Life Question #8 - Fans

by Keith Richards & James Fox

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:21 am

Pg. 139-140 "The power of teenage females of thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, when they're in a gang, has never left me. They nearly killed me. I was never more in fear for my life than I was from teenage girls. The ones that choked me, tore me to shreds, if you got caught in a frenzied crowd of them--it's hard to express how frightening they could be...

The sky is sullen. It's a day OFF! Suddenly the storm breaks viciously! Outside I see three die-hard fans. Their bouffants are succumbing to nature's forces. But they stay! What can a poor boy do? 'Get in here, dopes.' My tiny cubicle is filled with three drowned brats. They stream trembling. They drench my room The hairdos are done. they are trembling from the storm and from suddenly being in their (or one of their) idol's room. Confusion reigns. They don't know whether to squat or go blind. I'm equally confused. It's one thing to play on stage to them, it's another to be face-to-face. Towels become an important issue, as does the john. They make a poor attempt to resurrect themselves. It's all nerves and tension. I get them some coffee laced with a little bourbon, but sex is not even in the air. We sit and talk and laugh until the sky clears. I get them a cab. We part as friends."


I found several things interesting here. Keith's description of the teenage girls and their power as well as what actually happened when they met in close quarters is quite a dichotomy. What is your opinion of his description of the fans and of this particular incident?
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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:53 am

Yes, he described them as Feral and under the hysteria I think I can understand that if you see how it was. Pretty incredible watching clips etc. But then when there is no hysteria to fuel that they just don't know what to do, they are in the prescence of their idol the subject of thier dreams and they clam up basically. I'm sure people are the same the world over in the same situation, we have even seen it to some degree with Johnny.
I think it also shows that honourable side to Keith to allow them to come in and dry off. He also is stumped as to what to do in their prescence but I think that is Keith shy side coming out anyway. On stage its different close up its a whole new situation they are more real suddenly not just a swarm a mass of screaming hormones.

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby moviemom » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:00 pm

While he has this image of being a bad boy, Keef is a gentleman. But, I don't know that much about him and could be mistaken. Besides, that sort of meeting had to be awkward for him and the drenched fans!
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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:03 pm

moviemom wrote:While he has this image of being a bad boy, Keef is a gentleman. But, I don't know that much about him and could be mistaken. Besides, that sort of meeting had to be awkward for him and the drenched fans!

He is and I thought that came through in the book more than once. But from other things I've read he is almost the opposite to how people imagine him but we might be getting into another question territory there.

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:01 pm

I guess this was fairly early in the Stones career when this sort of fan encounter was new to Keith, before security and all of that, and it doesn't surprise me it would be confusing for him trying to figure out what to do. Some things haven't changed, look at how Johnny is mobbed by screaming shoving fans, and some of those aren't even teens! I am sure being the object of that much "affection" could be terrifying when fans assemble in packs like wild dogs. Small groups would be less intimidating.

Even after I had followed my favorite drummer long enough that I became part of the "in" group of fans, I remained in trembling awe any time I was around him. It doesn't take much for me to imagine how overwhelmed those girls must have been! Something they no doubt have remembered the rest of their lives. :truefan:

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:15 pm

There is something of a pack mentality in those situations. If you have ever been in the middle of something like that it can be quite scary. I thought this situation was sort of an amusing mental image though with the girls finally getting what they wanted and not knowing what to do with themselves. Keith being naturally wary and it turning into a "normal" sort of awkward situation.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:45 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:There is something of a pack mentality in those situations. If you have ever been in the middle of something like that it can be quite scary. I thought this situation was sort of an amusing mental image though with the girls finally getting what they wanted and not knowing what to do with themselves. Keith being naturally wary and it turning into a "normal" sort of awkward situation.


