited by the Crowleyian Satanist and filmmaker Donald Cammell. Cammell’s father had been a Crowleyian having writing a biography of him. Cammell’s mind thus had been corrupted from childhood.
Cammell starred Jagger and Keith’s girlfriend Anita Pallenberg in his ’68 movie Performance. Pallenberg was a long gone cutie deeper into Satanism than probably anyone in the crew.
Mick had become acquainted with the fashion photographer David Bailey in late ’62 or early ’63. Anthony Burgess published his Satanic novel A Clockwork Orang in 1962.
In ’62 and ’63 Jagger was a nobody, a student at the London School of Economics while doubling as frontman for the unknown Rolling Stones, or Rollin’ for the purists. The two apparently bonded on sight as the two bought the movie rights to A Clockwork Orange. This strange situation has never been explored. As far as we know Mick had no money or anything really to recommend him to Bailey who was a very successful photographer and the model for Fellini’s movie Blowup. Yet while a student and singer for a grungy R&B band Bailey took him under his wing, or perhaps Andrew Loog Oldham that inveterate man about town introduced himself to Bailey, then introduced Bailey to Mick with whom he was palling. It would seem that Andrew first discovered A Clockwork Orange in mid-62 talking it up with Bailey and Mick. Andrew and Bailey saw Mick as the hero of the book, Alex, leader of his band called The Droogs. The idea of the Droogs exerted a fascination over the minds of Andrew, Bailey and Mick and through Bailey and Mick the Warhol crowd of NYC. As a photog for English Vogue Bailey would have had an intro to New York and the American Vogue.
For those who aren’t aware, Vogue Magazine is a huge global presence. There are many ‘local’ editions of the magazine published for Germany, France, Russia, Italy and even Japan. It is really extraordinary. I subscribe to the English edition and buy Italian, Parisian, German and the occasional Japanese copy from a news dealer in my own city. Globalism takes on a real meaning.
In reading Stone’s histories there is no mention of Jagger being absent from London in 1963 but Bailey scooped him up and took him to New York, presumably at his own expense or perhaps that of Vogue to shop for a movie maker for their book. Bailey who was very up on things may have thought that Andy Warhol would be interested; in fact Warhol did make a movie that purports to be based on Clockwork Orange but you couldn’t prove it by me. But, in 1963 Warhol was not yet that famous or his vacuous movies. Bailey must have had his nose to the ground with the sensitivity of a bloodhound. Where Mick got the money for his share of the rights and trip to what is now known as The Big Bagel isn’t clear.
In New York Mick met the Dark, if not Satanist, Andy Warhol with whom he banded as quickly and tightly as he had Bailey. Because of this the Stones would always be big in the Village.
Interestingly Mick’s girlfriend during this period was Bailey’s top model Jean Shrimpton’s sister, Chrissie Shrimpton.
Things fell out, Mick gravitated to the adultress, Marianne Faithfull. The two were arrested at the famous drug bust at Keith’s Redlands in 1967.
Apparently Mick et al. thought they were immune to the laws and mores of the time concerning drugs so that Mick took the arrest and subsequent conviction as a grievous insult. It confirmed and hardened his devotion to Satan while solidifying his revolutionary aims. He thought the ‘kids’ would be able to bring down the State.
Thus in 1967 they recorded and released the record album titled Their Satanic Majesties Request. Smarting horribly- for all practical purposes Marianne’s life was ruined. In combination with a succession of injurious events that would follow, Marianne’s psyche would never recover. She had been holding the burning match to see how close to her fingers it got before she was burned, she now knew.
Still in reaction to the arrest, following Satanic Majesties, Mick decided to make a film. This became the long lost Rock And Roll Circus. The movie only has historical significance as it was never released at the time. Rights were held by Allen Klein so after his death in 2009, under his son Jody’s direction ABKCO released it for the first time. Psychologically it places where Mick was in 1968.
The American Satanist Kenneth Anger had a huge shoulder to shoulder tattoo of the name L-U-C-I-F-E-R on his chest to show his dedication to the Commander In Chief. At the end of Rock And Roll Circus as the band plays Sympathy For The Devil we see Mick groveling on the stage as though to the Master. He wiggles out of his shirt rising to his knees to display a Lucifer tattoo on his bare chest. Whether real or a transfer isn’t clear. I hope the latter.
In 1968, at least, Jagger had dedicated himself to Satan. While Marianne has since repudiated Satanism claiming the fascination was a passing fancy it seems clearly to have been more than that.
That aside, to be borne in mind as we move along. Mick, who is no dummy, had been quickly learning the ropes of the record business since his introduction in 1963. As he wasn’t getting enough money to indulge his fantasies, finances became his chief concern.
The Stones were first managed and promoted by the nineteen year old Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham was the right man to put the Stones on the road. Unfortunately for himself Andrew was at the flighty if not to say flaky stage of life so that he found it expedient to sign the Stones to the American desperado or operator, Allen Klein. Klein was the big talking type so endemic to the industry who promised the moon while actually being able to pry money from the labels not that much ever got back to the artists. While first being pleased with Klein’s services getting money out of him was a problem so that Jagger quickly became disaffected with him. In 1968 he began the search for a money man who would work in the Stones’ interests.
This was a critical period for Jagger and the band. Their first rush of creativity ended about 1966 as the songwriters went dry and the band quit touring. The transition from the sixties to the seventies actively took place between ’66 and ’67. In fact that was the Sixties, the rest of the decade was a long slow fade. The artists most identified with the sixties didn’t make the transition to the seventies and beyond. The Stones before ’68’s Beggar’s Banquet were a quintessential 60s’ band. Beggar’s Banquet eased them toward the seventies.
So at this transitional period that must have been cause for great anxiety the band had little to show for their sixties output other than a certain notoriety that was however global and second only to the Beatles.
In his search for a money man Jagger asked his friend Chrissie Gibbs for his help. Gibbs was a central figure in the Groovy Bob Fraser circle. Fraser’s place was a central gathering place for the crowd including the American Satanist Kenneth Anger and the Warhol crowd.
Fraser himself was an art dealer who associated himself with the upcoming Pop Art Movement. Thus he was the center of all that was hip and modern.
Gibbs knew of an investment banker by the name of Prince Rupert Loewenstein. Rupert was an actual hereditary Prince who prefaced his name with that title. According to Rupert’s memoirs, A Prince Among Stones, Rupert knew Gibbs in only the most casual manner, Gibbs was not exactly a member of the aristocracy as he is presented.
Rupert is a bit of an enigma. He says, in his memoir, that he had never heard of the Stones when Gibbs mentioned them. In the context of the times the Stones were rock musicians who are as a class not welcome in polite society and even some not so polite society, yet Rupert said to this very casual acquaintance that he would look into it. Then, as he tells it, he learned who or what the Rolling Stones were and that all three principals of the group had been arrested on drug charges a year earlier along with Robert Fraser the art dealer and a true member of the aristocracy although now declasse. Rupert even says that he agreed wholeheartedly with the judge.
Just as a point of reference, when I opened my record shop in 1967 the insurance agents would not even sell me insurance while the AAA agent cancelled my auto insurance. I could obtain no amenities and only grudgingly services. So, it is extremely strange that Rupert knowing the actual unsavory history of the Stones jeopardized his standing in respectable circles in the City and society to associate himself with them. And I mean associate, he actually toured with the band. If he didn’t know the kind of people he was with he certainly learned then.
Now, no one associated with rock and roll had any social standing especially the Stones as the bad boys of rock. Then all the creeps and drug dealers who being around the record scene especially attached themselves to the Stones and believe me that crowd was well beyond unsavory. Robert Greenfield’s book S.T.P. will give you some examples but the flavor of these people doesn’t come through in print.
As I read Rupert’s autobiography, he died a year or so ago, I find a distaste for Stones from beginning to end. Even the title of his memoir, A Prince Among Stones, is a put down of the Stones. Rupert obviously disdained the Stones. So, one asks why he would choose to represent them? And that’s only the beginning of the mystery.
Having accepted the assignment as they used to say on Mission Impossible he had to familiarize himself with bushels of documents and assorted records. Before he could even confront Klein he had to spend a year trying to understand the documentation. Klein was a tough cookie who didn’t play by any rules. You grappled with him. I’m not sure that the Stones to this day know what Rupert did for them.
Here’s the point: The Stones are said to have no money with which to pay him, we are told that they were stone broke. Didn’t mean that they didn’t have a great stash but, you know, they were broke. This was a serious time for the band. Get this: Rupert worked three years gratis with no guarantee of ever making a dime. That any of us should have luck of that kind. Further he learned that there was no way the Stones were going to get any money out of Klein without very expensive litigation. But, there were exceptions as we shall see. The Stones entire career from 1963 to the end of the contract in 1971 that Andrew had saddled them with belonged to Klein. Never fire your manager when he holds your life in his hands.
Any career they would have to make money would begin in 1971. The intellectual properties Jagger and Richards’ had created would provide them with an income apart from the band although the publishing was sold to Klein by Andrew. But the full intellectual properties would begin only with Exile On Main Street. And of course by then the big boom in record sales was underway. Even at the end of the sixties the record business was small potatoes. The stadium era was on the horizon.
From Rupert’s point of view the only real potential for money for him would come from the Stones’ touring. The Stones would do some non-stop touring beginning in 1971. The ’69 US tour was Rupert’s introductory tour during which he learned how inefficient and criminal touring was..
Until Rupert reorganized touring, the road had not been profitable for the Stones. No money at all. So Rupert began his management career on the off chance that the Stones would stay together, actually a fairly long shot, and he could mount some extravaganzas and monitor expense to make the road profitable. Little he knew that he was catching the really big one.
If you sit and think about this a little it will blow your mind the chances that Rupert was taking especially with a heroin addict of the status as Keith. I mean we’re talking the Master of Flake with Keith- no offense intended. The man blew millions that Rupert was setting up in recording contracts when Keith was arrested with a jug of heroin in Toronto. Keith was not in this alone, there were three other Stones plus Mick as well as Rupert who had bet his life on the Stones. Can you imagine how crushed Rupert was when he had to call all the bidders and advise them of Keith’s gaffe. Keith cost Rupert a couple million too.
This is amazing, the pre-’68 money had been so badly managed that the Stones owed more tax money that it appeared that the band could ever pay off; especially when every new dollar would be taxed at ninety percent. What were the Brits thinking? As I understand it the Stones have never paid the debt off, or tried. So Rupert compelled them to leave England for a more tax friendly climate. As we are repeatedly told they were broke one wonders how they expected to finance their life in France. Mick and Keith were OK because as Robert Greenfield tells us in his book Ain’t It Time We Said Goodbye: The Rolling Stones On The Road To Exile just before the Stones left England Klein sent Mick and Keith each a check for 800 and some odd thousand dollars. That is nearly a million each. I don’t know whether BMI paid royalties quarterly or half yearly but Mick and Keith should have gotten a check of comparable size quarterly, semi-annually or annually. For the next decade or two probably double that. No sympathy here.
Wyman and Watts both bought handsome residences on the Riviera so one wonders where that money came from while Exile was being recorded. They settled on the Riviera where they spent a fortune recording Exile On Main Street. Over half a million dollars. And while Exile sold well still only over seven hundred and some thousand copies on its first release; not enough copies to surpass recording costs so they received nothing for the LP initially. Still Rupert hung in there, drug stories or no.
As the only hope for the Stones to make money, apart from intellectual right for Mick and Keith, was touring and thereby justify Rupert’s decision to throw in his lot with them Rupert set about to make touring as profitable as possible. He was in for some surprises as he had to come into contact with the Underworld, Mafia to you and me. I don’t see how he or they ever thought that there would be the truly big money of the last tours especially in North America but luck and the times were with him and them.
The Stones, about whom hung an air of vulgarity, were never a top selling recording band, mediocre at best but Jagger was a top performance artist while Keith was and is revered as a guitarist and personality. The nature of the tour also evolved so that under the guidance of Rupert major companies such as Chrysler sponsored tours contributing up front money while toward the end promoters ponied up a couple hundred million to manage the tours. The expense of putting on the show was the Stones but the mechanics of lining up venues and retailing the tickets was off their hands.
If you can stay together the intellectual property or ‘brand’ can become extremely valuable providing a payoff as time goes on. The Stones may be unique in the size of the payoff but many performers have been on the road for decades and are still out there, viz. Bob Dylan.
Still given all the imponderables, one is astonished that a respectable investment banker would take such a huge risk on his future. Not only had the principals been arrested and convicted, actually sent to jail, on a drug charge but they were involved with the revolutionary movement, indeed, other revolutionaries considered them one of them. Jagger wrote revolutionary and agitprop songs. As the seventies were characterized by revolutionary upheavals throughout the Western world including European outfits like the Baader-Meinhoff Gang and the Italian Red Guards and the infamous Carlos as well as the criminal and destructive American group, The Weathermen it would have been desirable to have some inconspicuous means of communication. Historically a means has been itinerants who had a reason to travel about such as the entertainers like the Stones and Bob Dylan. Cultural exchanges in governmental usage.
I think it quite possible, although I have no hard evidence that when Rupert was investigating the Stones at Chrissie Gibbs request he may have contacted the security agencies of England who seeing an opportunity to put an operative above suspicion in the Stones organization recruited Rupert.
As an intelligence agent in the Stones’ organization Rupert could maintain contact through his Europe wide aristocratic friends while dealing through the Stones with the revolutionaries who, at the very least, hung around the Stones. I suspect that Mick and Keith were more than sympathetic to them.
Eric Burdon of The Animals as a solo artist was arrested by the German police on suspicion of aiding the revolutionaries. Eric pleads innocence of course but the rock crowd as a group was sympathetic to the revolutionaries while the lyrics themselves were frequently openly revolutionary. Police suspicion would not have been misplaced.
In Eugene Oregon where I had my record store at the time, revolutionary zanies functioned quite openly, at least as far as I was concerned, infesting the foothills of the Cascades where they had built bunkers to store weapons, ammunition and food against the Day which was thought imminent. As a record store owner they assumed that naturally I too was a revolutionary. The Black Panthers for instance extorted money from me. I was caught in the middle as the authorities assumed naturally that I was too. It was tricky as I was then walking a tightrope between two hostile sides.
Thus Rupert otherwise inexplicably declassed himself while undertaking to represent a bankrupt band that was hopelessly in debt to the Inland Revenue. A debt he knew could never be paid off and never has been. In fact his first act regarding the ones was to advise them to leave England for more tax friendly shores.
When Rupert moved the band from England they ceased being a specifically English band becoming a band without a country or a true global band. As a global band it is probable that Allen Klein even though Jewish was strictly of a US geographic mentality whereas Rupert being Europe based with friends in each country was better able to deal with different tax laws, mores, etc. As a businessman he was better prepared to set up the business organization that the Stones needed.
It must be borne in mind that when the band left England on the cusp of the big boom of the seventies they became a multi-million dollar corporations with rather intricate financial problems. Klein had the reputation of a buccaneer; he could squeeze the pips but he couldn’t command respect, Rupert could.
So, the success of the Stones after ’68 depended in a great part on the superb financial management of Rupert, as well as his ability to deal with a lunatic like Keith. Rupert had no sooner got the band established in France than Keith got them thrown out of the country for, let’s not put a gloss on it, criminal behavior. Keith was handling large amounts of heroin while providing, as it were a safe haven for the Marseilles criminal drug element. Finally Keith and Anita turned a young girl, possible with violence, which resulted in the Stones having to flee France. That made two countries they could no longer perform in, at least for a while, France and England.
