Note From The President, Cerebus 143, February 1991Copyright 1991 Dave Sim
Even while I was beginning to draw the first few Jumpeen Prince Mick pages (last issue), I picked up a copy of Bill Wyman's autobiography Stone Alone. The dedication to his son is an extraordinary piece of writing; worth the price of admission in and of itself.
The most pertinent parts of the book (for me) are the horror stories of mismanagement and abuse from the scum-bag business type types. The deal with Allen Klein is struck behind the backs of Bill and Charlie and Brian. When Wyman expresses reservations on being informed of the tentative plan (which is actually a 'done deed') Keith cuts him off with "We have to trust someone." They could've been a couple of kids named Siegel and Shuster. While newspapers are hailing the Stones as millionaires many times over, Wyman's bank account hovers between a hundred and two hundred pounds at any given point in his narrative. Robert Stigwood fucks them over. It would be funny if it wasn't the way all artists are treated by business people.
When I was getting the Notebook pages together for the Church & State biweeklies, I ran across a few little sketches of Harlan Ellison I did when I stayed at his place for a couple of days in 1983. Synchronicity. As usually happens when the opportunity presents itself to get to know someone you've admired for years, your mind goes blank. It was the middle of the second day when I remembered that Harlan had hung out with the Stones in 196 ...6? ...7? The second U.S. tour I believe; developing a film project or Stones biography or some such. I was sitting on a kitchen stool near Harlan's awesome art deco breakfast nook when I asked him what they were like. I don't remember what he thought of Charlie or Keith, but he did say that Mick Jagger struck him as self-isolating; intentionally aloof and mystical. Brian was an asshole pure and simple. Always doing really stupid and hurtful things. As for Bill Wyman ...they were good friends. He really liked Bill and they hung out quite a bit together.
"In fact" he said by way of conclusion, since Harlan has little patience with fanboy questions of any stripe; sci-fi, rock 'n' roll or Hollywood," Bill Wyman sat on that very bar stool you're sitting on right now."
I didn't think about it much untill got to page 321 of Stone Alone, the L.A. part of the second tour and there he is! Two paragraphs on Bill Wyman's great friend Harlan Ellison.
I jumped up and dialed (yes I still have a dial phone) the first few digits of Harlan's number. And then I remembered the last time I called Harlan in a fit of fanboy gushiness. I had found a copy of the only part of the Mr. Mind serial he had never seen; Captain Marvel Adventures No.25 and sent it along after meeting him on the U.S. Tour in 1982. He responded with several autographed hardcovers of his work which I proceded to devour feverently over two or three days. I made the mistake of phoning to enthuse about several of the essays and short stories. He let me rattle on for a few minutes and then cut the conversation icily short leaving me with the unmistakeable impression that I should only phone again if I had something important to say. If Harlan is the egomaniac he's painted to be, he's the only one I've met who is completely disinterested in flattery, feigned or genuine. So, if you'll forgive me, Harlan. ..
HEY EVERYBODY! I KNOW SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THE BILL WYMAN!!
There, now - that wasn't so bad, was it?
Synchronicity, synchronicity, strikes, strikes.
Two days after I wrote the above, Monique was on lunch when the phone order line rang. Guess who? Ken Viola, producer of the Masters of Comic Book Art video ordering his copy of Jaka's Story. After we got all the ordering info out of the way, I asked him how the Stones were doing (Ken has been a roadie for every Stones tour since the late 1800's). He hadn't seen Mick since the Steel Wheels tour, but he had just visited Keith a couple of weeks before. The word is that the Stones will tour again before the end of the year. Yippee! Monique got back from lunch while Ken and I were still talking and was patiently waiting for me to hang up so she could start typing again. I made a separate note of Ken's home phone number and have been busily working up a catalogue of "questions I would ask Keith Richards if I ever got the chance" in addition to all of the "but what are they really LIKE?" fan-boy type questions. Fortunately, Ken is the very soul of tolerance about these things.
Almost forgot my favourite part of Stone Alone; Bill's line-score for the first two years of sexual conquests; Bill Wyman -278 chicks, Brian Jones -130 chicks, Mick Jagger -30, Keith Richards -6, Charlie Watts -0, Shallow? You bet!
To the next Note
Back to the DSMNFTP Archive