How to rock in a hard place.
Rolling Stones fan and rock fans alike; Vinnie needs your help !!
Who the hell is Vinnie !?!
Vinnie was the very personal assistant to Ronnie and at times Keith for a long time, right inside the inner sanctum of Rock & Roll, he made them their cups of tea, ensured the back-up tape was always running in the studio, did their "shopping" and one hell of a lot more.
Unlike the Stones he remembers those times and wants to share them with you.
He needs you to buy a copy of the book, now, TODAY before it is even printed.
We know this is a big ask but only with your help will this book get written.
Find out below how you can help make this happen
Life is not about famous people. Life is about people that have your back when it matters, life is about passion and spirit. The problem is, that life is pretty fucked up.
This book is not about the Rolling Stones, they are in it and Ronnie will be featured, but it is not about them. This book is about Vinnie and nobody else. This book is raw, pure and unforgiving in its passion. The language used at times will offend some people. Probably best if those people don't buy this book. But if you want to be taken back to a certain era, truly experience it through Vinnie’s words then this is your book. If music pounds through your veins then you will deeply enjoy this. There will be famous people, there will be plenty of music, cocaine, cars, sex and foul language needless to say. My role in this is simply to try and capture this for you, the reader. Vinnie is old school, analogue. I met him because he had clicked on a link and his laptop became encrypted with crypto-ransomware, it was the first time he had connected to the internet, ever.
Some of the raw materials are written down in biro, on envelops and bits of paper. The core of the creative process consists of going over to Vinnie, sticking a big fat spliff in his hand, press record and after a few hours, I and hopefully you the reader get taken to that very moment in time including the here and now.
Below you will find an impression of what the book is going to be like.
But I think if Mick died, poof, that would be it. Over
But as Christine said to me last night , you done a really good job of jumping Jack Flash the other night. And she is a Stones fan, she had been to Holland to see the Stones, she has got a fucking tongue tattoo. Well she was my fiancée, I sent her a tape once and it said: “An albums worth” You know, on a tape. She perceived it as: Anal bums worth. She had a right go at me about it, worth. Would be great for an album cover, in really big letters Anal, then slightly smaller; bums, then worth.
Vinnie then disappears into the kitchen to rescue dinner returning discussing the virtues of (his) Mercedes. This is where the recording continues.
They just seem to get out of the way. hahaha. I think it is just embodied in our brains. Mercedes. Hitler. Seriously man. They see that 3 pointed star that's on every fucking documentary when he is going down the street, with his hand up, like that. They see that and I think a lot of the times that is why people buy Mercedes. Seriously man. Does any of your family in Holland have a Mercedes?
- Rem: Nope.
I remember going to the Chrysler stadium in Detroit in the eighties and I remember going to same stadium in 1996 or something. Its now BMW. I think the Mercedes is so imposing, I think it has a historic sense plus the fact that they invented the fucking car. Because its funny when I go anywhere, people go; Oh Fuck. I am getting out of the way of that!
My great granddad was a German Jew
- Rem: That must have sucked.
He left before anything fucking happened, he went like; naaah there is something going on here, I am off. I am going to go and live in Bethnal Green. That is where he ended up living. He was a tailor at Savile Row.
-Rem: On the day we launch this book we announce you are running for mayor.
I go up to people and say: do you know who the mayor is? They go: no. Because I have given the fucking council so many ideas that have been refused over the years. That I am just like: fuck it. I will become mayor and tell you what to fucking do. Because in the eighties, the legislation came out with more power for the mayor. That is why, you know, the mayor of London is powerful. Every mayor in this country is a powerful person. So if you get to be mayor and all that shit, it doesn't matter where you are from, it doesn’t matter where you live, you don't get a house or anything like that. You don't get “the” mayor’s house. You stay in your same house, If you have a nice car that is an advantage. Fucking hell. I have got the same car as fucking Hitler had! And go around:
Starts shouting in a German accent
Okehampton is a part of Exzeter already!