I’m sure Rupert smacked his forehead, wrung his hands and asked the universe, what the hell is going on? Keith and Mick must have been born under good signs as Rupert stayed on.
Having established a basis for prosperity Rupert then set about dealing with the first key problem, Allen Klein. Although broke the Stones initiated an expensive , read multi-million lawsuit against the wily Klein. Americans operate on the principle that possession is nine tenths of the law so getting anything out of Klein would be a small miracle. Without numbers to go on any accurate notion of what happened is impossible but as both sides were into the lawsuit for millions over eighteen years it would seem the results when they finally signed off were profitable for each.
So, having serendipitously acquired a supremely competent money man in Prince Rupert Loewenstein the financial future of the Stones was secured. They would become perhaps the richest band in history.
September 12, 2014
The Rock And Roll Circus Movie
Of The Rolling Stones
In December 1968 Mick Jagger decided to make a film, or rather, he shot the film having decided earlier. Perhaps he was inspired by The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour of the previous year. These years from 1966 to 1968-69 were a tumultuous time for Jagger and his sidekick Keith Richards. Not least significant was that Mick had taken up with the songstress Marianne Faithfull. Then in 1967 there was perhaps the most famous drug bust in history at Keith’s Redlands house.
The boys had been pushing the drug envelope hard more or less inviting a crackdown and it came in 1967 involving Mick, Keith and Marianne with devastating results for all three characters in the drama.
As the authorities wished to make an example of the baddest boys of rock and roll Mick and Keith received prison sentences of which however they only served two or three days. Nevertheless their psyches had been criminalized, changed their views on their role in society.
While the arrest and jail time were merited in society’s eyes, Mick and Keith who were among the legions marching to Altruria on the wings of pot convinced that their elders had irrevocably messed the world up while they were going to set it right under the influence of marijuana, LSD, amphetamines and whatever else was handy, saw the bust and conviction as unjustified interference in their dreams of perfection.
The revolution was on as far as they were concerned hence they began a string of songs along the lines of Street Fighting Man and Sympathy For The Devil, unintended consequences of the bust.
Oh yeah, Mick and Marianne, Keith and his main squeeze Anita Pallenberg had become involved in Satanism which was going around like the flu. Not necessarily dilettantish either like, say, I just read a great book by Satan, but the real kind as fostered by the Great Beast 666 Aleister Crowley himself as interpreted by his epigoni Kenneth Anger and Anton LaVey, not to mention the Process Church Of The Final Judgment. Mick and Marianne disavow any serious interest in Satanism but the Rock and Roll Circus contradicts that.
Combined with these irritants in their lives Mick had just starred in a Satanic movie, Performance, and Marianne had had the misfortune of a miscarriage. To say that they weren’t suffering at the time they made their movie would be a understatement.
In this hazy mental state, compounded by too many drugs, Mick cobbled together his Circus.
What is the meaning of the title Circus? Ostensibly it meant literally a circus, after all it had a fire eater and trapeze artists. However it could also be a double entendre. Just as the title of their 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, parodied the Queens request on passports so the word Circus also parodied the name the British intelligence agency gave to their gig. The title can be construed as a challenge to the establishment. It would seem clear then that Mick was still seething inside because of Redlands.
His film is negligible as a movie but a good concert film. The symbolism is non stop as the guest audience in dressed in some sort of Munchkin costumes. The cast was bizarre to say the least. While little more than a musical oddity Jethro Tull led by Ian Anderson in his disgusting dirty old man persona opens the show while he was followed by the Who caught in pre-Tommy persona. Never one of my favorite bands, others thought they were a good performance while we are treated to a young Pete Townshend doing a series of his trademark windmills.
The couple circus acts are entertaining enough; the fire eater is pretty spectacular.
John Lennon performing separately from the Beatles was probably the musical highlight of the show for me. While obviously in the throes of a serious depression personally, as a performer once on stage Lennon is charisma spilling out all over the place. The depression does show up in the name he chose for his ad hoc group- The Dirty Mac. The name characterizes the general depression and malaise of the whole show. Lennon’s group brought together some stellar lights of the time. Besides himself he had Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience on drums, Eric Clapton on lead guitar and Keith on rhythm. They are joined a by fiddler, I presume Ivry Gitlis, and the irrepressible Yoko Ono.
Yoko was in her Bagism phase. While the movie is loosely shot during Lennon’s gig, if you watch the lower right corner of the film you can see a black object sort of pulsing. That’s the bag Yoko is in. I suppose as she was a performance artist the bag was Yoko’s joke- that’s the bag I’m in, get it?
After a noisy rendition of Yer Blues Yoko wiggles out of the bag bouncing up with her arms outstretched as in Here I am, aren’t I wonderful? Well, she certainly shocked Ivry when she began to squeal. Yoko is very tiny so Ivry kind of looks down at Yoko with raised eyebrows, looks over at John, backs up a couple steps, stops playing momentarily and has this incredulous am I believing what I’m seeing and hearing look on his face. One might say Yoko stole the show. Really, I had to start laughing.
The real show stopper comes next when the camera shifts to Marianne Faithfull. She was decorously posed in a stunning black designer gown. At her most beautiful with a fine folky voice that entrancingly recalled her As Tears Go By but strong and more focused. I missed the words but caught the mood of this enchanting chanteuse. Marianne definitely trumped Yoko as a showstopper.
Taj Mahal was a special case. Believe it or not Taj is still out there challenging the Interminable Tourist Dylan himself. Taj works, or did, about 170 days a year, every year. While he is not well known he began as a duo with Ry Cooder called the Rising Sons then added a string of records on his own. The guitarist is Jesse Ed Davis, a failed guitar god, who had a couple solo Lps of his own. Taj’s first two records are superb blues Lps, two of my favorites of the period. The third LP, a two record set is also quite good but begins his political period that obviated his musical career. He goes rapidly down hill after that.
For some reason he chose a rather lame piece from his repertoire. If he was making an appeal for a girl or girls to join him backstage his salacious version of Hey, Little School Girl might have served him better.
The Stones rounded out the show at the end. While the Who were supposed to have buried the Stones I didn’t find it so. The tension had been well maintained throughout the show with the comic interlude of Yoko and the Stones maintained it through to the end with a climax of sorts.
It was obvious that Mick, Keith and Marianne were in a world of hurt….and Brian Jones. That tragedy would play out over the next year when Brian drowned and Marianne almost drowned in her own tears and Mick spawned a real live Satan at Altamont.
The movie ended in hurt and Satanism- homage to the Devil.
Mick and Marianne had gone to see Jimi Hendrix a few months earlier. After performing Hendrix had sat at Marianne and Mick’s table where he put the make on Marianne telling her to dump the White dude and go with him. Marianne hesitated a moment too long giving Mick offense so that he commemorated the evening in his song, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Suddenly I realized the meaning of the line, you and your friend Jimi as Mick shouted it to someone off stage to the right. OK, not my problem.
So Jagger was still wearing his hair as he did in the movie Performance. That soul corrupting film was obviously still influencing him. As Marianne said, it changed his personality.
The show closed with Sympathy For The Devil. There was a little stage extension on which Mick prostrated himself as though doing obeisance as the song played. It looked like he was groveling, then he looked up making a couple goofy grimaces at the camera beginning to pull off his shirt. Not necessary, Mick, not necessary. Then with the shirt off he straightened to a kneeling position to reveal Satanic tattoos a la Kenneth Anger.
Anger had a large LUCIFER tattooed across his chest. Here Mick seemed to be imitating him apparently trying to tell us that the Great Satan had arrived. I hope they were transfers. Interesting, especially as the movie Rosemary’s Baby appeared in 1968 in which Rosemary gives birth to the Son of Satan. Even more interestingly in the 1990’s book sequel Son Of Rosemary Satan’s little lad was named Andy. After Andy Warhol, I presume.
I suppose then that Mick conceived the film as a coming out party for himself as The Great Beast. Apparently he took his Satanism very seriously. It make one wonder, was Altamont a projection of the Great Satan?
Resolving The Paul Is Dead Controversy
Sometime around or after the death of Tara Browne in an automobile accident in 1966 the rumor that Paul McCartney of the Beatles had died being replaced by a double began to circulate. The rumor itself, of course, is a fact that has been a center of controversy since 1966 although it didn‘t bloom in full until 1969 when a Detroit DJ spread the rumor through the colleges via UofM.
For my part I dismiss the notion that Paul did die and can find no solid evidence that the post-accident Paul is a double. Still the rumor calls for explanation especially in connection with the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s that depicts the demise of the whole group while it is reborn as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The reborn group is surrounded by the pictures of, one presumes, the lonely hearts.
I can’t say that I have the solution for the rumor to be sure. What I offer here is a plausible explanation based on an interpretation of the social situation created by the phenomenal success of the Beatles. That success was too great a burden for the band members to bear. If anything caused the breakup of the band that overwhelming success was a principal cause. The success far exceeded the capability of any one of the members, in other words the whole was greater than its parts. But, to recreate the environment to some extent let us consider the members of the whole entourage.
At the base we find, I think, the notorious London criminals the Kray Twins,. Ronnie and Reggie. Their gang that they called The Firm terrorized the London of the Sixties.
The Kray twins were born in 1933 making them seven to twelve during the war years. They experienced all the bombing and hardship of the war years as well as the post-war deprivation of rationing through 1954. They came from London’s East End rising through the crime ranks in the fifties to finally come into their own from 1960 to 1968. A short reign but one that coincided with the golden age of English rock and roll. The rockers were born mainly in 1942-43 making them nine or ten years younger than the Krays but still close enough in age. The rockers missed the war but faced the deprivations of the post-war years. These were character forming years for both the Krays and the rockers, primarily for us the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
The Krays were heavy handed protection racketeers moving into gambling. They, especially Ronnie, were enamored of the NYC and Philadelphia Mafia families. The Mafia families had many singers and performers under their control most notably at this time Judy Garland. When Garland performed in England the Mafia used the Krays for protection. Thus the Krays got used to associating with certain celebrities which they found exhilarating.
It was suggested to Ronnie by the Mafia that the Krays suborn English acts much as the Mafia had done with the US performers. For a good visualization of the process the 1958 film The Girl Can’t Help It is an accurate fictionalized account. The movie even features a couple of Mafia groups such as Teddy Randazzo And The Gumdrops. Right! We’d never heard of them either. Even the Mafia couldn’t promote them to fame.
Who better for the Krays to begin to build their stable than the premier English group, the Beatles?
The front line protecting the performers is always their management. The groups or singers themselves are artists not businessmen. As artists their concern is their art. They have to concentrate on their art to be successful. To realize the benefits of their art is a business. Hence managers who are businessmen enter in. The artists must trust the businessmen who are nearly all crooks so the artists were born to be fleeced. In the case of the Beatles producing all those millions and millions, they were a manager’s dream. Plus the hangers on.
Enter Brian Epstein, the manager and Robert Fraser, art dealer and hanger on.
Just as background the English managerial caste, as well as the US, were with very few exceptions Jewish and homosexual. In the late fifties and early sixties there were no groups, there were solo singer acts. These guys in most cases were not artists they were just kids off the street. Managers like Larry Parnes cast their eyes over good looking guys on the street and selected the ones that appealed to them such as Cliff Richard and the various Furys and Storms. They taught them a little stage presence, got them a good song, usually from a Jewish homosexual songwriter, put a band behind them and ballyhooed them into stardom.
Being Jewish they looked at the goi boys as so many cash cows and so they were. As Bob Dylan famously sang in Ballad Of Thin Man, ‘Give me some milk or go home.‘ However much was made from the singers efforts most went to the managers and pittances to the boys. But, then they were only created creatures, mere employees anyway.
The Beatles were dedicated artists who had a fairly long apprenticeship learning their craft in a tough environment in the red light district of Hamburg Germany. They not only developed a sound but Lennon and McCartney became a most prolifically successful songwriting team. That’s where the real money in records is and that’s where the Beatles got skinned the worst.
So they had talent but without management the talent would die on the vine. Enter manager Brian Epstein who saw their potential and acted. He was a Jewish homosexual flake but without him the Beatles would probably have become unemployed layabouts rather than wealthy rock and rollers. Brian Epstein’s rock and roll empire was born on the Beatles backs.
Brian had a couple weaknesses, drugs and gambling, other than his homosexuality that was then illegal, a crime, hence to be carefully concealed. Combined with the temptation of all those millions, there’s a recipe you’ll never find again.
Another character in the story is the avant garde art dealer Robert Fraser, also known as Groovy Bob, impeccably English but homosexual and a drug addict and, sure enough, an inveterate gambler. Fraser spent the first couple of years of the Sixties in the NYC art scene. There he was heavily influenced by Andy Warhol, less impeccably American, homosexual, but as far as we know free of the vices of gambling and drugs.
Fraser was also involved in the burgeoning Satanist scene that would take prominence beginning in 1966. He was involved with the American Satanist Kenneth Anger and through Anger the literary influence of the English Satanist Aleister Crowley and San Francisco’s Anton La Vey.
Wanting to be with it, Groovy Bob created a sort of salon for the young rock and rollers. Apparently the whole crowd, Beatles, Stones, Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Page and the rest all hung out at Groovy Bob Fraser’s. Bob always had a plentiful supply of the best drugs.
To supply him with those drugs enter the young ambitious criminal, Spanish Tony Sanchez. Tony worked the gambling joints of the West End for the early fifties criminal Albert Dimes, an Italian. Dimes was a huge man, a fearsome enforcer, who successfully weathered his times until he died in his nineties. Either no or little jail time too.
Spanish Tony recorded his life in the Sixties in his two books, Up And Down With The Rolling Stones and I Was Keith Richards’ Drug Dealer. The latter is an updated edition of the former with additional material so the two are similar but not identical.
Tony met Groovy Bob in a bar before going to work his shift. The friendship developed and Tony began to hang at Fraser’s becoming acquainted with the Beatles, Stones and Marianne. Tony had access to drug suppliers.
Groovy Bob Fraser was the frivolous sort who found the minor details irrelevant. Thus while losing heavily in the Kray’s West End gambling joint, Esmeralda’s Barn, he paid for his losses with checks drawn on air. Any check may bounce once but Groovy Bob’s were the super balls of checks, they just kept bouncing.
I don’t have to tell you this irritated the Krays. They threatened grievous bodily harm. Bob appealed to the incipient criminal Spanish Tony to try to straighten things out. Dimes was Tony’s introduction to the Krays and according to him he worked out an agreement but Groovy Bob, well, honestly, just couldn’t find the money.
At the same time Brian Epstein had gambled and lost, gambled and lost, gambled and lost. One surmises that he made inroads into those Beatles millions that would have been difficult to explain in court. His contract with the group would expire in 1967 at which time it wouldn’t have been unreasonable for the Boys to call for an audit of the books. Not being businessmen and trusting Brian implicitly they probably wouldn’t have but the guilty Brian couldn’t count on it. Under pressure from the Krays to turn the Beatles over to them, probably suffering the pangs of guilt and befuddled by drugs, Brian either committed suicide in the summer of ‘67 or he was erased by other interested parties.
In the interim the Krays were increasing the pressure to get the Beatles from him. They had a sit down with Brian in a homosexual bar to force the issue. Brian patiently tried to explain to them that management was no bed of roses; there were a million nagging little details, heartbreaks and frustrations.
Maybe so. The Krays had earlier broached the subject of taking over the Beatles to the UK crime kingpin Arthur Thompson of Glasgow. He had advised them against it pointing out they were criminals who as a caste gave little thought to business details as did Groovy Bob Fraser and besides when it got out that the Beatles were criminally controlled it might kill their popularity. The Krays brushed the latter objection aside but paid attention to the former.
