"Gil, you're wanted downstairs immediately. They've got a real
problem with some guy trying to get in. Says he's a friend of yours.
Right downstairs... "
A half an hour later the band was playing again. This time, "You Can't
Always Get What You Want," a ten year old Stones classic originally
produced and recorded in London by my old friend, Jimmy Miller, whom
I've found fit to mention from time to time. Jimmy Miller is arguably
the most creative producer ever to interact with the Rolling Stones,
and was largely responsible for the slickness, polish, and pop appeal
which the band took on in the early seventies. But Jimmy got tired, and
was left by the wayside a classic case of Rolling Stones "burnout."
Keith wanted me to get Jimmy on the phone one night, and there was talk
of having Jimmy come by Long View for an evening of reminiscences, but
it never happened. I got Jimmy's wife, Jerri, on the phone instead;
Jimmy was out of the country, and the idea never took shape again.
Jimmy Miller played an inspirational role in the creation of Long View,
which also occurred in the early seventies, although I've never told
him that until now.
In any case, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is sounding great
onstage, and the rehearsal now has a distinctly more relaxed feeling
about it. Mick is much looser now, and is enjoying it more. He darts
and turns in businesslike little swirls. Crisp, accurate, tight little
movements. Jabs. No roundhouse punches. Either Mick thinks he doesn't
need to rehearse them those more expansive leapings-about, or he
feels he can't rehearse them in the absence of an audience of a hundred
thousand. The proper Yin to his Yang.
As for tonight's audience the dozen or so invited guests and
hangers-on they have all re-distributed themselves along the walls,
in the shadows, and on the packing cases, and their cautious, subdued
chatter once again becomes a feature of the environment. I'm moving
slowly around the room, being polite, and trying to save in my brain
the little bits and pieces I'm hearing.
"Went for their lungs that year for a Boeing 707. Had a fireplace in
it. Yes, a fireplace... Buffalo, then Chicago, or is it Chicago,
then Buffalo? Have to ask Bill Graham... yes, the majesty of it all.
History. Yes, history, too; I agree. But the
of that man,
look... eight hundred millimeters. Ah, so. Eight hundred...
expect a copy deadline of 15 October; no, you
contact sheets... Jane would never allow that... why, London, of
course. No, Louise now lives in Paris, with Steve, naturally...
thirty-five million dollars, at least, and that's a pretty
conservative estimate. Yes, thirty-five million... Afghanistan, I
think, from the smell of it. Afghanistan, for sure... tight, little
movements he's making... no, always Keith. Oh, I can assure you...
Keith... ah, yes... ah, so... "
"Gil, you're wanted downstairs immediately. They've got a real problem
with some guy trying to get in. Says he's a friend of yours. Right
It was Reed Desplaines, Night Manager at Long View, and a great devotee
of law and order. Reed carried a loaded pistol under the front seat of
his car until I found out about it, and asked him not to. His job was
to sit in his car, down at the end of the driveway, headlights pointed
down the road and over the valley. Reed would scan the fences for
intruders, and would occasionally switch on his headlights, just to
keep people behind the fences, and on their toes. If things got a bit
weird, Reed would liaise with either Jim Callahan or Bob Bender, Stones
security men, with me, and with the North Brookfield police cruiser,
which would often station itself at the foot of the driveway, too, just
to play safe.
"Who is it, Reed?" I asked, moving quickly toward the back of the
rehearsal hall, and toward the staircase.
"How the hell am I supposed to know?" Reed shouts back. "Says he
knows you, that's all I can say. Short. Little guy in a black jacket."
"That rules out Jack Cutrumbes," I said to myself. Cutrumbes is our
next-door neighbor who said he'd been invited by Mick Jagger to attend
a rehearsal. We flew down the stairs and out onto the gravel drive,
where Bob Bender had someone by the upper forearm. This someone was
wriggling about, and telling Bob Bender to lay off. But Bob was hanging
on, and was relieved to see me.
"Gil. Do something. This creep says he's a friend of yours, and that
you invited him to the rehearsal tonight. I don't know, man. It's nuts
enough up there as it is. Mick walked off the stage an hour ago, in
case that wasn't explained to you."
"Bennie," I said. "What in God's name are
Bennie's eyes were blazing mad. He was embarrassed and scared.
"Listen," I assured Bob Bender. "I can handle this. He won't go
upstairs. Let him go, I'll take care of it. Bennie'll be here just a
few minutes, with me, and then he'll go. Won't you, Bennie?"
Bennie had been lowered back to the ground by Bob Bender, and was busy
dusting himself off, and regaining his composure. Bender shrugged,
waved to Reed Desplaines, and the two of them stalked off back toward
the car at the bottom of the driveway.
"Anything you say, Gil," Bennie spat. "That's the way it always is. Why
should it be any different tonight?"
"That's a hell of a thing to say," I said. I was now the one who was
"All right," Bennie said. "I really just came here to pick up my master
tapes. Gimme my tape and a bourbon-to-go and I'll get out of your
"You came here at 2 AM to pick up your tape, Bennie? You're not making
things any easier for me, Bennie, I can tell you that. What tape,
"The stuff we did in 1975, when John Glascock was still alive. They're
upstairs in the tape library. I saw them the last time I was here.
Right next to "Max Roach", for some reason. I'll get them, I know right
where they are."
"No, Bennie," I said. "You wait here, and
go get them.
Better still, make yourself the bourbon, and I'll be right back."
So I go running across the pink gravel driveway in my bare feet and my
cut-off shorts, which are really Nancy's, just as the Stones lurch into
the night's first version of "Miss You." I get up to the tape library
the back way, through the Flat and up the stairs that guests never see.
I knew where the tapes were, too. Right next to "Max Roach." Four tunes
Bennie put together just after the band Carmen left. Carmen was the
first band ever to use Long View, in 1975. They broke up shortly
thereafter, under tragic circumstances. But they left bassist John
Glascock behind, who loved it at the Farm, and who didn't want to leave.
John worked in the garden with Nancy and Kathleen, and helped clear out that
part of the barn which is now Studio B, shot rats with a bow and arrow, and
played on Bennie's session. John left toward the end of that summer to join
the Jethro Tull band, and died a couple of years later. It had something
to do with drugs. One great bass player, though, I can tell you that.
I found the tapes two boxes of them and ran downstairs and across the
driveway. Bennie had the Jack Daniels in a go-cup, took the magnetic tape,
and headed down the driveway toward the car. He had to leave his car on the
street because of the chain across the driveway entrance.
"Will you see Nancy?" I shouted after him.
"Might," said Bennie. He stopped and turned around. "Just
might. Don't worry, I'll tell her you're working around the clock and can't
think of anything else, and that the gig's going great. That's what I should
"You could start with that, yes, Bennie."
Bennie turned again, walked to the Squareback, made it backfire once, and
drove away down Stoddard Road with his tape boxes on the seat beside him, and
the go-cup between his legs.
I stood there watching him disappear down Stoddard Road, and wondering why
this particular price - this new and very unwelcome tension between me and my
old friends - was being exacted of me in order that I might work for the
Rolling Stones for two months. They didn't understand, these people. They
obviously didn't understand at all.
"Friend of yours, Gil?"
It was Alan Dunn at my side, who's sarcasm I had by now grown to cherish.
"Yeah," I said. "An old friend."
Alan was smiling broadly, and we laughed for a moment, the two of us, before
going back upstairs again. Alan Dunn is a very bright man.