And instead of throwing out the Jews. We throw out the single mums. Send them all to London. See how they survive buying their cappuccinos on that. But you know what is so unfair Remmi, if I was a woman, I would be getting maintenance money from Bills dad and from Bills mum. But because I am a man, I am not entitled to it. Because CSA said, if you ask Karen for maintenance, it will be 5 pounds a week. Whats the fucking point then?!?!? But if it is the other way around, whether I have money or not mate...But you know what; when they lived with their mom, I didn’t have to pay the £35,- a week for Bill. But I paid his £35,- a week. Not his real dad, you know. I did. I thought I cant just pay for Ben, you know and leave my other son with nothing ? Even though his real father should pay for it. So one person , she got £70,- a week out of it and I never had a penny. Put that in the fucking book. It may make a few fathers go: Actually !!
- Rem: It is in the book.
Mein Kampf hahaha [click] There you go, the truth, and we will call it nothing but the, your honour.
oh god, the police. I have got a lot of respect for the police. Did you notice there were two police men at the gig?
- Rem: DCI Evans , hahaha, sorry, nodding to the recorder
Yeah, DCI Evans, because I did, didn’t I ? I said something about him down the microphone, where is my coffee, hmm it is still in the kitchen,. I think I may have said, oh we have got our security for tonight. Something like that. DCI Evans and eeuh , I cant think of the name of the other police man. He has often pulled me up. But I just seem to get, sort of, let off. MR Karslake, you were seen the other day; Oh yeah, I was just in a hurry. Well, just think about it. I will. I have respect for the police, especially if they turn up to one of my gigs! But he said he would and he did.
I then move in my chair, which results in a really strange and very loud squeaking sound to which Vinnie responds with:
That's my new song. That's a good sound, it is a Jagger/Richards composition. But the police are alright. They have been alright to me. All my, Vinnie pauses, sort of life. Which you know started of really young. My involvement with the police. With nicking car badges of the backs of cars. And then one of them (policemen)coming up to me and saying : What have you got in your satchel? Ford Cortina, Rover, Mercedes badges and my dad came down to the police station, hit me , direct in the face , I was twelve, thirteen , completely knocked me out because it was a concrete floor. Woke up with a police sergeant going: I think you’ve had your punishment. Off you go. You know in those days I could have got reform school. You know, borstal. Fucking hell if your dad is like that, you have had your punishment , mate. You know in front of the police. In those days my dad had a lot of influence over the police. Often used to seem him in his workshop having cups of tea and stuff like that.
-Rem: well in those days you “talked” and your dad was a known man.
Plus the fact that he used to work, I remember two guys coming into the reception area, in the front bit where the Venetian blinds are and going; oh, this is a nice place Mr Karslake and my dad was like: yeah, alright. Get the fuck out of my fucking workshop now. Protection guys. They never came back. Nothing ever happened But he used to work for the Walker brothers who were two sixties boxers. Who became, got involved in construction. Probably for reasons of dubious means. Well we know where he is… Oh look at this new motorway.. So he used to make the models for them, for people like that I think he had a. He knew the conservative MP Bernard Brain, he used come around for dinner. And he was not a conservative at all my dad. They must been mates. Always entertaining, my family Do you remember Ipi Tombi? Ipi Tombi was a big African dance group, singing ai jai. In the seventies they had become really popular, so one evening my mum and dad go to the Cliffs Pavilion to go and see this , stage play, musical whatever Ipi Tombi is, and invites them all around to the Vicarage. So they were going - starts singing more Africa song - and all this shit, waking all the kids up and they are still in what they were dressed in on stage. Every year he used to have a piper playing on the front lawn on New Years eve. A Scottish piper. I hate the sound of Scottish bag pipes to this day mate.
