Tag Archives: Keith Richards

Weston Gets Some Satisfaction

“06880” seldom covers weddings. Even celebrity ones.

And it’s rare that we venture beyond our town borders. Even for a celebrity wedding.

But it’s not every day that Keith Richards’ daughter gets married next door.

Alexandra Richards is a celebrity in her own right. She’s following in the footsteps of her mother: Supermodel Patti Hansen is married to the Rolling Stones’ guitarist.

Theodora, Keith and Alexandra Richards. This photo is NOT from the wedding reception.

But she’s still a local girl. According to the New York Post:

Although both of their parents were international superstars, the Richards girls were raised in quiet Connecticut, where Keith and Patti still live, and where Alexandra and her director-cinematographer fiancé Jacques Naude, who hails from South Africa, go on the weekends to get away from fast-paced NYC.

“I loved growing up there,” she says. “A lot of people think I was raised in LA, but I’m like, ‘Noooo. I’m a Northeastern kinda chick.’ We had this little house in the woods, and we were so disconnected from the hustle and bustle. Although I didn’t know what that meant until we were obviously a lot older. Now I’m running home every weekend to my parents, like, ‘We’ll cook for you!’ It’s cozy. I’m a family girl.”

Alexandra loves Weston so much, it’s where she decided to get married. The reception was held last night at Lachat Town Farm.

An alert “06880” reader joined neighbors who watched from a distance. The Richards’ house is not far to the farm. Golf carts shuttled guests from the house. Other people arrived by small buses, earlier in the day.

The neighbors — who got their information from security guards — said the main course was lamb. Cheers could be heard, apparently during speeches and toasts.

The wedding tent at Lachat Farm.

Two people said Richards paid the town $15,000 to rent the farm, and another $20,000 for improvements.

Guards also said they did not think Mick Jagger was there.

A few of the people watching had garden plots at Lachat. They had been miffed at being discouraged from visiting their plots for a few days, as the site was readied for the reception.

Their spirits rose when they found out why. One woman said, “Alexandra could have had her wedding anywhere in the world, but she chose our little farm. What a feather in the town’s cap.”

Our correspondent did not have any information on the band that provided dance music.

Or whether the father of the bride joined in.

Charlie Karp Tribute: A Levitt Concert For The Ages

The Levitt Pavilion has been the site of countless great concerts.

But in its over-40-year history, it’s never hosted — on one night — artists who have played with the Beatles, Doors, Michael Jackson, Sting, Elton John, Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Linda Ronstadt, The Band, Pete Seeger, Smokey Robinson, Rascals, Aerosmith, Buddy Miles, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, James Brown, Jon Bon Jovi, Cheech & Chong, Michael Bolton, Barry Manilow, Herbie Hancock, Liza Minelli, Cher, Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan, Mamas and the Papas, Paul Simon, Foreigner, Grand Funk Railroad, Eartha Kitt, Dave Brubeck, Whitney Houston, Roberta Flack, Lenny Kravitz, Chuck Mangione, Harry Chapin, Arlo Guthrie, Bee Gees, Edgar Winter, Grace Slick, Jefferson Starship, John Sebastian, Joe Cocker, Ted Nugent, Mötley Crue, Boz Scaggs, Amy Grant, Sinéad O’Connor, Vince Gill, Carole King, Orleans, Johnny Winter, Emmylou Harris, Chieftains, Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Larry Coryell, Rosanne Cash, Buckwheat Zydeco, Shawn Colvin, Julio Iglesias, Michael McDonald, Luther Vandross, Usher, Jean-Luc Ponty, Jose Féliciano, Herb Alpert, Bad Company, Paul Winter, Taj Mahal, Badfinger, Rick Derringer, Blue Oyster Cult, James Cotton, Bruce Hornsby, Spyro Gyra, Muddy Waters, Eric Weissberg, Wynton Marsalis, New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, Vicki Sue Robinson, Aztec Two-Step and James Montgomery.

Just to name a few.

The key is: Nearly all of the musicians who played with those greats also played with Charlie Karp.

