Shortly after our honeymoon in London and Paris in, oh, I'm not supposed to reveal the year folks, sorry Caroline (but you can work it out, read on)—I resumed my somewhat humdrum but on occasion quite stimulating day job as a copywriter for CBS Records's Creative Services Dept. (child's play, mainly—but it paid the bills back in the day, and allowed me to devote a heck of a lot of time and focus behind the closed doors of my office managing / playing with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band).
Only to find on returning from said honeymoon that the Company had just signed my favorite group as a lad, the fabulous ROLLING STONES, to Columbia Records (saw 'em in '65 with Brian Jones in my hometown of Syracuse, and was never quite the same subsequently). And that I was to come up with an ad campaign for their new album "Dirty Work", with its first single a cover of Bob and Earl's 1963 r&b hit "Harlem Shuffle". I'd just seen a bunch of kids in London having a kind of color war squirting each other silly with fluorescent "silly string" gunk shooting out of spray cans in front of the 100 Club in Oxford Street—and since the Stones were gonna be in town shooting a live action lip-synch to "Harlem Shuffle" on a mid-town soundstage, to be integrated later into a Ralph Bakshi-animated cartoon clip, why not grab the Stones after their shoot and get them to repeat this little bit 'o business I'd spied on Oxford Street—with the climactic shot of the sequence being the Stones squirting You the Viewer's tv screen with silly string, courtesy of some plexiglass judiciously placed over the camera lens.
The idea was floated by the Stones camp, they agreed—and so I went down to the studio where they were filming with some of the Columbia marketing people and film director Ken Schreiber (the actual director of the "Ice Cream for Crow" clip we'd filmed in the Mojave Desert a few years earlier), all duded-up in a black suit with pink pin-stripes I'd brought back from London—come to think of it, a suit not that far afield of the suit Brian Jones is wearing on the picture sleeve cover of the "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby" 45 on London Records (the flip of the "Stones in drag" side) (what WAS I thinking?). We arrive and the Stones come out of their dressing room and Keith Richards ignores the marketing guys and comes directly up to me and grabs my hand with both his hands, and looking me right in the eye shakes my hand vigorously...I guess somebody had told them that "Captain Beefheart's guitarist" had devised this spot, which pleased the band, and, hell, Keith WAS my favorite guitarist growing up—so I am kinda over the moon about this. Mick just kind of stared at me curiously. Jerry Hall then comes over and starts, um, chatting me up, and being a polite sort of fellow (most of the time) I was smiling back at her and trying to hold up my end of the conversation as one does, whatever it was that we were talking about, I dunno...but after a minute or so of banter I glance over and Keith is glaring at me with a "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING THAT'S MICK'S GIRL!!" kind of look, so I discontinued the conversation with Ms. Hall forthwith (hey, I didn't initiate it!) and tried to disappear into the floorboards, and then Ken and I and the cameraman and some marketing folks went up to a second floor room to set up the shoot.
Mick, Keith and Ronnie trooped up soon thereafter, all was forgiven I guess, and I ran down the scenario to them, to which Mick commented: "Is this anything for a grown man to be doing??" (Indeed). Camera started rolling, and they then really got into it, with Mick leading off with: "Okay guys, let's go and do some DIRTY WORK!!". They then started cavorting playfully, spraying themselves with this viscous multi-hued junk (good name for a band) jetting out of their various canisters and getting all over their colorful suits. They were having a great time!! They then sprayed the stuff directly into the camera lens with its plexiglass visor on, and finally drew themselves up effortlessly, to the manner born so to speak, for a final shot displaying their iconic profiles—and then it was over, Mick and Keith thanked us and said their goodbyes, but Ronnie lingered in the room futzing around with the silly string canisters like a child entranced—until Keith returned and said curtly: "Come on Ronnie, let's get out of here!!" Ronnie reluctantly stopped playing and tagged along after Keith out the door—and we all remaining in the room felt good, we had our sequence.
"Got the swag, got the money—job well done!"
—Sean Bean in "Ronin" (right before he pukes).
Hey, it was a living...
"Dirty Work" tv spot: