Onstage, on that shiny white floor, I see you as kind of a child, a kid playing in the kitchen, your older brothers standing around ignoring you.
[Laughing:] I was going to make popcorn on the side of the stage. This is the last year of the rose petal, actually.
See, we had a lot of different shows for Japan; we were just building up for that. We were going to do seven shows in one place – we've never done that before – and by the time you've done three or four, there's all kinds of things you can do, fuck around. I was going to cook popcorn, hundreds of things, we were really mad, had it all going . . . But it needed two weeks rehearsal, and they never gave it, the State Department, God bless 'em.
Anyway, we didn't do a fuckin' show in Japan, so it didn't matter. I was actually more brought down because I would've really gotten it off and would've got all the popcorn up in crates and hundreds of other gimmicks and crap.
People always seem amazed to see you playing harmonica on "Sweet Virginia." It's lip-synched, isn't it?
[Laughing:] Yes. I'm tolerable, but I've forgotten it all. You have to play every day for that – however, your mouth bleeds. That's the problem. You go home to see your old lady and you're bleeding. [Into a Manchester growl:] "'Ello, Dahlin'," and your mouth is all covered with blood....
I can just see Ralph Steadman doing your next album cover.
[Portrays Steadman submitting his work:] "I'm not sure if this is really gonna sell the album!" . . .
So what's the cover going to be like?
Aw, fuck, you know, some bullshit or other. [Brightly to the tape machine, to the public:] It's what's inside that counts. 'Sgonna be quite a good album, folks. [Shrinking, into a wisp:] It's gonna be a bit different from the last one. Ahh ... it's gonna be evocative, and romantic and tender and loving.
What about the song "Starfucker?"
That's the only song with any slice of cynicism. All the others are into ... beauty. [The violins swell as Mick continues:] It's very difficult to write about those sort of primitive emotions – without being cynical about it; that's when you sound old. I mean, if you can't go into a coffee shop and sort of fall in love with every glass of coffee, and listen to the jukebox – that's difficult to portray in a song.
(Mick continues to dismiss himself as a songwriter and performer; he said the Forum benefit for the Nicaragua earthquake victims had good bits but was just a warm-up; so, in fact, were the Honolulu shows. Then after it gets good and revved up, slicing through the winds, the band coasts. And then there were the old days:)
You know what we used to do in the South? We would go on – and if the audience wasn't very good, we'd do 15 minutes and go off.
Honolulu remembers that. I heard that in the 1966 show here you did 22 minutes and were drunk.
[Laughing again:] Yeah, 20 minutes – but I wasn't drunk. I'm usually pretty straight when I go on. You just do it automatically. You're complete off your head. Completely around the twist. I mean, you can try and get fucked up if you want, but then, basically you're fucked up anyway.
Mick, after the Japanese refusal of your visa – are you sorry that you ever took drugs
[Laughing again, louder than ever, what kind of interview is this?:] No! I'm Gonna go ahead right on takin' 'em! [Then, seriously, maybe:] I don't take drugs. I don't approve of drugs, and I don't approve of people taking drugs unless they're very careful. Most people can't control themselves, they're not happy enough just to get a big high; they've got to get fucked up all the time.
(A writer for UPI had asked Mick, mid-way through the last tour, "What is your sense of American audiences so far?" and Jagger had replied, "They don't seem to be quite so stoned as they were . . . I think they're more straight, possibly younger." Now. he is saying there's "more and more" hard drug abusers, "everywhere, soon as you get anywhere somebody's got a bunch of smack, floatin' around." And just as Mick recalls his own abuses – "in the acid stage; looking back at it it was a bit of a laugh" – a Honolulu police siren begins to sound, 30 floors down . . .)
What about that report about all of you being arrested for using heroin in France?
That's propaganda. That's what propaganda is, isn't it – a distortion of the real facts. That's what fucked us up; everyone thought we'd been arrested on heroin charges. That's bullshit. They'd love to have us on heroin charges, I'll admit, that's their dream. But so far they haven't managed to. They're jumpin' the gun.
What about Keith?
Same. Completely jumped the gun. They'd like to arrest him and put him in prison, I suppose. Like to do it to all of us. [Pouting:] But they can't, in my mind ... [long pause] ... because they're full of shit. [Laughing, again, then spitting, huffing out the words:] Disgusting people ... fascist pigs. They really are!
What's to be made of all this? The next time the Stones tour will probably be in Europe; the next time America gets to see them will be in spring, on TV, with a special scheduled on ABC in April, and in the film made by Robert Frank ("On-tour nonsense," said Mick). The TV show, filmed at the Houston concert last year, may also include bits of backstage shots gathered by Frank. And after that, it'll most likely be Mick in yet another costume. He's just signed with CMA, who'll be his agent in the matter of motion pictures, and he's still reading scripts, trying to avoid the "period films," looking to portray "a certain character," no further explanation. Just: "I've got to stop doing rock & roll for a year."
* * *
The last time I saw Keith Richards, he was heading out of the Rainbow Tower, heading, with Taylor, Jagger and Watts into a station wagon towards the Honolulu airport. Again, he turned to me, told me what hotel he'd be at next, how he really would like to cooperate. I said thanks and turned away to my own friends, still not sure what the story would be.
And now, back on the mainland, the phone rings. Hawaii calling. Ken Rosene, Sunshine Festival director, has been taking Chip Monck around Diamond Head Crater, talking shop, and now he's got some news: Chip has quit the Stones tour; with all that optimism over Japan, in all that popcorn fever, he'd overspent by some $25,000, and there was a . . . meeting with Peter Rudge. So, since the Australian concerts are all outdoors, there's no need for the mylar and the super-trouper backlights, the Stones will just make do . . . coast . . . Rudge is off to Tokyo, to close the books. And Chip Monck, for one, is going off for a vacation – on Maui.
This story is from the March 1st, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone.
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