Even though Brian knew the end was inevitable, he had hoped to have the timing of the event put off a while longer. “They just showed up,” he explained. “I mean, I knew they’d be coming at some point. I knew we had to talk it out.” He had this talk with Mick many times before—just the two of them—and he knew there was no reasoning with Mick.
He tried to brace himself for the bitter battle, but with all the bullying and intimidation he’d suffered during the past few months at the hands of the minders, his will to do further battle with anyone was destroyed. He believed this battle was no different from the battle he had fought to get from out of the bottom when he first attempted to get the Stones recognized—when they were still nobodies.
He explained his feelings on that fateful day—a day that has become known as “The Confrontation at Cotchford”. He said, “Yes, I was back to having no money, just as when I tried to get the Stones first noticed. Things might look on the outside like they had changed for me, as far as my not having to fight my way back up from the bottom again, but inside things never changed for me. I was back at the bottom again.
“Mick showed up at my door as a God rising up out of the mountain—at least in his own mind! To him, I was the crumbled up old news, the dirty piece of paper with every bad thing said about me. And, in his mind, Mick was the shining wonder boy coming up to save the band from my degradation. He was the chosen one to save them all for eons to come. I knew that wasn’t the case. I knew Mick was only that which I had given him and taught him, and what he had managed to become on his own—or had stolen from others.
“However, I never had the vision or foresight to see that he would actually do what I thought could’ve been done…what I planned to do but wasn’t given the chance. The difference was, whereas I could have done it all on my own as I’d done everything else, Mick could never have done it on his own—not without the business monster of the organization creating it, and the business deals that were made through Allen.
“By now everything between us had gotten so distorted—all the physical and emotional dynamics, especially between Mick and me, and Keith. All the brotherhood, sisterhood, the love, the companionship, and then on the flip side—I imagined us as the warrior knights waiting to charge at one another. I was on my white horse being overtaken by Mick’s dark horse.
“Plus, the dynamics of our leadership and control, and all of the more feminine characteristics of the emotional bond he and I shared—even though he always was much more feminine than me—were now sucked up by all the betrayals and competitiveness. I became caught in this spider web.
“For me, the battle was no different from past wars over philosophy, power, and land. I pictured myself putting on a cowboy hat and carrying my six-shooter.”
Brian went on to describe the scene that day. “My heart skipped a beat…actually several beats, when I saw Mick go into his routine. He screamed, pointed, gesticulated—like a regular stage performance that he had choreographed in his mind. He demanded all the music that he knew I had created on my own, plus the Stones name. He wanted it all. I knew there was no going back for us. There was no going forward; there was no agreement possible. Mick made threats, intimidations…he threatened to ruin me.
“I knew at this time there was no ‘out’ for me. As far as the name of the band—I told him it was mine! I’d rather die than give it to them.
“Keith was very uncomfortable with the situation. He fiddled around with his hands and wished he was anywhere but here. He was a dog, you know—Mick’s dog. Charlie huffed and puffed, ready to act, but never did. Mick was the talker. Then Charlie got upset ‘cause I wouldn’t give in…he expected me to give in just to get it over with.
“I didn’t answer. I could feel everything shriveling up and being taken away from me. Although, they’d already taken everything away from me, and now they were pretending to offer me my life. Mick said it was my choice, whether I wanted to walk away with my life—but they’d already taken it. Mick pretended I had someplace to go…to get away. No, he didn’t outright say, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ Not this time. But, everyone knew how Mick was in private, when he had to have his way.
“Mick screamed, ‘Damn you!’ as in damnation. I still wouldn’t back down. It was my escape to choose death, if that’s what it would come do. I was tired of the life.”
He stood firm against Mick’s barrage. “At first he tried the reasonableness tack with me, but it didn’t wash. Mick said, ‘We’ll buy you out, Bri.’ He offered to buy the Stones name from me. He didn’t dare say cooperate, or ‘I’ll take your name off the music’—not to my face! On the other hand, he feared I’d form my own band. That was a big part of the arguing. He said he’d have no part of my going to another band.”
As far as how Brian came to settle on the buyout figure presented to him, he said, “The one hundred thousand pounds upfront plus the twenty thousand pounds per year was offered by Mick. He just said, ‘This is what it will be,’ as directed by Klein. That was it—I wasn’t asked whether I would accept the money. I was told I was accepting it! Mick hoped the money would smooth everything over, as if money would make it all okay. They wanted the buyout to include the Rolling Stones name, but I stood firm. I said, ‘Oh, no! No!’”
Mick also asked Brian where all his original tapes were, but Brian shrugged him off, pretending he didn’t know what Mick was talking about. “Mick wanted it all, demanding my tapes. Keith didn’t threaten me with words. Keith never said anything,” Brian went on to say, “but the way he looked, it was almost comical had it not been so evil.
“While Mick acted as a rooster strutting and clucking around the room, Keith would make a similar move or motion, copying Mick. Keith…as always in Mick’s shadow…copying him! Keith…always walking around like a puppet, behind Mick…just doing whatever Mick does. Like the shadow person. Then there was Charlie, who continued to make faces as a monkey squirming…not knowing what else to do.
“Mick had convinced them that all this was the absolute best for the band—even best for me. Ha! Mick had convinced the others that I would be better off in psychiatric treatment, rather than my having to deal with the struggle of showing up for performances.”