Are you, like many Americans, feeling increasingly frustrated, impotent, and scared about the rise of Donald Trump? It’s true that there’s basically nothing you can do about it at this point, unless you’re a Republican primary voter, I guess. But one night nearly 30 years ago, there was one man who could do something about Donald. Let us take a moment to live vicariously through him.
The year was 1989. The band was the Rolling Stones. Tattoo You, their last great album, was eight years in the rearview mirror, but we will not hold that against them right now. The location: Atlantic City. The band is playing a blowout show to close its Steel Wheels tour, and it needs a promoter. Enter Donald Trump, owner of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
Michael Cohl, the Stones’ tour producer, told the story last year during his keynote address at Pollstar Live, a live music industry conference, and Mediaite recently dug up the transcript.
According to Cohl, the band hated Trump, and he was brought on only under a series of strict conditions including that he not actually attend the concert or give one of the self-aggrandizing press conferences he’s so fond of giving. The night of the show, lo and behold, Donald Trump is giving a press conference in the very same room where the Stones are supposed to be doing a TV interview.
I’ll let Cohl take it from here:
I give him the [come here gesture]. “Come on, Donald, what are you doing? A) You promised us you wouldn’t even be here and, B) you promised you would never do this.” He says, “But they begged me to go up, Michael! They begged me to go up!” I say, “Stop it. Stop it. This could be crazy. Do what you said you would. Don’t make a liar of yourself.”
I go back to the dressing room. Five minutes later, he’s back up. They call me back over there. Holy shit. I call him out (again). Same thing happens. I say, “Donald. I don’t know if I can control this. Stop it.” I go back to the dressing room. And I leave my walkie-talkie on in the dressing room. Moronic, on my part.
They call me back, at which point Keith pulls out his knife and slams it on the table and says, “What the hell do I have you for? Do I have to go over there and fire him myself? One of us is leaving the building – either him, or us.” I said, “No. I’ll go do it. Don’t you worry.”
Cohl then gave Trump an ultimatum. You leave the building now, or we cancel the show. Trump went “berserk,” Cohl said, and then he left.
God love you, Keith.