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Sunday times article
Posted by: odean73 ()
Date: September 17, 2009 18:17

Altamont was featured in the last sunday times.

If you go to the website timesonline and type in altamont.

there is also a section on the killing as well, wuite intresting.

Apologies if posted before..

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: ChrisM ()
Date: September 17, 2009 18:36

You mean the Times of London, right?

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: odean73 ()
Date: September 17, 2009 18:44

Sunday times, one owned by murdoch. Who will soon start charging to read online.

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: duke richardson ()
Date: September 17, 2009 19:31

any way you look at it, its awful, but strange: we have this film that clearly shows a guy with a gun about to shoot somebody. the ones hired for security prevented it.
never knew the Stones paid money to Hunter's mother though.

and importantly: that stage was said to be 3 feet high, although in the film it looks higher than that. what a bad combination, all around, and the Rolling Stones played great.

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: Barn Owl ()
Date: September 17, 2009 20:43

...didn't that article lable a MSG picture as being from Altamont?

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: odean73 ()
Date: September 18, 2009 16:41

duke richardson
any way you look at it, its awful, but strange: we have this film that clearly shows a guy with a gun about to shoot somebody. the ones hired for security prevented it.
never knew the Stones paid money to Hunter's mother though.

and importantly: that stage was said to be 3 feet high, although in the film it looks higher than that. what a bad combination, all around, and the Rolling Stones played great.

I would say the stage hieght was about 3 foot high, remember looking at the film and noticed straight away how low it was and so near to the crowd, but that is in the these days of health & safety b******s.

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: Voja ()
Date: September 18, 2009 21:50

Gimme Shelter and The Rolling Stones' nightmare at Altamont/size]
September 13, 2009
From The Sunday Times

