...A BAND ON THE ROCKS - Excerpt #13 (Keith Richards))
(From "BABYSITTING A BAND ON THE ROCKS" - available at Newbury Comics locations throughout the Northeast and online at LTCDS.com > Webstore > Books).
"A planter’s punch check-in and an afternoon of tropical sun had us ready for dinner and an early snore, but the occasion called for a toast to celebrate our escape from the distressful late winter weather back north. We meandered from the restaurant to the poolside bar, a zen-laden tiki hut no doubt imbued with impeccable feng shui. The bar was empty except for a grizzled seaman and a lazy retriever sprawled at his feet, an incongruous sight in this oasis of Gilt Group luxury. While Pam settled at the bar, I knelt to pet the pooch. An inebriated voice spoke out from above.
“She’s a good old girl, my Pumpkin is.”
Turning to reply I looked up to be met by the Cheshire grin of Keith Richards.
I had recently learned just exactly how clever my wife was. I knew that at this point, that after decades in the music business, Pam had become pretty well connected. And I knew that she knew that if there ever were a rock and roll personality that I would want to hang with, it would be Keith. But even she couldn’t have pulled this off.
You’d think that someone like a Rolling Stone − especially one of the Glimmer Twins themselves − would have some sort of entourage, maybe a small posse, at least a dwarf bodyguard or two. But this evening Keith was just a guy, alone at the bar looking for an interested ear. Pam and I recognized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and parked ourselves for what we knew was going to be one hell of an entertaining evening, and we ended up spending the next few hours with Keith all to ourselves. Shooting the breeze, downing our respective indulgences, laughing and even singing.
I’ve met quite a number of famous and fabulous people, working very closely with many – as by now you know – and I’ve never been star-struck. But this was an entirely different sort of celebrity encounter, a sit-down-in-the-living room sort of thing where the public persona and myth got left behind, revealing the man with transparent glory. Gone were the constant stroking of the brow and tipping of fingers to his lips that appeared to display a premeditation in his replies to certain questions during recent interviews I’d seen. Tonight he was at home, and though we were random guests that he had just dragged in off the street, he treated us as if we were old friends.
Though he was already half in the bag, Keith was still quite lucid. He was often extremely witty, sometimes to the extent that you’d think his outrageous statements were rehearsals for a new career in comedy. The bits that follow are observations and quotes to the best of my memory. I qualify with “to the best of my memory” because that evening I had no pen, no paper, no recorder to capture my own impromptu interview. And we were, after all, hanging with the legendary Keith Richards, which means the booze was flowing. And flowing..."