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Mick Jagger: The Rolling Stone Interview

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Your songs about girls like "Out Of Time," "Please Go Home," "Got to Get Away," "Yesterdays Papers," "Lady Jane" and many more like "Back Street Girl" seem rather bitter and mean whereas "She Smiled Sweetly," "Ruby Tuesday," "Like A Rainbow" are all about mystical girls.
Different girls. I don't know what to say except they speak for themselves. They are all very unthoughtout songs. I write them and they are never looked at again.

But it sounds as though you mean it at the time.
Well I do, that's the scene. Those songs reflect the day and a few stupid chicks getting on my nerves. "Lady Jane" is a complete sort of very weird song. I don't really know what that's all about myself. All the names are historical but it was really unconscious that they should fit together from the same period.

Satanic Majesties is probably the most controversial LP you've had, people either hated it or loved it. It seems to be a personal statement rather than a collection of songs. What were your original ideas about putting it together?
None at all. Absolutely no idea behind it. No, it's wrong to say there is or was no idea at all, there was but it was all completely external. It was done over such a long period of time that eventually it just evolved. The first thing we did was "She's A Rainbow," then "2000 Light Years From Home," then "Citadel" and it just got freaker as we went along. Then we did "Sing This Song All Together" and "On With The Show," "The Lantern" and then Bill's one (In Another Land). It took almost a whole year to make, not because it's so fantastically complex that we needed a whole year but because we were so strung out.

That was the year in which several arrests were made.
Yeah that took a lot of time plus we didn't know if we had a producer or not. Sometimes Andrew would turn up, Sometimes he wouldn't. We never knew if we would be in jail or what. Keith and I never sat down and played the songs to each other. We just made that album for what it is.

Were you happy when it was finished?
I was happy, yeah. I breathed a sigh of relief because we had finally finished it. It's just there to take it or leave it.

Were any of the songs written after your or Brian's arrest?
I'm very conscious of the fact that it doesn't reflect that in any of the songs. That they aren't all about policemen as they could well have been. But it is an album like Aftermath is an album but December's Children isn't, it's just a collection of songs.

Is there any one album you consider your best?
Well no. I like out first album very much 'cause it's all the stuff we used to do on stage. Then I like Aftermath 'cause I like the songs, although I don't like the way some of them were done.

. . . What about Between The Buttons?
I don't like that much.

Why?
I don't know, it just isn't any good. "Back Street Girl" is about the only one I like.

Going back to Satanic Majesties for a minute. I've noticed that there seems to be a constant mood of sleeping and dreaming throughout the whole thing.
I read somewhere else that it was supposed to be about travelling which is weird too 'cause it is when you come to look at it that way. You heard what? Dreaming and waking up? I don't know, maybe it is. That's great if you get that from it, that's fantastic.

There also seem to be certain words which constantly reappear like ritual objects, for instance "light," "high," and "flower." Am I just reading into it or was that done purposely?
I don't know what to think about it. It's very weird really and doesn't have anything to do with me. It hasn't got any sort of songs in it, all the words are very obscure, no they aren't really. "2000 Light Years" isn't. That is my favorite but it's lousy in stereo.

Do you feel that Satanic was your first attempt at the "Strawberry Fields" type of music?
Well it's a very heady album, very spaced out.

What can we expect to hear in your new album Beggers Banquet?
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" is the most basic thing we have done this time, although that may or may not be in the album. There are a couple country tunes 'cause we've always liked country music.

Have you been influenced by The Byrds and Dylan with their country albums?
Yeah, but Keith has always been country. That's what his scene was. We still think of country songs as a bit of a joke, I'm afraid. We don't really know anything about country music really, we're just playing games. We aren't really into it enough to know. I think it's going to be a good album.

Are you interested in doing stage performances again?
I'd like to do them but the thought of going on stage and playing "Satisfaction," "Paint It Black," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and six others just doesn't appeal to me.

What if you could have a quiet and receptive audience?
I don't think it's going to be like that. I'd like to perform and I think the Stones would but we're stuck because we feel it's no good having everybody sit down and be quiet. I don't want anybody to have to do anything. I think they should do whatever they like. Pop concerts are just gathering of people who want to have a good time and I don't think they really have a higher meaning.

People say that audiences are listening now, but to what? Like the Rolling Stones on stage just isn't the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra. It's a load of noise. On record it can be quite musical but when you get to the stage it's no virtuoso performance. It's a rock and roll act, a very good one, and nothing more.

It is hard to imagine you doing your sexy thing, jumping about with everyone just sitting there quietly listening.
Right. I certainly don't want to go on stage and just stand there like Scott Walker and be ever so pretentious. I can't hardly sing, you know what I mean? I'm no Tom Jones and I couldn't give a fuck. The whole thing is a performance of a very basic nature, it's exciting and that's what it should be. The idea of doing it all over again is a drag. I'd like very much to have someone produce a show with us. I'd like that, I'd really like to do that.

Do you ever feel guilty about getting up on stage and pointing to those little girls and singing "Everybody Needs Somebody" when you really don't want them at all?
Of course I want them.

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