Bill Wyman says the Rolling Stones weren't easily scared but were terrified when a Hells Angel murdered a fan at Altamont
Forget the beatings, the fat naked girl making for the front or the Hells Angel having the mother of all bad trips. The strangest shot in Gimme Shelter, David and Albert Maysles’s film of the Rolling Stones’ fateful American tour of 1969, occurs when a stray alsatian ambles across the stage during Sympathy for the Devil. Yes, Altamont really was no ordinary rock concert. It was supposed to be the West Coast’s answer to Woodstock, a free gig for 300,000 at a Speedway track east of San Francisco in early December. But it became the biggest collective bummer of the freewheeling 1960s, a handy metaphor for the death of the hippie counterculture. No more peace and love. At its horrific climax, 18-year-old Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by a Hells Angel, while the Stones played on mere feet away. “It was a day that was oppressive and dark,” recalls Chris Hillman, whose Flying Burrito Brothers shared the bill, “and the ending was the worst scenario you could imagine. I thought that day was the end of the 1960s. It had come from the wonderful innocence of the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers to this.”
So much for the aquarian dream. Less than four months after the libertarian ideals of Woodstock, it was all but over. Rock music and the Stones — particularly the Stones — would never be the same again. “I think Altamont had a tremendous effect on them,” says the writer Stanley Booth, whose The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones is a riveting account of his time with them on that tour. “Instead of being part of the counterculture, they opted for show business. When they came back to the USA in 1972, they were playing a much lighter show, going more for comedy rather than drama. And I think that had a great deal to do with Altamont. Its effect was profound. Mick Jagger said that if Jesus had been at Altamont, he would have been crucified. And he wasn’t exaggerating.”
The Stones’ original idea was to play Golden Gate Park, but that quickly fell through. As did their second choice, Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma County. With less than 24 hours to go, a local operator, Dick Carter, offered up Altamont as a hasty alternative. As he had done several times with his own band, the Grateful Dead’s manager, Rock Scully, suggested inviting the local Hells Angels to guard the generators. They would receive $500 worth of beer as a gratuity. Both Altamont and the Angels proved calamitous choices.
The photographer Ethan Russell, whose Let It Bleed is a visual record of the tour, recalls arriving on site: “The vibe was horrible. The place itself was horrible. It was a barren hillside with no trees. Chip Monck [the Stones’ stage manager and the MC at Woodstock] and his crew only had two days to set it up. There were insufficient toilets, there was no security, there was no food.” Other bands on the bill were Santana, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Jefferson Airplane. Airplane’s bassist, Jack Casady, was shocked at what he found: “It was a monumentally disorganised affair. Chaos in a place that already felt like you were abandoned. Altamont was like an island within a desert. It was set up for disaster.” The first significant sign of trouble came during Airplane’s set. Their singer, Marty Balin, was knocked unconscious by a Hells Angel when he dived into the crowd to stop a beating. “I knew right away that it was the wrong thing to do,” says Casady. “It was like jumping into a bowl of ants. But Marty was emotionally involved. He saw somebody get hurt and was trying to do something about the situation. Unfortunately, he got caught in the crossfire.” Hillman vividly remembers having to argue with an Angel even to get onto the stage, as “they were so out of their minds”. The Burritos’ languid country-rock proved a brief respite from the madness, calming the crowd to a point where they were happily chucking Frisbees. It didn’t last.
“I remember talking to David Crosby after CSNY had just played,” says Hillman, “and he was saying, ‘Boy, there’s something real strange going on here.’ As soon as we were done, I got straight out of there.”
Crosby’s bandmate Stephen Stills saw the writing on the wall, too. “We did our set, and the feeling, from the combination of the Hells Angels and a crowd that was getting increasingly inebriated and vile, was that something was dreadfully wrong,” Stills recalls. “So I stuck two guitars under one arm, picked up Neil Young’s wife and carried her. I said, ‘We’re getting out of here. Move!’ Something was up and it wasn’t going to be pretty.”
It was nightfall before the Stones came on. By then, the mood was even blacker. Fights erupted at the front of the 3ft stage — so low that the Stones were more or less part of the crowd — during Sympathy for the Devil. Both the tour manager, Sam Cutler, and a visibly nervous Jagger pleaded for calm. Hells Angels were swarming on stage. Albert Maysles, Gimme Shelter’s co-director, remembers his first sighting of a young black man in a sharp green suit, bustling near the front: Meredith Hunter. “Apparently, some time prior to the killing, he was tormenting the guys from the Hells Angels with his gun,” says Maysles. “If you look in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, moments before the killing, you’ll see Meredith Hunter wagging his tongue in and out of his mouth. That’s a clear sign that he’s on cocaine, which is well known to produce violent action.” Cocaine or not, it is clear that Hunter, a member of a petty local gang called the East Bay Executors, was indeed carrying a gun that day. The crucial frames of Gimme Shelter show Hunter brandishing a revolver as the Stones play Under My Thumb. Suddenly, a Hells Angel descends, there’s a flash of steel and Hunter falls to his death somewhere off screen.
“To this day, I still feel that Hells Angel probably saved Mick Jagger’s life,” maintains Scully. “There was no doubt as to the intention of the guy [Hunter]. He had a loaded pistol in his hand and was aiming for Mick. When you’ve got a guy high on speed and crazy, there’s no reasoning with that. And if it took a knife in the neck, then that’s what it took.” The Stones’ financial manager, Ron Schneider, was right there. “Someone screamed out that somebody had been stabbed and they needed the ambulance,” he remembers. “So I started running to find the driver. I asked someone if they’d seen him and they said, ‘Don’t worry about that. He [Meredith Hunter]’s dead.’ That was like getting punched in the stomach.”
The Stones soldiered on for another hour, before Schneider ushered them onto the helicopter and to the sanctuary of their San Francisco hotel. There was shocked silence all around. The band have remained largely silent on Altamont over the ensuing 40 years, though Russell did interview Bill Wyman for his book. “Bill had a great quote,” he offers, “which was that the Stones had never been scared of anything, but they were terrified at Altamont. Everybody was. Everybody remembers it like it was yesterday: where they were standing, what they saw and how they felt. I don’t think Altamont was ever resolved, for any of the people who were there.”
One unresolved issue, it seems, is accountability. Alan Passaro, a Hells Angel, was acquitted of Hunter’s murder, after a jury concluded he had acted in self-defence — but who was really to blame? “For a long time afterwards,” says Crosby, “my picture was on the wall in the Mother Chapter of the Oakland Hells Angels. And that was because, right after it happened, I was the only one who defended them. I said, ‘Listen, if you don’t want the tiger to eat your lunch guests, don’t invite the tiger. What the hell did you think you were doing, asking the Angels to come?’ Of course they got in fights with people. That’s what they do. Rock Scully was the guilty partner.” To this day, Scully balks at the accusation: “Ralph Gleason, of the San Francisco Chronicle, basically called me a murderer for organising this debacle. But that was just unfair. I hid out for three months afterwards.”
Monck took it upon himself to apologise to Hunter’s grieving mother. “Nobody took responsibility for Altamont,” he says. “I went to Mrs Hunter’s house three times and was turned away. The fourth time I finally got in to apologise.” The stage manager still shoulders the bitter weight of what happened that night in 1969: “We all have a death that we are either responsible for, or might have averted. So sorry, Mrs Hunter. So deeply sorry. It lives with me daily.”
The DVD of Gimme Shelter is released on September 21

