Keith Richards once threatened to pull a knife on Donald Trump during an altercation that occurred 27 years ago, Vanity Fair learned. The story has come to light through Rolling Stones tour producer Michael Cohl, who explained how Richards almost came to blows with Trump at a 1989 concert as part of the Steel Wheels tour, which is famed for being the reunion of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.
This concert was Keith Richards and co’s final stop of their comeback tour, with Cohl hoping to earn more money by billing it as a pay-per-view event. This would only be possible through a rich promoter, which resulted in the current Republican party candidate stepping up, and the concert was to be held at Donald Trump’s Plaza Hotel and Casino. Richards and his bandmates agreed, but only if the former host of The Apprentice agreed to stay away and that he would not be a part of the promotion.
Cohl spoke to Pollstar in 2015 about how Trump angered Keith Richards and the band, with the story now resurfacing across the media.
“The Stones had such power in those days that the 6:40 p.m. slot on the national evening news was going to be an interview with the Stones to talk about and promote the pay-per-view. At about 5:50 p.m. I get word that I have to come to the press room in the next building. I run to the press room in the next building and what do you think is happening? There’s Donald Trump giving a press conference, in our room!”
Cohl then made an attempt to stop Trump from breaking his promise, but he reportedly stated that the media begged him to go up and speak. After returning to the dressing room, Cohl learned that he was once again talking to the press, and by this point, Keith Richards had had enough.
“They call me back, at which point Keith pulls out his knife and slams it on the table and says, ‘What the hell do I have you for? Do I have to go over there and fire him myself? One of us is leaving the building – either him, or us.'”
Clearly not wanting Richards to take matters into his own hands, Cohl went to make things right. He told the billionaire that the Rolling Stones would not perform if he did not stop the press conference, to which he reluctantly agreed. However, after telling Trump that he was fired, Cohl stated that he went “berserk” and violence nearly boiled over.
“And I notice the three shtarkers he’s with, in trench coats, two of them are putting on gloves and the other one is putting on brass knuckles. I go on the walkie-talkie and I call for Jim Callahan, who was head of our security, and I go, ‘Jim, I think I’m in a bit of trouble.’ And he says, ‘Just turn around.’
“I turn around. He’s got 40 of the crew with tire irons and hockey sticks and screwdrivers.”
Trump relented, and the Rolling Stones went on to perform despite Richards and co. clearly being unhappy after he broke their agreement.
It is not the first time that Keith Richards has made his feelings about Trump clear. In 2015, Richards spoke out about Trump’s presidential campaign, as reported in Vanity Fair.
“Can you imagine President Trump? The worst nightmare. But we can’t say that. Because it could happen. This is one of the wonders of this country. Who would’ve thought Ronald Reagan could be president?”
The story of Keith Richards threatening to pull a knife on Trump has resurfaced and added relevance with the news last month that the Rolling Stones did not want him playing their music at his political rallies, the Inquisitr reported. The Republican Party candidate has used hits such as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Brown Sugar” at his rallies. A spokesperson for the band stated that he does not have permission to use their songs.
It seems that Trump is a fan of the Rolling Stones and their music (or he understands their appeal), but Keith Richards and his bandmates have made their feelings clear about him. This dates back to a tense confrontation that occurred roughly 27 years ago, where Richards nearly took matters into his own hands.
[Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images]