(I get inspiration from t)hings that are happening around me - everyday life as I see it. People say I`m always singing about pills and breakdowns, therefore I must be an addict - this is ridiculous. Some people are so narrow-minded they won`t admit to themselves that this really does happen to other people beside pop stars.
There was one song that was particularly chosen as an anti-women thing, which was Under My Thumb. And actually Under My Thumb - how does it go... (sings) Under my thumb, there`s a girl who once had ME down. So the whole idea was that she - that I was under HER, she was kicking ME around. So the whole idea is absurd, all I did was turn the tables around. So women took that to be... against femininity where in reality it was... trying to "get back", you know, against being a "repressed male".
A lot of children, like in the United States, don`t remember the real horror of (World War II), because they never had to, as they do in Europe and Russia and so on. I`m not saying America didn`t have a terrible experience, but it never came home to them that way. You had rationing and shortages, and people got killed and coffins came home. But you didn`t have the experience of the block opposite being destroyed when you got up in the morning.
I was always a singer. I always sang as a child. I was one of those kids who just liked to sing. Some children sing in choirs; others like to show off in front of the mirror. I was in the church choir and I also loved listening to singers onthe radio - the BBC or Radio Luxembourg - or watching them on TV and in the movies.
I`m very country-influenced, from quite young. Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, so on. I heard those people, really, before I heard blues. Even Jim Reeves, Everly Brothers, and so on. Those kind of pop-country performers are very popular in England. Used to come along and play a lot on TV and their records would be around.
We really were vicious. In the beginning if anyone was the slightest bit flaky in a recording sesion, they were really in for a hard time. When you`re young you put the knife in. Brian couldn`t even be botherered turning up for sessions. There`s only so much you can do.
Vietnam has changed America. It has divided and made people think. There`s a lot of opposition - much more than you think, because all the opposition is laughed at in American magazines. It`s made to look ridiculous. But there is real opposition. Before, Americans used to accept everything, my country right or wrong. But now a lot of people are saying my country should be right, not wrong.
I`m totally anti-nostalgia; I never listen to old Rolling Stones records. I`m not really interested in them. They`re funny, sometimes, to hear.
I was thinking about this the other day, and I don`t really think I was suited to heavy drug behavior, to be perfectly honest. But I don`t mind talking about it. It`s hard to believe that you did so many drugs for so long. That`s what I find really hard. And I didn`t really consider it. You know, it was eating and drinking and taking drugs and having sex. It was just part of life. It wasn`t really anything special. It was just a bit of a bore, really. Everyone took drugs the whole time, and you were out of it the whole time. It wasn`t a special event.
Satanic Majesties had interesting things on it, but I don`t think any of the songs are very good. It`s a bit like Between The Buttons. It`s a sound experience, really, rather than a song experience. There`s 2 good songs on it: She`s A Rainbow, and 2000 Light Years from Home. The rest of them are nonsense... I think we were just taking too much acid. We were just getting carried away, just thinking anything you did was fun and everyone should listen to it. The whole thing we were on acid.
New York (in 1964 and `65) was wonderful and so on, and L.A. was also kind of interesting. But outside of that we found it the most repressive society, very prejudiced in every way. There was still segregation. And the attitudes were fantastically old-fashioned. Americans shocked me by their behavior and their narrow-mindedness. It`s changed fantastically over the last 30 years. But so has everything else.
People get very blasé about their big hit. Satisfaction was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band. You always need one song. We weren`t American, and America was a big thing and we always wanted to make it here. It was very impressive the way that song and the popularity of the band became a worldwide thing.
We have changed a bit since we got famous. I mean, how would you like to sing the same seven numbers every night? I may not be much of a singer, but there is no artistry in that. Still, we do have fun as well.
We knew (the Beatles) by then and we were rehearsing and Andrew brought Paul and John down to the rehearsal. They said they had this tune, they were really hustlers then. I mean the way they used to hustle tunes was great: Hey Mick, we`ve got this great song. So they played I Wanna Be Your Man and we thought it sounded pretty commercial, which is what we were looking for, so we did it like Elmore James or something. I haven`t heard it for ages but it must be pretty freaky `cause nobody really produced it... It was completely crackers, but it was a hit and sounded great onstage.