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: Voja ()
Date: September 18, 2009 21:51

The Sunday Times
March 27, 2005
The death of Meredith Hunter at Altamont
The murder of a teenage fan at a Rolling Stones concert signalled the end of the hippie dream. But what really happened at Altamont in 1969 — and why have the police reopened the case?
The song has barely finished, the last chord just faded. Mick Jagger, 26 years old, in his billowing half-black, half-red shirt, has ended his repeated ad-libs of the last line of Under My Thumb. "I pray that it's all right . . . I pray that it's all right . . . it's all right."
Now here comes Meredith Hunter, stumbling out of the darkness to the left, a few feet from the stage, arms flailing, legs askew. Something unseen has happened and he is moving from it in a hurry. He crashes into the arms of Patti, his girlfriend, and falls away. As his left arm goes down, the revolver in his hand is silhouetted against Patti's white crocheted top, which her mother knitted for her. His arm rises again. The ground around them clears. Patti screams.
Over on the right, towards centre stage, a Hell's Angel strains to see what is happening.. He alone seems to see the gun. You can see his hand go to his waist and this must be when he pulls the knife from its sheath. He rushes forward and is at Hunter's back, his left hand gripping Hunter's gun hand, forcing it down, while raising the knife in his right fist and plunging it into Hunter's neck. Hunter lurches forward, back towards the darkness from where he came. The Angel clings on, moving with him, again raising his right fist and bringing the knife down on Hunter's neck.
In these few feet of film, it is forever December 6, 1969, around 5.50pm. A black man is being killed by racist Hell's Angels. It will soon be claimed that the Stones had hired the Angels to provide security for the free concert at Altamont Raceway & Arena in California. The Stones will face the threat of being charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Thus the film has preserved a controversy and highly sensitive issue for the band and those involved on that crowded stage at that chaotic show. A day so notorious it was said to have helped bring the "flower power" age to an end.
The Stones have been touchy about the case ever since, and have made almost no public comment on Hunter's death for 35 years. In recent weeks the police have been re-examining the killing, conducting a "cold case" review, trying to put Hunter's ghost to rest. And still the band refuse to comment. The true story of that afternoon, the story of Meredith Hunter, who he was, how he died, what happened after, has never been told. He was the young black man who got killed at Altamont. That was all. In most accounts his name didn't get mentioned. In 35 years nobody had called his family to try to find out more. Or establish what it was, if anything, the Stones (and Hell's Angels) were trying to hide.
Nobody, except perhaps the band themselves, seemed to know that their lawyers had tried to get a wrongful-death lawsuit against them thrown out of court on a technicality. Nobody knew that, when the attempt failed, the Stones' lawyers quickly made an out-of-court settlement with Meredith Hunter's mother. Mick Jagger was said to have made a court deposition denying any involvement with the Hell's Angels. But if the Stones hadn't hired them, what were the Angels doing there, standing sentry on stage beside Mick, Keith, Charlie, Bill and Mick Taylor? Who invited them? Who put them in a position where they could kill Hunter?
The footage of his murder was filmed for the documentary Gimme Shelter, which recorded the final stages of the Stones' North American tour in the last weeks of 1969. There had been a dozen film crews out among the 300,000 to 500,000 people scattered over the 83 acres of Altamont during the concert, but only one had captured the killing. The directors of Gimme Shelter, Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, had not known until the material was processed that the killing had been recorded.
The film had helped the Alameda County sheriffs to identify and put a Hell's Angel named Alan Passaro on trial for murder. It also helped Passaro's defence, proving that Hunter really had been wielding a gun. And it left open the possibility — exploited by Passaro's lawyer — that there could have been more than one Hell's Angel wielding a knife. Hunter's body had six stab wounds and Passaro was only seen delivering two blows. Passaro was acquitted in January 1971. Yeeeeooooww, he was recorded as saying when the verdict was delivered. And so the killing passed into the Alameda sheriffs' archive — their "murder book" — as "Hunter, Meredith. Unsolved. 69-SO2262."
Sergeant Scott Dudek had taken charge of the sheriffs' Crimes against Persons Unit two years ago, and began a programme of reviewing the cold cases. He had worked through six "unsolveds" before arriving at Hunter, using modern techniques such as DNA to make breakthroughs that would not have been possible in the past. Though he was not yet a teenager at the time of Altamont — he's now 46 — Dudek was aware of the high profile of the case. The focus of the review would be: was there a second assailant? A "second stabber", as Dudek put it.
