More Stones

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More Stones

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So, I spent about 3 weeks with Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos in November and December of 1988, traveling coast to coast with the coolest guy in Rock and Roll. The tour ended on Keith’s birthday, with a huge party after the show backstage at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The Replacements, who were the opening act that night, asked me if I could take their picture with Keith. I told them to hang out and when he was through cutting the cake I would ask him. He of course said OK, so we went back to the Replacements table (This was about 15 minutes later,) and two of them were gone and the other two were passed out at the table. Keith and I just looked at each other, smiled, shrugged and went about our business.

The next day I flew home to a huge pile of mail in my entranceway. In the middle of the pile was the latest issue of Rolling Stone, with a short Random Notes item saying that the Stones were getting back together to make a record (Steel Wheels) and start a world tour in the US in September. So I figured it couldn’t hurt to send a quick note to Keith’s manager. Same 2 lines!

“Heard you are going on the road this fall. If you need a tour photographer, give me a call.”

In August, My neighbor Don was asked to go to Philadelphia to interview the band for the Chicago Sun Times. He asked me to come along, so of we went. I spent an entire evening listening to and photographing a concert/rehearsal in an empty (and crumbling) Veteran’s Stadium and came home thinking I had lived my dream- walking around on stage while the Rolling Stones were performing!

About a month later, I got a call from the Stones management asking me if I would like to spend a month on the road with the band. I had about 16 hours to pack for a month, get some sleep and get myself to Boston. I walked into the Four Seasons, went to the production office, was given a pass and was told to leave my non-photographic luggage in the corner of the room and be ready to get in a van outside in the driveway at 2PM. 2PM about 10 vans headed to Foxboro Stadium where I photographed my first Rolling Stones concert from the stage with 70,000 people behind me. After the show, we got back in the vans, and with a police escort headed to the airport, got on a private jet and at 3AM landed in Birmingham, Alabama. That was my first day. No one on the plane knew who I was except for Keith and his manager, but by the time I landed I was part of the team. My month stretched out to three and a half months, ending with an amazing Pay-per-view concert at the Trump Casino in Atlantic City, with special guests Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker and Axl and Izzy from Guns and Roses. What a way to end the tour!

More stories next week.