When noted orangémon Donald Trump finished up his speech last night at the RNC, he rather cryptically walked out to the Rolling Stones’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” one of the least likely campaign songs in memory.
Was Trump telling his supporters that he didn’t think he would win? Was he telling them that maybe they don’t want him, but they need him? Was he telling the Republicans who don’t support his movement to fuck off? Was he saying he’s the only person who can get what he wants? It was profoundly confusing, and I doubt even Trump knows. But the one thing that was straightforward about: the Rolling Stones did NOT want Trump to use their song:
There is, it seems, a bit of history with this. It seems that back in the 1980s, the glory years when Trump was simply the era’s godhead for cutthroat capitalism and not the potential destroyer of earth, the magnate agreed to pay concert promoter Michael Cohl an upfront site fee so he could stage The Rolling Stones’s Steel Wheels tour on worldwide pay-per-view. In 2015, Cohl gave a speech that insinuated the Rolling Stones were so unhappy with Trump’s involvement—and his alleged subsequent highjacking of their press conference for himself, which sounds about right—that guitarist Keith Richards whipped out a knife on the old guy (which also sounds about right). Cohl, via Pollstar:
And I opened my big mouth in the meeting with The Rolling Stones where they go, “This is all great, but we’re not going to be affiliated with Donald Trump. At all. Screw you.” And I go, “I will control Donald Trump! Don’t you worry!”
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!
I give him the [come here gesture]. “Come on, Donald, what are you doing? A) You promised us you wouldn’t even be here and, B) you promised you would never do this.” He says, “But they begged me to go up, Michael! They begged me to go up!” I say, “Stop it. Stop it. This could be crazy. Do what you said you would. Don’t make a liar of yourself.”
Cohl goes on to say that when he left the room, Trump went back up to the press plaza, and the Stones were furious, at which point Richards started wilding:
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.” I said, “No. I’ll go do it. Don’t you worry.”
Cohl also describes this evening as point where he fired Trump, then three Trump “shtarkers” start getting ready to beat his ass with brass knuckles, before the concert crew shows up with “tire irons and hockey sticks and screwdrivers,” so let’s just say there... could be... an element of exaggeration to this yarn. But since Trump’s lack of permission or endorsement from the Stones, it’s certainly a fun part of Richards’s rocker myth-making to imagine him going buck on his alleged enemy.
It’s definitely a much lesser concern than literally any of the others, but if Trump does win (shudder), which musicians would ever willingly play the White House? Kid Rock? Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins’s daughter? There are so many other little horrible things we haven’t even yet thought about.