Early on in his inquiries, Dudek contacted Maysles Films in New York. Of the directing trio, both David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin had died. Albert Maysles was 78 and still going out filming. He said there was other footage, outtakes from the original reel shot by Baird Bryant that had not made it into the final film and might shed some light on what happened. He never understood why the police hadn't asked to see the whole reel at the time. He spoke of scenes that seemed to show Hunter taunting the Hell's Angels and of another shot that showed an orange flash, perhaps the flash of Hunter's gun being fired. Whether or not he had fired the gun is an enduring puzzle. But Maysles only owned half the film. The Stones had a half share too (including half the profits) but their permission was not needed for any further release.
In autumn 1969 the band had arrived in America for the start of their tour to be greeted by complaints that they were charging too much for their tickets, ripping off the fans. Stung by the accusations, they decided to put on a free concert. San Francisco was the city of love, Haight-Ashbury the headquarters of the counterculture and the obvious place to stage the show. The Grateful Dead had organised a series of free concerts in Golden Gate Park, on the edge of the Haight. They were unofficial, unannounced shows — word always got around somehow — and the Dead would invite the Frisco Hell's Angels along to stand by the generators and ensure nobody shut down the power. The Angels' mere presence tended to deter trouble.
The Stones' 1969 tour manager, Sam Cutler, is now in his early sixties and settled in Brisbane, Australia. He was on stage throughout Altamont, both as the master of ceremonies and looking after his band, which, as he describes it, was like protecting the president. If anyone hired the Hell's Angels to provide security on the Stones' behalf, it was him. But that's not what happened, he says. He's been saying it for 35 years. He says, if you think you can hire the Hell's Angels, go and try it. To secure their presence at the show he agreed to buy them $500 worth of beer. In fact, he passed on $500 in cash to them through an intermediary. Cutler says he thinks he got the money from the Stones' San Francisco lawyer, Mel Belli. He says he kept trying to call Mick Jagger to get some money. The band were on the other side of America in the run-up to Altamont, at Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama, recording, among other things, the first version of Brown Sugar.
Cutler says the Angel he spoke to said he would take the beer money, but Sam shouldn't think that had bought him "jack-shit" by way of a deal. You didn't make deals with Hell's Angels. The Angel was Pete Knell, who had just lost leadership of the Frisco Hell's Angels to Bob Roberts. Bob now says Pete had no right making any arrangement on the Angels' behalf. It seems clear that, even if there wasn't a signed contract for the Hell's Angels to act as a security, there was an arrangement for them to be there, and everyone involved knew that their presence was meant to prevent trouble and provide a degree of protection to those on stage, including the Stones. After two false starts the band settled on Altamont as the venue at the last minute.
Cutler was dismayed when he arrived at Altamont and saw the stage was only 3ft off the ground. But it was too late to change the stage or call off the concert. He accepts too that, in the ensuing mayhem, nobody advised the Hell's Angels against parking their Harleys in front of the stage, as they usually did at the concerts in the park. Some of the Angels arrived earlier, travelling on the Frisco bus. Bob Roberts didn't like the bus and came on his bike. Bob says they had their cue sticks with them because they often went to bars and played pool when the chance arose. You can see the Angels at Altamont, in the film and in photos, beating and poking concert-goers with their cues. If Bob is telling the truth, the cues were not, as they have always been described, lead-weighted for use as weapons. They were the Angels' version of a police officer's nightstick, says Bob.
Roberts had recently seized control of a rival motorcycle club from San Jose, the Gypsy Jokers. He had offered to set them up as the San Jose branch of the Hell's Angels, but they had said they wanted to be Frisco Angels, and so had just joined as new recruits, prospects, as the Angels called them. One of the new prospects was Alan Passaro, who was 21 and, as Roberts recalled, went on a bit too much about how he would prove himself a worthy Hell's Angel.
Even though Dick Carter, the owner of Altamont, says they were harmless enough, there is plenty of evidence that the Angels were brutal in their treatment of the crowd. It's clear too that, from early in the day, when the first acts were playing, they had a role on the stage: keeping order, even as they were creating disorder.
Now here comes Meredith Hunter, who is known to his family and friends as Murdock, who tells his girl, Patti, she can call him Murdock Supreme. Patti is enthralled by Murdock, who wears sharp, bright suits and sometimes matching nail polish. When he takes her in his arm and they walk in the park next to the Berkeley High School campus, it feels good, good that he chose her over all those other women, white and African-American, who admire him.
They are just teenagers, Meredith and Patti. He is 18, she is 17, and they've met outside the school as part of a bigger mixed group of young white and black kids who hang out together, this being liberal Berkeley, north of San Francisco, where the rules are different from the rest of North America, where white and black are not yet noticeably mixing.
Murdock is the third of four children born to Altha May Anderson. He and his younger sister, Gwen, share the same father, a Native American called Curley Hunter. Hence Murdock has been named Meredith Curley Hunter. The father left home soon after Gwen was born. Earlier in 1969, Murdock's other sister, Dixie, who is 10 years older, had lost her husband when he was electrocuted in a freak accident. Murdock has been playing a fatherly role with her children, helping out, showing signs of maturity, in Dixie's eyes.