Not sure if he says something like that again in the book or when he was being interviewed for the Profile on the BBC about them not knowing what to do with him if they actually had him alone sort of thing , was it in the paragraph where they ripped his clothes off on the street and he got left behind?, I'm sure it was and he said then that he didn't think they would have had a clue.
Seen it so often the frenzied hyestria that young girls have for their idols I can remember all that when the Osmonds used to come to England I think that was the first time I'd seen anything like that and been aware of it.

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Jackslady » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:35 pm

Fan worship can be such a strange thing. I remember Osmond mania and David Cassidy mania and these days I suppose it's Justin Beiber and Robert Pattinson etc. I remember a friend at school who went to an Osmonds gig and couldn't speak for a week afterwards, as she'd screamed herself hoarse! :lol: I guess it's all down to crowd hysteria, the collective power of female hormones and so forth!

I think this is a charming story: Keith behaved appropriately and the fans got chance to spend some time with their idol. I formed the impression that he has a lot of respect for his fans, the incident about his looking out for the blind girl etc.

I've done my fair share of fandom over the years, I've met two people whom at the time I idolised, and both were absolutely lovely, but much like the girls here, I do remember feeling completely overwhelmed and like the whole thing was a dream. It was terrific fun and pretty magical though. :biggrin:
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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:07 pm

Interesting you say that JL about him having alot of repsect for his fans. In an interview I've seen on youtube he actually says he didn't really think much about them until his bust in 1977 when he realised through their support just how much they actually cared. I think it opened his eyes quite a bit and you can almost see really in the progression of watching concert DVD's that he seemed to start performing for the fans much more rather than just being totally into the music.

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:16 pm

I just saw it as a moment of personhood, if you will. On one side you have the screaming, hysterical girls and on the other the terrified rock star...who isn't much older. Suddenly the chaos is gone and there they are, face to face with their idol and with his fear, in the rain, in a totally unexpected moment. So now what? Oh, well we come in out of the rain, here's a warm drink. We're just people without all the hype. :lol: I think both sides handled admirably.
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Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Lou Lou 63 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:23 pm

Keith has a whole new set of fans now, he has little kids, who adore him as Capt Teague in PotC, that kinda makes my heart sing as they think he is really Johnny's dad, so sweet :love: :smiliewithhearts: , sorry to go off topic :blush:

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:48 pm

People in large emotion-driven groups act in ways they'd never do if alone or with a smaller group. I was in a crowd on 34th Street in NYC years ago when a driver suddenly gunned his car, ran it up the sidewalk and plowed into the front of one of the many smaller stores that line the street. We had just emerged from Macy's when this happened -- it's a very large, block long building, very secure looking. Everyone on the street heard the bang of the car exploding the window. Someone yelled: the car's gonna explode! And within seconds, the entire street of people, hundreds and hundreds of them, turned as one thing and ran blindly towards Macy's. Like a terrified wave. We had seconds to do an about-face and run with them back into the store. No way a person could stand up to that force, get anyone's attention. Mass action, no reflection. I was terrified, and not so much by the car, but by the way those people moved, how they didn't look where they were going, didn't look at me. Just swept towards us, intent on reaching their goal.

I bet it's kind like that for a person suddenly facing a raucous crowd of fans intent on making contact, whether they're pouring towards the stage or surrounding a car. The bigger the group, the greater the force of all those bodies in motion. Absolutely terrifying if you are the goal. But then, you pull people out of this crowd and get them alone or in a small group, and they're themselves again: thoughtful, shy, nervous, whatever. So it makes perfect sense that Keef could on one hand fear the crowd, and on the other, have a wonderful spontaneous chat with three young fans.

I had another, somewhat funnier or at least odd, experience with crowds. We adopted my youngest from China. We brought my older then 4 year old daughter with us. This was in the mid 1990s. Not many blond blue eyed little girls in Nanjing at the time. My little girl was treated as a celebrity. People followed us in the streets, begged to take their photo with her, reached out to shake her hand. We'd be on a tour bus and people would rush to the corner where the bus had stopped, a crowd of people, and shout greetings, wave, take photos. She was very much a sensation. Not completely a child, no something more or less, almost a token I guess. In fact our tour guide told us that people felt it would be lucky to be photographed with her. Symbolic value of the color yellow, etc. So, softer version than the crowd rushing for the door, but that sense of 'group-think' -- yeah, still present.

Frankly I don't have very good feeling about of people in crowds. And I don't think there's anyway to change that dynamic. Crowds just aren't quite human.
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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:50 pm

Okay, so we're totally ignoring the fact that he gave teenagers bourbon, right? :yikes:
Now a days, there wouldn't be enough court rooms to hear all the lawsuits. :lol:

Otherwise, it's a cute story. And it was nice that he gave them shelter and probably paid for the cab ride, too. :ok:

I remember when I was a kid, our dog would always go racing out of the house to chase the squirrels in his yard. One day he actually caught up with the squirrel and the two of them just stared at each other. The squirrel scared to death and the dog dumbfounded. He just didn't have any idea what to do....he enjoyed the thrill of the chase more than the catch. Finally, I called his name and he turned just long enough for the squirrel to make a break for it....and the chase was back on! :harhar:

I kind of think it's the same way with the fanantics...neither party really knows what to do when face to face. Both sides just stop and stare. One terrified, the other speechless. :-O

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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Liz » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:45 pm

Lou Lou 63 wrote:Keith has a whole new set of fans now, he has little kids, who adore him as Capt Teague in PotC, that kinda makes my heart sing as they think he is really Johnny's dad, so sweet :love: :smiliewithhearts: , sorry to go off topic :blush:

Hi Lou Lou. :welcome: to ONBC. Not really off topic.



I still don't know what to make of it. And I’ve been part of it. I freeze up. I have definitely been smitten. I never cried or screamed like I was going to die or something. I’ve whooped. That’s more for support (like a cheer).

But I have witnessed this phenomenon even today – and I used to think it was a phenomenon of the Beatles era…..granted they were middleschoolers, but it is still the same thing.

This was at James Durbin Day in Santa Cruz last spring. I actually talked to the group of girls before they were called up on the stage…..and now I’m trying to remember why they were called up on the stage. These girls had gone to a birthday party at one of their friend’s houses a year earlier where James Durbin had performed for the party. This was pre-Idol. They had pictures and each of them had made colorful frames with pictures of that event to hand to him.

So for some reason they were called onto the stage (as were some other people) to meet him at the end of his performance. One of them was crying up a storm, up on stage, waiting for him to come over to the group. I could see her from the side of the stage. I thought it was cute and sweet but also was dumbfounded at the emotion coming from her towards him. Something I couldn’t really relate to, despite my affection for Johnny and the many times I have gone to premieres and whatnot in order to meet him, shake his hand, get his autograph – mostly ask him what he was reading.

HOWEVER, I have to agree that the encounters with those bigger than life people I have met in my life…..Leonard Nimoy, Peter Tork, Genie Francis, Jackie Zeman, Jon Lindstrom, Kin Shriner, and Johnny, of course – will stand out in my memory. They have all been different based on where I was in my life. I froze with most, but some were very welcoming, some actually holding a conversation with me. And of course some could be defined as magical, no matter the age I was.


Firefly
, in recent days we’ve seen examples of the response to crowds.

But back to the topic, I was surprised that Keith was the gentleman that he was.
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Re: Life Question #8 - Fans

Unread postby Liz » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:53 pm

SnoopyDances wrote:Okay, so we're totally ignoring the fact that he gave teenagers bourbon, right? :yikes:
Now a days, there wouldn't be enough court rooms to hear all the lawsuits. :lol:

Oops. Totally forgot about that. But I think to myself that he was barely older than they were and may have been naive about the legal ramifications. I'm thinking that it was no big deal to him as a teenager to do such things and didn't really think about the consequences of giving it to a minor. It was a different day and he was still very young.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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