And on Saturday, July 6 (7 p.m., Levitt Pavilion) they’ll honor Charlie’s memory, rocking a sure-to-be memorable concert for the ages.

Charlie Karp, in his Buddy Miles days.

Charlie left Staples High School at 16 to play guitar with Buddy Miles. He hung and played with Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards, and wrote songs for Joan Jett and Joe Perry, before returning home to earn a fanatic following with bands like Dirty Angels, White Chocolate, Slo Leak and the Name Droppers.

He simultaneously earned Emmys as a producer of music for sports networks, documentaries and feature films, and became a guitar teaching mentor to generations of aspiring young stars.

Charlie died in March, at 65. He had been diagnosed a few days earlier with liver cancer.

Nearly everyone who ever played with Charlie — and a few other big names who were influenced by him — will appear together on the Levitt stage. Over 70 strong, they’ll reimagine the rock and R&B Charlie recorded, played and loved so much.

The mammoth, not-to-be-missed show includes Barry Tashian. Seven years older than Charlie, he fronted the Remains. They opened for the Beatles on their final 1966 tour, and were — in the words of legendary critic Jon Landau — “how you told a stranger about rock ‘n’ roll.”

The Remains were a major influence on Charlie. He and good friend Brian Keane — now a Grammy-winning composer and producer — played their songs in a Coleytown Junior High band. Later, Charlie and Barry became friends.

The Remains’ Barry Tashian (left) and Vern Miller, while touring with the Beatles.

Barry has not played in Westport for several decades. He’s flying up from Nashville for this show.

The cast also includes Roger Ball of the Average White Band, Joe Bonadio of Sting, Michael Mugrage of Orleans, Motown recording artist Ada Dyer, Tim DeHuff and Roger Kaufman.

Of course, members of Charlie’s beloved bands from the ’60s through 2019 — guys like David Hull and Rick Castillo — will play too. The Fun Band, Slo Leak, White Chocolate, Dirty Angels and Name Droppers — it’s a trip down memory lane. And a reminder that great music never dies.

Charlie Karp (Photo/John Halpern)

Mandrake Root — a seminal Westport band — will reunite after 50 years. Tony Prior is coming from North Carolina to join in the jam.

The Reunion Band will be there too. Comprised entirely of Charlie’s classmates from Staples’ class of 1971 — all of them noted professional musicians — they were there with Charlie 2 years ago, for one of the Levitt’s best nights ever.

Charlie’s high school sweetheart, Debbie Sims, will introduce “I Still Love You Anyway.” Charlie wrote that song for her, on Buddy Miles’ iconic “Them Changes” album. It — and “Runaway Child,” which Charlie wrote with Buddy — will be performed by the popular local band, the 5 O’Clocks.

Joey Melotti will be there. The musical director for Michael Jackson and Michael Bolton had a huge Westport following with his 1980s band Sunsight.

Chris Coogan’s Good News Gospel Choir will round out the amazing evening.

Guitarist/producer/songwriter Danny Kortchmar can’t be there — he’s on tour with James Taylor and Carole King’s rhythm section. He sent a note to be read from the stage.

So did Keith Richards. He too is sorry he can’t attend. His band, the Rolling Stones, is out on tour.

Charlie Karp and Keith Richards. (Photo/Ray Flanigan)

Every musician is donating their time. Some turned down lucrative gigs to come.

Proceeds will benefit two organizations. The Charlie Karp Memorial Fund promotes promising area musicians, by offering studio time at the Carriage House in Stamford and Horizon in West Haven. The other beneficiary is the Levitt Pavilion.

That’s fitting. Charlie Karp played to adoring Levitt audiences many times.

On July 6, he’ll pack the place one more time.

(The Charlie Karp Tribute Concert is a ticketed event. Click here to purchase, and for more information.)

Doobies, Meatloaf, Buckwheat And Willie Share A Westport Stage

On Sunday, Jose Feliciano lights a (figurative) fire under the new Levitt Pavilion stage.