Then there is Murdock's other life, away from his home, perhaps even away from his girlfriend. He is in a club called the East Bay Executors. Today it would be called a gang, and people would be shooting each other, but back then it was just fist fights, petty crime and drugs. Murdock and his friends smoke marijuana and take bennies (Benzedrine) and inject crystal meth (methamphetamine). Later, the pathologist will find old needle traces on Murdock's arms. Murdock has amphetamine in his blood and that revolver in his car boot. His cousin says he was always packing a gun, but his friend Stuart is not so sure. He only recalls one time, watching the Nixon motorcade go past, and his friend saying to Murdock, you got your gun? Give me your gun, let's shoot the president. They were just joking, of course.
Patti can see herself at the concert, even now. White blouse, suede wraparound miniskirt, the crocheted top her mum made. She is 52 and doesn't look the way she once did. She says she hasn't made much of her life, but she dated Murdock then, for just a few weeks. He took her to see the Temptations, the original line-up, at a San Francisco club. He then took her to Altamont. She and two friends got bored and sat in the car, which was parked on the verge of the freeway, the I580. Murdock came back. He said, come on, Patti, let's go see the Stones. He went to the boot and Patti saw him put the gun in his waistband. They had seen the fighting with the Angels by the stage earlier. The atmosphere had been tense, unpleasant. Murdock was packing now, just in case.
He stood by the stage and Patti saw him climb onto one of the boxes — monitor speakers — at the front. An Angel pushed him away. The Angel maybe punched him and jumped down and they began scuffling, then Murdock was trying to get away and Patti could see he had the gun in his hand. She was screaming now and other Angels jumped him — she never saw a knife, could not identify Passaro — then he was under the scaffolding on the ground and they were kicking and stomping him and she was sure he would be beaten to death. Nobody came to help, not at first. Then the Angels stepped back and others came forward. Other witnesses would say they tried to help but were kept back by the Angels. Let him die, they were told, he deserves to die, he wanted to shoot Mick Jagger, look, he had a gun.
No witness could testify to seeing a second stabber. One witness thought there were two, but couldn't be sure. He said he heard Murdock say: "I wasn't going to shoot you." But from what most people describe, Murdock was pretty quickly rendered incapable of saying anything. He must have died more or less straight away. Sam Cutler helped carry him and went home with Murdock's blood on his jacket. Patti remembers sitting in the ambulance looking at Murdock's ripped shirt and thinking how upset he would be when he woke up, that they had ruined his lovely shirt.
A few days later a runaway was picked up by police in southern California and told them she'd been at Altamont with two Angels — not Passaro — and one had stabbed Murdock and later had stopped the car to wash the nigger's blood off his knife. The sheriffs' investigators at the time had not relied on the girl's statement. As Sgt Dudek said, she obviously had issues. There was no evidence that anyone else was involved. Besides, as Dudek said, if he wasn't a Hell's Angel, Passaro might have been a hero, for stopping a man who was trying to shoot somebody. One girl said at Passaro's trial, she had heard a cry of, look out, he's going to kill Mick Jagger. But nobody else heard that. Dick Carter said there was no killing there, only a suicide, that when Murdock pulled his gun in front of those Hell's Angels he was as good as dead. While it was possible, even likely, that Passaro had delivered all six stab wounds, there could be no certainty about what had happened, before and after the moments captured on film. Hunter could already have been stabbed by another Angel when he stumbled into shot holding the gun. Someone else could have stabbed him after Passaro's assault. And surely the beating Hunter took must have contributed to his death.
The Stones stopped playing for a moment, then carried on to finish the show. They did not know someone had been killed. Besides, if they had stopped altogether, it was generally agreed, there would have been a riot and others might have died. The tour manager, Sam Cutler, was not the only one who thought they were lucky to escape with their lives in such a fraught situation. They left the scene in an overcrowded helicopter, people sitting on laps, lying across others on seats. Then, suddenly, they were back at the Huntington hotel in San Francisco. The financial manager, Ron Schneider, recalls he went to his room with two girls. He told them he was depressed. Cutler talked
to Jagger and said he would stay to straighten things out. Jagger said he would ensure Sam's expenses were paid, but they never were. The band left San Francisco the next day.
The district attorney threatened to indict the Stones, the managers, Altamont's owner, Carter, and anyone else who was involved on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. But he relented when he retrieved the gun and saw the film. Sgt Dudek says the case against Passaro could have been presented better in court. Passaro already had a criminal record, was in jail by the time he was arrested, and went back in after his acquittal. He was later convicted of running a methamphetamine factory, the very drug used by Murdock.