Now, the Krays had an associate named Laurie O’ Leary who had a clean record and could therefore function above ground and obtain licenses to manage clubs and an older brother Charlie who also had a clear record who could learn the management skills and establish a talent agency. That should take care of both of Arthur’s objections.
Bear in mind that part of the deal Tony worked out was that Groovy Bob was to work to bring the Beatles over to the Krays. There was a large homosexual ring recruiting young boys from orphanages for their criminal pleasure. This ring involved some notorious people of the period. One was the homosexual Tom Driberg. Driberg had made himself familiar with Mick Jagger who he tried to recruit as a politician. A fellow called Lord Boothby seemed to be the guiding light of this group. The group also included Ronnie Kray and members of the so-called Music Mafia including disc jockeys and many of those presiding over the music scene. As events have recently shown those involved in the music industry were heavily into pedophilia. How they link up to the Krays’ invasion of group management isn’t clear but I’m sure there is a connection.
At this point a group including Kevin MacDonald and Tara Browne along with George Harrison decided to open a club for the ‘hipoisie’ that was called Sibylla’s. It doesn’t seem like it was a coincidence that the club was located on Swallow St. in Piccadilly. On this same street were three clubs patronized by the mob figures and an infamous clip joint so that the Krays would be rubbing shoulders with the rockers. Furthermore the club was managed by Kray associate Laurie O’ Leary fresh from managing the bars of the Krays’ gambling joint, Esmeralda’s Barn. The opening night crowd of the club is said to have been attended by many mob figures using aliases.
Thus the club MacDonald conceived was called Sybilla’s named after the socialite Sibylla Edmonstone. That’s the way she spelled her first name. Kevin MacDonald and Associates comprised himself and George Harrison’s photographer Terry Howard and a guy named Bruce Higham. While this area is still a bit sketchy one assumes that Howard brought in Harrison.
As the Associates had no money their principal investor was a Sir William Piggott-Browne. Amember of the aristocracy, as a youth he had declassed himself enough be a jockey. He contributed 60% of the approximately 150K pounds. A disc jockey named Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman also invested. I imagine there were a few other small investors.
MacDonald was interviewed by a reporter for the Evening Standard apparently in the club. The interview appeared in the 7/23/66 edition. Macdonald’s picture and news clip were provided by email from a former girl friend of Kevins. I quote from the article.
But the ultimate fascination of Sibylla’s lied in its interest to the amateur sociologist. The three founders Terry Howard, Kevin MacDonald and Bruce Higham, all young professional men in their twenties who arranged bankers and backers to support their dream, claim that their club symbolizes a social revolution personified by the linkup between Marshall Field’s great grand daughter, Miss Sibylla Edmonstone and Beatle George Harrison whose respective spheres of fashionability assured the club’s success, if it needs an explanation it gets one from the most eloquent of the founders, 28 year old advertising executive Kevin MacDonald, a great nephew of Lord Northcliffe, who was lyrically evangelical on what Sibylla’s is doing for Britain when he told me using finger clicking [snaps in US] for punctuation:
“Sibylla’s is the meeting ground for the new aristocracy of Britain (click) And by the new aristocracy I mean the current young meritocracy of style, taste and sensibility (click) We’ve got everyone here (click) The top creative people (click) The top exporters (click) The top brains (click) The top artists (click) The top social people (click) and the best of the PYPs (swingingese for pretty young people). We’re completely classless (click We are completely integrated (click) We dig the spades man. (click)
Relationships here go off like firecrackers. Everyone here’s got the message (click) Can you read it, Man?
I confess to having originally looked upon the above as complete gibberish. However, although it may be due to the heady atmosphere of Swallow St., after three nights of Sibylla’s I now admit to being converted to something near to Mr. MacDonald’s doctrine.
So Kevin considers himself a revolutionary. The concept of a new meritocracy was shared by the fashion photog David Bailey who in a collection of portraits of the movers and shakers dismayed the more staid by including Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
The Kray twins did consider themselves as part of Swinging London along with the rest of the glitterati. That may partially explain why the club was located on a notoriously Firm street with three clubs they frequented. Just as Bailey was fascinated by the Kray Firm so were a lot of the fashionistas. Still, the fact that Laurie O’ Leary was named manager points to a larger Kray involvement along with the whole Boothby homosexual clique Ronnie was involved with.
While O’ Leary professes a sort of innocence in regards to his connection to the Krays he quite clearly was functioning under the Kray umbrella. It It seems probable that the club was formed and the ownership group was gotten together to put pressure on the Beatles through Harrison who was drawn in by MacDonald and Browne. Further research is necessary to discover how Browne became involved.
Probably pressure was put on both to force them to work on Harrison to bring the Beatles in. MacDonald took the quick way down from the 10th floor. The fact of the matter is that Kevin was precipitated from the 10th floor of the King Charles House on Wanda Road eighty feet down to the carapace over the entrance.
Scotland Yard’s finger printers found only Kevin’s and those at the top of an open window to which he had obviously been clinging.
There were obviously no witnesses so one is reduced to speculation. There were alternate entrances that
allowed Kevin and his conductors to enter unobserved. It seems equally obvious that Kevin was defenestrated. A favorite trick of the Krays was to dangle their victims out the window held by the ankles
That seems like the most obvious solution to the problem to me, else why would O’ Leary be advised to keep mum over the incident. When that warning was ignored Tara Browne died in an equally suspicious way in a late night car crash. This is important because Lennon and McCartney wrote A Day In The Life included on their Sgt. Pepper’s album to describe it. It was probably this song that gave some sort of credence for Browne replacing a dead McCartney.
The only witness to the crash was Browne’s companion in the car, a tiny Lotus, a girl named Suki Potier. While there are a plethora of details circulating about the accident such as Browne was racing McCartney down the street at 106 miles an hour, there would have been no witnesses to confirm this save McCartney and Potier and neither have anything substantial to say.
The Lotus is said to have hit a van. The wreck of the Lotus certainly indicates a very high speed yet we have no picture of the van to indicate how the crash occurred. By van is meant I suppose what we USers would call a panel truck or something equivalent to a SUV.
While Browne was killed Miss Potier escaped the really horrendous looking crash with nothing but a few bruises. This seems incredible. As the picture shows the roof is torn off the car while the hood or bonnet is driven up. The window on her side is intact. At the very least her head should have broken the windshield. It would seem probable that she would have been thrown through it or over it. The timing of the roof ripping off would have been important there.
The question is, was there an accident or was Browne killed and the accident staged. The intent of his death may have been meant as a second warning to the Beatles to surrender. So, now, why was the Paul Is Dead rumor circulated. Perhaps the first two warnings having failed Paul was targeted as next. Of course that would have been counter productive.
But if one connects the Paul Is Dead rumor to the Sgt. Pepper’s cover a possible Kray involvement through Groovy Bob Fraser is possible. The cover of Sgt. Peppers had been assigned to a Dutch commune called The Fool and had actually been completed, but Fraser persuaded the ‘Boys’ to switch to a group of his friends who then came up with a cover depicting the whole group as dead and buried.
The symbolism of the cover had never really engaged my attention till recently. On the lower right corner is a rag doll wearing a Rolling Stones sweater. The aspiring gangster and Fraser friend Spanish Tony Sanchez now indebted to the Krays through his association with Fraser had been hired by Keith Richards of the Stones as his factotum and drug procurer at a salary of 250 pounds a week as recorded in his Up And Down With The Rolling Stones and I Was Keith Richards Drug Dealer thus putting a Kray agent in the Stones. A coincidence perhaps but a mighty good paying job. I have no evidence but it is likely that Tony was forced on Keith by the Krays.
At any rate on this bizarre, less than hip cover, the Beatles are dressed in their Sgt. Pepper’s garb standing looking down at a grave labeled Beatles. Surrounding them are pictures of a band of lonely hearts, mostly dead people. So, what is the message? Join up or your group will be dead for real? In fact Paul’s Mini was involved in a crash but it was being driven by his factotum while bringing drugs to a party Paul was attending. It was likely thought that Paul was driving.
What is clear is that Fraser was unable to pay his gambling debts and had to make some move to show he was cooperating. The cover could be a very discreet attempt to show the Krays he was working on it. As he was involved in the Redlands bust of 1967 and sent to prison that at least got him off the street for a period of time. Then the Krays were busted in May of 1968 perhaps removing an immediate threat. Fraser chose the time after his release to vanish in India perhaps to avoid punishment.
Brian Epstein, dazed and confused, by his drug taking, continuing to rack up gambling debts was making his situation worse. He was probably deep into money that contractually belonged to the Beatles. In other words he had embezzled or misappropriated vast sums.
In a desperate move to generate more cash, perhaps, he had opened a Fillmore type rock emporium that would be competing with the Roundhouse. He also apparently attempted to sell his firm NEMS to RSO the Robert Stigwood Organization. As he was giving NEMS up for the fire sale price of 500,000 pounds it would seem that he was desperate for a way out.
Post-Sgt. Peppers the Krays seem to have been no closer to annexing the Beatles than before. Epstein died on August 27, 1967 from an apparent drug overdose. He intended to spend that weekend with friends at his home but suddenly changed his mind and left to return to London. No one knows what happened in London or who he may have met. It’s possible the Krays called him and commanded a meeting. A sort of now or never thing. He returned home, locked himself in his room and died in bed. Never. The door was broken down the next morning when he was found dead in his bed.
The Krays themselves were arrested in May of 1968 and never released spending the rest of their lives in prison, or, in Ronnie’s case, Bedlam.
Prior to the Krays’ arrest in May the Beatles chose February of that year to visit the Maharishi in India thus out of the country for those months.
Spanish Tony continued with Keith Richards after the Krays were sentenced although his relationship became more strained. The Krays are said to have had influence in the underworld from prison so Keith may not have thought it wise to dismiss Tony at that time. The relationship was ended in 1976 when Tony was refused backstage entry at a concert.
When Reggie Kray died at the end of the century thus leaving Tony without any protection Tony is said to have died in 2000 also.
There is a chance his death was merely rumored. There are people who think he is still alive. I have comments from a T. at the end of my essay Who Is Spanish Tony Sanchez. The email address purports to be from Spanish Tony. My email to the address went unanswered. You may read T.’s comments and see what you think. I think it is likely that Tony is still out there. Maybe actually in Spain where all good English criminals seem to go.
If anyone has definite proof of Tony’s demise don’t hesitate to communicate the fact.
There you have it. To my mind there is no question that the man killed in the car crash was Tara Browne. I find it improbable to impossible that McCartney died somehow or was killed with his being replaced by Browne after plastic surgery while the Paul Is Dead story didn’t actually gain credence until 1969.
The murders of MacDonald and Browne have to be explained. The above is my attempt to do it. More information is certainly a desideratum.
March 14, 2013
A Review: A Prince Among Stones by Rupert Loewenstein
Review by R.E. Prindle
Loewenstein, Prince Rupert: A Prince Among Stones: That Business With The Rolling Stones And Other Adventures, 2013, Bloomsbury
Some will rob you with a six gun,
Others use a fountain pen.
-Pretty Boy Floyd, The Outlaw
Now comes the very welcome autobiography of the Rolling Stones eminence gris, financial expert, Rupert Loewenstein, a moments surcease from the excesses of Spanish Tony Sanchez, Marianne Faithfull and Keith. A respite from biographers Christopher Anderson, Philip Norman, A.E. Hotchner and the other sexually obsessed writers. A pause in the hothouse atmosphere of Mick’s groovy sexual liaisons, temporary and otherwise. Rupert keeps his dick in his pants.
When in 1968 the Stones realized that the inexperience of their youthful years was cracking down to destroy their dreams, their hopes had been concealed and buried in truckloads of contracts and documents they couldn’t read and would never understand. Enter Rupert the investment banker from The Square Mile, well mannered and ‘with it’ in ways Rockers could ever understand much less emulate. But Mick tried.
Entangled by the youthful inexperience of their first manager seconded by his partner Eric Easton and outright robbed by fountain pen wielding Allen B. Klein, Mick Jagger turned to Rupert Loewenstein as a thirsting man in the Sahara desert. As despised rock and rollers Jagger was turned down by the lawyers and accountants he pleaded with to salvage the Stones situation.
Christopher Gibbs, friend of Bob Fraser, approached Rupert as an old Etonian and asked his help. Rupert considered and accepted.
After reading internet reviews of Rupert’s book the general consensus seems to be a general rejection. The fact that Rupert took the first sixty pages to explain his origins and give some background offended the majority of reviewers who expected him to begin with glowing accounts of Mick and Keith. As Rupert’s technique was to place himself in his environment, so markedly different from the rest of us, most reviewers interpreted his method as mere name dropping.
I enjoyed the pages and thought Rupert’s technique quite skillful. As his explication narrowed down to his first encounter with Mick as he stepped over his prone drugged out form at a party I became aware of who Rupert was and how he arrived at the crossroads of his life.
At that point he was an owner of the small merchant banking firm of Leopold Joseph & Sons, both Leopold and his sons having departed the firm. Here he had a comfortable, respectable life with, as future developments would show, an opportunity for substantial wealth. An enviable situation actually.
But Rupert, apparently, craved excitement, so for reasons that escape me he took on the task of rescuing the Stones. Did I say crazy? Closer to what I meant but had too much discretion to say. At the time Rupert accepted the mission the Stones were penniless all their money controlled by Klein; they had no means to pay Rupert anything including his expenses. As incredible as it may seem Rupert worked for not only nothing but at his own expense including many trips to New York and back for three long years until he could squeeze some money out of Allen Klein. I mean, what luck for the Stones, my jaw just dropped.
The Stones had thousands and thousands of documents and papers Rupert had to familiarize himself with and this is all boring, very intricate stuff. It took Rupert a couple years alone of study before he felt competent to confront the thug Klein; and then, eighteen years of legal squabbles ensued as Klein fought to hold his ill gotten gains.
In the meantime, as Rupert learned the complexities of the music business and touring he had to find ways to make the ongoing projects profitable. He succeeded in making the perennial money loser, touring, into a cash cow.
Rupert is always understated but his efforts for the Stones in a very corrupt business were astonishing. From being penniless Jagger now has several hundreds of millions of dollars.
While discussing these financial affairs Rupert is more than discreet. One has an idea of what he did for the Stones but nothing in the way of useful details. This was Rupert’s life that so far as I’m concerned he is certainly within his rights to discuss, even revealing, some more pertinent details in his dealings with Klein.
Mick, who can explain Mick, had the effrontery to chide Rupert for, in his eyes, revealing the Stones’ finances. Revealing the Stones’ finances! Who is Mick kidding? The Stones are an untraded public company. They have imposed themselves on their public, us, and what they do is our business. Our dollars have made them very wealthy men. We’re entitled to financial reports. Does Mick have any idea of what havoc he has caused to society and we members of the public, this member, by his reprehensible shenanigans?
Personally I think it astonishing that Rupert would have associated himself with a guy who would get up on forty foot inflatable dick in front of sixty thousand people a time and shout ‘Yahoo!’ What kind of guy would do that?
In many ways that was only the beginning of Stones’ offensiveness in the seventies. One has to understand the homosexual situation of the sixties and seventies in which Mick played a leading role. Hidden at the bottom of developments was the 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange. The story involves a near societal mutation of thug violence. The film rights were immediately snapped up by a combine of David Bailey, Andrew Oldham and Andy Warhol.