These are a few pages of a letter which accompanied a mix-cd/tape Vinnie made for a family member. It provides a beautiful insight and the depth of detail, and also the story behind how the title: Bridges to Babylon, came into being. (As well as show the pain in the ass it is for me in practical terms to put this book together)
I met Alice Cooper with Bill and Ben. But my dad met Alice Cooper when he was making an album called: From the inside, when he had just come out of rehab. Ronnie was gonna go and see Alice down at his house in Malibu and he said to my dad, do you want to come and see Alice Cooper? And Alice cooper was like everything to me, cause his real name was Vincent and schools out, what a fucking song. No more Mr nice guy. But before my dad met Alice or Vincent, because he likes to be called Vincent when he is not Alice. Parents don't ever call your children Vincent ! My parents thought I was crazy, they thought I need to see a psychiatrist. Because starts singing in Alice voice Sick things, in cars, rotatin.
And billion dollar babies, you know he was just hanging himself. In my wardrobe there was a poster of Alice, in a noose. And I had written underneath it:Have you ever had gas before? Because that's one of Alice’s These sick dental things, and bottles of champagne going off in his songs and stuff like that. Bob Ezrin was Alice’s producer. And Bob Ezrin produced Peter Gabriel. The wall, Pink Floyd. There is a lot of Bob Ezrin around, I think some Toto as well. When you are 11, 12, 13, you don't really think about who is producing it, how it was made by, you just get into the vibe but then when you look back , you think, wow, that sound of that is just unbelievable . So my mum and dad thought I was like mental, listening to Genesis as well and Peter Gabriel, I was dressing up as well and going six, six, six is no longer alone. He is coming out the marrow in your backbone. You know I mean?
Pulls out an x-ray from behind the couch
-Rem: So whats this off?
Its my spine.
-Rem: What caused those pins?
-Rem: still got them in ?
I had to lay down for a year, in a cast and then physio for 6 months because when they took the cast off, I couldn't walk, I couldn't do a thing. This leg, after my operation wouldn't work for two weeks. The doctor was going like, oh shit. Because there is a risk, fuck about with a spine, it can do what it likes, go on, that nerve you just touched, unbeknown to you, that's the one and lonely nerve that would probably help him walk again and you just touched it. So a year on my back, mate. My dad had built me thing that he had screwed to the ceiling , two metal bars came down, with knobs on it , like a spotlight holder. These things make you stronger man.
I would like to say to my brothers and sisters: you know everyone has their cross to bear. Mine was fucking made out of titanium. Beat that, ya bastards.
My dad won so many races at the Isle of Man, Snettorton, Lydden hill, Alton Park, Donington, Brands Hatch, Knockhill. The Lambretta concessionaires was also Lambretta Racing. So it was all very official and everything like that. My dad used to get paid directly from Lambretta in Italy. So we would go to this beautiful Italian restaurant every time he won. He became almost an adopted Italian. Lambretta became Suzuki. And they had this young guy there called Barry and he was just an apprentice mechanic and I remember being on the back of a Suzuki. Because my Dutch uncle Rex, who looked after my dad as his engineer when it was Lambretta. He went over to Suzuki and said to my dad, are you going to come across to Suzuki. My dad went: no I got to concentrate on my model making company. And boompf it (his racing career) was over.
Or go to the worst places like: Hell's Kitchen or Queens, if we were in New York and Ronnie didn't have any, I used to visit these black geezers, in Hells Kitchen. But I used to be disguised in plain sight. The first time I had done it, I can't remember who sent me up there but they said go up there, Jacaiba. Jacaiba used to be great because you used to go down town for Jacaiba and he’d be in a warehouse and around the perimeter of the warehouse used to be dustbins. Dustbins full of marijuana, hash. He used to open a dustbin lid and go: this is a good grass, good strength, blah blah, like Dicky would want to be like; you will find this pretty good man (Done in a New York accent) So he sent me up to Hell's Kitchen and I come into this apartment and its like bloody, you know, the Godfather. Or like Taxi driver, when somebody is murdered in the fucking hallway of a loaded tenement building.