The singer/guitarist/songwriter is a very appropriate act for the already-sold-out grand opening of the redesigned bandshell (and — be still, my heart and bladder) actual bathrooms. He’s popular, talented and a fantastic performer.

Jose Feliciano (Photo/David Bravo)

Jose Feliciano (Photo/David Bravo)

But the Weston resident — who is donating his fee back to the pavilion’s building fund — is hardly the 1st Very Big Name to appear at the Levitt. In fact, a look back at nearly 40 years of headliners reads like a Billboard Who’s Who.

Foreigner. Frankie Valli. The Doobie Brothers. Southside Johnny. Blues Traveler. Tom Jones. Don McLean. Kenny Loggins. Smokey Robinson. Roberta Flack. Tito Puente. Judy Collins. Al Hirt. Cab Calloway. Andy Williams. Ray Charles. Count Basie. Buddy Rich. All have performed benefit concerts (the only time the Levitt sells tickets, though some folks sit on Jesup Green and enjoy the concerts gratis).

Some artists did not have to travel far. In fact, they could have walked to the Levitt. Michael Bolton, Ashford & Simpson, Meatloaf, Corky Laing and Neil Sedaka are Westporters who headlined Levitt shows. Dave Brubeck lived in Wilton.

Keith Richards

Keith Richards

Weston’s Keith Richards made a memorable appearance at a Willie Nelson concert. (Willie drove here in his famed tour bus.) Keith ambled onstage with his guitar, said “I’ve always wanted to play with Willie,” and performed 2 memorable duets. You can’t make this stuff up.

Some of the shows were not as memorable — hey, it happens. The Drifters and Temptations may have included an actual Drifter and Tempt, but they were clearly past their sell-by date.

So were the Beach Boys, who had the misfortune of being moved to the stifling Staples fieldhouse because of bad weather.

Chuck Berry and Little Richard were the actual guys, but they too were a bit long in the tooth.

Yet those few dogs are more than overshadowed by the dozens of great shows. Not many suburban towns boast open-air, summer shows by Huey Lewis & the News, America, Dave Mason, the Four Tops, Dickey Betts, the Chieftains, Chuck Mangione, John Sebastian, Robert Goulet and Tony Bennett.

Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco

My favorite memory, though, may be Buckwheat Zydeco. It’s a long way from Louisiana to Westport, and this might have been the whitest audience he ever saw. But he and his band — with their accordion, guitar, keyboard and (my favorite) washboard — had hedge fund managers, housewives (and househusbands) dancing in the grassy aisles.

Those aisles are now re-sodded. There’s a new stage, concession stands, and (did I mention this earlier?) actual bathrooms.

On Sunday, there will also be Jose Feliciano. And the start of another 4 decades of remarkable entertainment, down by the river.

(No free tickets remain for Sunday’s Jose Feliciano concert. To join the wait list, email levitt@westportct.gov. The lawn opens to ticket-holders at 5 pm. Click the Levitt Pavilion website to see more upcoming attractions. )

 

 

 

Fairfield Museum Unites Leonard Bernstein And Keith Richards

In 2014, the town of Fairfield celebrates its founding 375 years ago.

And nothing says “1639” like rock ‘n’ roll, soul, jazz and show tunes.

The Fairfield Museum and History Center kicks off the 375th anniversary with a “Rockin’ Top Ten” exhibit. Among the area musicians honored: former Westporters Ashford & Simpson, and the Remains, a half-Westport band that still inspires awe nearly 50 years after touring with the Beatles.

The exhibit features rare photographs, videos and artifacts from other artists who lived next to Westport, and spent (or are spending) plenty of time here: Weston’s Keith Richards and Jose Feliciano; Wilton’s Dave Brubeck; Fairfield’s Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club), Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards Chic), and Donna Summer.

It’s safe to say that, before this exhibit, all of those names had never before appeared in the same sentence.

The Remains included Westporters Barry Tashian (3rd from right) and Bill Briggs (far right). Rock critic Jon Landau said the band was "how you told a stranger about rock and roll."

