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The Mick Jagger interview (part two)
by Dean Goodman, Reuters

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?

Mick: "Nah."

Because "Stoned" was a rip-off of "Green Onions", wasn’t it?

"Well, whatever... And I’m sure there’s many songs in the world that are similar to others. The whole question of all that is very complex, and perhaps we shouldn’t even bother with it. I didn’t 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 couldn’t really go back on it. If it had been three weeks different, we probably would have done it another way."

You didn’t want to risk a Patrick Alley-type situation (over "Just Another Night")?

"Yeah, exactly. There’s so many risks and so many people worried about those risks. And probably quite rightly. You don’t want to jeopardise this whole project by this one note!!! it’s funny, but it’s true."

I can’t believe you paid the Dust Brothers all this money, and they didn’t 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, don’t bother about the co-credits?

"No, it was very... k.d.lang and all that were very nice people. It wasn’t 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. Couldn’t you have just produced the whole thing yourselves, maybe with some help from Don?

"No. I don’t think it would have worked like that. It’s hard for you to judge what actually was done. But I know personally that it would not have been that record if it hadn’t 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 can’t tour without stadiums -- you can’t just play 100 dates at the Double Door --

"Well, it would be very nice. I’d 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. You’re 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 there’s 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 there’s 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. That’s 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 it’s too much, you cut it down. There’s always a purist group, and especially if you’ve seen the show so many times, there’s 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 album’s gonna contain songs which are gonna be performed on stage with some success. I think there’s possibilities in there. Also, there’s a still-continuing great show. We’re not out to change the world. Obviously it is a stadium show and what it is, is what it is."

What’s the attitude within the band: You and Charlie are always the reluctant ones to tour, while Keith and Ronnie --

"-- Are still on tour when they’re home? I don’t know if that’s really true, because I don’t really think that’s true. I’m in some ways reluctant to commit. It’s such a long commitment. I don’t even commit to the whole tour, because I want to see how it goes. If I hate it, I hate to think, ‘Oh you’re in August 15 in Barcelona and you’re staying at the Ritz-carlton and what would you like for breakfast? I hate it. So I never commit to a whole tour. It’s a big commitment to do a tour of any kind."

Why aren’t you playing as many cities?

"We’re not overplaying the market. We’re being very conservative. We’re not playing as many shows. It’s been a very soft concert, as you know, in the United States. One or two tours have come croppers, really, haven’t done very well, so we thought it was best to play the market conservatively. plus, given the time problems that we’ve had -- we’ve run very late with the record -- there’s only so many things we can do between Sept. 23 and Christmas, as far as stadiums are concerned."

Are there any songs that don’t have resonance for you these days? I know you were never strong on "Street Fighting Man"?

"Yeah, I’ve dumped it. Ha-ha!!"

During the Voodoo Lounge tour, there was basically nothing off Steel Wheels, of Undercover or Dirty Work. It’s like they never existed.

"I know. I keep tryin’ to put songs in, and either they don’t sound very good, or no one’s very enthusiastic about it. I can’t make the band enthusiastic about songs they don’t seem to be enjoying."

But if "Dirty Work" was Keith’s record --

"-- You’d think he’d want to... Well, if it was his record... You’d think he want to play something from some of those things. It’s not only Keith, it’s like the whole band is like, ‘Well, yes, er...’ We played ‘Undercover’ on the last tour."

And Harlem Shuffle too, I think?

"Ugh. Dumped."

So you want to play the young stuff, and the others want to play the golden oldies?

"I don’t think that’s necessarily true. We’re playing some other oldies we haven’t really touched."

Are you concerned about the older-skewing audiences? All the shows I went to everyone was old. You haven’t 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 don’t. The audience in America tends to be pretty old. That’s a result of all kinds of factors I don’t have any control over, really. In America, you’ve got a whole family thing going on. You don’t get that in Europe: people don’t come with families.

Fans are more extreme in Europe. That’s where all the fan clubs are based.

"Yeah. Yeah. Here it’s more... family... I don’t know what it is. It’s a good old boy factor. Some places you play like Charlotte and Norman, Oklahoma and it’s more of a college crowd. It’s a different vibe completely."

So finally, you sat down with Allen Klein a few years ago to resolve your differences. Does that mean you’ll be issuing old stuff from the vaults both pre- and post-abkco?

"No, well we’ve had plenty of new things really haven’t we? We haven’t had to do that. I dare say in the future that will all happen."


Thanks Mick!

Thanks Dean!

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