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New York City singer and poet, Jim Carroll, whose 1980 debut Catholic Boy was originally supposed to be released on Rolling Stones Records (which featured Bobby Keys as guest on the song “City Drops into the Night”)
Mick, Ronnie and Keith (along with Anita) attended his performance at Trax, a New York club, on June 26 that year, where Keith got onstage with Carroll to jam on “People Who Died.”
Jim Carroll: “By our second show at the Mabuhay Gardens, we were headlining, and then I went back to New York and played the tape for Earl McGrath. We’d done a eight track demo in this studio in Bolinas, but I don’t think any of the songs that we did on that, were on my first album, “Catholic Boy.”
So I played it for Earl McGrath, and I thought I’d give it to Patti to bring to Arista
Records, and to Allen Lanier to bring to Columbia Record, but I didn’t think it had any chance. I had to come to New York for the first time since I left, because Bantam Books was buying The Basketball Diaries, and I played my tape for Earl McGrath, cause he was the only guy I knew.
Earl was around the poetry scene, but now he suddenly the president of the Rolling
Stones’ label, you know? I thought, well at least I can vector an opinion from the music world– from Earl McGrath, but I never thought he’d take it. The Rolling Stones only had Peter Tosh on their label, and Earl was just listening on his couch in his office to my tape, and I thought, “Oh God, he hates it!” Because he didn’t say anything for two minutes afterwards, but then he shot up, and I realized, “Hey wait a minute, they didn’t clap for twenty minutes after the Gettysburg Address, and Lincoln thought it sucked too,” ha, ha, ha!
Earl said, “This is very different.”
And it was actually, even different than our first album, it was a little more drone-y and I wasn’t singing as much. I was talking more, and Earl said, “Keith Richards is looking for an album to do, and I think he’d be interested….”
I didn’t buy it, it was just too amazing to me, cause I knew the guys in the band would freak out, because they were totally Stones-oriented!
I was staying at Clarice Rivers place, [she was Larry Rivers, the painter’s ex-wife], and that evening we get this phone call, and Clarice says, “Jim, it’s Earl.”
So I talk to him. I say, “Hey what’s going on,” and he says, “Here someone wants to talk to you,” and it was Keith Richards, and Keith said, “Listen man, we’re gonna do this album, man, I don’t care if Mick gives me a hard time, I’m gonna assert myself, man!” Ha, ha, ha!
Actually, when I met Mick, he was very sweet.
So it was good being on the Stones’ label, cause we got all this press from Keith playing with us before the record came out. The first ten thousand copies pressed [of the record] had this this tongue logo on it, you know, the Rolling Stones’ logo.
But Earl left as president of the label and became our manager, and took us straight to Atlantic Record. Earl thought, “They were distributed the Stones records, and there’s no sense having this middle-man=thing.”
We had gotten all this press from being on the Stone’s label, but then when the record came out, we had the whole Atlantic juggernaut– which was not a great juggernaut for new wave bands in those days, That’s when they had all these bands like Bad Company and Phil Collins and all these solo albums by these dinosaur English bands. (Ref. jim carroll)