In an era where social media is used to facilitate and exaggerate wealth, celebrity, and status, Mick Jagger has used it to position himself as one thing he’s never really seemed to be — a regular guy who loves taking a stroll and visiting tourist attractions.
Jagger’s been on Instagram since 2019, but this fall his activity really picked up as he documented his various outings during the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour. There he was in front of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, outside a junkyard in Nashville, sipping a beer at a Charlotte, North Carolina, saloon, where no one seemed to know or care who he was. In a new interview with The Washington Post, Jagger spoke about his Instagram habit and its intersection with how he fills his downtime while on the road.
“I’m not just doing it to do Instagram pictures,” he said. “I’m doing it to go out because I don’t want to be stuck in a hotel room watching TV. But, I mean, it gives you a bit of a funny thing. Oh, that’ll make a good picture, that’s hilarious. I don’t publish them all. Some of them are just too weird. But you do see odd things and you meet people and you say hello.”
Some planning goes into Jagger’s excursions because, as he put it, “each town has something of great interest, whether it’s a beautiful park, or a lovely picture, or a museum that’s interesting to you, or some odd thing that you never thought of.” Ultimately, though, he said he’s just trying to “get a vibe of where the place is,” and that his low-key Instagram aesthetic reflects the way his posting is less about vanity and more about keeping a diary of the places he’s been.
Jagger said he usually takes one security guard with him, and maybe a member of the Stones’ backing band will join him (not Keith Richards, though — “I think he has a different approach to how he handles being on tour,” Jagger said). While sometimes people will spot him out and about, he noted that being masked during the pandemic has made him less recognizable.
Complementing the very normie vibe of his Instagram, Jagger shared some equally normie stories about how some of his most memorable photos came about. Of the one of him drinking a beer in Charlotte, he said some locals tipped him off to the Thirsty Beaver Saloon, and he added, “In normal times, I would go into the bar and spend time in there. But, you know, I didn’t want to do that because of Covid. So I just went outside. And at other times, you do the typical tourist thing like the St. Louis Arch. If you go there at certain times of the day, there’s not so many people. [Then you] take the mask off and do the picture.”
Jagger also discussed a series of him in Las Vegas, where he took photos on the famous Las Vegas strip, and in the parking lot of a very generic strip mall: “There was something funny about that. Something about rock stars [an advertisement behind him for a Rockstar energy drink], but that’s not really what attracted me. It was because it’s so generic and American and you go there and see all this glitzy, Las Vegas architecture and then you turn a corner and it’s just ordinary… I like these odd places. So you go to the park, say, I don’t know where it was in the beautiful park. And then on the way you see all these weird industrial scrap heaps. I put it in there. Or you see 100 cherry pickers parked, you know. What’s this?”