The original plan was to star Mick as the protagonist Alex. The movie did not come together until 1971 but then under different owners although Warhol did make an earlier version. The book’s type of violence was part and parcel of Warhol’s Factory whose members apparently took the book’s protagonists, the Droods, as their model. That combined with their homosexuality.
Mick was close to both David Bailey, the fashion photographer who describes Mick and his mate, and Warhol. As the book was a sort of revolutionary text the movie was even more so. For those prone to violence the movie serves as a primer. Yobbos in action.
Andy Warhol was also working toward the homosexual revolution that succeeded in 1969 in the Christopher Street rebellion at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Between the book and the Stonewall the lid was off unconscious violence and homosexuality. Alex of Clockwork Orange was portrayed as an androgynous character not unlike Mick.
Thus the 1970s songs and tours took on a violent homosexual character leaning heavily toward psychotic sado-masochism. Always pushing the envelope Mick over did it with his 1976 release Black And Blue. Black And Blue was a very sick record. Of course it was only part of a very sick period fueled by the homosexual revolution. Appearing in 1976, it was after a series of albums by the sado-masochistic Negro band The Ohio Players. The OP had released a series of objectionable record covers that caused no adverse reaction as they were Negroes. Their LPs Pleasure, Pain and Angel had covers more excessive than Black And Blue. Women were dominatrices, hung from chains, the Pleasure cover shows a woman stabbing a man in the spine during intercourse. This all passed without comment but Mick apparently didn’t realize that Negroes have a ticket to ride but White Boys don’t.
Unlike The Ohio Players the Stones didn’t have the rocks to put their picture of female torture and overt sado-masochism on the outside of the cover concealing it instead within the gate fold. Perhaps Mick was realizing his Clockwork Orange fantasy identity.
To add insult to injury the Stones compelled their label to erect a gigantic Billboard of the centerfold across from the Hyatt House on Sunset Boulevard in LA. The outrage was instantaneous. The outrage was so intense that Mick and the Stones were compelled to back down. The billboard was taken down while the photo was removed from the inner cover replaced by a photo of the band.
One can only imagine the effect the incident had on Rupert and his fellow merchant bankers back in London. The repercussions at all levels were horrendous.
In fact Mick owes me for that one. At that time I was in the record business in Portland, Oregon, running a large six thousand square foot store. I had a huge presence on TV and radio through advertisements thus making me an ideal target for protests. Oddly devotees of porn like Lesbians decided to target my store. A committee in combat boots stormed into my store handing me an ultimatum to not only remove Black And Blue from my racks but a long list of record covers they thought demeaned women. Interestingly The Ohio Players several covers or any records by Negro groups for that matter were not on the list. No White person was going to criticize any Negro for anything. They had immunity. The Stones however where White, objectionable and fair game. As was I.
The Lesbos put their heads together to come up with a media event that they could exploit for maximum publicity. Andy always said that any publicity was good publicity but I beg to disagree with him. They conceived the notion that if they came into my store and slashed the covers of their two hundred objections that would make the paper, TV and radio. They were complicit with my employees. As the store was open till ten they chose a late hour to do their slashing. Well done, but beyond my notice until one of the Lesbos in my employ pointed the albums out to me several days later.
Of course, as I had no idea who did it, similar incidents were always happening, I pulled the damaged covers to be sent back to the manufacturers hoping that it wouldn’t happen again. There was no reason for me to complain to the police because as a record dealer I was outside the protection of the law, the police would have laughed at me. As the evil deed had received no response the Lesbos published their manifesto in their paper. Naturally enough I didn’t read lesbian publications so no response from me.
The gay crowd had their agents in the police department and the Daily Oregonian, the local rag. Unfortunately for the Lesbos as I didn’t advertise in the Oregonian it was forbidden to either mention myself or my store hence that venue was closed. Oddly enough the Lesbos used to police to try to stir me.
Now, I was in the record business. It was universally believed that every record store was dealing drugs. There were TV shows depicting it. Therefore it was believed that I was one of the biggest drug masterminds in the world. I was actually followed by police agents in London on vacation. As it happened I was there when they made a major marijuana bust so I was given attention as it was apparently thought I was there to supervise the operation. It was an interesting time. I hope I don’t have to tell you what a fantastically absurd suspicion this was. I mean, you know, it was believed that all you had to do was ask for a certain record and the clerk would slap a lid of grass on the counter for you. I mean, with a counter full of weed nothing would have been easier than a bust. But logic….
The cops had been irritants for some time so when I got a phone call saying that they wanted to help me, I say, What kind of setup is this? The sergeant or whatever begins insultingly saying that ordinarily the police didn’t care what my kind of people did to each other but this slashing of record covers was one toke over the line. Wow. It was exceptionable wasn’t it? What other things hadn’t they investigated that’s what I wanted to know but got no answer.
Quite honestly I’d dismissed the incident, didn’t remember it and thanks, but no thanks. The Lesbos were back to square one, no media event. Time passed as they revolved the situation in their drug addled minds.
Now, not only was the newspaper riddled with gays, as was my store by the way, but so was the no. 1 TV station in town on which I was a very heavy advertiser, both its radio and TV outlets. Homos and Lesbos ran the place. Time has now flown as Time will and we’re into 1977. More objectionable covers have appeared especially Ronnie Montrose’s first with the abstract painting that resembled perhaps a woman’s crotch but given the homosexual dominance of the industry by 1978 it could have been a man’s rear; the record was called Jump On It if I remember correctly. All the sexual double entendres used for decades, remember the tune Baby, Let Me Bang Your Box? Piano was meant, box being musical slang for piano as well as…(blush) you know. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane, for instance who was only three years old. You just have a dirty mind, that’s all.
I was known for touting the artistic merits of the covers so getting together with their sisters at K… it was determined to do a short news feature in which I was to be induced to speak out and then they would go for the Montrose cover and get me for porno. I had no objection to their filming in my store but not having been born yesterday I wasn’t going to be drawn into the trap. I refused to speak on camera so that blew the second attempt for a media event. On to take three.
What else? The Lesbos would stage a demonstration outside the store, placards and all. However they once again made some gross miscalculations. They did get the top DJ in town also at K… and also a homosexual to announce that the demonstration would take place at noon at my store. I heard it on the radio on my way to work and was grossly offended. But, you know, too bad wasn’t it?
It was true that because of my massive radio and TV presence through advertising, and I mean massive, I was the ideal target. However many if not most people considered the demonstration as a publicity stunt which I failed to grasp at the time so didn’t turn it to my advantage and ignored it. As it would have been free advertising none of the radio and TV stations would cover the demonstration and the Oregonian certainly ignored it.
Frustrated that no media attended their media event the Lesbos decided to invade my store. A screaming horde of combat booted demons rushed in climbing on record racks, waving their signs, and with them came all the thieves and shop lifters within range of the excitement. Oddly enough many shoppers considering the ruckus a stunt went calmly about their shopping.
It took the helpful police an hour to get there and two hours to restore order. Obviously no arrests were made by the ‘helpful’ police. As Dylan sang: The cops don’t need you and, man, they expect the same. I have no idea how much money the Lesbos cost me, but they owe along with Mick. Once they realized there would be no media event their interest subsided. By that time half of 1977 was shot.
The next time Mick says that songs don’t incite a revolution smile knowingly.
Whatever was happening to me passed unnoticed as I was out on the edge of nowhere. Except for this account of the story the incident has been unrecorded. I hope the Lesbos feel rewarded. But for Rupert his world was changed dramatically on February 27th of that same year, 1977. Keith was busted for intent to distribute heroin in Toronto. The bust was as close to absolute disaster as the Stones ever came. It must also have sent a shiver down Rupert’s spine as he realized how fragile a business the Stones were.
Rupert passes over this stuff casually with a little light hearted banter but the seriousness of this ‘media event’ causes him to issue a nearly audible sigh of resignation. Rupert had spent months lining up bids from every major label for when the recording contract with Atlantic expired.
Mick gave Rupert a call to tell him the disastrous news. You can almost feel the heartbreak as Rupert resigns himself to call each and every label to ask if the bust affected their offers. It did. All signed off but…Atlantic. Ertegun stayed in but Rupert’s bargaining power went into the vein, so to speak. The Stones were only worth what Ertegun would offer. Millions down the tube. Rupert doesn’t tell us what percentage he was working on but we can assume that Keith’s bust cost him plenty.
You don’t read the story that way in Keith’s auto; he may not even still have figured it out.
That was a very serious consequence for Rupert to which I am sure Keith has given no thought ever to the possible collateral damages caused by his actions. In his drugged out haze Keith was not even aware that Rupert could no longer justify his involvement with a bunch of yobbos like the Stones. In the first place anyone associated with Rock was socially unacceptable. I as a record store owner was persona non grata in my social arena. If Rupert had held on to his social status to this point I’m sure he found that certain invitations were no longer forthcoming. Indeed, his fellows at Leopold Joseph made him choose between them and the Stones. Rupert was forced to sell out.
One feels a sort of sinking feeling in his writing as he acknowledges that Keith had sabotaged the chances of both him and the Stones. One can only hope he came out with a couple hundred million otherwise he was woefully under compensated. Rock was a world he could never have understood.
Rupert saw the Stones as a business venture without any regard of the Stones’ relationship to the expectations of their fans. Thus when he negotiated more than substantial sums for the use of Stones’ songs in advertising that was a very good business decision but a potentially disastrous situation with the fan base who saw such financial arrangements as a complete betrayal of their anti-commercialism. Rupert was frustrated that the Stones had a hard time seeing it his way.
Besides he didn’t know who the Stones were or, seemingly so. The Stones were always a minority appeal band. When Andrew Oldham cast them as the ultimate yobbo band he was limiting their appeal to a certain segment of society. In the contemporary world where modern communications allow mind sets to come into contact and maintain communications not only locally but globally mind sets were able to blast their presence into a million or millions through communications. Thus though a small percentage of the overall global population even a perversion such as sado-masochism could appear in millions, seemingly a large connected body. Effects such as this is what Warhol was doing and through associates such as Jagger and David Bailey acting globally.
While the Stones may have sold a couple two or three million globally of their records, while substantial economically, it was not that significant culturally. Beyond the yobbo mentality the Stones had little appeal. The Black And Blue album did not expand their audience but constricted it.
Of course Mick moved the band beyond mere rock and roll by making the Stones the Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey circus of rock. The show was the thing. Rupert himself usually refers to Mick as a great showman. Faint praise indeed. But, once again even though the shows generated hundreds of millions it was to an already sympathetic or curious audience. Preaching to the converted so to speak.
I think that Rupert was originally blinded by the light of the Stones publicity not realizing that he wasn’t representing a universal phenomenon but a mere yobbo fragment of the population. The money was there however. I hope he valued his services accordingly.
The last half of the book meanders with very little useful information save that Rupert negotiated with unnamed buyers to sell the Stones lock, stock and barrel much as Halston sold his name, soul and product to a major corporation.
What Rupert’s motivation was except for a huge bundle of cash isn’t clear. Perhaps in some devious way he was seeking to avenge Keith’s betrayal and cause the Stone’s the pain they caused him. In any event the idea was too novel for Keith and Mick or they were two wary so the deal didn’t go down.
Perhaps there was big money in it for Rupert so that when he lost the opportunity he lost interest in the Stones. It was shortly after the deal folded that he retired severing his relationship with the group whose fortunes he had guided quite successfully for forty years.
Rupert never satisfactorily explained why he decided to abandon his respectable merchant banking career to take up a gypsy existence with the Stones. You may be sure that if I had the choice between owning a record store or being a merchant banker I would definitely have gone into banking. Anything really. You can always buy records.
February 27, 2013
Who Is Spanish Tony Sanchez?
A Review Of Up And Down With The Rolling Stones
Published In 1979 Spanish Tony Sanchez’ memoir is now thirty-four years old. Tony tanked it in the year 2000. Had he lived he might be surprised but gratified at the success his book is enjoying. According to reviews the book as been very well received by book buyers although there are dissident views by others finding the book unbelievable.
Part of the problem is that the book was co-written by a former journalist named John Blake who appears to detest Jagger, Richards and the whole scene they created. As a journalist he was privy to all the gossip about Jagger and Richards and so chips in with opinions of his own while also citing newspaper reports. Although written as a continuous narrative, with careful reading you can separate Blake from Sanchez.
After his journalistic career blew up Blake went on to publishing at which he has been successful. His collaboration with Sanchez was fruitful. The book is a great read anyway you look at it. The question is not what Sanchez tells us but what he doesn’t tell us.
Tony says that he was under he protection of a gang boss by the name of Albert Dimes who ran the West End apparently sharing Soho with the notorious Kray twins, Reggie and Ronnie and their brother Charlie. Sanchez then can be classed as a hoodlum. As Charlie Kray says his gang ran a bodyguard company it seems probable that Tony was employed by Keith in that function.
One of his chief functions for the Stones was as a drug supplier. Opening the book he says apropos of Brian Jones:
I’m not a pusher, but as a boy I’d worked in Soho, first as a night club bouncer, then as a croupier, so I know exactly where to go for anything from a lid of grass to a Thompson submachine gun. Consequently people in the rock world had come to me as a reluctant go-between in their flirtations with the London underworld.
That short paragraph says an awful lot. We know, according to Tony, that he was sufficiently well known in gangland to come under the protection of Albert Dimes, a gangster dating back to the early fifties. Tony says that he worked as a bouncer in gambling joints and that would require the attitude and the temper to use violence whether necessary or not.
And then he says he was a croupier. He later tells us that the games were rigged so that he was knowingly bilking his customers, a form of theft. He then tells us that he could get anything from a bag of grass to submachines guns. This would mean that he was very knowledgeable in criminal matters.
He repeatedly professes that he didn’t sell drugs for profit but apparently had access to commercial amounts. At the same time he is married with two children, dresses like a dandy and hangs out in pricey bars. At no time does he appear to be gainfully employed until for some reason Keith Richards puts him on the payroll at 16,000 pounds a year. Well in excess of the pay for a working stiff. Plus, as Tony never seems to visit the wife and kids, room and board. Kind of a dream deal, you might say. What’s up? We’ll have to guess because Tony and John kept it quiet.
So, how did Tony get so close to Keith? Well, this is fairly interesting stuff. The stuff Swinging London was made of. The story’s real beginning is on page 39 when Tony meets Groovy Bob Fraser who was his entrance to the rock world. Tony tells it like this:
Into this world of intrigue, sudden violence, and bitter feuds dropped Robert Fraser. We met as I sipped a solitary espresso at the Bar Italian in Soho’s Frith Street. It was afternoon and I was killing time before going to work at the club.
Robert sat next to me, and we fell into conversation. Robert mentioned that he had gone to college in Spain…I speak Spanish as fluently as I speak English. This excited Robert and he jumped at the chance to talk to me in his very erudite Spanish…
From there a friendship developed around Tony’s ability to score drugs. Fraser was a gambler who had lost 20K pounds to the Kray Twins and couldn’t pay. He asked and Tony offered to deal with the Krays. Tony approached Dimes who wasn’t willing to jeopardize his wicket for an impecunious gambler. Tony decided to approach the Krays on his own. Bold move. Now, two versions exist; the improbable one of the book and another version in what purports to be a chapter of the book deleted by the publishers that might be more accurate.
The story involves criminal attempts to take over the music business. Sanchez was in a criminal occupation within the underworld while he confesses to wanting to be a criminal. p. 37:
As a teenager my great passions were rock music and big-time villainy- roughly in that order. I had a cousin who had gone way, way off the rails and who had become deeply immersed in organized crime. While my parents complained about the shame he was bringing to our family, I could only look at his big car and beautiful women and pray to God he would show me how it was done.