The Remains included Westporters Barry Tashian (3rd from left) and Bill Briggs (far left). Rock critic Jon Landau said the band was “how you told a stranger about rock and roll.”

Over the next 3 months the museum show — partially sponsored by Westporters Deej and Deborah Webb — will include musical performances, lectures, artist evenings, films and more.

It kicks off tomorrow (Thursday, January 16, 6 p.m.) with a show featuring Chris Frantz. Other events this year include appearances by Caravan of Thieves, Mystic Bowie and the Zambonis; a performance and lecture tracing the influential friendship between Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland; the story of Bridgeport’s once-famous Ritz Ballroom dance palace, and an evening with Jose Feliciano.

About the only thing missing is Hall and Oates.

(For more information click here, or call 203-259-1598.)

Time Is On His Side

Today is Keith Richards’ 70th birthday.

To celebrate, here’s one of my favorite Onion stories of all time. Published on July 6, 2012, and datelined “Weston, CT,” the headline says it all:

Keith Richards’ Housekeeper Has Braced Herself For Finding Dead Body Every Morning Since 1976

Here’s the story. But hold your fire!

  1. I love Keith Richards. I particularly love seeing him around town in his white Rolls, and more than once at — yes, it’s true — the drugstore.
  2. The Onion is satire.

WESTON, CT — Since her first day on the job in October 1976, Keith Richards’ housekeeper Rosemary Velasquez, 64, has mentally and emotionally prepared herself every single day to find the hard-living Rolling Stones guitarist lying dead somewhere in his home.

Keith Richards

Keith Richards

“Each morning before I leave for work, I look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and think to myself, ‘Rosemary, you could very well find Keith Richards’ dead body today,” Velasquez told reporters Thursday, adding that from the moment she was first hired by a “nearly comatose” Richards, she began steeling herself for the inevitable discovery of the guitarist’s wiry corpse in his bedroom or kitchen. “It’s never been a question of if I would find him dead, but where and how soon.”

Velasquez said her workday begins as she pulls into Richards’ driveway and braces herself for the potential sight of his stark-naked cadaver sprawled out on his front lawn. From there, after gathering her supplies, she takes a quick peek into the backyard, where she fears she will find Richards floating lifelessly face down in his swimming pool.

The housekeeper said that as she goes about her work, she takes a moment to collect herself before opening every door and pulling back each shower curtain. If a door is locked, she noted, she leaves it be and prays it’s not locked the next day.

According to Velasquez, anytime she smells an odor other than alcohol or stale cigarette smoke, she immediately imagines a scenario in which the odor gets stronger and stronger, leading her to a closet with a week-old dead body inside.

Keith Richards, back in the '60s.

Keith Richards, back in the ’60s.

“In the late ’70s, especially, there were a few close calls where I would find little droplets of Mr. Richards’ blood leading to his bedroom, and I would tell myself, ‘Today is the day,'” Velasquez said. “He’d usually be lying there with a needle sticking out of his arm, but somehow he would always still be breathing. So I would call an ambulance.”

“I’ve had to call 911 at least 30 times since I started working here,” she added. “I have to admit, over the years there’s been a lot more gunplay around this place than I’d care for.”

Besides resigning herself to one day discovering Richards’ corpse, the housekeeper of 36 years said she has also remained alert to the possibility of stumbling across the dead bodies of his bandmates and friends. She confirmed there have been several mornings on which she’s found a heap of naked bodies in the living room, all belonging to people who were unconscious but not dead….

The story goes on from there. To read the entire piece, click here

Happy 70th, Keith!

Sally’s Place To Close; A Westport Era To End

Sally White has been selling music on Main Street since 1956.

Sometime this summer, her song will finally end.

The beloved owner of Sally’s Place — the record/CD store where Keith Richards and Mary Travers shopped (and schmoozed) with Sally, and any other music lovers who wandered up the steps at 190 Main Street — is closing down.

She’s not sure when (probably later this summer). And she has no idea what she’ll do with the hundreds of posters, autographed photos and musical tchotchkes that line the way (maybe sell them?).

