The Time Keith Richards And The Rolling Stones Threatened to Knife-Fight Donald Trump And Had Him ‘Fired’
This story that was made public last August has been unearthed after the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in his quest to become the next President of the United States. The tale took place in Atlantic City when the Rolling Stones were about to do a 1989 pay-per-view concert during the band’s Steel Wheels tour, but it took a turn for the worse and Keith Richards wanted to stab the current-day leading GOP presidential nominee.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards put aside their differences and reunited to do the Steel Wheels tour, a concert series that grossed nearly $100 million. The U.S. portion of the Steel Wheels tour ended at the Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ, with three sold-out shows. On the final concert there was a $24.95 pay-per-view event at the 16,000-capacity Convention Center. The event was broadcast in association with Donald Trump, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and MTV.
Michael Cohl is the former chairman of Live Nation Concert and Broadway producer. Over his illustrious career he has worked on massive tours including Michael Jackson, U2 and Barbra Streisand. He created an idea for a boxing-style pay-per-view event, which was perfect for the Atlantic City backdrop. During a keynote speech for Pollstar last August, Cohl recalled the drama that caused Keith Richards to threaten Donald Trump with a knife.
“This is all great, but we’re not going to be affiliated with Donald Trump. At all. Screw you,” the Rolling Stones told Cohl when he proposed the idea of involving Trump. Cohl responds with, “I will control Donald Trump! Don’t you worry!” The legendary rock band believes him and they sign a contract, and Trump agrees that “he will not be in any of the promotion except in Atlantic City, and he will not show up at the gig.”
Then the day of the concert, it turns into an absolute circus:
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.”
I go back to the dressing room. Five minutes later, he’s back up. They call me back over there. Holy shit. I call him out (again). Same thing happens. I say, “Donald. I don’t know if I can control this. Stop it.” I go back to the dressing room. And I leave my walkie-talkie on in the dressing room. Moronic, on my part.
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.”
I run over. He’s up there again! I go [gives the come here gesture]. We go into the hallway. I said, “Donald. You lied. You broke your promise. One of two things is going to happen. You’re going to leave the building and, at 6:40, The Rolling Stones are going to speak on CBS News, or you’re not going to leave the building and I’m going to go on and do an interview to explain to the world why the pay-per-view was canceled. I know it’s your building and…” – and in my head I’m going, this is so crazy, right? I’m trying to throw Donald Trump out of his own building.
But, anyway, the bottom line is I look at Donald and said, “You and Marla (Maples) have to go. You’re fired.” He looks at me and goes berserk.
“You don’t know anything! Your guys suck! I promote Mike Tyson! I promote heavyweight fights!” And I notice the three shtarkers he’s with, in trench coats, two of them are putting on gloves and the other one is putting on brass knuckles. I go on the walkie-talkie and I call for Jim Callahan, who was head of our security, and I go, “Jim, I think I’m in a bit of trouble.” And he says, “Just turn around.”
I turn around. He’s got 40 of the crew with tire irons and hockey sticks and screwdrivers.
“And now, are you gonna go, Donald?”
And off he went.
And that was the night I fired Donald Trump.