So, his cousin got Tony a job as a croupier and Tony began to meet big time crooks like Albert Dimes.
Rock and Roll bands at that time played in clubs and clubs are almost universally under the control of the underworld. Thus band members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones are in much closer contact with the underworld than one might assume while that is very carefully obscured by their biographers.
The Beatles played for months in the red light district of Hamburg one of the toughest criminal areas in the world. They witnessed much crime and mayhem. They were no angels. Albert Grossman in his biography gives examples while Andrew Oldham in his latest effort, Stone Free, tells of the time John and Paul dressed as priests and while so posing anointed communicants with their own piss, for which Oldham says they were arrested. At any rate they were under the protection of the crime lord of all Europe. The Krays of England would have been old hat to them.
Tony’s relationship with Keith then is suspicious.
The Kray Twins, who were England’s most prominent villains, as the English say, had taken over a prominent West End gambling spot called Esmeralda’s Barn. Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein gambled here, losing heavily so that the enormous amounts of money the Beatles were generating came to the attention of the Krays. They also knew that Epstein was gay. As they had made the previous owner of the Barn the irrefusable offer they believed they could do the same with Epstein. This aspect of the story is detailed in Colin Fry’s book, The Krays: A Violent Business so the account is not dependent on the missing chapter.
The Krays arranged a meeting with Epstein in a homosexual bar. That it was a homosexual bar indicates nothing to me as gay bars aren’t in the habit of hanging signs out saying: Gay Bar. I have been in several gay venues without knowing where I was until I was being served. The question is, would one go back?
Epstein patiently explained that managing bands was not as easy and effortless as it looked. The Krays then consulted the alleged godfather of British crime Arthur Thompson of Glasgow who as Epstein pointed out indicated to the Krays that managing the Beatles would require sustained effort and concentration to which criminals are not accustomed. Fry says the Krays thought it over, deciding to blackmail Epstein instead which they did collecting a sum every month for years.
Now to the Antiphoney’s missing chapter. Tony says, if the chapter is authentic, that Robert Fraser owed the Krays 20K in unpaid gambling debts. Tony says in Up And Down he tried to arrange a deal in which Fraser paid 30% or less thus freeing him and making him grateful to Tony.
According to the missing chapter the Krays showed him a sheaf of bounced checks and suggested that perhaps Fraser could clear the debt by delivering the Beatles into their hands, apparently not having given up their desire for the Beatles. When Tony told Fraser the idea he says Fraser embraced it setting about to woo the group. Fraser was fairly tight with McCartney to whom he sold a lot of artwork but not so much with Lennon.
In order then to co-opt Lennon, this sounds like a stretcher, he enlisted the aid of Yoko Ono who had arrived from NYC. As an avant-garde personality cum artist she would have looked Fraser up on her arrival so it is at least probable that she knew him. Yoko according to this account had been hanging around Paul who was the Beatle she wanted. Whatever the intent she did besiege John relentlessly until she got her entry and then she seduced him baffling his mind with all that avant garde BS and heroin.
If Fraser had his agenda Yoko had her own. Having conquered John she used his fame to pull off the Performance Art project of the century when he and she staged the Bed-In For Peace.
While all this was going on the Guiness heir Tara Browne entered this scene when he and his friend, , opened a night club called Sybilla’s. George Harrison of the Beatles was a significant investor. You can’t operate a club without dealing with some Mob. Perhaps the Krays saw Sybilla’s as a chance to co-opt the Beatles. Although the story is not yet clear I imagine that the Krays put pressure on Kevin MacDonald and Browne to sell their interest thus giving them direct access to Harrison as a partner. The two apparently refused so MacDonald was thrown off a roof to his death which left Tara Browne to deal with.
Bearing in mind that Paul had been under the protection of the European crime lord and one doesn’t receive favors without returning them, for that or some other reason Paul was probably compelled to lure Browne to his death. It is said, perhaps conjectured, that on that night Paul challenged Tara to a high speed auto race through London. The object being to draw Tara to a certain intersection where he could be caused to crash his car, a little flimsy Lotus. The crash ruse succeeded and Browne was killed although his supposed passenger, Suzy Poitier survived in a demolished car without a scratch sans seat belt or air bag. Doesn’t seem likely.
Browne’s death left Harrison as the sole surviving investor. I have no information as to his reaction but the club was closed and Harrison went his way. Harrison and Browne had been enough of an attraction to make Sybilla’s a hot spot with the In Crowd. That kind of lightning can strike many times.
Subsequently then, Tony, so he says, conceived the notion of opening his own club that he called Vesuvio. As he seemed to be very tight with the Stones and the Beatles he was able to feature them as attractions for his grand opening that was attended by them and the Rock establishment including Eric Clapton who was also a habitué at the Krays’ gambling club, The Barn. According to Tony the club was a stellar success but then he discovered he wasn’t the type to enjoy sustained business activity so his partner, the one who fronted the money took over management putting him on a stipend. Sanchez doesn’t say who his partner was but it surely must have been either Albert Dimes, or…the Krays.
Whatever, but Fraser was still not delivering and the Krays were getting pushy. Here comes a real leap of belief. Fraser could deliver neither the Beatles nor the money owed so, says Tony, he conceived the notion of going to prison to escape the Krays. An odd choice as the Krays had as many men on the inside as on the outside. But if you’ve snorted, puffed dropped and shot enough stuff I’m sure anything can seem like a reasonable plan.
Thus Tony says in the deleted chapter it was he, Fraser, who tipped the News Of The World to the Redlands bust which sent him to prison for six months. During that time the Krays murdered Jack McVitie, for which crime they were finally nailed. They went in as Fraser came out thus freeing him of the threat although Tony says prison was a life changing experience for Bob who became a less groovy Bob.
Alright. That makes a good story, doesn’t it?
Nor was the above the only contact of the Krays with show biz and Rock
It may be time to give a little perspective to the arch-criminals, The Krays, for those who may be unfamiliar with them, at least in the US, the English underworld reformed after WWII, a whole new cast of characters emerged formed by the wartime experience. The Kray twins were born in 1933 while their brother Charlie was a few years older. Ronnie and Reggie, the twins, began to emerge after 1954 becoming powers as the sixties began.
Perhaps their main racket was Protection of which providing bodyguards was a sub-division.
As the sixties progressed and their fame grew the Sicilian Mafia of the US began to take notice of them. The Mafia had always had a stable of singers, actors and performers they controlled for their nightclubs, such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Judy Garland et al. They suggested the Krays do the same.
In that manner the Krays provided bodyguards for visiting Mafia acts in England. When gambling became legal in England during the early sixties the US Mafia opened casinos installing such as the ex-actor George Raft as front men. The Krays were flattered by the attention showered on them by Raft.
Thus the Krays moved in on the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks and others. While the Beatles Brian Epstein was paying large monthly there was probably a connection to group members also. If McCartney was used to lure Tara Browne to his death, and maybe it was only intended as a scare and a few bruises, then there was mob influence at the personal level.
As I have implied if not stated, Spanish Tony was foisted on Keith as a bodyguard and minder.
The Krays also made a move to co-opt the Kinks but that deal is said to have fallen through. Ronnie Kray as part of the deal wanted to date Kink drummer, Mick Avery. Very flattering to Mick, I’m sure.
Later, when the Sicilian US Mafia wanted to launder money they offered the Krays 2,000,000 dollars to set up a label. The Krays went about it signing a few acts including Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Kramer was spared further indignities when the money was withdrawn and the deal fell through.
And then in Prison after 1968 Reggie Kray decided he wanted to be a songwriter so his songs were foisted on groups who were required to record them.
Much has been made of the homosexual Communist MP Tom Driberg trying to lure Mick into politics. In point of fact Driberg was well connected with Ronnie Kray and part of ring that borrowed boys from an orphanage for their sexual deviance.
This then is quite involved and while Mick was probably not lured into this pervert scene with the Krays it would seem that there was some attempt to draw him in thus co-opting him into the underworld. The scene and Redlands situation needs a little in depth investigation to clear up details of what might have been going on behind the scene of the Bust.
And then there was Tony’s ongoing relationship with Marianne Faithfull. No one associated with the Stones has anything positive to say about Tony. But, listen to Marianne, autobiography, p. 162:
…(Tony) was a dreadful person. You only had to see him eat to know how loathsome he was. He was a lowlife, a small-time spiv, but a weakling at the same time. He was as enchained as anyone else, completely hung up on his particular sickness.
…I was getting deeper and deeper into drugs…I was also getting involved in a long affair with Tony Sanchez, dealer by appointment to the Stones. I can’t believe I did that! I didn’t get enough pocket money fom Mick and I didn’t have any money of my own, so how else would I have been able to get my own drugs?
There’s a problem. And then:
It’s odd to realize that the person you’re sleeping with is there only because you’re Mick Jagger’s girl friend. Or were.
This was as Marianne moved into her lost years during the seventies. During this period she makes it sound as though she were sitting on her wall over the bomb site beyond the ken of the world. It makes a good story and it drew me in. But, she says she never resorted to prostitution. Well, maybe.
While in France with Keith Tony met a woman named Madeleine D’Arcy for whom he fell hard, ditching the wife and kids. Love of his life, he said. She returned to England with Tony where Marianne apparently fell for her as hard as Tony. Sanchez came home one day to find Madeleine and Marianne getting it on. He blamed Marianne.
As all three were heroin addicts with pretty good habits; one wonders where Tony got the money if he wasn’t dealing. He was not closely associated with Keith after Keith fled the Riviera a step or to ahead of the cops so Tony may then have been off the payroll.
He would have had to be hustling something.
Madeleine was hooking. Marianne pp.225-26:
I hadn’t heard from Madeleine for several days. Her phone was off the hook and I suspected the worst. I had a feeling she’d OD’d, and I might have to smash down her door, so when I went over to the flat in Maida Vale I took with me as muscle a burly Maltese drug dealer and a lowlife friend…Eventually the boys broke down the door and in the bedroom we found Madeleine lying fully clothed in a long gown on the bed. She was obviously dead and looked bruised and bloody…By the time of her death, she had gone back to turning tricks at Brighton for fifteen pounds a night.
The Maltese gangs in London were known both for drug dealing and running prostitution. That Marianne contacted a Maltese and ‘a lowlife friend’ might point to prostitution. I saw a clip on the internet in which the photographer was hidden in a sort of alcove shooting through an opening. Marianne walked in front of the camera obviously dressed as a hooker but very classy in her mini skirt and jacket. She spotted the camera, looked alarmed, and quickly ducked around a corner looking back to ascertain what was going on.
There are numerous pictures of her during her lost years so that when the record producers went looking for her she wouldn’t have been as hard to find as she says.
And then, this: p.221:
I was constantly reminded during these years of my parasitic status in the pop world. I remember once going out dancing to a club and Rod Stewart came home with me. He thought I was just one of those girls that sort of floated around pop stars and tried to put the whole thing across like that… (Pop stars) are looking for their particular type, a girly sort of woman with pretty underwear and frocks and the whole female fantasy….I laughed and threw him out.
Sort of a hard Marianne. The other side of the Faerie Queen.
In 1976 Tony was cut loose by Jagger and Richards for good. I presume he passed out of Marianne’s life at that time. In any event she met her second husband, Ben Brierly, in 1976 and began a different, if not a new, life.
Tony’s primary job after securing drugs was to look after Keith. Keith needed some serious looking after. As Keith says Tony’s facts are straight then the only disagreement would be that Tony mentioned things Keith preferred not be mentioned. Indeed, when a London newspaper was going to publish an excerpt concerning Marianne she got an injunction to prevent it.
If the incidents are true as Keith attests then the evidence is that Keith was, at the very least, off the rails, carefree and reckless. He seemed to be conducting a vendetta against society attempting to see how many rules and laws he could break with impunity not unlike the Droogs of A Clockwork Orange.
Unable to pass the driver’s license test Keith had someone else take the test for him. Although, test or no test, practice should have made perfect. Keith was a slow learner cracking up car after car. As he was usually carrying, he grabbed the dope then ran off leaving Tony to deal with the police. Rather annoying from Tony’s point of view who must have been on the police radar himself.
I’m sure that Tony considered himself more than a minder or drug procurer, thinking of himself as more of a member of the group, especially as he was a friend of Robert Fraser’s before linking up with Keith.
The Redlands drug bust is far from cleared up. There is no certainty as to who alerted the News Of The World paper that drugs would be at the party and where the party was. The drug dealer Schneiderman may have been the one. His presence is certainly suspicious. I am going to suggest another possibility, admittedly a conjecture, that Tony himself might be the culprit. Sanchez ran a lot of risks for Jagger and Keith while being included in most things. Then, he wasn’t invited to the Redlands party at which he knew the regulars well. To be excluded is often considered an insult for hangers on for which vengeance is due. It is possible, then, that to wipe the perceived insult Tony himself alerted the News Of The World. It would certainly have avenged a number of indignities he had suffered at the hands of Keith.
It might have been Fraser who alerted the News as the missing chapter asserts, it might have been Schneiderman or, perhaps, it was Tony himself.
At any rate it appears that Tony was tolerated by Keith but not really welcome. As he was linked to London’s underworld it is possible if not probable that there was some link between it and Keith and Mick. When the Krays were sent up for thirty years in 1968, probably freeing Mick and Keith from their influence Tony’s days were probably numbered.
He was still useful in France but when Keith overplayed his hand finding it necessary to leave France and unable to return to England, he became a man without a country of sorts, the connection with Tony was broken, it being only necessary to sever the relationship.
Tony tells it in the brief epilogue to his book:
I had been running from death too long, knew that I could not live this life much longer. But I wasn’t ready to draw completely away. Keith still called me occasionally asking me to get drugs for him, and usually I would cooperate. It had become my way of life. It was on August 21, 1976, that the Stones were playing an outdoor concert at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, and Keith and Mick asked me to bring some cocaine to the dressing room for them. I was given the wrong type pass, however, and in the midst of a wrangle with a security man I suddenly realized it was all over. I turned on my heel, walked away and the next day reserved a room at Bowden House for a cure.
And so Tony was eased out. I have found nothing that mentions his last twenty-five years. However he died in the year 2000 short after Charlie, Ronnie and Reggie Kray had all passed away. It may have been coincidence or as some suggest…
January 27, 2013
Marianne Faithfull: The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties
We skipped a light fandango
Turned Cartwheels across the floor
I was feeling kind of seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
And so it was that later
As the Miller told his tale
She said there is no reason
And the truth is plain to see
That her face at first just ghostly
Turned a white shade of pale.
Now in 1968 both Mick and Marianne’s life were rolling by while both were teetering on the edge. Shortly after Godard’s filming of Sympathy For The Devil in June Mick was signed by Donald Cammell for the lead role in his film Performance. The invitation to star didn’t come from nowhere. There are many links from Mick and his friends to Cammell. Cammell was already known to the Stones having met them in 1965 at the time of the Paris Olympia shows. He was naturally first attracted to Brian Jones but then found some kind of love for Mick. Over the subsequent years he formed many projects that he offered to Mick. As Mick’s asking price was a million or more the projects did not pan out.
Not only did Cammell know the Stones but his live in the Parisian model Deborah Dixon had had a menage a trois with Anita Pallenberg. She had moved on to Brian Jones, passing on to Keith with whom she was living when the movie was shot. She had also viewed and/or worked on the script with Cammell a year previously so she knew that she was playing opposite Mick in advance. She then, was well aware of what the movie entailed.
