Stepping Out: Mick Jagger Goes Solo

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I know I've got another question here. . .. Here we go: Do you go back and listen to your old records?
Yeah, sometimes. Most artists might once in a while, when the band might get together. But I don't think many people do. There might be a time when it's probably good to hear them, like when we go on the road. Go and research all the stuff and say: "Hey, that's really a good song. We could do that this way," or "We never did that onstage."

You've mentioned "Shattered" as a song you're particularly proud of.
Yeah, I think that's really good, it's kinda unusual. There's quite a few songs on that album [Some Girls] I think are good. I still like things like "Miss You." I think that has a directness and feeling. The whole album has something in it.

At the time, you thought it was the best record you had done since Let It Bleed.
Yeah, I think it probably is. I mean, Tattoo You was full of some good material — some of it was quite old, and some not old. I think "Start Me Up" was good.

That was just sitting around in a vault?
Well, it was from Emotional Rescue. It was just sitting there, and no one had taken any notice of it. There were like forty takes. What happened, I think, is we made it into a reggae song after, like, take twelve, and said, well, maybe another time. I used take two. And I found it, put it together . . . it was one of Keith's sort of tunes . . . I wrote the lyrics, put it on, and Keith said, "I can't believe it, it's just wild."

There are two new books about the band that have just been published: 'Symphony for the Devil,' by Philip Norman, and 'Dance with the Devil,' by Stanley Booth. Have you read either of them?
You know, I really haven't. First of all, I'm not really interested in reading books about myself; there are a lot of books out there I'd like to read rather than books about me or the Rolling Stones. The Stanley Booth one perhaps would be good to read. At least Stanley Booth did actually know the Rolling Stones, and I know Stanley Booth. Where Philip Norman doesn't know the Rolling Stones; I wouldn't know him if he walked in now. I read some extracts from it, with the sensationalist stuff in it. It looks pretty cruddy, what I read.

Both books do recount some of the seamier sides of the Stone's activities sex, drugs, the works. Is it difficult for you as a parent to think about your kids reading some of that stuff?
I can't do anything about it.

How do you feel about it?
How do I feel about it? I don't know really — I haven't really thought about it. You're throwing the question at me kinda as a bit of a curve. Ummm, I really haven't thought about it. I guess they know most of it, and I think it's not particularly — I don't think it's very good for them. Ummm, I mean, that's one of the things I have to put up with. I mean, they have to put up with. It's a little unfair for them. But I suppose all kids have to put up with their parents.

Frequently, the allegation is made that a lot of people who meet up with the Rolling Stones wind up in trouble: fucked up, dead, with drug problems or something like that. And there's the implication that the band somehow is a malevolent force that destroys people's lives. What's your response to that?
Ummmm, I think it's unfortunate if it happened. I would not like to think of myself as someone who would take somebody on purpose, or even not on purpose, and make them into something. . . you know, ruin their life. What's inevitable is that there are breakdowns in relationships, people have problems. . .. I mean, most [people] in the artistic community have severe kinds of problems with drugs and stress. It happens not only in the music community, and show business generally is a high-stress occupation. Yeah, there's no doubt that's happened. I don't want to pick on anybody, but what about the Pretenders, you know? I'm not pointing fingers. But it seems to be something that comes along in that way of life, and over a long period of time there are bound to be some casualties. It just happens. Maybe I'm being real cynical; I don't want to be.

I'm just thinking, who did I personally damage? Who did I actually do over?

Brian Jones?
Brian Jones? No way, Jose. I disclaim on that one. As a group, I'm sure there's many. But, me personally, I'm trying to think . . .

Marianne Faithfull?
Marianne, you know, she nearly killed me, forget it! I wasn't going to get out of there alive, Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg! I mean, help!

Do you ever see her?
Marianne, yeah, I see Marianne. I see her around, like you say. I haven't seen her properly for a little while. Since she broke up with her old man — I saw her then. She was really upset, and I talked to her a little.

And then Anita, I haven't seen her for a while. She's sort of gone straight, and she's in London. When I saw her last, I didn't recognize her. She looked pretty good.

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