Sally White, standing underneath a photo of one of her all-time favorites: Frank Sinatra.

Sally White, standing underneath a photo of one of her all-time favorites: Frank Sinatra.

She does know, though, that she’ll leave a business she’s loved from her 1st day at Melody House, a few doors away, 57 years ago.

She also knows why she’s closing. The internet dragged too many customers away. The stagnant economy dragged business down further.

Sally’s Place has a niche in Westport that will never be replaced. I walked in this afternoon at the same time as another customer. She wanted a vinyl copy of “Rubber Soul.” Sally promised it would be in by Saturday.

When Melody House closed in the late ’50s, Stanley Klein offered her a job in his department store’s record section. Raising 2 sons alone, she said she could work only 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. She also told him how much she needed to be paid. He hired her on the spot.

She worked there for more than 20 years. Her gentle nature, loving presence and encyclopedic knowledge of music influenced generations of Westporters — myself included.

Sally's Place is at 190 Main Street -- on the right, just past Avery Place.

Sally’s Place is at 190 Main Street — on the right, just past Avery Place.

When Klein’s record department closed in 1985, she decided to open her own store. Her brother-in-law wrote a business plan. She showed it to the president of Westport Bank & Trust.

He gave it right back. “We don’t need it,” he said. He trusted her word.

She offered her house as collateral. He refused. He was happy to back Sally’s Place without it.

It’s been an “amazing” 27 years, Sally says. “The bank, the record companies, my landlord — everyone has been fantastic.”

Especially her customers. “They make me feel special,” says Sally. “But I’m just doing what I love.”

Another customer this afternoon asked Sally for a turntable needle. She handed him a phone number. “This is the Needle Doctor,” she said. “He has everything.”

Sally’s musical roots run deep. She’s seen Frank Sinatra on stage. Also Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

Brubeck and Gerry Mulligan were close friends. So are many customers who never played a note. All are bound by a love of music — and the treasure that is Sally.

Sally doing what she loves most: interacting with one customer. Another one browses in back.

Sally doing what she loves: interacting with a customer. Another browses in back.

“I’ve been working since I was 14,” Sally says. “I’ve been a part of this town for a long time. This is my heart and soul. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.”

She’s survived as long as she has on special orders. Bluegrass compilations, rap, the “Roar of the Greasepaint” soundtrack — all are hand-written, in old-school logbooks. People find her from around the country.

She does not charge for mailing. “It’s my way of saying thanks,” she says.

As if on cue, a customer requested “old Polish-American polka music” for a wedding. She mentioned a composer. “S-t-u-r-r,” Sally spelled. “Right!” the woman said.

There is plenty of new vinyl -- and CDs, and random stuff, and musical knowledge -- at Sally's Place.

There is plenty of new vinyl — and CDs, random stuff, and musical knowledge — at Sally’s Place.

She does not stock Lady Gaga. “You can get that at Walmart for 10 bucks,” she says.

You can get it online, too — along with virtually everything Sally sells. Which is why she has written this message (by hand):

After 27 years of business I have decided to retire. The economy and internet sales have made it impossible for me to continue.

I thank you for your support, and hope you wish me well in retirement. I’ll miss you.

“Quick and easy,” she says. “I don’t need the schmaltz.”

But we need to say “thank you” to Sally White. Please hit “Comments” to share  your memories, or offer praise.

And then — whether you’re a longtime admirer, a former customer who faded away, or someone who always meant to stop by but never did — go see Sally.

She’ll be glad to see you.

And her broad, loving smile will make your day.

(Click here to read a previous post about Sally’s Westport Arts Center award.)

Back to the Basics: A Portrait of Sally White from Claire Bangser.

 

Time Is On Their Side

The music you listen to as a teenager becomes the soundtrack of your life.

I love my soundtrack. And for that I thank Greg Katz.

Greg Katz today — many years after Long Lots.

Greg and I became friends in Long Lots Junior High. The youngest child of a blended, somewhat bohemian family — they had a house right on Old Mill Beach, which was very cool — he introduced me to a wide range of musicians and genres. The Blues Project, Richie Havens, Frank Zappa — Greg was my guide for all of them.

