This is part two of the interview Dean Goodman did with Mick Jagger in Chicago on Sept. 20 last year, three days before the tour started. This interview is made available to you exclusively in IORR. Part one was printed in IORR 30.
Dean: The consensus is that you were very generous bringing k.d. lang and Ben Mink as songwriters on "Anybody Seen My Baby?". Did you really need to do that?
Because "Stoned" was a rip-off of "Green Onions", wasnt it?
"Well, whatever... And Im sure theres many songs in the world that are similar to others. The whole question of all that is very complex, and perhaps we shouldnt even bother with it. I didnt think it was totally necessary. It was all to do with timing, really. We were just starting up this tour, the record was being actually manufactured, we couldnt really go back on it. If it had been three weeks different, we probably would have done it another way."
You didnt want to risk a Patrick Alley-type situation (over "Just Another Night")?
"Yeah, exactly. Theres so many risks and so many people worried about those risks. And probably quite rightly. You dont want to jeopardise this whole project by this one note!!! its funny, but its true."
I cant believe you paid the Dust Brothers all this money, and they didnt realize the similarities to Constant Crawing and change the one note?
"Well, we could have done, but the record was actually being manufactured and distributed. What are you going to do? Are you getting to make the record a month later?"
Was there a band dispute? Maybe some of the guys thought, screw it, dont bother about the co-credits?
"No, it was very... k.d.lang and all that were very nice people. It wasnt one of those horrible litigious things. It was just easier. It was just easier to do it this way than it would have been perhaps to have done it another way. Whatever. That was my take on it."
Despite all these big-name producers, the album still sound like a Stones album. Couldnt you have just produced the whole thing yourselves, maybe with some help from Don?
"No. I dont think it would have worked like that. Its hard for you to judge what actually was done. But I know personally that it would not have been that record if it hadnt been for the introduction of different people and the different attitude that those people delivered, and the way they influenced, for instance, Don. Or, whatever Keith thinks, influenced him. Because that forced him to come to the party with a different attitude, and people wanted to be clear about what they were doing, rather than just falling back on old things. They made people question what they were going to do, why they were doing it."
So obviously you cant tour without stadiums -- you cant just play 100 dates at the Double Door --
"Well, it would be very nice. Id love to play the Double Door and make a bit of money. It would be great. Imagine if you could combine those things."
But with the Voodoo Lounge and Steel Wheels tours I saw them 31 times -
Did you sometimes think the essence of the Stones was lost in a maze of smoke and mirrors?
"Well, it depends on the punters. Youre the punters out there. You saw the show more times than I did. I never saw the show, only the video. My take on it is that theres part of the audience which would go and enjoy just the Rolling Stones in a whatever -- stadium, arena -- with nothing much. They might like a screen and they might like a sound system. But then theres another part of the audience that would rather have a bit more... I personally enjoy doing those kinds of shows. I like designing them and working with them. I did years of arenas with nothing much. Thats not true: we always did something, even in arenas. we had the stage that came up and opened... inflatable penises... rose petals... I rather like them, but if sometimes you find its too much, you cut it down. Theres always a purist group, and especially if youve seen the show so many times, theres no surprise anymore. Most people only see it once."
What would you hope to prove with this tour?
"Well, the band continues to be a touring band a still-continuing band. I hope this new albums gonna contain songs which are gonna be performed on stage with some success. I think theres possibilities in there. Also, theres a still-continuing great show. Were not out to change the world. Obviously it is a stadium show and what it is, is what it is."
Whats the attitude within the band: You and Charlie are always the reluctant ones to tour, while Keith and Ronnie --
"-- Are still on tour when theyre home? I dont know if thats really true, because I dont really think thats true. Im in some ways reluctant to commit. Its such a long commitment. I dont even commit to the whole tour, because I want to see how it goes. If I hate it, I hate to think, Oh youre in August 15 in Barcelona and youre staying at the Ritz-carlton and what would you like for breakfast? I hate it. So I never commit to a whole tour. Its a big commitment to do a tour of any kind."
Why arent you playing as many cities?
"Were not overplaying the market. Were being very conservative. Were not playing as many shows. Its been a very soft concert, as you know, in the United States. One or two tours have come croppers, really, havent done very well, so we thought it was best to play the market conservatively. plus, given the time problems that weve had -- weve run very late with the record -- theres only so many things we can do between Sept. 23 and Christmas, as far as stadiums are concerned."
Are there any songs that dont have resonance for you these days? I know you were never strong on "Street Fighting Man"?
"Yeah, Ive dumped it. Ha-ha!!"
During the Voodoo Lounge tour, there was basically nothing off Steel Wheels, of Undercover or Dirty Work. Its like they never existed.
"I know. I keep tryin to put songs in, and either they dont sound very good, or no ones very enthusiastic about it. I cant make the band enthusiastic about songs they dont seem to be enjoying."
But if "Dirty Work" was Keiths record --
"-- Youd think hed want to... Well, if it was his record... Youd think he want to play something from some of those things. Its not only Keith, its like the whole band is like, Well, yes, er... We played Undercover on the last tour."
And Harlem Shuffle too, I think?
So you want to play the young stuff, and the others want to play the golden oldies?
"I dont think thats necessarily true. Were playing some other oldies we havent really touched."
Are you concerned about the older-skewing audiences? All the shows I went to everyone was old. You havent really captured the modern rock audience?
"It depends where you are. You went to the shows more than I did. You get quite an old audience in some places, others you dont. The audience in America tends to be pretty old. Thats a result of all kinds of factors I dont have any control over, really. In America, youve got a whole family thing going on. You dont get that in Europe: people dont come with families.
Fans are more extreme in Europe. Thats where all the fan clubs are based.
"Yeah. Yeah. Here its more... family... I dont know what it is. Its a good old boy factor. Some places you play like Charlotte and Norman, Oklahoma and its more of a college crowd. Its a different vibe completely."
So finally, you sat down with Allen Klein a few years ago to resolve your differences. Does that mean youll be issuing old stuff from the vaults both pre- and post-abkco?
"No, well weve had plenty of new things really havent we? We havent had to do that. I dare say in the future that will all happen."
It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 32 - March 1998 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe