It's been several months since I wrote the essays which make up this
book, and I now realize that I have left several things unsaid most
of them personal in nature and that I should provide you with some
additional information, however painful it may be for me to do so, in
order that the story be complete. I also have a few routine author's
confessions to make. For example, that some of the characters in this
book aren't real, but a product of my imagination instead. First
things, first, however.
Nancy and Bennie are sweethearts. They eat good food, get lots of fresh
air, and don't talk much about rock 'n' roll at all. They live with my
children in a teepee in Truro, Massachusetts. I'm told that Abby and
David can each tell you whenever a record by the Rolling Stones comes
on the radio, which is pretty often, these days. You can imagine that
this is a source of great joy for me.
There. With that revelation out of the way, let me confess further, as
I must. that Bennie is a real person, and not just a "literary
fiction," as I've claimed from time to time.
I can't first claim that I thought Bennie up, and now complain that he
just ran off with my best girl.
He's real all right. Ever since he heard I was writing a book, he's
been all over me like flypaper. "Do you really mean to say this, Gil?
Are you sure this is the best way to remember things, Gil? Are you
really positive Mick said
Gil?" Stuff like that all day
long. Adding insult to injury, and confusing me so at times that I
can't remember what did happen, and what didn't. It's those eyes of
his. When Bennie looks at you, straight in the eye, he's
Like Charles Manson, if you know what I mean. I worry about my kids.
About Nancy, too, for that matter.
I suppose I should go back and re-write the Introduction, where I say
that Bennie's not real, and set things straight for the reader, from
the start. I know I won't though. There have been times during the last
few months when I wished strongly that Bennie weren't real. And, as an
author, I have come to positively enjoy depicting him as fictitious.
So, I'll indulge myself, and not change anything either in the
Introduction or anywhere else, for that matter. Bennie's as real as you
want him to be.
O.K. That's enough soap opera for one book. Let's now pass on to
several additional confessions, some of these less stunning, perhaps,
but still of interest to those of you who like to keep straight on
what's fact, and what's fiction.
Here they come.
Not all of the characters in this book are real people. I'm not talking
just about Bennie, either. Some of the other characters aren't real. So
let me try to tell you which are which. This is for all you archivists
out there, notably Bill Wyman. First of all, and most importantly, all
the members of the band are real people. You're real, Bill; don't
worry. So are the members of their entourage, their girlfriends, their
business acquaintances, and so forth.
I am a real person, and so are all the other staff members at Long View
After that, it gets a bit fuzzy. For a start, I figured it would simply
be a lot
on us all if I changed a few names, which I've
done in many places. Wait, and I'll tell you where.
Also, I've compressed several people into one a few times slapping
phony names on the resulting amalgams. I call these imaginary
characters "angels." My angels are not real people please
understand that although they're made out of the same
real people are made of easily identifiable personality traits, I
mean. I suppose that's why I don't feel at all guilty about passing off
my angels as real people. They carry information to you, the reader, in
an efficient and entertaining manner. Just as the angels in the Bible
do. So, here's who they are the people with changed names, and my
angels. The only thing I won't always do is tell you which are which.
Let me rephrase that. What I really mean to say is that I
always tell you which are which. It's been a while that I've been
writing this book, and some of my "angels" now seem more "real" to me
than the people whose names I've changed. Also, Bennie's got me all
Let's start with him. Bennie Strange. He's my alter-ego an amalgam
of those of my friends who have had the courage and the good sense to
be critical of me. No one's perfect. As such, Bennie is an "angel."
Incidentally, he was the "person in the black jacket" the police
descended on that night, outside of Sir Morgan's Cove.
Next, (and now you're going to have to decide for yourselves whether
it's a real person with a changed name or an "angel,") you have Rory
McPherson, my fair-weather friend in New York City; Mike's cousin
Marty, who leaked the news to the politicos in Boston; Stan Freeberg,
who had all the "free" recording equipment for me; Carolyn, the groupie
from Area Code 313: my friend Mark, the reporter who suddenly wanted to
do a "profile" of me for the weekend edition of the paper, and his
somewhat skeptical editor, Larry O'Neil; most of the people behind the
Rock Wall, but not the fat kid, who was depressingly real; my long-lost
fraternity brother, Todd Richards, and his compromising, cuckolding
wife, Rachele; Tony Rio, the Mafia club owner, and his quisling
sidekick, Ron; Rick Present, the ambitious young club owner from
Bangor, and Laurie, my old girlfriend; Abe Brenner and Mark, Keith's
two friends; O'Rourke and O'Leary, the Worcester cops; Goldie, the one
club owner who had no use for the Rolling Stones; and finally, Dan
Silverman, the persistent reporter from the
who thought that the Rolling Stones were gods. Everybody else
is real, appearing under their real names.
"And what about the events and occurrences described in this book?" you
might ask. Are they real, or are we dealing with "amalgam" events, too,
in addition to amalgam people, or angels? Good question, and the answer
to it is "Yes, the latter." I have from time to time taken mild
liberties with the sequence of events, with the question of who was
where, when, and so forth. None of these "editorial changes" is
consequential, however, and you may safely forget I ever told you about
Also, my "angels" all animate events and occurrences which are
in the light of what I saw, and was
given to know about things, but which are not
occurrences, since my "angels" are fictitious.
Don't worry. I did a good job. If an event described in this book
didn't actually happen, something very much like it did happen, or
could have happened.
I've always found that particular distinction between plausible
events and real events to be a bore anyway.
And so I generally show it no great respect..