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Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Jbeckerfan ()
Date: July 8, 2023 01:54

I've read Bill Grahams autobiography as well as "Rage & Roll", which was a very anti- Bill Graham book, as well as "Stone Alone" by Bill Wyman (1990) and the most recently released "Life" by Keith Richards (2010).

In Bill Grahams autobiography, nowhere in the lengthy chapter on Steel Wheels does Graham ever reference the band having disputed the finances of previous tours.

In regard to Bill Graham losing the 1989 tour, Bill Wyman recounts:

"Something happened on the 1981 tour. We found that he was fiddling on one of the gates. We found a discrepancy. He was running one gate without keeping a record of it so all the money was going into his pocket. We found out by pure chance."

In "Life", Keith Richards praises Bill for his support for many years but specific to Steel Wheels, states:

"That last tour [1981] was a very dodgy period. A lot of bits were going missing. The mathematics weren't adding up. Separate from Bill, his business partners were stealing money from us and openly bragging about it, with one of them telling how he bought a house with it."

Here is my question: If the Stones knew Graham was stealing from them, and simply didn't trust him, why didn't they give him that as the reason for not doing the tour with him in 1989? Seems like that would leave less to argue about, and allow Graham to blame himself for losing the tour rather than The Stones or Michael Cohl. It's been said that when Graham took the infamous plane ride to sit with Mick Jagger and make his pitch for the tour, that Keith would not even acknowledge or speak to Graham and that at no point was Keith ever considering Graham as a contender for Steel Wheels (only Mick).

As far I know or have ever read, Graham never acknowledged or responded to the accusations of theft from Wyman or the others and as far as I know, the business managers Keith refers to in "Life" were never named.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2023-07-08 17:43 by Jbeckerfan.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: stevecardi ()
Date: July 8, 2023 06:03

This has always been an interesting topic for me. As huge and as groundbreaking as the 1981/1982 tour was, the Steel Wheels tour was next level stuff not just for the Stones, but for the whole music industry in and of itself. Even big names like Michael Jackson were shocked at how big and financially successful it was in terms of attendance, ticket gross, corporate sponsorship, merchandising not only at the shows but in stores all over the country, press interests, etc etc. And it all but destroyed Bill that he wasn’t part of that.

As for Mick and Keith doing what they did to Bill for skimming off the top of the 1981 tour monies—breaking him this way rather than saying “we don’t trust you,”—never underestimate how ruthless a businessman Mick Jagger can be: especially when you steal from him and the Stones. My guess is that Mick knew that feigning interests in Bill Graham to promote the Steel Wheels tour, while all the time planning to go with Michael Cole was the best way of telling Graham “you stole from us, and this is how we’re getting you back. We’re literally taking the concert industry to the next level, and you’re not going to be a part of it.”

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: July 8, 2023 10:53

I believe stevecardi is on the right track here. But interestingly, the fate of Michael Cohl was pretty similar to Graham's. They were essential for years, and probably they thought that would go on forever, but that wasn't the case, as they both would painfully learn. I guess it boils down to 'nothing personal, this is just business'.

- Doxa



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2023-07-08 10:55 by Doxa.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: July 8, 2023 10:54

Quote
Jbeckerfan


Here is my question: If the Stones knew Graham was stealing from them, and simply didn't trust him, why didn't they give him that as the reason for not doing the tour with him in 1989?

The band likes to work with people they know?
They hoped Graham had cleaned up his stable of associates?
They used him to assess the validity of Cohl’s offer, who was a newcomer?
They just wanted to humiliate Graham?

"Funny" that as late as 81 the band was still getting ripped off...

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: lem motlow ()
Date: July 8, 2023 10:55

The absolute fantasy that Keith had anything to do with any business deal involving the Stones is laughable.
Any quote from him regarding the bands financial situation is him repeating something Mick Jagger told him.
The guy spent years in a drunken drugged out haze while Mick covered his ass.
You can find interviews with Charlie and Bill talking about Keith falling asleep at a table when discussions were going on involving millions of dollars.

We should all be so lucky to have a Mick Jagger in our lives.a guy you can have take care of you and make sure you get paid while you shit talk him.
Your family lives in luxury because this man learned the game and protected his band.
I love the cartoon character and the fantasy as much anyone but the landscape of rock and roll is littered with guys who have had every dollar stolen from them.
Who do you really, honestly think stopped that from happening to the Stones?