His 1st concert ever was the Beatles, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. He was 11.

His 2nd was the Rolling Stones, the next year. Greg remembers it at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, though his sister thinks it was in Manhattan.

Greg went on to accomplish many things. Music was one — though not the only — motif.

His photo of Buddy Miles performing at Staples was published in the Westport Town Crier.

Gregory Katz’s story on John Lennon’s murder ran in the Rolling Stone issue with this now-legendary cover.

In 1980 — during the chaotic hours following John Lennon’s murder — Greg was the only journalist inside the Dakota building. (His parents owned an apartment there.)

Greg’s interview with Jay Hastings — the doorman who was the 1st person on the scene — ran in Rolling Stone. It became the definitive account of that night.

Greg’s journalism career includes a share of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. He was part of a Dallas Morning News team that produced a 14-part series on violence against women throughout the world.

For many years, Greg covered Latin America and the Mideast. Now ranging all over Europe, he’s written about popes, politics and Queen Elizabeth.

But until Sunday night, the only time he’d seen the Rolling Stones was that elementary school day, in either Brooklyn or Manhattan.

As acting news editor for AP’s London bureau — and with the regular arts reporter on vacation — he assigned the story of the Stones’ 50th anniversary bash at London’s 02 Arena to himself.

The Rolling Stones last Sunday (from left): Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts.

When we spoke earlier this week, Greg surprised me by saying he’d never been a big Mick Jagger fan. “I always thought he was trying to imitate Otis Redding,” Greg said. “And not well.”

Watching Mick live was different.

“He really, really moved well,” Greg said. “He’s fully engaged with the crowd. He looks very fit, and pain-free.”

The crowd ranged from Stones’ contemporaries — in their 60s — to those born 30 years after “Let’s Spend the Night Together.”

Greg says there are at least 3 reasons why people in their teens and 20s were there. “They hear a couple of songs, and really get into the rest of the catalog. Jagger is seen as cool, and undamaged by time. And the Stones are really tied into this whole sense of British pride.” They’re the latest attraction in a year that’s included the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, and James Bond’s 50th anniversary.

Greg’s concert highlight was “Midnight Rambler.” A wicked blues harp, Mick Taylor’s “incandescent” lead guitar, the brilliant backing of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, plus Charlie Watts’ energetic drumming, made for 9 minutes of “crackling intensity,” Greg said.

Another highlight: Jagger and Mary J. Blige’s rock-the-house duet on “Gimme Shelter.”

As for Richards himself — Weston’s most famous resident — Greg said, “he wasn’t flashy. But he looked confident and strong. He seemed really happy.”

Weston’s own Keith Richards.

(On Huffington Post, Greg wrote that Richards’ “survival has surprised many who thought he would succumb to drugs and drink.” The guitarist told the crowd: “We made it. I’m happy to see you. I’m happy to see anybody.”)

The Stones are not Greg’s favorite musicians; he prefers the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. And this wasn’t the best concert he’s ever seen. That would be Brian Wilson and his band performing the entire “Pet Sounds” album.

But, he said, Sunday’s show is among the top 5 concerts he’s seen recently.

I know. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll. But Greg and I like it.

(Click here for Greg Katz’s full story on the Stones’ show.)

Happy 50th, Keith! — The Sequel

Last week — under the headline “Happy 50th, Keith!” — I posted congratulations to Weston’s Keith Richards, on the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones’ 1st concert.

Westporter Brett Aronow did a double take. Her husband — Keith Stein — celebrates his 50th birthday today.

Then she emailed me, and asked if I’d surprise him with this “gift.”

Happy 50th, Keith!

OK, he’s not exactly Keith Richards. But my Keith is the most awesome husband in town. He’s turning 50, and I can’t think of a single present or party that would let him know how glad I am to have met and married him – many years ago!

Keith Stein, at the Memorial Day parade.

