Jagger began to radiate the old charm, flashing his diamond smile and twinkling his eyes, which are beginning to show crow's-feet which are also known as laugh lines. He was thinking of going out for a walk, he said, but the fans were closing in on the hotel. "It eventually affects you so that you don't feel like having to face anything."
What about the disappearing band member that the authorities had almost confiscated? What will the fans of old think of the Stones giving in to the police?
"Well, yeah, I just thought that practically it'd be better if we didn't use it because if we were arrested we wouldn't be able to use the fucking thing at all anymore. They'd be waiting for us everywhere. The cock has now reached minimal proportions, rather than if we'd said, 'Oh fuck 'em.' I thought of that, of course I did. You just have to realize where you are and whether it's really worth it. It's not compromising so much as being a bit more far-sighted."
Well, what does Jagger make of the Stones' image this time around?
Jagger grimaced: "Image, that's just, that's just people who don't know you, so how can they get that opinion of you? Oh — I guess just by reading about you and listening to the records. So they get their image of you that way."
And the old Prince of Darkness/Sympathy for the Devil image?
"Yeah, yeah, that was an unintentional role. We may put that song back into the show, though it needs rehearsing. So it'll be part of one's makeup again. We prefer to play the newer songs. I would prefer not to do any of the old ones at all. We have a lot of new ones that we don't do, that I'd like to do, like 'Time Waits for No One.'"
Has Jagger thought all that much about his future and the future of the band?
"I think," he said, "that we would like to do some gigs next year. I don't really know how long the band's gonna last. Lots of bands of other kinds, not rock bands, have stayed together. Not always with great results."
Yes, but here you're all getting up in your 30s. How will you deal with becoming an aging rock star? Pete Townshend is probably the only one who's talked about that and he's said that he's stopped doing teenage songs.
"Ah," Jagger winked. "But, see, I never was a teenager. I don't remember doing any teenage songs. But I do know what he means. Pete, though, has got 'My Generational' to cope with. We don't have anything like that. I mean, we stopped doing 'Satisfaction' quite a long while ago."
But then maybe it's easier for someone like Dylan, who can always be an acoustic troubadour.
"Maybe I can do that. It's not difficult to go onstage and just sing. As long as you can hold people, you don't have to dress up, really — it's not necessary."
Maybe you're right, I said. Elvis may have proved that.
"Proved what? I saw him on the TV last night. I thought it was awful. I'd never seen Elvis before. But, I mean, it was just the crowd, where he was, and all that. I'd never seen him and I don't know. He's still going on. He's an example. But a lot of people think he's stupid, you know."
He doesn't give interviews and you still do.
Jagger laughed heartily. "Yeah. You'd say to him, 'Hey Elvis, how come at the age of' — however old he is, he's quite old — 'how come you still want to dress up in a silly suit and get onstage? At the funckin' International Schlock Hotel in Las Vegas?'" Jagger slipped into what he considers to be a southern drawl: "'Wal.' drawled Elvis, 'it's the money and the fame. Damn straight.' That's what the guy does. He'd be lost if he couldn't do that."
Does it, I asked, cost you more now than then years ago to keep yourself reasonably content? "It probably costs me far more," Jagger said. "I spend more on travel mainly than I used to since I don't live so much in one place anymore. I'm not as domesticated as I used to be. By domesticated, I mean — what I mean is living in a house and being with a woman and all that; permanently settled in one place, that's domestication. I just keep going."
What, then, is important to you? Your work? He smothered a giggle. Well then, is, say, a candy bar important to you? He laughed. "I don't think anything is really important to me, you know? Not really. I mean, not overwhelmingly." What about the adulation of the masses out there?
"That," he said seriously, "that's a difficult thing, you know. Because, because I've been living like this for so long that if I stop — if I stop doing it, it's bound to affect me, you know. It's an overwhelming feeling, the audience. That must be why most of these people never give up performing. Because they just can't go without that sort of rush. It's a bit like having an orgasm. Sometimes an orgasm is better than being onstage; sometimes being onstage is better than an orgasm."
What about acting: Do you want to move into that more? "I'd like to try some more. I've never gone to see myself in a movie, kind of nervous about it. I'm not sure if I've got that relentless, ruthless ambition anymore. To want to be a star, because I mean it's hard, it's ruthless. I don't know if I want to do that."
And after this tour? "I don't know. I guess I'll just either continue to do music or try movies or maybe just stop completely." But could you stop completely? "For a while." Maybe take some time and write the history of the Stones? Jagger stood up and delivered the full Super Trouper smile: "I'll never do that."
This story is from the July 17, 1975 issue of Rolling Stone.
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