Passaro died in 1985, not long after his most recent jail sentence. He left his home in a hurry after a shower — a wet towel was on the floor, the mirror still misted from the steam. His black Mercedes was found abandoned at a nearby lake, the door open, the keys still in the ignition. His body turned up a month later, floating in the lake, a bag strapped to his back containing several thousand dollars. It looked like drug money. The police could not determine a cause of death but seemed sure he had been murdered.
Murdock's sister, Dixie, would never forget being at home with a Christmas tree already erected in the corner of the room, hearing on the radio that a madman with a gun had been killed at Altamont. She knew Murdock was there but it never occurred to her that it was him. As Dixie says, he was at the age of "more to come". And he was just the kind of black man who got under white folks' skin back then. He personified threat, being overconfident, overdressed, with a white girl on his arm. Uppity was perhaps the word. You were meant to know your place and Murdock didn't.
His family never had any expectation of a conviction in the trial and had not bothered attending. That was white reality. There was, of course, no direct evidence that racism had played a part in Murdock's death. Patti said they certainly got a lot of looks in the crowds that day. There was no evidence, either, that the Angels had been the aggressors. But the pattern of the day suggested it was likely. Unlike their other victims, Murdock had a gun in his waistband.
His sister said Murdock never had the chance to get his life together. He had just got a job at the post office, but had yet to start. Maybe he would have turned his life around. It was certainly hard for his friends in the East Bay Executors. A few of them spent time later in jail and got into trouble with drugs. Blood, the friend who had gone with him to Altamont, was later shot and killed. Altha, Murdock's mother, had a nervous breakdown after his funeral and spent a month in hospital. When I met her, in January, she was still recovering from the death last year of Murdock's sister Gwen. Her son Donald too was gone. Only Dixie survived.
Altha had sued the Stones for $500,000 after Altamont and caused a flurry of activity among the band's lawyers. They had collected depositions from those involved, then attempted to get the case thrown out on the grounds that the papers had never been served. Altha's lawyer had to get a statement from the process-server who had pursued Jagger around the lobby of the Miyoko hotel in San Francisco, tapping him on the arm with the papers as Jagger ran out of the foyer, letting the papers fall to the floor. The Stones withdrew their attempt to get the case dismissed and got on the phone to Altha's lawyer.
According to Altha, she received $10,000. That might not sound like much for the loss of your son, $10,000, but Altha's lawyer said settlements were different then and not subject to the exponential rise in awards that has taken place since. Besides, he had been carrying a gun and did have a rap sheet and all this counted against him. Altha had not complained about the sum. The case never got to court, where one of the key issues would have been: who hired the Hell's Angels? The whole thing left a bad taste for some, including the tour manager, Sam Cutler, who recalled reading Jagger's deposition with the sinking feeling that he'd been hung out to dry by the band.
The Stones believed for some years that they were on a Hell's Angels hit list. It was certainly true that the Hell's Angels felt betrayed by the band. The Angels always believed they had been hired for Altamont and left to carry the blame for the chaos of the concert. Ron Schneider recalled a Stones gig in Paris sometime later, when they heard a rumour that there was an Angel with a gun in the crowd and were convinced that the death threat was about to be carried out. A search was made and, sure enough, there was an Angel with a gun, but it was just a starting pistol he said he wanted to fire at the ceiling for fun. It had been a hard case to review, with none of the usual scope for new scientific analysis. Now, for reasons he didn't fully understand, Dudek was unable to wrest the new-old footage, the rest of that reel, from Albert Maysles. Dudek had re-interviewed some of those involved, including Passaro's trial lawyer, George Walker, who said if there had been a second stabber he would have produced him at the time. All he could do in court was hint at the possibility. Dudek had felt sure he would end up proving there was a second stabber, but now began to feel there was nobody else. It had all been Passaro after all. Probably.
The Stones remain conspicuous by their silence. Of course, they are under no obligation to speak about it, but you might think, after all these years, they would feel a moral imperative to clear up the mysteries of Altamont and, as Dudek intended, lay the ghost of Meredith Hunter to rest. Altamont has clearly haunted the Stones too. If they do have something to hide, it can only be the fear of being found responsible for hiring the Hell's Angels — and so in turn sharing responsibility for Hunter's death.
Surely the Stones have little left to fear now. Like them, the Angels have grown old. When I met the former Frisco president Bob Roberts, he was in a wheelchair in hospital, in a dressing gown and slippers, after suffering his third stroke at the age of 66. He still remembered the "niggers", though. And still remembered how proud he was of Alan Passaro, for doing his duty and killing Meredith Hunter.