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: thecitadel ()
Date: July 8, 2023 11:09

I guess that the Stones wanted two competitive bids to promote the 1989 tour, and Bill G and Michael C were those bids - get the best deal and hungry promoters.

But you don't then tell the loser that "you could never win anyway because of some dodgy accounting in the past" because you'd get sued for bid costs and maybe damages.

Smart move by the Stones - whether it was Prince Rupert, Mick, Keith or anyone else.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: lem motlow ()
Date: July 8, 2023 11:30

But wait, isn’t Jagger a putz for hanging out with high society and meeting people like “Prince Rupert” who Mick subsequently hired to look after the bands finances?

Hmmm I’d like to keep my “artistic credibility” and still own a couple of mansions and an island home or two while being too fckd up to stay awake.How do I do that?

I’ll take Mick Jagger for $500 million Alex.

Mick learned the game and handed Bill and every other promoter their ass on a platter.to this day that lady that handles the bands business gets the final say from one man.it’s about time the Stones fanbase acknowledged it.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: MartinB ()
Date: July 8, 2023 12:55

Quote
lem motlow
But wait, isn’t Jagger a putz for hanging out with high society and meeting people like “Prince Rupert” who Mick subsequently hired to look after the bands finances?

Hmmm I’d like to keep my “artistic credibility” and still own a couple of mansions and an island home or two while being too fckd up to stay awake.How do I do that?

I’ll take Mick Jagger for $500 million Alex.

Mick learned the game and handed Bill and every other promoter their ass on a platter.to this day that lady that handles the bands business gets the final say from one man.it’s about time the Stones fanbase acknowledged it.

I think we (or most of us) know it. But we have this romantic feelings about the pirate. Me including.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Milan ()
Date: July 8, 2023 14:25

Bill's "Stone Alone" (1990) ends with the Hyde Park gig in 1969. So I put your quote in Google search and this came up:

[www.deseret.com]

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: stevecardi ()
Date: July 8, 2023 14:29

Quote
lem motlow
The absolute fantasy that Keith had anything to do with any business deal involving the Stones is laughable.
Any quote from him regarding the bands financial situation is him repeating something Mick Jagger told him.
The guy spent years in a drunken drugged out haze while Mick covered his ass.
You can find interviews with Charlie and Bill talking about Keith falling asleep at a table when discussions were going on involving millions of dollars.

We should all be so lucky to have a Mick Jagger in our lives.a guy you can have take care of you and make sure you get paid while you shit talk him.
Your family lives in luxury because this man learned the game and protected his band.
I love the cartoon character and the fantasy as much anyone but the landscape of rock and roll is littered with guys who have had every dollar stolen from them.
Who do you really, honestly think stopped that from happening to the Stones?

I think you may want to give Keith Richards a second look when it comes to the business part of the Stones.

Keith’s not the man to sit in a counting house board room with Prince Rupert, but when it comes to applying business tactics in the real world—whether it be sitting next to Bill Graham on an infamous plane ride in 1989, standing silently behind Alan Klein and Andrew Loog Oldham with a pair of sunglasses in 1965, doing a paid cameo in a Disney movie, or simply expecting to be repaid for loans simply out of principle (and being willing to cut people out of his life when they don’t)—Keith is very much concerned about making money, and how this system operates.


And I agree 100% with you: we should ALL be so lucky to have a man like Mick Jagger in our lives when it comes to finances.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2023-07-08 14:30 by stevecardi.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Jbeckerfan ()
Date: July 8, 2023 17:45

Quote
lem motlow
But wait, isn’t Jagger a putz for hanging out with high society and meeting people like “Prince Rupert” who Mick subsequently hired to look after the bands finances?

Hmmm I’d like to keep my “artistic credibility” and still own a couple of mansions and an island home or two while being too fckd up to stay awake.How do I do that?

I’ll take Mick Jagger for $500 million Alex.

Mick learned the game and handed Bill and every other promoter their ass on a platter.to this day that lady that handles the bands business gets the final say from one man.it’s about time the Stones fanbase acknowledged it.