In addition Cammell knew Robert Fraser and Chris Gibbs while being involved with the American
Satanist Kenneth Anger. Anger was himself a disciple of the arch Satanist of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley. Cammel’s father had known Crowley reasonably well while Cammell himself had at least seen Crowley live. His father even wrote a biography of Crowley, so let’s just say that the sex magic of Crowley and his Golden Dawn played a prominent role during the filming.
Mick would have brought his knowledge of The Master And Margarita to the proceedings. He may have persuaded Cammell to read the book or perhaps as a Satanist Cammell had already read it.
Marianne who had become pregnant perhaps in January or February was sent to Ireland during the filming so as to be out of the way for the sex stuff where she became distraught. She was giving herself and was being given a psychological beating that was disappointing all her expectations leading her into a deep depression. This was furthered along when she had a miscarriage at eight months losing the child. I would imagine the miscarriage was the result of the stresses Mick had placed on her by sending her away along with his sexual misconduct. It may have been her own subconscious rejection of Mick that caused her to subconsciously refuse to have his baby.
Thus as 1968 drew to a close as the Stones recorded their Satanic Majesties Request album Marianne was trying to recover from her miscarriage and put her life in order. She probably ought to have left Mick at the time but as she tacitly admits in an interview video on You Tube the reason that she went with Mick was because her own royalties were dropping and she had gotten used to the money. Mick was a source untapped. I think that this is an underlying cause of her anguish. Nineteen sixty-nine would be a traumatic year for all concerned.
What To Do About Brian?
Marianne was a sentimental girl who formed sincere attachments to the people of her world. Thus Brian was not just someone on the scene but one might say a part of Marianne’s life. She cared for him. As we all know Brian Jones was the actual founder of the Rolling Stones. He named them and gave them their original musical direction. He held them together during the early stages. Naturally he considered himself their leader. He was actually a much more charismatic figure than Mick. While Mick was wiggling around all eyes were on Brian. There was just something about him.
This aroused Mick’s jealousy who once stated that the lead singer was supposed to be the center of attention. Mick also had the most powerful personality so that while he may not have been the leader he made himself the director. And then he and Keith shifted the direction of the music. While never a fan of the Stones I found myself reviewing the albums when I began writing of the group. My original opinion was only confirmed.
It became immediately apparent that Oldham’s first recordings done necessarily on the cheap were not good recordings, four track on primitive and worn equipment. While Brian and the Stones thought they were doing a good job imitating American Negro rhythm and blues it’s actually not even close. Mick makes a terrible imitation of a Negro blues shouter while its painfully obvious that the music doesn’t come close to the original. It’s so far off that it might as well be an original genre while being very close to a garage band.
Perhaps Mick who thought it impossible for an English band to pass themselves off as authentic was right to change the direction of the band to Negro influenced Rock and Roll. Brian was probably too close to his aspirations to know how far from the mark they were.
The original tunes are somewhat better but the inspiration for those soon ran dray so that by the 1966 and ‘67 albums Aftermath and Between The Buttons the band was quickly approaching the rocks. The West Coast fans were disappointed by both albums and, quite frankly, they’re not listenable today. As the albums veered toward English music hall Brian was quite right in thinking that they had abandoned his original intent. The 1968 Their Satanic Majesties Request, intended to be psychedelic in imitation of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s wandered off to a musical somewhere although one can sense the transition from the Old Stones to the New Stones of Beggar’s Banquet.
The cover of Satanic Majesties must have really sickened Brian as it had the boys dressed up in some sort of magician’s getup. A long way from Negro rhythm and blues.
Mick’s conception of the band judging from the current situation was always himself, Keith and Charlie. Bill Wyman, the bass player, being several years older was always an awkward fit. Mick marginalized him as much as he could until Wyman finally gave up terminating his role in 1993. So, was Brian forced out? Of course.
Andrew Oldham who promoted the Stones to a prominence far beyond their then abilities was the first that Mick pushed away in 1967. As a parting present Oldham turned them over to the American Jewish pirate, Allen Klein. As Oldham owned the masters to the Stones catalog he sold it lock stock and barrel to Klein who then legitimately owned them much to Mick’s chagrin.
As Brian was being marginalized by Mick, losing control of the band and its direction his behavior became erratic while he also sunk in the haze of drug addiction. It became obvious to the casual viewer of him on stage that his days must be numbered. On the Ed Sullivan show in the US he could barely stand on his feet but everyone was watching him placed back in the shadows by Mick.
Mick and Keith continued their petty harassments until Brian became a shambles of himself. After the Redlands bust the police turned their attention to Brian who hadn’t the emotional resources to bear the burden. It then in June of 1969 that Mick and Keith advised him that he was no longer in the band.
Brian either drowned in his swimming pool on the night of 7 July or was drowned. There is controversy over his death that may never be conclusively resolved.
Marianne, who by 1969 was not in a healthy sate of mind, was herself sinking into drug addiction, actually becoming a heroin addict, watched these proceedings. She was shocked by Brian’s death. And this came on top of her other woes. But life goes on. It is always painful when death removes a loved one from the building but painful or not the sun does not stand still in the sky nor do the bills stop coming in. Life goes on without missing a beat and you better had too.
So, Mick had movie offers coming in. Both he and Marianne as reigning pop couple were signed to do a movie in Australia. Ned Kelley an Australian bandit. In the 1840s when plays and books began celebrating former outlaws, highwaymen and crooks they were called Newgates after the equally famed Newgate Calendar of criminal trials. This would be a sort of Newgate movie.
Less than a week after Brian’s death Marianne and Mick arrived in Australia to begin their commitment; after all they had signed well before Brian’s death. Psychologically however all of Marianne’s misgivings were adding up to a heavy burden. While the reasonable approach may be that life goes on not everyone is so reasonable and I suspect Marianne was one of these. Perhaps, too, she realized that she and Mick were becoming estranged. Mick’s history was beginning to become apparent; his abominable treatment of women, Chrissie Shrimpton, of Oldham, of Brian; perhaps she began to wonder if she were next. While Mick may have had justifiable reasons for Oldham and Jones they may not have been that apparent to Marianne.
Certainly Brian was on her mind when the place touched down in Sydney. Exhausted by the long flight she and Mick checked into their hotel. Mick promptly flopped down on the bed to doze off. Marianne troubled in mind picked up a bottle of Tuinals and perhaps in a hypnoid state of grief and confusion dropped a hundred forty of them. Wow! That must have taken five or ten minutes. Shows determination. Who would do that if they weren’t serious about suicide.
For whatever reason Mick woke up and probably groggy himself scoped the situation. He rushed Marianne to the hospital for medical attention. But Marianne had overloaded her brain, she lay in a coma for six days.
The last thing on her mind before she suspended animation or slowed her synapses to a crawl was Brian. Since she was still alive although unconscious synapses must have continued; she must have continued to work on her problems, the anguish that had caused her attempt at self-destruction. Thus, when she came to Brian was still on her mind. I quote from her auto-biography Marianne Faithfull, pp.175-79:
By the time we got to the hotel in Sydney I’d forgotten not only where I was but who I was. I looked in the mirror. What I saw was a very thin, frightened face. I’d cut my hair, I was anorexic, and my skin looked cadaverous. I saw someone literally falling apart. Someone with blond hair and looking very scared. In my drug induced stupor I dimly recognized the ravaged face of Brian Jones staring back at me. I was Brian, and I was dead.
…At that moment Brian was my twin. I identified with him because he had been a public sacrifice; it was a role I understood.
Quite logically, I thought I was Brian.
It was all very rational in the way these things are when you’re unhinged. I reasoned that since I was Brian and since Brian was dead…(ellipsis in original) I had to take the rest of the pills so I could be dead too.
…The Tuinals were taking forever to kick in, I looked down and saw things on the street that shouldn’t have been there…And then I saw Brian Jones. At that moment I went into a coma that lasted six days.
When I first spotted Brian he was far below at street level, but greatly enlarged…Various parts of him- his face, his hands- expanded and extended toward me as he spoke, and then he rose straight up as from a shaft of air until he was directly opposite the window of our room.
…He beckoned to me the way spirits traditionally beckon to mortals in the movies. I passed through the plate glass and found myself outside. But instead of standing suspended above the street, I was now in an unstable landscape that pulsed and shifted as we spoke. I had I assumed gone over to the other side.
The grandeur and enormity of the place had the phantasmagoric mood of illustrations by Edmund Dulac or Durer engravings of Hell. As we were walking along, I realized that Brian had no more idea of where we were going than I did. Obviously he had woke up dead, not known where he was and decided to call for me!
It was the nicest chat I ever had with him, actually. He told me how he had woken up and put out his hand for his bottle of Valium, and about the panic that seized when there was nothing there. He said he had been lonely and confused and had brought me to him because he needed to talk to someone he knew.
We strolled blithely along as the quivering earth crumbled away on either side of us, and he told me about the miniature coronation set with Beefeaters and the coach and horses. He said he like books about railway bridges, guides to switching boxes, George McDonald’s fairy stories and Fox’s Book of Martyrs.
…Afterward he became weepy like the Mock Turtle in Alice In Wonderland and said he was sorry to have put me to all this trouble. He didn’t seem to know he was dead. I’m sure this happens frequently…They don’t know where they are. Hence ghosts.
…’Brian, Dear, isn’t this lovely, I said, trying…to distract him from grisly realities. But my sudden descent to small talk must have tipped him off that something was wrong. I was speaking to him in the patronizing way people talk to mad people, children and small dogs. Nevertheless, he plunged ahead in typical Brian fashion.
“Death is the next great adventure.” he said portentously. This something I used to go around saying myself, so I nodded wisely.
“Oh, yes, I quite agree,” I said fervently, as if we were speaking of a new religion. Or a new drug.
…”Welcome to death!” he said brightly.
…”Oh, is that where we are?” I asked.
…We came to the edge of the Dulac landscape. It dropped off abruptly and completely. There was a very obvious point where you chose to go over the edge or not. Brian said, “Coming?” and slipped off the cliff. I drew back. I heard a chorus of voices calling to me, but I wasn’t ready just yet.
Getting back took a long time. I was stranded in a desert town. The color had been drained from everything. The houses were empty. I was in Albania! Wandering down long deserted streets with names like the Avenue of the 17th October. Looking pretty incongruous, people I knew floated by (their feet didn’t quite touch the ground.) I called out, but they hurried past as if they hadn’t seen me.
I was lost in an airport. People came up to me and asked me the sort of questions you ask a child stranded at a railway station. “Are you lost, dear?” “Do you know your name?” And I would answer, “I’m waiting for Mick to come and get me.”
This was obviously the crisis of Marianne’s life. She associates her life with the desolation despair of Brian’s. She must have had the fate of Chrissie Shrimpton in mind, who Mick had crushed so completely. Mick had treated Chrissie and Brian in much the same way. Certainly Marianne could see the same fate for herself on the horizon. So now in an attempt to escape she slips into a Tuinal coma. She doesn’t explain what medical procedures were used to sustain her but she maintained mental activity throughout the coma.
Essentially the first half of her coma is a near death experience and a pretty interesting one. Wonderful, wonderful story; I could have stood another dozen pages. I’m sure she could call it up if she wanted to. I’ve had a couple near death experiences myself. They really leave indelible memories as this has done for Marian. It is possible to relive at any time you choose. I can run both concurrently through my mind.
Marianne’s problem at this time has been building since 1964 when the the life she living came into conflict with her youthful ideals obtained in the convent school. In those years she was much influenced by the chivalric literature of King Arthur, especially the quest for the Holy Grail.
Now, only the pure of mind and body, I. e. virginal, can ever hope to experience the Holy Grail. It takes only one sexual encounter. Even the great Lancelot who was tricked into a sexual act by Elaine forfeited the Grail even though he was innocent of intent. In chivalric terms Marianne was way beyond any hope of redemption. She must have known that. Thus the earth heaved beneath her feet and crumbled away beside her.
Having left Brian at the brink her way back was through a desolate wasteland of colorless desert. Thus, all hope had been lost. Her awakening must have been bleak, as her life would soon become.
She doesn’t mention the Arthurian fairy tales by name but she does recreate a dream landscape from the fairy tale illustrations of Edmund Dulac. (coincidentally Edmund Of The Lake). It is possible that she also confates Dulac with Arthur Rackham, another famous illustrators of fairy tales and also King Arthur.
Marianne also references other of her formative reading bringing in Alice In Wonderland, quintessential for the druggies of the sixties, plus George McDonald’s fairy stories and significantly, Fox’s Booke Of Martyrs. Very good browsing by the way as is Butler’s Lives of the Saints which is terrific.
I wondered if Brian liked books about railway bridges and the surprising guides to switching boxes? There can’t be too many of the latter so ‘switching’ may have a different reference point. It may mean switching horses in mid stream as Marianne said to Mick when she opened her eyes: Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.
The landscape ‘pulsed and shifted’ which may refer to her emotional instability. The Allman Brothers had a great line in one of their songs; See that clock up upon the wall? Rushing tides could make it fall. So possibly she could feel the ground moving out from beneath her feet.
‘He said he had been lonely and confused and brought me to him because he needed someone to talk to someone he knew! Sounds like Marianne is reversing the situation as it was only possible that she brought Brian to her reinforcing the similarity of their situations vis-à-vis Mick.
Then some more chit chat and Brian passes into the Great Beyond while Marianne stands on the brink at road’s end. Great story. I know where that’s at. In one of my experiences my heart stopped and I was standing in a huge empty concrete bunker type thing wondering what to do next. I dead no problem with being dead but I had no instructions what to do next. ‘Oh, well..’ I thought and turned to my right to start hoofing it when my heart started up and I was back in bed.
Obviously for Marianne her medical crisis passed and she was to return to consciousness. But then getting back took a long time. The first part of her fantasy then my have lasted a day or possibly two while reconstructing her nervous system took a little longer leaving room for mistakes that she feels might have occurred. She has obviously began to come to in her post-singing career with its overwhelming challenges that she wasn’t able to successfully deal with. The Avenue of the 17th October sounds as though it may be the Bolshevik October Revolution, if so she got the date wrong, it was the 25th not the 17th. She is obviously returning in a depression. I can dig that, too.
Marianne’s own brief interpretation of her experience is on p.178:
In anguished relationships like the one I had with Mick; it’s much easier and more satisfactory for all concerned if the one playing my role dies, after which I could turn into a sainted mythical figure- like Brian- and no longer be a threat to anyone and- more importantly- no longer be a bother to anyone.
They martyred Marianne…thus Fox’s Book Of Martyrs.
Marianne knew she had come to a turning point in her life or, rather, a dead end. She could no longer rely on Mick, he was a weak reed, a failure as the man he posed to be. At this time she chose to renew her acquaintance with her father at his sex shop who she says was a man Mick could never hope to be. Thus, goodbye Mick. She had been financially dependent on him and having known money liked it. Why not? But she was in no position to make money or at least sufficient money. Royalties of a diminished sort would keep coming in. There was seldom a year that went by that something wasn’t released in her name although she wasn’t recording. As she says Oldham had a re-release of her greatest hits edged in black on the streets before she recovered.
But she would have to record again, perform again for any real money. It was not possible to return again as the Virgin Queen of yesterday. As she was part of the myth making period she would always be the Faerie Queene of the sixties, she was secure in that position, but with four tarnished wings. She sank into a deeper depression finally ending up sitting on her wall above the bomb pit, thinking what to do next.
Her resurrection, such as it was, will be the topic of Chapter 8.
