"People think I get my way a lot more than I do," Keith continued." You don't know what it's like dealing with the people I have to deal with. If it wasn't for the music, I wouldn't be doing it."
"Oh, Keith! Keith!" Jane Rose tends to shriek a bit when she talks. Her job is to take care of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and she's very protective of them.
"Oh, I knew I'd find you in here, in this ice-cold control room, talking to Greg and listening to records."
Keith hit the "mute" button on the console, lowering the volume level in the room.
"Gil's his name," he said.
"Gil, then. Listen, Keith-eee, we simply must begin to think about getting on our way. Greg, here — Gil, I mean — has those two pilots waiting inside that gorgeous airplane, and we simply can't keep them waiting, can we? You know what you have to do for tomorrow. There's the dentist again, and there's the Consulate, and there's Renaldo, in Rome, and we're way up here in goodness-knows-where. And I know Patti must get back to the city, too, mustn't you, dear, and I know ..."
"We're not going anywhere," Keith said, returning the level of the studio monitors to full, undistorted blast.
"We're not going anywhere," he said again, I think, judging from the way his lips moved.
I smiled, having only moments ago taken Keith behind the moose head in the library with our two full glasses of Stolni' and orange juice. "You don't have to go anywhere tonight, Keith," I had said. "It just starts to get fun here after supper. You can hang out, listen to some records, fool around, anything you want. The place is yours."
"Yeah," he muttered through a smile. "I don't have to go anywhere, do I?"
"No, Keith," I said, "you don't."
And he didn't go anywhere. Jane brought the word back outside to Alan, who was tired and just as happy to stay, and the pilots were released from any duty within Gil's gorgeous airplane. Keith stayed, and stayed largely inside the control room, playing and listening to music, for the better part of three days.
"Get Jane up," he said at one point. It's always dark in the control room, particularly when the black velvet curtains are pulled, and so it's difficult to tell what time it is, or whether it's night or day. I think it was about 5 AM. We had just gone through a half a dozen versions of Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home," Keith singing and accompanying himself on the piano.
"Tell her to get Woody on the phone, and Bobby Keys, too."
"Keith," I asked, "do you know what time it is? I don't."
"Doesn't matter. I never get a chance to do this. You don't understand. I suppose you think it's all fun being me. Listen, I never get a chance to sing by myself like this — play the piano — without some bastard weirding out and asking me why I wasn't playing the guitar, and looking mean. People have their ideas about me. I bet you didn't think I could play the piano, did you? Or sing classics from the thirties. Well, I can, and I want to talk to Woody. He'll love it here. Where's Jane?"
"Upstairs, Keith, in the Crow."
"I'll go, Keith," volunteered Patti Hansen, and she slithered out the door and up the staircase to the bedroom we call the Crow. Muffled female voices indicated that Jane had not been sleeping all that soundly, if at all, and that she had some reservations about calling Woody and Bobby Keys.
"I know what you mean, Keith," I continued down below. "It's not all that great when you get what you want. Me, I've got a lot of things happening, but also a lot of screwed up relationships, like with my girlfriend, who's the mother of my kids."
"Me, too," Keith said, slapping his vest pocket and looking about for something he had obviously misplaced. "I did the same thing. Her name's Anita. Kid's Marlon."
"Here's what you're looking for," I said. "Use the razor in the editing block."
"People think I get my way a lot more than I do," Keith continued. "You don't know what it's like dealing with the people I have to deal with. If it wasn't for the music, I wouldn't be doing it."
"Let's do 'Dream' next, what d'ya think?"
"Let's do it, Keith. Gimme a minute, though. I want to put some two-inch tape on the big machine for this one. Something I want to check on the machine first, too."
"No hurry, man. No... hurry." Keith stretched out the "no's" until they wouldn't stretch any more, and addressed the mirror once again.
Patti Hansen leaned her full weight on the heavy studio door, opening it a crack and looking in on Keith and me.
"Look at the two of you. I mean, I can't leave the room for a minute. I need to talk to you, Gil. Come here, will you?"
"What's up, Patti?" I asked, a bit blinded once outside the door by the early morning light. "What's up?"
"You've got to invent some excuse, Jane says. He may never leave here if you don't. You don't know Keith. He likes it here, too much maybe. But he's got to be in Rome before next Monday to get his visa fixed. Jane's worried. Can't you say something about the plane, or something? Really, Gil, he may not ever leave here, at all."
Patti Hansen is a very beautiful woman, and it was clear that she was asking me to take action, too. Not just Jane.
"Something about the plane?" I asked. "Like there's bad weather coming in, and we'd better make a move soon."
"That would be great," Patti said, eyes flashing.
"Not before the Everly Brothers' tune," I said, somewhat automatically. "He wants to do the Everly Brothers' tune, and he really should. That's next. Don't worry, Patti," I said. "He's really doing fine in there."
"O.K., Gil, that's all great. But what do you think, I mean, what should I tell Jane?"
"Tell her after the Everly Brothers' tune," I laughed.
"O.K., Gil," Patti said, smiling. "You know, you're not bad for forty-one. That's how old you are, right?"
"You read the article in the magazine in the plane?"
"You put it there for us to read."
"Yeah, I guess I did. Listen, don't worry about Keith. I'll get him out of here somehow. Just so long as it's not before we do the Everly Brothers' tune, O.K.?"
"O.K.," Patti said.
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.