I`m a dedicated show-business person. I`ll go onstage and do Noel Coward. I mean, I`m just a show-business person, whether it`s playing guitar, piano, acting, singing, dancing. I just chose rock & roll as my career in show business. If I`d been born in 1915, I`d have been a jazz drummer or singer in a jazz band or an actor.
A knighthood, I`d take, nothing less than a knighthood. But you gotta last a long time to get a knighthood.
I enjoy changing personalities. Yeah, honestly I feel I`ve got to be very... chameleon-like just to preserve my own identity... I don`t feel threatened by (the) possible eventuality (of losing touch with myself). I don`t want to have just one front. I feel like I need at least two just to carry on doing what I`m doing comfortably. It`s acting, sure it is... that`s what it obviously comes down to. It just gives me the facility to do practically anything I want, see, and even then the most drastic changes of personlity don`t really affect me `cause I never feel the need to do them that often. It`s all part of being a rock & roll star, after all.
I think it`s very important that you have at least some sort of inner thing you don`t talk about. That`s why I find it distasteful when all these pop stars talk about their habits... It`s wearing. You`re on all the time. As much as I love talking to you today, I`d rather be having one day where I don`t have to think about me. With all this attention, you become a child. It`s awful to be the center of attention. You can`t talk about anything apart from your own experience, your own dopey life. I`d rather do something that can get me out of the center of attention. It`s very dangerous. But there`s no way, really, to avoid that.
I don`t really count myself as a very sophisticated businessperson. I`m a creative artist. All I know from business I`ve picked up along the way. I never really studied business in school. I kind of wish I had, kind of, but how boring is that?
I think I`m a pretty good father. I have a nice affinity with children, not just my own. I like taking bunches of kids out for the day. Kids keep you young and they keep you laughing.
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.
It would be nice to have another shot. Instead of me being a rock singer, I could have done something else. You hope you`ve done something right, you`ve spent an awful long time on it, so you better be bloody right. Did you waste a lot of time? Yes, you`ve wasted a lot of time. Did you use your intellectual and physical gifts? Yes and no. Because I don`t think rock and roll is as intellectually taxing as other things. It`s not particularly challenging. So you get intellectually lazy. I don`t think anyone is ever satisfied with what they`ve done.
I`m dreading (old age). There are very few old people who are happy. When their minds stop thinking about the present and the future and stay wrapped in the past, they are awfully dull. I don`t want old dears saying, How old do you think I am? 48? No, I`m 78 and I`ve got all your records! Then I think it`s time they should grow up!
(W)e shall never tour America again. It is very hard work and one bring-down after another. Every place you go there is a barrage of criticism and eventually you just start lashing out.
I don`t think I shall live to a very old age anyway. I`ve always had that feeling, but if you can stop your body falling apart you`ve won half the battle. I believe in that adage, You are what you eat. If you eat a colossal amount of potatoes, you end up looking like one. All lumpy and knobbly-kneed. I`m not a vegetarian or anything, but I prefer fish to meat and I don`t drink milk or eat a lot of starchy foods.
It can`t go on forever. The thing that bugs me is that I get treated like The Grandfather of Pop, just like James Brown is regarded as The Grandfather of Soul - and I do get treated like that. Now, I`m only three years older than David Bowie. Or is it two? I don`t know why we`ve kept going. I think really because we were successful. But that`s sort of begging the question.
I`ll be keeping it up until my body starts to fall apart and that`s a long time off. The Stones might not last for ever but we`ll be going until sometime this side of ever.
I want to play places that are uncharted rock & roll territory. Much as I love America, a lot of America we never played in - we`ve never played Wichita. But I`d like to go to Asia, I`d like to go to India, I`d like to play the Middle East. I`d like to play more in Eastern Europe. All those places, there is zero money, you know, but you are hoping to break even. Which is a concept most people who run rock & roll tours can`t grasp, because what`s the point of spending a year touring and earning no money when you could be back in America, earning money. But that`s what I would like to do.
So I was in a restaurant one night, a nice one in New York and there was a family at the next table. No one was paying attention to anyone else but then I heard - I couldn`t help it - the kid ask his father something. He wanted to know which band was better, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Well, I don`t know, says the father. Why don`t you ask him?, meaning me. It made me feel like something out of history.
There`s not a lot in rock that is new. It`s the same kind of chord sequences and the same kind of rhythm references and the same recycling of subject matter. But I don`t think it`s a problem. I mean, traditional musical forms like folk music in three chords or blues are endearing to Americans. They find some comfort in them.
