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Stepping Out: Mick Jagger Goes Solo

Page 5 of 5

Speaking of cleaning up, Ron Wood went into a drug detox center in England, right?
Yeah. Sounded horrible to me, the one he went to. This guy rang me up, screaming,'cause Woody had given them my name. This guy yelled at me, 'cause Woody checked out. Like, "It's your fault he left." Hey, it was my idea to get him in there.

Was it?
Well, I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

There's a bunch of bands now that make a point about their being real clean.
Aaah, there was always the clean-living kid next door. That's how the Beatles were sold. That's how Frankie Avalon or Elvis was sold. Fact or fiction. I'm not accusing Boy George of being a drug addict. But, honestly, I'm afraid journalism has a lot to answer for. Responsible journalism is a very good thing, but irresponsible journalism . . . we have a lot of it. More in the U.K. than here.

Now Duran Duran can't get really upset about that. They think it's really bad if people write, "Duran Duran was all drunk." They were saying to me, "So we were all drunk, but we're such a teenybop group. We didn't really ask for that; that's what we got. And if they write about that, then people go out and they copy us, and we don't want that. We think it's irresponsible [journalism]." Well, it's not irresponsible to write about it in, like, [sotto voce] your magazine, but in a newspaper with sensationalist headlines . . .

Well, you're planning to set the record straight on your own life by writing an autobiography. Word has been that your first draft wasn't juicy enough for the publishers. What's the story?
I didn't really want to put out the book in the way that the first draft was. It was too flip. They [the publishers] wanted to put it out. They wanted to pay me the money, and I just said, "No, not this time. Let me get some more stuff on it."

I didn't have any problem remembering . . . I mean, you can't remember every detail. What's more difficult to put into perspective is like the Seventies. Much easier to put the Sixties into perspective than the Seventies.

What is your perspective on the Sixties?
Wait to read the book! [Laughs] It's really complex, though, you know? Obviously, it's a personal one. But also one of the society I found myself in when I was growing up. I was kind of a late grower-up. People didn't grow up at fifteen then; they grew up when they were twenty. The way that they changed, and the way that America changed, and your own personal experiences, and how that worked, and also the overview you've got now: what society was like and all those millions of examples of things that makes the mosaic up for the real picture.

Sort of an edge. . .
Yeah, well, you got very aggressive and very frustrated, you know. With not being able to hold the reins and the obviously stupid things going on. The ripoffs. And all the politics and the social upheaval that was happening all over the world. There's a lot of social stuff in there that's never really been looked at. And I talked to people who really want me to get that right. You know, professors and stuff, not bullshit artists.

What's hard about the Seventies?
Well, you know, it's just closer, and it was a time of retrenchment a little bit. It doesn't sort of fit quite so well. And I was getting older and what was happening? Was I just kind of going along in the groove of it or the momentum that was already there? I don't know. I just haven't got the keys to it yet.

Moving up to the Eighties, how do you view the rise of conservatism, both here and in the U.K.?
I think it's awful. I don't like all this religion stuff involved. Traditionally, in England, we really don't. The wives don't get involved either [laughs]. I hate to sound chauvinistic about it; it's just a different approach. Of course, wives and family have great influence, but they're not up there so visibly as they are here.

What about your own family? Are any of your daughters following in your footsteps?
Well, I like to watch them move and see if they can play, you know. My oldest (Karis) plays the harp. It's kind of amusing to watch. Not an instrument of instant carryability. It's tough. Tough on the fingers and the back when you wanna move it. But she likes it. She plays piano also.

Now, the littlest one, I bought her a xylophone. Yeah, they love all that. It's one of those things that you hit it and it doesn't make a musical noise, but a ball goes jumping up in the air.

How old is she now?
Seven months.

It must be fun to have her.
Yeah, it's fun, you know. It is fun. And then my brother has six kids. They're not all his, but they're his family. So they come over and it's like insanity.

Do you counsel them at all like your typical daddy?
You have to counsel them a little bit all the way through, you know. It's good if they come and talk to you, but obviously kids don't like to really talk . . . I really shouldn't talk about them too much, because when they read it, they'll become embarrassed.

Okay. One last thing: if the record does well, what will you do?
I don't know really. I'd be real happy if it does well. I'd be happy if people like it and they like the kind of direction — if they appreciate it and they just enjoy the record. I hope it sells, but you can't guarantee. I've been around long enough to know that.

Ah, but what if it's really successful . . .
Yeaaahhh! I'm going to move to the East Side! Is that your question? [Laughs.]

This is a story from the February 14, 1985 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

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Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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