How Rod Stewart Dodged His Long-Distance Hotel Phone Bills
Rod Stewart revealed he used to pull a regular trick in order to avoid paying hotel fees for long-distance phone bills.
In the ‘70s, he’d run up charges of “hundreds of quid” as he kept up with the fortunes of his beloved Scotland international soccer team while he was touring with Faces. (Although Stewart was born in England, his dad was Scottish, which led to his interest in that nation’s favorite sport.) Speaking to Sky TV in a documentary about legendary Scottish player Denis Law, Stewart told of one example that took place during the band’s tour of the U.S. in the fall of 1973.
“To get to the 1974 World Cup in Germany, we had to beat Czechoslovakia,” he explained. “This was another game I didn’t see, because I was working with the Faces, but I remember it like it was yesterday. ... I used to phone up, and my dad would put the phone by the television and I would listen for the whole game. Then they would send me a bill for hundreds of quid.”
Stewart added: “I would say, ‘What person in his right mind would be on a phone call for 90-odd minutes?’ They would say, ‘Oh, yes, I suppose it is a mistake, Mr. Stewart,’ and I would get a bill for 10 quid.” He was a bit wary of sharing the story, noting, “They are probably going to send me a fortune’s bill now!”
For the record, Scotland’s games against Czechoslovakia took place on Sept. 26 and Oct. 17, 1973. Faces played the LSU Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La., on Sept. 25, the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston on Sept 27 and at the Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Oct. 17. Stewart’s team didn’t share his luck: Despite being the only team to qualify without losing a game, Scotland fell out of the World Cup in the first round after conceding just a single goal.