PARIS — L'Hotel is the Paris hotel that Oscar Wilde made famous by dying in it. You can, if well-heeled enough, sleep in the very room. The specialty of the restaurant is Steak de la Oscar Wilde, which is what he ate on the night the died.
Now Mick Jagger is not Oscar Wilde. And if Chuck Berry is, it was Mick Jagger who stayed at L'Hotel for a week or so, spending time while Bianca was expecting the last days of her expectancy. Bobby Keys was there too, just passing time on his way back to London to finish his album, just passing wasted through the lobby in his buffalo blanket jacket, just passin' through mistah...
"France is alright, as long as you can get out," Jagger said, competing with the Boulez being pumped over the bar's sound system. "Like I've been in France longer than I've ever stayed in England. There's fuck-all live music here, there's Jacques Brel and electronic music. Even the accordion players are dead."
Just last spring, Jagger wasn't sounding keen at all on an American tour. But the idle months in Antibes have made changes. "I think Mick Taylor wants to play on stage with somebody. I think he's a bit frustrated. We're not touring all the time: I don't want to tour all the time. So I don't know what he wants to do. And I'm not the only one talking about going to America. Mick does; Bill Wyman's gone for a vacation. Charlie, he's in the country with his sheep and horses, that's what he does. Gad, the houses are really a hell of a long way away. Takes you a long time to get there.
"Now I want to go to America and look around. Go to L.A. Maybe Texas. Nooooo Orleans. Then Florida. I really miss having things to do – well, anyway . . . last winter there were all these sessions. A lot was going on. Now it's nothing. I guess you get what you put in. Like I can't be contributing to something if I'm not there, but even in the clubs, I don't know. Is it in America?
"Christ. Do you wanna drink? Where's a waiter? S'il vous plait! Hey, see voo play, y'all out there." He turns back to the interview. "We've not finished the album, we've just cut 20 tracks. Since July. Plus we've got about 28 others."
That's all the Stones do all day now, make music in Keith's basement at his fabulous mansion on the Mediterranean Coast?
"Yeah. The studios are not that great. OK, but not really good. It's terrible. I don't like it. Like it's too hot in the summer. I can't hear anything down there. We cut some Nice things, but we'll mix it at Island or someplace."
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