In February of last year, Canadian concert promoter Michael Cohl gave a keynote speech about his successful career, inventing the blockbuster tours for bands such as Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones. During the speech, he recalled a memory of an incident that occurred with Donald Trump. As he recapped the Rolling Stones’ 1989 Steel Wheel tour, he paused and then explained,
“By the way, do you want to hear about the night I fired Donald Trump?”
It happened like this: Cohl was planning a pay-per-view event toward the end of the Stones’ tour based on the Vegas boxing model, but he realized Vegas didn’t like rock music yet. Unfortunately, the only way he could make the event happen was through real estate tycoon Donald Trump in Atlantic City.
The Stones remarked, “This is all great, but we’re not going to be affiliated with Donald Trump. At all. Screw you.” Cohl replied, “I will control Donald Trump! Don’t you worry!”
Trump had to sign a contract that emphasized he could not be around for the sold out shows, and would not promote himself alongside the Stones. Even with a signed contract, things did not go according to plan.
Read below a condensed version of Cohl’s recollection, courtesy of Pollstar:
It’s the night of the show.
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.
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.