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The Rolling Stones' Tequila Sunrise Pours Into JFK Airport with Jose Cuervo Pop-Up: Interview

by Carolyn Menyes   Nov 6, 2015 15:03 PM EST

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The Rolling Stones' 1972 tour is a thing of rock 'n' roll legends. From the hijinks of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to Truman Capote leaving the tour in the middle of his reporting for Rolling Stone magazine to, of course, the music itself, the American trek is still talked about to this day. And, even though fans can't exactly relive the booze-fueled tour, if they happen to be flying through New York City's JFK Airport, they can at least get a taste of what the Stones did back in the day... through some Jose Cuervo tequila sunrises. Richards even famously dubbed the trek the "cocaine and tequila sunrise tour."

It may be surprising to hear now, but The Rolling Stones helped popularize the now-standard cocktail, which is a mix of tequila, orange juice and grenadine syrup. Now, Jose Cuervo is helping to celebrate the legacy of the drink and The Rolling Stones' tour with a pop-up installation in terminal 4 of the JFK airport.

A photo posted by Music Times (@themusictimes) on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:43am PST

Before the installation's public opening today (Nov. 6), Jose Cuervo hosted a preview night for media on Thursday night in the 1500 square foot replica plane, which used real 1970s plane parts, including engines and plush leather seats. And, at the center of it all, of course, was tequila and the Rolling Stones' former publicist Carol Klenfner.

So, why the tequila sunrise? According to Klenfner, it was all boiled down to a phenomenon from one local bar.

"They played San Francisco with the famous promoter Bill Graham, it was an off night there was no music in town. He took them to the Trident, which is an iconic restaurant right on the water in Sausalito. They had a tequila sunrise, and they fell in love with it. The whole tour," she said. "It was 35 people in this restaurant that normally holds hundreds, but it was closed on a Monday night. And they just fell in love with the drink and so did everybody did. That was the beginning of it, you catch the wave."

When The Rolling Stones weren't busy boozing it up, it was down to business for the massive tour, which spanned 48 shows in 32 cities.

"This tour was like a military campaign, but like if pirates were running it. It was crazy. The whole thing was to try to get as many dates done as quickly as possible without any missed planes, without any damage to hotel rooms, just to try to introduce a little element of business savvy, given that it was The Rolling Stones and there was a 50 percent chance of it happening," Klenfner said, with noted enthusiasm in her voice.

But, nobody could fully wrangle in the Rolling Stones, who were at the height of their career during the 1972 tour. The band famously clashed with Rolling Stone reporter Truman Capote, and Klenfner shared just one of the many pranks the band pulled on the author and journalist, causing him to eventually leave the tour in the middle of his reporting.

"Rolling Stone assigned Truman Capote, and there were major writers on tour at various points. But, the thing about Truman Capote is - none of these writers were really rock 'n' roll. So, The Stones, especially Keith, in this case, really did not take to 'Truby,' as he called him. He was very, 'Oh no, I can't. It's too noisy in here. My delicate ears," and stuff like that. So, Keith was always doing pranks," she revealed.

"On one occasion, he dragged my boss in at the hotel in Dallas, and they found Truman's room and squirted ketchup all over the outside of the door, which was on the room service tray. And Keith started banging on the door, saying 'Get out here ya f*cking queen! You want In Cold Blood, I'll show you.' But, he never wrote a story for Rolling Stone. He did go on I think The Tonight Show and talk about the tour from a society point of view, but he never wrote a story about it."

But now, fans don't have to worry about the intricacies of touring or clashing with journalists and can party like a rock star with some booze, all while waiting to take off from JFK.

Jose Cuervo's Rolling Stones Tour Plane Pop-Up experience is now open Concourse A in the retail lounge of Terminal 4 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The pop-up will be open from Nov. 6 until Dec. 30 from 2:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays.

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