I call him my Renaissance Man, a la Leonardo da Vinci. Besides being intelligent, athletic, handsome (still sporting all his hair without a gray in sight – unfair!), he is an amazing cook, an incredible handyman (this one surprised me the most because when we met he was an investment banker), a gardener, a metal sculptor, a perpetual student (recently taking Stanford’s free online class on Artificial Intelligence), a web designer on the side, an incredibly generous volunteer, a wonderful son, a great friend, and basically the nicest person I know.

He is definitely a hands-on dad, luckily being able to attend all his kids’ sporting events unless they overlap (then we usually split up). He is the team photographer as well.

He is also well known in town, spectating other sporting events where his kids aren’t even participating. He has spent the last several years full time, completely unpaid, managing and trying to make a difference for Westport Little League, a huge organization (as far as I can remember, we haven’t had our own Little Leaguer for 4 years).

Brett Aronow and Keith Stein, a dozen years ago.

He serves on the Westport/Weston Health District board, the Democratic Town Committee, and has been treasurer for several local campaigns. He’s a long-time PTA volunteer, and he’s even president of our private road association (those of you on private roads know that not everyone volunteers for that job!).

I’m sure I’ve missed some more of his credentials. He stays amazingly under the radar, except to me and those who know and appreciate these qualities most. The most amazing thing is he never complains or speaks poorly about anyone.

Brett Aronow and Keith Stein, more recently — but before his half-Ironman.

I should know all this because we met and started dating when he was merely 22. Recently, in preparation for his big birthday, he has participated in his own version of “Fit for 50,” dropping nearly 40 pounds through diet and exercise. He completed a half-Ironman triathlon.  He said, “I thought I was burning calories watching cross country races, but obviously that wasn’t really working.”  I’m sure he’ll give out tips to those trying to do the same, just as he happily gives out his favorite recipes.

So this is your birthday card and present, Keith. Happy Birthday, I love you, and look forward to seeing what you can accomplish in your next 50 years!  — Brett

Happy 50th, Keith!

A half century ago yesterday, the Rolling Stones played their first-ever live gig.

A few years later — still so young — they sang, “What a drag it is getting old…”

The Stones keep rolling.

A few years after that — in their “call me Lucifer” days — I could never imagine that Keith Richards would get so much satisfaction, spending so many nights together, just up the road in Weston.

Sure, you can’t always get what you want. But time has definitely been on Keith’s side.

Here’s to 50 more great years. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but I like it.

And I love your white Rolls.

Westporter Charlie Karp (who left Staples in 10th grade to play with guys like Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles), with Keith Richards at the Georgetown Saloon. Photo by Staples grad Ray Flanigan. The Saloon was owned by Staples grad Adam Lubarsky, making Westonite Keith the only “foreigner” there.

Keith Richards’ Local “Life”

Life — the new autobiography by Keith Richards — is long on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and short on the now-relatively long part of his life he’s lived in Weston.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think the Rolling Stone never gathered any moss in these parts.

One brief anecdote, though, touches on both Weston and Westport.

Have you seen this man around here?

Describing a deadline remix of tapes for the song “Thief in the Night,” Richards writes they were rushed by speedboat from Port Jefferson to Westport, “the nearest harbor to my house on the Connecticut coast.

“We did this at midnight, under a very nice moon, roaring across the Long Island Sound, successfully avoiding the lobster pots with a swerve here and a shout there.”

That’s a bit more Gatsbyesque than some of his other writing, such as “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

But the passage got me thinking:  For someone who’s lived around here so long, I haven’t seen much of Keith Richards.

There was the time he strolled onstage — unannounced — at a Levitt Pavilion benefit concert.  “I’ve always wanted to play with Willie Nelson,” he said — and then he did.

He drove past the Staples boys soccer car wash last fall.  Our players tried to get him to come in, but he declined.  We can’t always get what we want. 

And I’ve seen him twice at CVS.  I will refrain from making any snarky remarks about what he was doing in a “drug store.”

Feel free to add your own Keith Richards in Westport/Weston anecdotes; click the “comments” link on this post. 

I know.  It’s only rock ‘n’ roll.  But I like it.