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: Voja ()
Date: September 18, 2009 21:51

The Sunday Times
May 18, 2008
Ethan Russell on photographing The Rolling Stones
It was 1969. The Stones were the biggest live band in the world. The photographer Ethan Russell was invited to go on tour with them — and witnessed things he’d never forget
hen Ethan Russell photographed Mick Jagger for the first time, in 1968, it wasn’t his rock-star swagger or surly pout that struck him: it was his neatly pressed trousers. “He was smart, very pleasant and well mannered.”
Russell, a scruffy 23-year-old Californian, hit it off with the singer, and from 1968 to ’72 was the Rolling Stones’ main photographer. One of his early sessions featured Brian Jones at his home, Cotchford Farm in Sussex, previously owned by A A Milne. Russell’s pictures of Jones, draped around a statue of Christopher Robin and provocatively waving a gun, encapsulate the troubled nature of the doomed guitarist, who was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool six months later. But it’s Russell’s photographs of the band on their 1969 US tour – most unseen until now – that provide the most compelling insight. Contrary to myth, it wasn’t all sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
There’s the guitarist Keith Richards holding court at breakfast in a rhinestone-studded red shirt – tea in one hand, fag in the other, and a Variety pack of Kellogg’s cereals behind him. In another, Mick is protectively holding the drummer Charlie Watts’s baby daughter. Then there’s the bassist Bill Wyman and his girlfriend, Astrid Lündstrom, sitting glumly in armchairs, looking as if they’d rather be anywhere else.
Russell, now 62, says his unique access to the band allowed him to obtain such intimate portraits. “We travelled, lived and ate together. But I didn’t see it was my job to become their friend. I stayed on the edge, watching. What they really did well was just let me be there.”
But Russell did become their friend, especially Charlie’s, whom he stayed with in England. Mick Taylor, Jones’s replacement, was “a sweetheart”. The only Stone he never got close to was Keith. “I was scared of him. I was shy and Keith has his own version of shyness. Put the two together and we just didn’t get there.”
In 1969, the Stones were the biggest live draw in the world. Yet they flew in commercial planes, eschewed five-star hotels for friends’ houses, and had only 11 people in their entourage “There was nothing prima-donna-ish about them,” says Russell. “Backstage they’d hang out with musicians: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry. It was all about the music.”
Russell recalls just one fight, between Jagger and the concert promoter Bill Graham, who bellowed at the Stones and threatened to cancel their show. Jagger coolly replied: “Didn’t I speak to you on the phone once? You were rude to me. I can’t stand people who shout on the phone. It shows the most appalling manners. We’ll be on in five minutes, Bill. Now don’t be silly.”
Surprisingly, Russell says it wasn’t a very druggy tour. “Yes, drugs were around, but they were mainly recreational.” As for groupies, there was one blonde who said she had a pound of butter in her bag that she wanted to spread over Jagger, then lick it off, before adding: “I can’t wait around for ever. I have to pick up my little boy.”
So the tour rolled on, the venues sold out, and the dollars rolled in. As a thank-you to their American fans, the Stones announced a free gig at Altamont Speedway, east of San Francisco. And that’s when the bubble burst. Altamont was meant to be all about peace and love, another Woodstock. Instead, it was a vision of hell. Russell describes the aura of danger from the start. “Most of the crowd was high on drugs and alcohol and there was a weird, culty vibe.”
Security came in the shape of the Hell’s Angels, said to be high on LSD. While the band was playing Under My Thumb, the Angels stabbed to death an 18-year-old black man, Meredith Hunter, who they said was aiming a gun at Jagger. The band, unaware of the killing but aware that the crowd was out of control, played on, Jagger saying: “I can’t do any more than ask you, beg you, just to keep it together. Let’s just relax, get into a groove.”
“I was scared for my life,” says Ethan. “All I wanted to do was get out. We left as soon as we could. We had a helicopter designed to hold 11 people and it took off with 17 of us, including the band.” Wyman said: “It was the most dangerous, frightening show we ever did. And this band has never been scared of anything.”
After that, everything changed. On the 1972 American tour: “Security was everything. The band never travelled commercially again, they had private jets. They had limos. Every member had received a death threat from the Hell’s Angels and had an armed guard. The stage got raised higher and the band became untouchable.”
Backstage had turned into a celebrity circuit. Jagger had married the Nicaraguan socialite Bianca Perez Moreno de Macias. The writer Truman Capote and Jackie Onassis’s sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, were part of the entourage. And hard drugs had entered the scene: “Everyone was snorting cocaine,” says Russell. Astrid, Bill Wyman’s girlfriend, says: “Keith’s drug-taking had ceased to be fun. It had become an addiction; he was going into darker places.” But on stage, Russell says the band were still magical, “a really classy bunch of performers”.
The Stones’ Bigger Bang tour, which ended last year, made $558m, the biggest-grossing tour ever. They’re already talking about the next one.
Russell admits that he didn’t think the Stones would still be going strong. “In 1969 Mick said, ‘I can’t do this for ever. We can’t keep going on. I mean, we’re so old.’ ” He was 26 at the time.
The Let It Bleed exhibition is at Proud Central, 32 John Adam Street, London WC2, from May 23-July 20; The collectors’-edition book, published by Rhino, and limited-edition prints are on sale at Proud Galleries

