Keith Richards – Take It So Hard

Keith Richards and Waddy Wachtel play “Take It So Hard”.

Kevin Coffey, a Facebook friend and talented animation artist, asked me what it was like working with Keith Richards when I produced the Take It So Hard music video for Keith and his band X-pensive Winos. Here’s my response:

Kevin Coffey, Keith always showed up on time and blew the stage doors off with six string thunder. A cool thing that happened was that one morning hours before we were ready to shoot Keith came out of the little trailer that we’d parked inside the stage for him, walked into the half built set and plugged in his guitar.

The X-pensive Winos communicated with each other in all kinds of ways while we photographed them playing the song.

He started tuning up dum dum dum and while he did that the other members of X-pensive Winos wandered over and started tuning up too. Soon they had one of those crazy cacophonies going where individual band members pluck out sounds meant only for their own ears but which they play simultaneously during all the other band members’s tune up routines too. So, everyone else in earshot hears this crazy senseless amalgam of unrelated sounds.

All of our music video crew just kept on building and lighting the set, setting up the camera and crane and so forth.

Then out of the dum dum dum cacophony emerged something that made a little sense, then something that made a little more sense and before anyone could tell how or why it had happened all five band members had metamorphosed their dum dum dum tune up routines into a jam that made a whole lot of jazz-type sense.

A few minutes later I woke up, like from a dream, to find that I’d stopped working and was staring slack jawed at the band. Then I remembered

Keith wore his skull ring during the shoot.

that we had several thousand $ per hour working on that stage. I looked around at the 25 or so crew members and saw that they, like me, had stopped whatever work they were doing and stood spellbound by the secret thunder that had just rolled up on them.

I had a moment of panic about how much this private concert was costing our company and tried to figure out a way to get everybody back to work. Then I realized how unlikely it was that any of us would ever again have a chance to hear Keith Richards, Ivan Neville, Waddy Wachtel, Steve Jordan and Charley Drayton play a spontaneous jam. They played for about 30 minutes and then, like a hail storm in the desert, it just ended.

So far I’ve been right about not getting to hear those guys jam again.

George Merkert