So it's this big fat fucking geezer. And he is holding his gun. Not hiding it. He is holding it. And I am like, ohh for fuck sake. Another geezer next to him with his face just burnt and he is still free basing, his hair is fucking charred away, scars all over from the times he has set fire to himself. Everyone has fucking rings on and shit like that and then one guy one goes; in a gritty NY accent
What do you do for a living man? Well I work for the Rolling Stones, I am Ronnie Wood's assistant.
Oh man !! Now in an excited American accent
From then on I could go into there and be protected because they knew who I was getting it from. Used to be quite fun.
Yeah, Jacaiba, me and Ronnie used to call him; Tossing the. Tossing the Jacaiba ?
- Rem (puzzled)
Jacaiba is the shotball
So we used to call him: Tossing the.
Yeah I got mugged in New York, really severely.
-Rem: what were you doing ?
I was down town, doing something…..
- Rem: Come on what were you doing?
I was getting drugs! I didn't need any prostitutes even though they were down there, I didn't need prostitutes in New York. One morning in New York , I had a good friend, Chico Gonzalez, he used to get kaish as he used to call it. Cocaine, kaish
Now spoken in a gritty Mexican accent.
Vinnn I am gonna get some kaissshh, then we are gonna go clubbing, OK?
Yeah, Ok, hit Studio 54, the Danceteria, all those clubs. One morning we come out of a club and this dirty looking, lovely, tarty bird, just went; I’d like to try you.
I went: Bye Chico. And he is like; just don't go there man. And I am like: I don't care. She was like ripped stockings and suspenders, tits almost out and I was like I don't care, I can do what I like to that.
A black girl saved my life once in New York
- Rem: Hang on, hang on, you haven't told me about the black guys robbing you.
Ronnie was a generous guy you know. I remember going to Tin Pan Alley in New York with him and we go in this guitar shop and of course all the staff are like, oooooh Ron Wood and there is this guy with a Fender just like observing it and I think God he plays really well. Ronnie must have noticed him as well. Ronnie goes: I am interested in a few. I think he bought a Strat and a Tele. Ron goes: how much would you discount? Oh for you Mr Wood; 75% I am going like: you lucky cunt, you know what I mean, 75% off ?!? And Ronnie turns around and goes: how much for him? The staff guy goes: what do you mean, how much for him? Ronnie goes: how much does he get? Staff guy; well he doesn't get anything? Ronnie: He has gotta pay full whack for that guitar? Staff guy: Oh yeah Mr. Wood. So Ronnie says: I tell you what, I will have those two guitars at 75% off but I want him to have 75% off or else I don't buy those guitars. This guys face,
Vinnie pulls a beaming expression
This is my fucking lucky day. Because he obviously couldn’t afford it. As we are walking out the door of the guitar shop, this guy goes; Listen I can’t afford it at even 75% off man. Ronnie goes to the staff guy; write his name and address down, I will have that guitar that the guy is playing now and you give me 75% off the whole lot. So the guy got a guitar for free.
What a nice thing to do.
The night started off as expected, Vinnie waiting for his band whilst smoking a spliff and the band smoking a spliff whilst waiting for Vinnie.
Eventually we got going.
The drive to the gig was recorded. The roar of the Mercedes blah blah is audible on the tape. I have grown accustomed over the years to being in cars with people who, how shall I put it? REALLY enjoy driving their car. Vinnie is one of those people. What I and I don't think Vinnie knew either was what or where the gig really was but all we knew was that it was a Halloween party. It took Vinnie nearly 2 weeks to convince the band that they may want to dress up up for this gig. Vinnie had chosen to go as the Joker from Batman, the scary one. I was able to pick up some green hairspray earlier in the day. During the drive there we stopped twice, mainly so I could roll a spliff as whilst Vinnie was driving this process was an impossibility. The road was very bendy. Also it never seemed to end as it rolled into the dark English country side for what seemed like an eternity. However eventually we pulled up somewhere where one side of the road there was a beautiful Art Deco industrial building, completely derelict. On the other side was a much older warehouse type building with the words “Leper Museum” in neon on the roof.