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: bmuseed ()
Date: October 7, 2009 23:11

I haven't read the entire articles above (I will)as usually I realize that since i was there and party to the staging and creation of the events I know more than what I can read about plus after Altamont, Rolling Stone put out a special edition, and in this edition that have pages of quotes from me...all bull shit, I never spoke to anyone from Rolling Stone--once I was put in contact with a reporter for the New York Post, Alfred G. Aronowitz. I had come across a series he was doing in January 1971 on Altamont in the NYP and there were a lot of inaccuracies in the article adn I complained to a PR woman, Candy Leigh about it. She said she knew Al and that he would want to get it right. He called me and interviewed me over the phone for about 4 hours. And the he did what the press should do--he published a new well balanced article with the actual facts.

Ok so now for a comment about Altamont. The evening before was magic the next day was tragic. From the moment we got off the helicopter it was weird - the security guard tried to take us thru the crowd to the front of the stage and a kid punched Mick. At a point in time the atmosphere was deadly, a girl next to me, got hit in the head by a thrown can and her head was bleeding terribly (that's where I learned that head wounds were quite bloody but not as bad as they seem). I absolutely felt death about us --I was told that a tower had collapsed and about 30 people were trapped under it--after running all around the grounds it turned out to be a rumor and that shows the mind set of the people close to the stage. People 100 yards back had a great time but those around the stage felt something was wrong and it was only further exemplified by the violence. I was told that someone was stabbed and that I needed to get the Ambulance. I knew where the ambulance was but couldn't find the driver. As I was running around screaming for the driver a policeman said that I needn't run anymore as the guy was dead..

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: duke richardson ()
Date: October 7, 2009 23:33

you must be one of the Stones' security at the time. any more recollections, let 'em fly, please! this is the place.

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: skipstone ()
Date: October 7, 2009 23:35

"There were insufficient toilets, there was no security, there was no food.” Ah, but plenty of whacked out hippies. Cool bruthah!

Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: mickscarey ()
Date: October 8, 2009 00:09


Re: Sunday times article
Posted by: duke richardson ()
Date: October 8, 2009 00:37

Oh I see--bmuseed- you're Ron Scheider

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