Thanks for stopping by, Mick! Wonderful to get your take!

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: snoopy2 ()
Date: July 8, 2023 17:57

Graham and Wyman.. I got a bit tangled up for a minute trying to understand how Bill the bass player didn’t participate in Steel Wheels tour

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Jbeckerfan ()
Date: July 8, 2023 18:35

Quote
snoopy2
Graham and Wyman.. I got a bit tangled up for a minute trying to understand how Bill the bass player didn’t participate in Steel Wheels tour

He did. He quit the band in 1993. It was Voodoo Lounge and beyond that he didn't do.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Sighunt ()
Date: July 8, 2023 19:06

Quote
thecitadel
I guess that the Stones wanted two competitive bids to promote the 1989 tour, and Bill G and Michael C were those bids - get the best deal and hungry promoters.

But you don't then tell the loser that "you could never win anyway because of some dodgy accounting in the past" because you'd get sued for bid costs and maybe damages.

Smart move by the Stones - whether it was Prince Rupert, Mick, Keith or anyone else.

There is a passage from Bill German's Under Their Thumb that touches on this topic:

"...if Mick wasn't motivated by the bottom line, the Steel Wheels tour might never have happened in the first place. It took the right amount of money, from just the right man, to get the band to bury their hatchets. Michael Cohl was a bold, relatively unknown concert promoter from Canada. He made the Stones an offer they couldn't refuse. An offer that changed the rock concert business forever."

German notes that Cohl approached the Stones and guaranteed them $65 million dollars which was unheard of at that time. They would get their money, risk free, plus a huge chunk of the profits.

"Cohl's offer was an attention grabber. The Stones' business managers-and you can include Mick in that contingent-were blown away by it. They told Cohl's competitor, the legendary Bill Graham, to not even bother with an offer."

According to German, Mick reportedly said to Graham, "I'm only doing this tour for one reason. The money. And the numbers will be better (with Cohl)."



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2023-07-08 19:18 by Sighunt.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Paddy ()
Date: July 8, 2023 21:16

Quote
stevecardi
Quote
lem motlow
The absolute fantasy that Keith had anything to do with any business deal involving the Stones is laughable.
Any quote from him regarding the bands financial situation is him repeating something Mick Jagger told him.
The guy spent years in a drunken drugged out haze while Mick covered his ass.
You can find interviews with Charlie and Bill talking about Keith falling asleep at a table when discussions were going on involving millions of dollars.

We should all be so lucky to have a Mick Jagger in our lives.a guy you can have take care of you and make sure you get paid while you shit talk him.
Your family lives in luxury because this man learned the game and protected his band.
I love the cartoon character and the fantasy as much anyone but the landscape of rock and roll is littered with guys who have had every dollar stolen from them.
Who do you really, honestly think stopped that from happening to the Stones?

I think you may want to give Keith Richards a second look when it comes to the business part of the Stones.

Keith’s not the man to sit in a counting house board room with Prince Rupert, but when it comes to applying business tactics in the real world—whether it be sitting next to Bill Graham on an infamous plane ride in 1989, standing silently behind Alan Klein and Andrew Loog Oldham with a pair of sunglasses in 1965, doing a paid cameo in a Disney movie, or simply expecting to be repaid for loans simply out of principle (and being willing to cut people out of his life when they don’t)—Keith is very much concerned about making money, and how this system operates.


And I agree 100% with you: we should ALL be so lucky to have a man like Mick Jagger in our lives when it comes to finances.


What’s the infamous plane tale with Keef & Bill Graham

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: frankotero ()
Date: July 9, 2023 00:01

What, Mick is Lem Motlow? That's my biggest take from this thread.smiling smiley

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: ds1984 ()
Date: July 9, 2023 00:21

Wasn't the same Michael Cohl that promoted the first MJ solo tour in Japan ?

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: July 9, 2023 06:06

Wasn’t there this “story” about an offer from Cohl (secretly negotiated with Prince Rupert) to pay the Stones 1 billion dollars for a new tour? Wasn’t there a “behind the scenes war” to make sure Cohl wouldn’t make a penny of the Stones after that “insulting” proposal? Didn’t Cohl buy himself into stadium contract deals as to still be able to make money from the Stones? Isn’t the truth harder than fiction? Money, money, money? Nice to see journalists pop up “out of the blue” on subjects like this.
Isn’t what really matters that the Stones are still rolling? Well, to me it is.

smileys with beer

I'm a GHOST living in a ghost town

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: caschimann ()
Date: July 9, 2023 07:14

Quote
lem motlow
The absolute fantasy that Keith had anything to do with any business deal involving the Stones is laughable.
Any quote from him regarding the bands financial situation is him repeating something Mick Jagger told him.
The guy spent years in a drunken drugged out haze while Mick covered his ass.
You can find interviews with Charlie and Bill talking about Keith falling asleep at a table when discussions were going on involving millions of dollars.

We should all be so lucky to have a Mick Jagger in our lives.a guy you can have take care of you and make sure you get paid while you shit talk him.
Your family lives in luxury because this man learned the game and protected his band.
I love the cartoon character and the fantasy as much anyone but the landscape of rock and roll is littered with guys who have had every dollar stolen from them.
Who do you really, honestly think stopped that from happening to the Stones?

Well said!

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: GasLightStreet ()
Date: July 9, 2023 07:16

Quote
lem motlow
The absolute fantasy that Keith had anything to do with any business deal involving the Stones is laughable.
Any quote from him regarding the bands financial situation is him repeating something Mick Jagger told him.
The guy spent years in a drunken drugged out haze while Mick covered his ass.
You can find interviews with Charlie and Bill talking about Keith falling asleep at a table when discussions were going on involving millions of dollars.

We should all be so lucky to have a Mick Jagger in our lives.a guy you can have take care of you and make sure you get paid while you shit talk him.
Your family lives in luxury because this man learned the game and protected his band.
I love the cartoon character and the fantasy as much anyone but the landscape of rock and roll is littered with guys who have had every dollar stolen from them.
Who do you really, honestly think stopped that from happening to the Stones?

It's absolute fantasy that you think Keith has zero to do with the Stones' finances.

You need to read more. And not just wikipedia or Google.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: DGA35 ()
Date: July 9, 2023 07:20

I remember back in 89 a Forbes magazine issue with Jagger/Richards on the cover and the headline What Will They Do With All That Money?
I also remember a quote from Bill Graham (paraphrasing): My lover is now a whore.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: lem motlow ()
Date: July 9, 2023 14:19

Quote
stevecardi



I think you may want to give Keith Richards a second look when it comes to the business part of the Stones.

Keith’s not the man to sit in a counting house board room with Prince Rupert, but when it comes to applying business tactics in the real world—whether it be sitting next to Bill Graham on an infamous plane ride in 1989, standing silently behind Alan Klein and Andrew Loog Oldham with a pair of sunglasses in 1965, doing a paid cameo in a Disney movie, or simply expecting to be repaid for loans simply out of principle (and being willing to cut people out of his life when they don’t)—Keith is very much concerned about making money, and how this system operates.


And I agree 100% with you: we should ALL be so lucky to have a man like Mick Jagger in our lives when it comes to finances.

I had to read that a second time before I realized you were being sarcastic.
That story about standing behind the lawyers wearing sunglasses is one of my favorites.
A grown man actually believing that a group of 20 something kids intimidated a Harvard trained lawyer is astounding.
Was that the contract Klein took their publishing? Those sunglasses must’ve had him shaking in his boots.
I love Keith but good lord, he goes around with that lackey that Mick fired and she’s his “ personal manager “.
The chick didn’t even have enough sense to put a bespoke clause in his Yves st Laurent contract and he ended up wearing the same jacket onstage as Justin Bieber.

Remember when he went around telling everyone Mick “tacked on his solo albums at the end of their record deal without anyone else knowing” uh yeah bud, that’s a crime and no one, not Mick,his lawyers or the record company would ever do that.
They would open themselves up to a legal nightmare.
It’s hilarious,lets “ tack a couple of things on to this signed multimillion dollar contract”
I’m sure there are people who have read enough of Keiths nonsense and are dumb enough to believe it but his involvement is Jagger saying “sign here, and no we’re not gonna put on sunglasses and stand behind anyone”

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: skytrench ()
Date: July 9, 2023 19:00

For someone who aquired Blue Lena in 1965 and Redlands in 1966, one can forgive him for not being fixated on financial aspects. Musically his influence was strong. Were things decided behind his back, while he was occupied by other pursuits ? Why not, but is Mick the knight in shining armour keeping the band going ? I think not, Keith and the other members are vital to that too.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: shattered ()
Date: July 10, 2023 05:53

Gotta share this and no other place but here.

