To be a rock’n’roll tour manager, according to Sam Cutler, you needed “a certain amount of brazen chutzpah” and a “hard-to-define leadership quality that sees stoned musicians trust that you have made the right decision”.
Cutler should know. He created the template when he was put in charge of the Rolling Stones’ tour of America in 1969 and then in the five years he spent as what he called “executive nanny” to the notoriously unruly hippy caravan that was the Grateful Dead.
There was another quality he possessed, too. Cutler was the countercultural drop-out who knew how to make money and was able to count it even while tripping on LSD.
Cutler, right, with the Stones at Altamont as the band stop their set to assess the damage, December 1969
ROBERT ALTMAN/MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES
The Stones’ 1969 American trek — their return to the road after a three-year