We can’t let the day our #1 rockgod was born go by without some sort of post, and SANS geezer or cockroach cracks! So we will recall the second time we met the iconic guitarist here in Los Angeles, at the Joint in West LA. (The first time by the way, was only briefly as a fan: a signing at Tower Records for Talk Is Cheap.)
A photo was taken the magical night we actually hung out with him, but sadly we never saw it. Back then, we were weird about taking photos with artists we admired mainly because we always strived to be taken seriously as a journalist. As a woman especially, we never wanted to seem like a groupie. We’d have the quite the scrapbook if we hadn’t been that way, and so, we’ve loosened up about this recent years. But KEITH…FUCKIN…RICHARDS was an exception, even back then. Unfortunately we didn’t bring a camera with us, and it was someone else’s that captured the moment. We never saw it. The photo below from that night helps us remember the show part, at least.
Guitarist Waddy Wachtel’s legendary jam nights at The Joint have featured countless rock luminaries over the years, but the almost annual visits from Keith have always been their most memorable. Whenever The Stones were in town, it was kinda given that Keef would stop by for a jam. When he didn’t, the hopeful crowds were bummed, even when the show was awesome and Stonesy anyway (Stones back-up singer Bernard Fowler and Blondie Champlain always came on stage for several Glimmer Twin numbers).
Anyway, below is a full excerpt from our LA Weekly review of the event that occurred about 9 years ago. We did not include what happened backstage in the writeup (we want to keep it for ourselves), but we can tell you this now: all professionalism went out the window and we gushed like a little girl! The air was thick with… well you can probably guess. We wore a silver Rolling Stones tongue belt buckle which Keef eyed and tapped –we shit you not — with his famous skull ring. We think it gave us super powers -LL
KEITH RICHARDS at the Joint, October 28, 2002 (LA Weekly)
Every time the Stones come to town, rumors abound about ‘em turning up at some li’l dive for a “surprise show.” This time out, the impossible-to-get-into Wiltern gig seems to fill that intimate-venue void, so when we heard one or more Stones might turn up at the Joint last week, we were a bit skeptical. Still, the club’s Monday-night jams, which feature Waddy Wachtel, Terry Reid and others, have been attracting some biggies — Roger Daltrey popped in recently — so we made the hopeful trek to the tiny Westside hang.
Frizzy-locked guitarist Wachtel offered a set of familiar rock hits, fondling his ax with the kind of possessed affection only a guitarist of his caliber and skill can do without looking cheesy, while the other musicians played off his ebullient energy. Then Wachtel slyly declared, “Ya never know what might happen later,” before launching into “Paint It Black,” and a thick layer of anticipation filled the air during the break.
An hour later, the second set began, and making an entrance from the back kitchen like the riff royal he is (forget about Mick’s knighthood) was King Keef, the essence of cool in a casual black suit and silver jewelry. The expensive wino climbed onstage, greeted the crowd with his throaty, sometimes indecipherable ramble, and noodled out a few loose and effortlessly lovely blues numbers, languidly plucking his shiny guitar, chiming in vox whenever he felt the urge. Next he dove into the notorious opening licks of “Start Me Up,” moving about and standing so close to the edge of the tiny stage we feared he might fall. Two Rolling Stones backup singers, Blondie Chaplin and Bernard Fowler, fleshed out Keith’s sweetly sparse screech on the classic, then all three chimed together on a soulfully unrestrained version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” ending the magical moment far too soon.
“I’d like to stay longer,” said rock & roll’s grooviest grandpa, an impish grin suggesting his mind was now on the bigger fish he’d be frying later that week. “But I’ve got work to do.”
More Keef-related articles (and this is only a small sampling as there are dozens):