If we were bored to death, honestly I don`t think we would do it. We do enjoy ourselves doing it. Everyone has been saying, `How come they can enjoy themselves? They should be bored to death doing this.` We`re still having a lot of fun.
We`re on the road so much that we don`t depend on girlfriends for relationships. It`s not a barrier. Most men don`t depend on their girlfriends for relationships. Besides, women never get on. If that sounds like an anti-feminist statement I`m sorry, but it`s a product of practical experience.
The Beatles were so big that it`s hard for people not alive at the time to realize just how big they were. There isn`t a real comparison with anyone now.
I`m not in love with things at the moment. I was never crazy about Nirvana - too angst-ridden for me. I like Pearl Jam. I prefer them to a lot of other bands. There`s a lot of angst in a lot of it, which is one of the great things to tap into. But I`m not a fan of moroseness.
I think, like most people, my moral values tend to be pretty fuzzy.
I`ve always been spiritual. I wish it had been developed in some other way, but I think in our culture it rarely is. This is as far as we get.
I`m not on anyone`s side. There is no side that has an absolute answer. That`s the trouble with politics. You might say, The Republican take on the Middle East is incorrect. The Democratic policy wasn`t that brilliant, either.
Rock and roll is a spent force in that we can`t expect any more from it, either as music or an instrument for social change. It is merely recycling itself and everything is a rehash of something else. I`m not that good a musician to break out of it - it`s all I can do.
I think a lot of young people have started something and we`re never going to finish it. I think maybe kids went too far in their faith in it. They expected it to be everything, to express all they feel and do.
We(Keith and Mick) have a very good relationship at the moment. But it`s a different relationship to what we had when we were 5 and different to what we had when we were 20 and a different relationship than when we were 30. We see each other every day, talk to each other every day, play every day. But it`s not the same as when we were 20 and shared rooms.
Keith and I have a very complicated relationship. I don`t pretend to understand it. I find it quite tricky. He is a very inward person and he was always a very quiet and meditative type of person, so to bring out what he really wants to say is, I think, quite a problem for him sometimes. I`m a very outgoing person and very gregarious. Keith isn`t, really, although he`s learned to be somewhat more gregarious than he used to be.
The `50s were the beginnings of a consumer revolution. A few books like Absolute Beginners give a reasonably accurate flavor of the period if you weren`t there or can`t quite remember; I was very young.
What`s success to bourgeois people anyway? Success to them is an endless succession of marriage and the monotony of suburban cars. That`s what they think success is. I didn`t want to please my parents anyway.
OK, that was a very big break, the `60s thing. But it was winding up from the days of Elvis. The Elvis period was super-rebellious. Because that kind of music was much more shocking than the music of the Beatles - the early Beatles... The sexuality of the early Elvis years was much more shocking to a straight audience than the Beatles` I Want to Hold Your Hand... The wild men - Elvis, Jerry Lee - they were much more scary. So when we`re talking about any `60s break, you have to take that into account. They`d already made this sexual charge.
It`s hard to remember just what that period(the sixties) was like, but I can assure you it was extremely different from now. There was attitude, things you take for granted now they wouldn`t then: social values, the way people mix, racial segregation, sexual segregation and orientation, the opportunities people would or wouldn`t have, class and money. And the list goes on.
Everybody has their own moral code. I conduct myself as I think fit.
We belong to a generation that`s separate from any other. We believe in what we`re doing. We`re happy to have the kids screaming for us. It gets me down to think that a lot of them will one day disappear into the drab nest. I hope all of them won`t. If only the whole world could stay young.
In the year 2000, no one will be arrested for drugs and those sort of things. It will be laughable, just like it would be laughable if people were still hanged for stealing sheep. These things have to be changed, but it takes maniacs obsessed with individual microcosmic issues to bring it about. I could get ever so obsessed about the drugs thing, and if I really worked hard at it, I might perhaps speed up the process of reform by perhaps ten years or five years or perhaps only six months. But I don`t feel that it`s important enough.
It`s kind of limiting using your intellect to write songs like Brown Sugar, isn`t it? The only thing I`m really interested in is comparative religion and ancient history.
I was going back to college for a while, but I never made it. I`m a real dropout. I wanted to do comparative religion and history, but I just couldn`t take three months off and go every day. I found myself having to work, and I`m just too lazy. I need three months off from music, but I can never get them.