December 15, 2012
Marianne Faithfull: The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties
Chaps. 3, 4,5
Of all the performers of the Rock era Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney have been the most successful while I would give the nod of most successful to Jagger. One must admire the way he learned the ropes and then used them to strangle others as he had been strangled. Mick in his own way was the Midnight Rambler and the Street Fighting Man. Don’t think I blame him; you either rule or are ruled. But, one does have to live with the reputation one creates.
Mick began cultivating his image from the beginning. As this story concerns Mick’s relationship to Marianne I will concentrate on aspects of their sexuality. Andrew Loog Oldham made a movie of the Stones’ January 1965 Irish tour. Unfortunately he sold the rights to it along with the Stones 1963-70 master recordings to Allen Klein along with, by the way, the first Marianne Faithfull masters. Klein then became the Stones’ manager.
The movie disappeared into Klein’s archives to surface in November 2012 when the Klein estate released it to DVD. It can now be purchased as I did. The DVD features both the Abkco edit and Oldham’s original Director’s Cut.
Mainly a concert film it also features group member interviews and Richards and Jagger cutting up. While they were horsing around they appear to improvise a song with the lyric: I’d rather be with the boys than here with a stupid girl like you.
While Jagger has always cultivated an ambiguous image he has also announced a record of having had sex with four thousand or more different girls. That’s only eighty per annum over fifty years so I imagine that shows an admirable restraint. Yet, at the same time Mick has always been misogynistic while always seeking to emasculate or squash his closer women under his thumb. In fact Mick probably has a domination or emasculation complex. He may have rather been with the boys but in his competition with them he sought to emasculate or squash them too. One of the favorite forms of emasculation and domination is to take other men’s women from them.
Thus when he took Jerry Hall from Bryan Ferry he quipped he had to do it to save her from going through life as Jerry Ferry. One winces when one reads of Eric Clapton begging Mick not to take Carla Bruni from him. Mick even took one of Eric’s temps, Catherine James from him.
Mick And Chrissie
When Mick first enters the scene for Andrew Oldham he is in an alley fighting it out with Chrissie Shrimpton, the model Jean Shrimpton’s younger sister. If one reads more deeply into that situation it shows a very cruel sadistic streak in Mick, quite shameful in a celebrity of Mick’s first magnitude of brightness.
Chrissie began the relationship as a strong willed girl battered by and battering Mick. In that day before the change in sexual mores girls weren’t quite so sexually open so Chrissie didn’t want her parents to know she was shacking up with Mick. They insisted to Mick that they not. As a humiliation tactic to break the girl down he let it be known to her parents that in his eyes she was little more than a common whore and she and they should see it that way too as he was in fact shacking with her.
Gradually the monster beat her down completely destroying her self-respect then, more than publicly, he broadcast his triumph on records and over the radio with such songs as Stupid Girl and Under My Thumb which their whole circle knew referred to her. Dylan would later use the same tactic against Edie Sedgwick when he wrote Like A Rolling Stone to break her down.
Both Chrissie and her parents believed Mick and she were to marry but having crushed her beneath his thumb, as it were, with a toss of his curly locks Mick sneeringly walked away adding insult to injury. Cruel in this instance it became psychotic with repeated use.
Years after word got back to Mick that Chrissie had a bundle of his letters, and, now this is unforgivable, without a word to her he immediately set his attorneys on her threatening an expensive law suit while demanding she return his letters. Even though Chrissie had not intended to publish them, still shaking this long after Mick’s brutal treatment, Chrissie without delay forwarded her letters from Mick to him. Shameful.
Mick And Marianne
Mick then turned his attentions to the Guinevere, the Ophelia, the Faerie Queene of pop music, our own Marianne. While I’m sure Mick was somewhat enamored with Marianne I’m also sure he had a couple ulterior motives. Marianne was married to John Dunbar at the time while living with Mick so Mick had the pleasure of emasculating and humiliating Dunbar.
At the same time I’m sure he was envious of Marianne’s fame which was probably greater than his at the time. No room in the spotlight for two. He couldn’t stand that Marianne was getting even more press than himself. Thus he undertook to destroy her career. In the process he emasculated her and humiliated her to an astounding degree.
Marianne and Mick were playing with psychologies in a very destructive manner. The events I am going to describe did incalculable damage to their psyches while altering the direction of their subsequent lives dramatically, especially Marianne’s. Of course, few people seem to realize they have a psychology or how it was formed, what expectations they devised. Those hopes and dreams were more especially dashed when they turned to drugs. That was certainly the case with Marianne.
I don’t know how seriously Marianne took her Medieval interest and reading but she was influenced by her Arthurian studies. Like the most or possibly rest of the generation she was also influenced quite heavily by Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan, probably both books and movies.
The key for the generation in Peter Pan was his refusal to grow up or accept adulthood. It was quite fashionable at the time to pretend that you would always be young, keep in contact with your ‘inner child.’ I was a victim of the psychosis myself.
At any rate Marianne was influenced by all three. Thus, when she and Mick met she quizzed him extensively on his knowledge of King Arthur to see how much he knew as though that litmus test would seal his fate. Mick passed and Marianne moved in still married to John Dunbar. Thus her life clashed with her Catholic upbringing. At first Marianne had royalties coming in from her records enabling her to maintain a certain independence but gradually the royalty checks decreased making Marianne financially dependent on Mick.
At the same time Mick was under no obligations to Marianne and observed none. How this clashed with Marianne’s Arthurian expectations in an atmosphere of Peter Pan and Alice she doesn’t go into but there must have been a severe disappointment as Mick treated her as a mere possession.
While in California he was the object of desire for all the groupies including the doyenne Miss Pamela- Pamela Des Barres nee Miller- of Frank Zappa’s girl group the GTOs (Girls Totally Ornery or else in reference to the hottest car of the period, the GTO). Miss Pamela as well as the rest of the California groupies studied to come up with better and better more outrageous sexual thrills with which to astonish the boys in the band which easily surpassed the imaginations of the boys in the band including Mick.
Mick returned home and demanded of Marianne that she perform these tricks which astonished Marianne no less than Mick had been astonished. However she believed the tricks degrading. Marianne quite rightly refused to perform them.
But the repertoire of the boys in the band kept expanding so that the home girls were led to view new horizons. Group sex and that sort of thing became the norm.
As with all loosely knit movements or phenomena this sort of reputation brought more and more of the sado-masochistic libertine drug oriented element gradually forcing out the less inclined to sexual erotica just as bad money drives out good money. Rock and Roll became progressively more degenerate from 1964-65 on until it was disgraceful to be associated with it.
Mick and the Stones were leaders of this degeneration whether the Stones embraced sexual sado-masochism personally their public persona was based on it making them leading corruptors of youth and society in general. They did as much or more to change the sexual mores of the present than anyone. Their LP cover for Black and Blue was the apex of this very sado-masochistic misogynistic persona. The cover caused me all kinds of trouble in running my record store.
As one presents oneself so must one be.
The Redlands Bust.
Many psychologically devastating events happened to Marianne in the years from 1967-70. It is very difficult from this perspective to evaluate some of them. One can’t tell how Marianne’s renunciation of her career affected her mind. After all in 1964-65 and 66 she went from just another teenager to superb success far beyond her expectations financially, while becoming the female idol of the youth of England and a phenom in the US- ultimately the Faerie Queen of rock and roll. That’s really only two short years until the Redlands bust.
In those two years she passed through several sexual transmogrifications. She went from virgin to the most outre of sexual practices. Its all very well to say that this was her decision but as Paul McCartney said of his own experience in Miles’ biography it was impossible for him to resist peer pressure, especially in the use of drugs. He was ‘forced’ to try heroin even though he was dead set against.
So peer pressure on Marianne and any young girl to be sexual ‘free spirits’ was impossible unless you were prepared to accept group rejection. The same with drugs that couldn’t be resisted so that when depression set in she ended up addicted to the greatest depression drug available- heroin. It was up to Mick to give what protection he could. Regardless of current sexual nonsense it us up to the man to guide his woman.
Now, the era began in relatively clean-cut innocence . It was never quite so white bread as it is depicted, trying to escape the sleaziness, even then, was no easy matter. Then as the decade wore on it all got worse, then it got disgusting. First pot, pills and amphetamines, then LSD that came on like a hurricane. LSD more than anything else conditioned you for cocaine that in at the end of the decade, at least on the West Coast where I was. Remember that there was no national consensus in the US
In 1964 or so when the ‘counter-culture’ hit in the Bay Area it was a very local manifestation not shared by the East Coast the Mid-West or even for that matter LA. LA was never hip in the way the Bay Area was. While the Beatles are credited with introducing long hair, when the Charlatans came down from Virginia City they had hair and they must have been growing it long before the Mop Tops showed up.
The West Coast could not tolerate New York groups. Mafia outfits like the Rascals nee Young Rascals and Vanilla Fudge made the West Coast puke. There really wasn’t any place for The Velvet Underground either. Of course the British groups that had their own sound that really couldn’t compete with that of say, The Doors, an LA group. The LA groups being more commercially oriented pretty much shoved the Bay Area groups aside, although were a couple of real successes. I don’t include freak groups like the Grateful Dead as commercial successes. Cults are cults.
But to the point, boy, LSD. Owsley Stanley kept the West supplied and how. By the time of Altamont and Stonewall the atmosphere was really foul. And then it got worse still.
About the time of the Redlands bust society and the police were losing their patience. Kesey and Leary had them terrified. The drug thing kept growing. When one says that marijuana was generational it is true only to the extent that a significant minority of the generation smoked it. The hippies were only a small and despised part of the generation but they, we, made a lot of noise and got a lot of notice. Without the radio, rock and corrupt record companies the Movement probably wouldn’t have broken the bounds of Bohemia. But, the time was ripe for the Bohemian conquest of America. That was led from New York, principally by Andy Warhol.
The records made the Bohemian life seem very glamorous. Thus the cops focused on groups where actually the greatest drug activity was located and the propaganda the strongest. As the groups began to make good and even big, very big, money they were the natural prey of the drug dealers. And don’t underestimate the role of LSD. The groups also chose to flaunt their drug use- ‘I’ve got to be free to put anything into my body and life I want to’, disdaining the law, the police and actually common decency. This was the case with the Stones and it’s the flaunting, not the use, that got them in trouble.
In 1967 they naturally were set up. Brian Jones in an interview, barroom chat actually, with News Of The World reporters boasted of his drug use. The journalists then attributed the statements to Mick, whether from ignorance or design I leave to your imagination.
When Mick read the article he was indignant. As I said, while Mick and the rockers thought they were big because of records, radio and TV they were actually socially marginal and not particularly appreciated. Musicians get no respect outside their own circle.
Rather than evaluate his situation, considering that he was doing drugs and everyone knew it thus making him an obvious target, he foolishly brought suit against the newspaper. You don’t have to be brilliant to know News Of The World wasn’t going to let that one fly. Hey! Hey! What’d I say! Mick was sleeping or day dreaming.
The police wanted to get England’s bad boys anyway. There may or may not have been collusion between the News Of The World and the police but the way the raid was conducted indicates there was.
Shortly before the bust some guy named Schneiderman drops from the sky with a brief case reportedly filled with whatever you required. Mick, Marianne and Keith and a couple others, I will mention in the next section, were having an LSD weekend at Keith’s house, the Redlands. Schneiderman insinuated himself into the party with his briefcase while probably being in the employ of the News informed them and they in turn notified the police.
For Schneiderman allegedly having a briefcase full of drugs there were remarkably few drugs in evidence at the bust. Jagger was booked only for possession of four pep pills bought legally in Italy, while Keith had no drug charges at all except for being charged with ‘knowingly’ providing a place where pot was smoked. Robert Fraser actually had heroin jacks of his own on him but Schneiderman produced nothing from his briefcase and indeed no drugs were visible in it when the police required him to open it. No drugs were seen only packaging that were assumed to contain drugs by the Bohemians. In any event he hopped the first flight to elsewhere.
While Marianne had no drugs concealed on her person her situation was the most tragic of all. The Faerie Queen would lose her official status.
When the cops came calling the crowd was of course flipped out on LSD but then that was always the danger; the cops would come calling when you’re least prepared to deal with them. Come on, this was just one of the hazards of using illegal substances. And naturally, you tend to be flippant, wise cracking and mocking. Very bad behavior in such a situation when maximum seriousness is the order of the moment. It’s not like everyone didn’t live in fear of being busted. They used to call it deep paranoia.
Marianne whose clothes had become wet from walking in the rain laid them out to dry dressing in nothing more than some sort of rug wrapped around her. Well, what is one to think of a nude woman amongst a bunch of men; what is this Dejeuner Sur L’herbe redux? Even if two thirds of them were screaming fairies as they were, how is one to know that and what to think?
It was said that Marianne let her wrap slip giving the coppers an eyeful. Of course the cops were square and the gang was hip but squares outnumber hips by a very large margin while as Roger Miller sings: Squares make the world go round. And a good thing too. Roger said that hips have too much water for their land; this was a gathering of pretty watery people. Oh, OK, my people, but folks you have to be realistic. That’s what hip means in my book.
And then someone probably at News Of The World concocted the story that Marianne had a Mars bar slipped between her legs and that Mick was grazing away at it. Preposterous, wouldn’t you think? Boy, now that was a blow that will getcha and you’ll be down for a long time too. As might be expected Marianne was devastated. Boy, that opened a lot of anfractuosities in her brain. A hit like two trains running in opposite directions at top speed on the same tracks over a two hundred foot high trestle. That’s a big crash and a long way to tumble, buddy.
It ended any hope Marianne may have had of appearing on a stage. Can you imagine stepping up to the microphone and being showered with Mars bars. Oh no, no,no, better to board a rocket ship for…oops…Mars.
Marianne and Mick may have thought they were handling it well but the bile and psycho-somatic reactions entering the sub-conscious aren’t so easily dismissed. This horror was merely added to their childhood fixations.
In the turmoil of the months succeeding this mind wrenching event fixations would only worsen. Of course the intent of the establishment was not so much to succeed in jailing them but making an example of them while hopefully destroying their careers. The bust should have been career destroying but for the generational gap. When a teacher chastises a student the other students smirk but don’t disown him. After busting Mick and Keith the establishment then went after the more fragile Brian Jones, the guy who got this whole thing rolling by shooting off his mouth. If the three could have been jailed they wouldn’t subsequently have been allowed to enter the US or so it seemed. No one could have forecast the incredible changes that were about to occur that essentially placed the Stones above the law.
Enter Donald Cammell And His Movie Performance
One reads many amusing reasons for the incredible social disintegration of the sixties. One of the most preposterous to come to my attention is the notion that it was caused by lead poisoning.. There’s a hobby horse for you. While I couldn’t rule it out I think lead poisoning would be among the most obscure of reasons. No, the sixties was no more an aberration than was Hitler’s Germany; like the latter it was the result of long historical development, a part of psychological history.
If one reads a good deal with the purpose of understanding the historical background of the sixties things begin to take form. Then if one tries to make one’s intellect rise and float over the information gleaned from that reading patterns will form, a map of the past will appear. Then of course one notes nodes and axons, connections that require further reading and rereading what’s already been read so that a fair approximation of what happened can be more or less confidently stated. Much of it will be subterranean history that doesn’t make it to the history books.
Such is the psycho-sexual mind set that began to develop oh, say, about from 1890 on which a key node was from 1900 to 1920. Western understanding of the human mind developed fairly rapidly from the mid-eighteenth century rapidly gaining momentum after say 1860 and the spectacular doings at Paris’ Salpetriere mental hospital under the tutelage of the amazing Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot.
While his investigations were of a psycho-sexual nature they were not perceived as such except perhaps by a transient student by the name of Sigmund Freud. Sometime after Charcot’s studies toward the nineties people calling themselves sexologists, sex therapists and sex magicians began to appear.
Along with Freud who might be called a sex therapist two leading figures slightly earlier than he were the German Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) and the Englishman Havelock Ellis (1859-1939). In the academic scientific or pseudo-scientific manner all three made their contributions although Freud managed to incorporate their discoveries or understandings into his system acquiring preeminence in the field.
Goerg Groddeck and Wilhelm Reich, two of Freud’s disciples also gained prominence in the sex therapist field.
On the religious or supernatural side the most prominent and influential of the sex magicians was the so-called Magus Aleister Crowley and his organization of the Golden Dawn.
With the exception of Krafft-Ebing all were out to overturn European sexual mores, designated disparagingly as Victorian. Of course there was never a time when men and women didn’t behave sexually because…well, how could they? The real goal then was to disturb prevailing sexual mores and replace them with sexual license. This essentially came to fruition in the 1960s when the influence of Freud and Crowley were at their peak. The two principal cultural nodes of the US, New York and Los Angeles, were flooded with European Jewish émigrés of the Freudian school while Aleister Crowley had established himself and his Golden Dawn in Los Angeles.
The corrosive sexual mores of Freud and Crowley were aided and abetted by the rise of the equally corrosive drug use and, of course, ‘lead poisoning.’
Our next object then is to discover who Donald Cammel might be.
Searching For Donald
Cammell is the central figure in this little drama so we will begin with him although even though the Stones biographers don’t delve into these other characters they are integral to the social scene of Mick, Marianne and Keith. It appears that Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts served a peripherals to Mick primarily and Mick and Keith secondarily. Oldham tried to make himself a third but apparently was incompatible or other interests pulled him in a different direction. By ‘67 he would be out of the picture.
In Marianne’s biography she makes it sound like Cammell was a stranger to the group while actually he was well known to Bob Fraser, and Chrissie Gibbs who were at the Redlands bust and quite familiar with Mick, Keith and Marianne. They all knew each other before the movie began to be filmed.
Cammell was older than the three being contemporary with the first generations of rockers; he was born in 1934 in Scotland. He came from a well to do family immersed in the occult; his father actually knew Aleister Crowley and wrote a biography of him. One may then assume that his father was something of a sex magician as Marianne’s father was a sexologist. It was impossible to escape Freudian influences from at least 1920 through the fifties. So some reference to repression and the unconscious is inevitable.
Cammell’s father was likely familiar with Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis with its emphasis on psychotic sexual practices. All the sexologists and magicians immersed themselves in bizarre sexual practices. If a reader counters that all sex is legitimate it shows how perverted he or she is. No argument from me, we know where each other stands.
As Cammell was born in ‘34, in ‘44 he would have been 10 and 20 in 1954. Thus he would have been aware of the war between the ages of 4, 5, 6, or so and 10 but perhaps in a muddled and uncomprehending manner but in ‘44 and ‘45 he would have been aware enough to partially comprehend. Certainly when the Big Baby turned Hiroshima to ashes in August of ‘45 something would have registered affecting his mind and outlook.
I was 7 in ‘45 and while I have a clear remembrance of VE Day I don’t have any recollection at all of the Bomb or if I do it had little or no significance to me. I have never had a horror of the A-bomb.
Obviously something other than lead poisoning affected the psyches of the crop of kids from ‘33-’34 to 1942-43. It may have had something to do with the total destruction of the world capped by the Bomb. What a terrific exclamation mark to the end of hostilities. What Cammell’s reaction to this destruction was isn’t clear to me while it probably wasn’t clear to himself.
After the war he experienced rationing during the whole of his teen years. He was probably less affected than others as he became prosperous in his teens on his own as a painter. He was successful as a portrait painter. From the pictures I’ve seen he was more than talented while possibly possessing genius. His mind already exhibited an extreme darkness with sexual confusion easily perceived.
Much of the following information comes from web sites such as the fabulous Another Nickel In The Machine that records the history of London, Sam Umland’s 60X50 and many others. I have not read Umland’s biography of Cammell as yet.
Cammell divorced his first wife and then married a very successful model, the American Deborah Dixon, moving to Paris where they both lived. Cammell apparently was supported by his wife.
Bored with painting, not unlike Andy Warhol, he began to take an interest in film. There is nothing like a movie to exhibit one’s sexual fantasies in real life; indeed a movie is a record of the unconscious. Cammell and Dixon were sexually compatible taking an interest in anything remotely copulatory. Cammell’s first few attempts at filmmaking were not successful or, at least, lacked box office magic.
Along with his lack of interest in painting and his attraction to the movies Cammell gravitated toward the pop world of rock and roll seeking out Jagger. Where was a sexual degenerate to turn? The bad boys of Rock, the Rolling Stones, Mick, Keith and Marianne at least. He found Mick and Marianne’s talked about sexual escapades irresistible. He was undoubtedly attracted by Mick’s dope legend also. Mick claims not to have been an excessive user of drugs, which may be true but I doubt there was anyone at the time who didn’t think he was a heroin addict and druggie par excellence.
As an artist Cammell was acquainted with Bob Fraser and that pop art crowd. Both he and Fraser were known to the infamous crime lords, the Kray Brothers. The Krays, of course, were homosexuals as were Fraser and Gibbs. Mick’s legend is that he is bi-sexual, at least, so there is no reason that he wasn’t sexually involved with the bunch in some manner.
Cammell and Fraser also knew the Satanist and sex magician, the American experimental film maker, Kenneth Anger, as did Mick and Marianne. Fraser introduced Anger to the underground film crowd.
In addition Anita Pallenberg knew Cammell from her pre-Brian Jones, Keith Richard days. She was shown the script in the south of France the year before filming began. So, unless I have seriously misread Marianne’s first auto-biography, Cammell didn’t just show up one day with a movie proposal; it was actually old home week.
Cammell did go on to make an additional three or four movies of which I have seen two, Demon Seed and Wild Side. The last movie has escaped my vigilance so far. Wild Side is a virtual remake or variation of Performance. Demon Seed that I will review in an addendum to Chapter 5 is actually a great movie handling a major sci-fi them to perfection.
Just prior to the beginning of filming in 1968 Mick impregnated Marianne. This is 1968 and if Marianne hadn’t been on the Pill she would have had a number of children now in addition to Nicholas her child by John Dunbar. The question then is why she allowed herself to get pregnant at this time. She was still married to Dunbar so one must think he must have suffered humiliation and emasculation to have another man impregnate his wife. Perhaps Mick’s emasculation genes or maybe just a drug haze.
At any rate Marianne was exiled to Ireland while filming was going on. One can only imagine the anxiety she felt separated from her lover in her condition. One doesn’t have to imagine; she suffered a miscarriage.
In 1967 the English director John Boorman had filmed a movie that took
Cammell’s mind by storm. The movie was Point Blank starring Lee Marvin as the protagonist Walker. Cammell recommended that all the cast see the move and bear it in mind. It might be advantageous to review the movie here.
Point Blank was only Boorman’s second effort. Unsuccessful on release it has apparently become a cult classic. His movie is obviously a dream sequence or nightmare. Nothing is real. This indicated by the hero’s name of Walker. He has only one name, no first. No one even knows what his first name could be. The name seemed significant to me but I hadn’t a clue as to what it could mean. Well, you know, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. While writing this piece I was also reading Denis Machail’s 1941 biography of J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. There on page 190 was the explanation of Walker. Barrie had written a play titled Walker, London. That was a telegraphic address. Quote:
Two impudent jokes in one, the second even more mysterious then as it is now. For the word ‘Walker’ is still in the dictionary- “interjection (slang) expressing incredulity and suspicion of being hoaxed” but when was it last used? Not during the present century, one would say; yet before that there was a time when it was the very crystalization of Cockney humor. “Walker!” you said, to show that you could never be caught with chaff. It was the standard answer to the attempted leg pull. It was also one of those blessed with with which any comedian could bring down the house.
So now the viewer knows he is being hoaxed and can suspend belief. The plot involves Lee Marvin as Walker who takes part in a heist then is shot by his partner who runs off with Walker’s share or 93,000 and adding insult to injury Walker’s wife. The rest of the story involves Walker trying to retrieve his money forget the wife. The story is told through a series of frustrations to a paranoid Walker. So, we have a dream study of a frustrated paranoid.
The opening and closing settings are the same; the walking or exercise area inside Alcatraz prison. The joke seemingly being that one walks around and around, never getting anywhere while returning to the same place. Cry “Walker” and then start laughing like a Cockney at the joke.
Alcatraz, the Rock, is of course a small island in the middle of San Francisco Bay between the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge. Established in 1934 it was closed in 1963, so the filming was done in a closed facility and before the Indians occupied the island claiming it as their heritage. The filming was done, then, in vacated premises.
As a dream story it concerns the psychic life of Walker. It’s all going on inside his head. The prison, castle or house represents the psychic the self so that Walker lives a bleak, barren, paranoid inner life.
A helicopter lands in the enclosure, picks up a package and leaves a bundle of money. Walker and his pal Mal (mal, French for bad) kill the messenger while robbing him. Walker is then examining an empty cell signifying his empty life when Mal with Walker’s wife looking on puts a couple bullets in him leaving him for dead while appropriating Walker’s share of the money and his wife. Thus we have some basic paranoia that, of course, might possibly be true. As his wife would say later, Walker just kind of left her cold.
Left for dead Walker somehow recovers while being compelled to take the only way off the island available to him- swim for it. Another grim joke as legend has it that no one who tried ever succeeded.
The rest of the story concerns surmounting the treachery and double crosses Walker encounters in trying to recover his money. He finds his wife, abandons her and takes up with her sister. While he seems a little obsessive-compulsive in the matter, the money in fact represents his lost identity, purpose in life or masculinity. The recovery of the money is central for his personality.
As in the Cockney joke whenever he shows up people exclaim “Walker!” If you’re in on the joke it might be funny. Angie Dickenson makes up the sex interest as Chris as there is no love interest. Just a four letter word in this movie. The three kingpins Walker must knock down are Carter, Brewster and Fairfax. Ironically Carter and Brewster are disposed of by their own team when Walker’s paranoia protects him while the others take the hit meant for him.
The actual climax takes place in Brewster’s house when Walker and Chris have spent the night together, the only consummated sex in the movie. As Walker is walking out the door Chris asks what her last name is. Walker doesn’t know and neither do we. Walker counters, seemingly weakly, does she know his first name. Either check mate or an uproarious joke to Cockneys. But as Walker in joke is a hoax or a put on then it doesn’t matter anyway. Dreams are like that, they follow a different logic than the waking mind.
The denouement returns to the opening at Alcatraz but now Walker is more canny staying out if sight. The drop is made, Brewster calls to him to come get the money. But, as when Walker was supposed to get the money from Carter, after he survived the assassination attempt, the bundle proved to be waste paper, Walker’s paranoia saves him again. A shot rings out and Brewster takes a long walk off a short pier never to return again. Now enter Fairfax who is the head man and the assassin who shot Carter and Brewster and would have shot Walker. Fairfax shouts Walker several times that in another century would have brought the house down.
Walker’s paranoia prevents him from taking what might be money in the bundle but is probably waste paper so that as the bundle of funny paper represents his ego he is left stranded in the haunted empty house of Alcatraz representing his mind for one presumes the rest of his life.
The movie was a box office failure, except for the few like Cammell but holds up well as a psychological thriller. That is what Cammell saw. So, now, he’s basing his own movie ‘Performance’ directly on Point Blank.
He gathers together essentially the ‘gang’ to make his movie. Even Deborah Dixon took part. He already knew and was friends with James Fox as was apparently Mick, cast as the criminal Chas. Cammell had known Anita Pallenberg in Paris where it is said she formed a brief menage a trois with Cammel and Deborah. Chrissie Gibbs was the set designer…Mick was an old friend, a few outsiders and Cammel had his movie.
Mick sent Marianne to Ireland for the duration. Keith who was shacking with Anita was so unhappy about Cammell’s pairing of Anita with Mick that he found it impossible to visit the set. Instead he brooded outside in his car sending Bob Fraser in to keep tabs until Cammell banned him from the set.
I can’t be sure that Cammell understood the Cockney meaning of Walker but he so admired the character that he based Mick’s role on Walker giving Mick the single name of Turner. No first name. Turner is also meant to be significant. A turner is a sort of acrobat. The word could also be used in the sense of changeling, or perhaps in the homosexual sense or turning a man gay. Turner does turn Chas. from a tough guy to a passive fairy, his sort of changeling. Turner changes the tough hoods into faggots. Probably then that is the meaning of the name. So maybe Cammell was in on the Walker joke.
As the movie is permeated by sex magic and sex as a sort of therapy the influence of Krafft-Ebing, Ellis, Freud and especially Aleister Crowley is very apparent. Kenneth Anger was around at the time while being known to all the participants thus reinforcing the Crowley connection.
All the sex therapists were concerned with aberrant sexual practices that the movie concentrates on. Cammell elaborates the sexual implications of Boorman’s Point Blank, while the decaying mansion obviously represent Cammell’s mind. In the end the sex therapy or magick doesn’t seem to work as Turner turns suicidal obsessed with a death wish.
Boorman’s crime angle comes in through Chas. In order for Fox to appear authentic Cammell actually required him to live the criminal life under the tutelage of a mobster, even to the extent of taking part in actual crimes. Of course, madness is the theme of the movie but even madness can go too far.
Chas. has offended the criminal chief, based on the Kray Bros., who has commanded a man hunt to track Chas. down. When he is located he is summoned to his execution. Turner says: Don’t leave me, take me where you’re going. Chas. says ‘You don’t want to go where I’m going.’ Turner: ‘Yes I do.’ Chas. then blows Turner’s head off, gets into the car and the car drives off, as he looks out the window we see Turners face. Thus the turning or change is complete as each becomes the other.
The version now available for purchase or rental is apparently much different from the original. While even the available version is violent and pornographic the original must have anticipated the current pornographic output of Hollywood . While I wouldn’t call Performance tame almost every movie you see today is as or more explicit. At any rate the movie has no redeeming moral value. If you want porn plain and simple, there it is.
The legend has it that the movie changed the lives of the participants. Perhaps so, but perhaps not. Michele Breton was already a lost child and stayed lost. Anita, no stranger to drugs moved into intense familiarity. James Fox, who was criminally mistreated by Cammell, gave up movies for ten years but he says he was already fed up with the seedy side of movie making so perhaps Performance just capped it. Keith? God, what can you say? Who was going to keep him from drugs? If Cammell was already inclined toward suicide he topped himself off in 1996 finally taking Keith’s advice.
But, now, Mick and Marianne. Mick was advised to play himself but Marianne wisely overruled that advice perhaps saving Mick’s sanity but still leaving him off balance. Marianne advised him to adopt some of the fey characteristics of Brian Jones’ character along with some of Keith’s tough guy stance. Not too difficult as that is the way Mick already appeared but it permanently shifted his personality in that skew. Nevertheless Mick has always remained supremely functional.
As to Marianne, how did she relate to Mick’s rejection of her by sending her to Ireland and the subsequent miscarriage of her child. That is a lot of psychological battering. I think that it is certain that as 1968 progressed she was already in a depression and sinking rapidly. While she was able to hold on for another year or so, by 1969 she would be spinning out of control as further events tested the strength of her mind.