"Listen. Just tell me this. Are they or aren't they going to play
somewhere else? Don't tell me where. Just are they or aren't they?"
The week after the Stones played Sir Morgan's Cove, which was their
next-to-last week in residence at Long View Farm, the most interesting
news story did not concern the Stones directly. The Stones themselves
did not do much of interest during that week, except to decide to play
no further gigs, large
small, before JFK Stadium in
Philadelphia, on the 27th of the month. Of extreme interest, however,
was the media frenzy and general public uproar which made itself felt
for seven days running immobilizing individuals, projects, and
relationships, with sometimes devastating results for the people
"Will the Stones play again, or not? If so, where? For God's sake, tell
The telephones at Long View lit up like Christmas trees on that Tuesday
morning the day after the surprise strike at Sir Morgan's. All
sorts of individuals were calling from all walks of life. Among
them, of course, were the reporters, photojournalists, and radio and TV
people, who had been lashed out of bed earlier that same morning by
their angry, hungry editors. Jobs were put on the line that Tuesday.
"Find out what's going on with that band. Do anything you have to. I
don't care if you have to tunnel into that damned farm."
"The pressure on us is unbelievable," said
Morse. "Not just the entertainment division any longer. It's the City
Desk now, and those guys play rough.
"So, anything, Gil. Anything at all. Something 'off the record' if it's
got to be that way. Just don't leave me high and dry on this one."
"A little local color, maybe?"
"Anything, Gil. Anything at all."
"Well, you might call Harvey Thomasian, Chief of the North Brookfield
Police Department, and ask him about the arrests last weekend. Handful
of kids in a beatup old wreck tried to run the police barrier. A chase
ensued, which passed by Long View Farm. The kids were apprehended at
the other end of Stoddard Road by a quick-thinking patrolman Pete
Fullam. At gunpoint, I think.
"Also, call our neighbor, Stanley Stellemokus, and ask him how his cows
like the music. He'll tell you they're giving more milk now, not less,
ever since the Stones came. How's that, Steve?"
"Great, Gil. But I need something about the
tell me this. Are they or aren't they going to play somewhere else?
Don't tell me where. Just are they or aren't they?"
"Steve, I swear to you, I don't know. I'm getting the UPI and AP
releases, too. I see the same things you're seeing. Boston, yes or no.
Kevin White the Mayor. Providence, Lowell, New Bedford even. It's nuts.
Bill Graham knows, maybe. But I sure as hell don't."
"The pressure on us is incredible. Couple of guys cracked under it. Off
on the Cape somewhere, taking some time off. One guy looking for a new
"That's your story, Steve."
"You mean the pressure on us?"
"That's part of it. I see other parts of it, too, from where I sit.
People are desperate to touch, to be touched in return as though
this would make them whole. All sorts of people not just reporters,
disc jockeys, and hopeful club owners. There are
now at the foot of Stoddard Road. Low-flying airplanes, Steve.
Helicopters with camera crews hanging out of them. Our phones don't
work. They're blockaded by a massive number of incoming calls. From
fans, from heads of families offering up their homes and daughters,
from politicians, other rock stars, prison inmates, heads of state, little girls
calling from other
"I had a major Boston TV station call me an hour ago, and they offered
to open up their channel, live, and for as long as it took."
"Took for what, Gil?"
"For me to coax one of the Stones to step outside. They were
going to helicopter a crew to the hilltop across the way, and transmit
a long shot of the Farm, live, until a Stone agreed to step
out-of-doors. Figured they'd have the TV sets on inside the Farmhouse,
and that they'd want to play. Weirdness like that.
"There are serious disturbances of normal behavior patterns out there,
Steve," I continued. "Ordinary citizens not all of them Stones fans
have been affected. Some in a more devastating manner than others.
People in our business media people involved in spreading
information and entertaining others these are the ones who've been
hit the worst. It's like a hurricane just swept through. No
professional liaison is the same after as it was before. Real flux in
relationships between people, in personal allegiances, in pecking
orders. There's a lot of so the Stones are more important than
going on. Careers have been enhanced, some of them. Others of
them ruined. It's the chaos out of which a new order emerges. It's the
chaos you're seeing this week, and that's what you ought to write your
"I'm really more interested in whether or not the Stones are going to
play again in the area."
"I know you are, Steve. But I still think this other stuff is more
interesting. It has the feeling of the ages about it. You have a
mini-social upheaval on your hands. A case study. There's a myth that's
come to town, and the townsfolk are acting mighty strange. They at
least give interviews."
"That's all you've got for me then, right?"
"That's all, Steve."
Steve Morse wrote the story about the social upheaval, and it was the
best thing published that week in connection with the ongoing stay of
the Rolling Stones at Long View Farm. It's included here, as an appendix.
Morse, Steve, Week of 19 Nervous Breakdowns.
The Boston Globe, 22 September, 1981.