THE NEW LEADER
September 24, 1981
THEY'RE HIS FAVORITE, NEXT TO THE BEATLES
By Larry Lewis
NORTH BROOKFIELD – By now, the world's greatest rock 'n roll band has probably left this town, having completed several weeks of rehearsal for their American tour which begins Friday in Philadelphia.
The temporary fame which the Rolling Stones have bestowed on North Brookfield has been international in scope. Many people, mostly from out of town, have tried to gain entrance to the focal point of it all, Long View Farm, the studio where the Stones were staying. Most attempts were unsuccessful.
And yet, a local man who has helped to ensure the privacy enjoyed by the group says, "To be honest, if I walked by Keith Richard (lead guitarist) I wouldn't recognize him."
It's not that Fred Slauenwhite of 99 School St. isn't interested in the famous group, "I've always liked the Rolling Stones. They're my second favorite band, next to the Beatles."
It's just that, unlike many people, he seems a little less in awe of them. Slauenwhite is a member of the town's volunteer fire department and has been assisting local police in manning the roadblocks at the ends of Stoddard Road, where the studio is located. The roadblocks became a necessity on weekends, after long-whispered rumors about a visit by a group with the initials, "R.S." were proven true.
Slauenwhite explains that town police used a list provided by the studio to determine who could get through the roadblocks. "If your name wasn't on that list, the police would have the dispatcher call the studio to see if you could come up," he says.
Most of the time, the answer was 'No.' But it wasn't for a lack of trying on the part of the would be gate-crashers.
Slauenwhite recalls the time an attractive female showed up in a limousine. She gave a name, claiming that her father owned a limousine rental service supposedly being used by the Stones.
None of this proved to be true, and the woman was not allowed to go through the roadblock. "She left, drove around to the other end of the road and tried the same routine with a different name." Again, she had no luck.
Or the all-girl band which claimed to be recording at Long View "in Barre." Slauenwhite said Nelson Barrett, a part-time officer, suggested, "We'd better check up there to see if they've moved the farm."
In general, the police have been courteous to the fans, says Slauenwhite, allowing them to hang around the roadblock on the off chance of spotting a group member going through. This casual approach, however, didn't mean the police took their duties lightly.
Slauenwhite found himself running through the fields behind the studio, chasing after intruders, with local and State Police, as well as New Braintree police and the Stones' own bodyguards.
While the thought might at first seem odd, he says the police must entertain the possibility that someone could be approaching the studio with a more malicious intent than just getting an autograph. Reportedly, uninvited "guests" have been discovered inside the ground level of the barn which houses the soundstage.
Then there was the reporter from the London Daily Express who almost got himself arrested as a reward for his persistence. "He said he had a pass, but his name wasn't on the list. The studio said not to let him in. He said he'd badmouth the town if he didn't go through.
"The cops said they didn't care who he was; if he didn't leave they'd arrest him on the spot for disturbing the peace," Slauenwhite says. "He left."
Slauenwhite regards the bodyguards with much respect. "They're big; they are huge," he says, adding, "they're nice guys."
Like many people Slauenwhite does recognize Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones' singer and main focus. He recalls saying hello to Jagger on the front lawn at Long View, "He turned around and waved to us."
Slauenwhite remembers another group member who left the farm "driving a beat up old Vega" into town for cigarettes. Like anyone else connected with Long View these past weeks, the unknown Stone had to leave his name with the police at the roadblock or risk not being easily let back in.
"Lots of kids have gone up to Green Hill (behind the farm) to listen at night when the group practices," says Slauenwhite, who was lucky enough to have heard the Stones rehearsing.
The 27-year-old Flexcon Co. employee says the Rolling Stones have been a great thing for North Brookfield, adding that more people in town should have received tickets to the group's Worcester appearance last week. Still, he maintains a casual attitude about all the hoopla.
"I've met Aerosmith and the J. Geils Band besides Jagger," he shrugs, recalling two other groups who have recorded at Long View Farm.
And referring to the studio's most recent and famous guests, he says, "Hey, they're here, they're here. Then they're gone tomorrow. I'm not going to change because of this. If everyone would think that way, they (the Stones) wouldn't have any problems."
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.