Sunday, June 25, 2017

Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards

Anita Pallenberg died this past Wednesday. The sexual muse to three of the Rolling Stones, Pallenberg was a guru for heavy drugs, alleged sadomasochistic sexual encounters and black magic. A ravishing beauty of the Twiggy ilk, she epitomized the 60s "rock chick." But there was something more dangerous about Anita Pallenberg than there was about Patti Boyd or Marianne Faithfull, who recalled Anita's "terrible smile, which was quite frightening too, all those teeth". More like Nico, she had an autocratic foreignness which people found scary if seductive.

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered, here the story gets even weirder. The so-called "satanic" influence on the Stones was sparked by the avant-garde filmmaker, Luciferian and Tinseltown gossip-queen Kenneth Anger. He was obsessed with The Stones and particularly with Brian Jones and girlfriend Pallenberg. Jones had some unusual interests, and both he and the pop singer Robert Palmer were fascinated by the master musicians of Joujouka in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in North Africa. These musicians claimed to be still practicing the ancient rites of the goat-footed god Pan. Jones went so far as to travel to North Africa with his muse to record an LP of tribal music by this cult.

Kenneth Anger believed that Anita Pallenberg and Brian Jones, who was to drown in mysterious circumstances in the swimming pool of his Sussex mansion, were witches. Allegedly, Jones showed the filmmaker an extra nipple he had on his inner thigh and told him: "In another time they would have burned me [as a witch]." A friend of Pallenberg’s, Tony Sanchez, believed she kept her drug stash hidden in an old carved wooden chest in her flat. One day he looked inside. Instead of drugs he found it contained bones and pieces of fur and skin from "strange animals." Marianne Faithfull described how she and Pallenberg used to sit for hours reading aloud passages from Robert Graves' book The White Goddess and studying the ancient Celtic tree alphabet.

In her autobiography, Faithfull claims the gay Anger had a crush on the bisexual Stones' singer which was not reciprocated. When the filmmaker's sexual overtures were rejected, he became a bit of a nuisance. One day he turned up at the couple's house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea and bizarrely threw several books by the 18th century poet and mystic William Blake through the window. Jagger responded in disgust at this stunt by burning all the copies of the occult works that Anger had given him by Crowley and the French occultist Eliphas Levi. Pretty complex, huh?

When Anita  first met the Stones in 1965, she was just 21, but she'd already appeared in films and fashion magazines, knew Andy Warhol and "everyone else" in New York, and could say "fuck off" in six languages. Her modeling  agency billed her as "too beautiful to get out of bed". Pallenberg went backstage after a Stones gig in Hamburg to offer them drugs, which they refused. She was unimpressed, regarding The Stones as  ignorant "schoolkids," but determined, immoral and utterly precocious, it didn't take long for band members to fall under her spell. Pallenberg's Rolling Stones affairs culminated with her marriage to Keith Richards and with him she had three children (one succumbed at just ten weeks to SIDS). Many other muses get more press, yet, with the exception of Pamela Des Barres, Anita Pallenberg was rock's true bad girl.