I just finished putting up a poster that has the Pennsylvania Railroad T1 steam locomotive, Oakland Stadium, November 4&5 1989, with the note at the very top in all it's glory: "Bill Graham Presents".


Paid 75.00 for this and realized well........don't laugh too hard but I did.hot smiley

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Paddy ()
Date: July 10, 2023 06:03

Some guys are good at making bread, but if there’s no bread there’s nothing to sell. Keith might be lucky to be in band with Jagger who does the heavy lifting financially, but Mick is lucky he’s in a band with a guy who was a prolific writer. (Bread Maker)

I think with respect of the touring financials, stage design, etc, Charlie had more influence and say than folk might think.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: lem motlow ()
Date: July 10, 2023 12:43

Quote
Paddy
Some guys are good at making bread, but if there’s no bread there’s nothing to sell. Keith might be lucky to be in band with Jagger who does the heavy lifting financially, but Mick is lucky he’s in a band with a guy who was a prolific writer. (Bread Maker)

I think with respect of the touring financials, stage design, etc, Charlie had more influence and say than folk might think.

Very true, I sort of hate pointing this stuff out because it looks like I’m bashing Keith.
It’s just that everyone has their role.imagine Keith and Ronnie from the 70s through the 2000s trying to book a tour.
Agree on Charlie behind the scenes, we’ve all heard that Mick and Charlie did everything from set designs down to t-shirt art but I’m sure they were working on financials as well.
Always loved those pictures of them in their expensive suits having dinner,It just said it all- the Stones are on another level.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: July 11, 2023 14:39

Quote
DGA35

I also remember a quote from Bill Graham (paraphrasing): My lover is now a whore.

it reeks of the smell of a disappointed disgruntled lover (Graham) who throws mud around.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: July 11, 2023 14:51

Quote
GasLightStreet

It's absolute fantasy that you think Keith has zero to do with the Stones' finances.

I think Keith is totally clueless when it comes to basic daily things, and even more or so about managing the band™.

I remember reading a 99 interview where he said he gave a 50 quid tip to a London taxi driver and the person who was with him had to tell him it was too much.

Mick is the shield that protects Keef from the hardships of real life. Can you imagine our favourite guitarist putting together a tour - I mean just finding venues and organizing an itinerary? Me neither.

Keith is the consumate artist, but outside of his protective bubble he is like a fish out of water.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2023-07-11 14:54 by dcba.

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Big Al ()
Date: July 11, 2023 14:58

Quote
dcba
Quote
GasLightStreet

It's absolute fantasy that you think Keith has zero to do with the Stones' finances.

I think Keith is totally clueless when it comes to basic daily things, and even more or so about managing the band™.

I remember reading a 99 interview where he said he gave a 50 quid tip to a London taxi driver and the person who was with him had to tell him it was too much.

Mick is the shield that protects Keef from the hardships of real life. Can you imagine our favourite guitarist putting together a tour? Me neither.

Keith is the consumate artist, but outside of his protective bubble he is like a fish out of water.

Isn't there a story about how Mick, when dining with someone at a restaurant, placed a few pounds down for waitresses tip, before slipping the tip back in his pocket when his companion's head was turned. grinning smiley

Re: Bill Graham losing 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
Posted by: Mathijs ()
Date: July 11, 2023 15:31

I think the emphasis on how great Mick is as a businessman is hugely overblown. For the Stones the market is huge, there's only a few promotors that can do these big tours, so negotiating a good deal isn't all that difficult. Mick found out himself that a sell-to market is more important than being a good businessman -he wasn't able to get his solo 1988 Euro or US tour financed, he wasn't able to tour after Wandering Spirit because he couldn't get it financed.

And for Keith: he is equally important to Mick in making decisions. He is not the drugged-out bozo and never was. All decisions concerning the business aspects of the Stones are taken by Mick and Keith, and to some extent Charlie.

Mathijs

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