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Topic: Rock's Bad Boys Grow Up but Not Old Return to archive
09-26-02 10:21 AM
Jaxx Rock's Bad Boys Grow Up but Not Old
By BERNARD WEINRAUB
New York Times

HICAGO Ask Mick Jagger about growing old and everyone does ask and he grimaces.

"Musicians don't think about this very much," said Mr. Jagger, 59, seated in a hotel room here, where the Rolling Stones performed three recent sold-out concerts.

"Rock 'n' roll requires a certain amount of energy," he explained. "You just can't do rock 'n' roll sitting on a bicycle going 10 miles an hour. You really have to wind the energy level up that's part of the main ingredient. It's not like you have to be a brilliant musician, but you need a kind of explosive kind of musical energy to play rock 'n' roll well. And we have that."


The Stones will bring that energy to Madison Square Garden tonight in the first of three concerts in the New York City area. They will perform at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands on Saturday night and at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan on Monday night.

Keith Richards, the Stones' legendary guitarist, put his view of aging another way. Seated backstage at Comiskey Park before one of the concerts here, Mr. Richards, also 59, sipped a glass of orange juice. Incense burned beside an ash tray as he lighted a cigarette. "I want to do it like Muddy Waters till I drop," he said.

The Rolling Stones, who have defined rock 'n' roll as much as any group for more than 35 years, insist, almost defiantly, that their creative vitality and, yes, their health are thriving. Having become enormously wealthy as members of the most successful rock band in history the Stones' 1994 "Voodoo Lounge" tour grossed an industry record of $124 million they said they had no desire to settle down in their mansions.

"This is not something you retire from," Mr. Richards said. "It's your life. Writing songs and playing is like breathing you don't stop."

Mick Jagger, in Chicago, says you need energy to play rock. Keith Richards says he'll do it until he drops



Mr. Richards lives in Weston, Conn., with his wife, the former model Patti Hansen, and their two teenage children. (He also has two older children from his long relationship with the actress Anita Pallenberg in the 1960's and 70's.) "The Stones are incredibly strong and a well-oiled machine," he added. "Ideas keep popping up. After every tour you've been on the road maybe three years you go home and forget about it for, like, a year, and then after about 18 months, you start to expect a phone call. And after a few weeks, it'll be like Mick or Charlie saying, `Are we going to do anything?' "

Charlie Watts, 61, the band's quiet drummer, who has served as a mediator in the periodically strained Jagger-Richards relationship over the years, wasn't defensive about his age. "I think about the age issue myself," he said. "It doesn't upset me when journalists talk about it. I do know that I saw Duke Ellington when he was in his 70's, and he was fabulous. And he toured every day of his life. We lead a cushy life by comparison."

In the cities they have visited so far in their North American tour Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia the Stones have performed in locations of different sizes. The variety enables them to play contrasting shows. Mr. Richards called it "the Fruit of the Loom tour small, medium and large."

More than Mr. Richards, Mr. Watts and the guitarist Ron Woods, who is 55, Mr. Jagger is especially sensitive to the age issue and makes it plain that every time he talks to a journalist, it's like visiting the dentist. Even more than successful contemporaries like the members of the Who, who have also faced age questions, the Stones have always promoted themselves as classic bad boys whose defiance is almost as significant as their music. (The writer Tom Wolfe once said: "The Beatles want to hold your hand. The Stones want to burn your town.")

Mr. Jagger famously said in his youth that he couldn't imagine singing "Satisfaction," the Stones' signature song, at 30. As long ago as 1978, Chet Flippo wrote in Rolling Stone, "The Stones gave it everything they had these old pros, crippled by age and dissipation, but still holding the flag high." (The bassist Bill Wyman quit the band in 1992 after 31 years partly because, he said, he did not want to continue playing the same songs.)

More recently, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror displayed a photo of the four Stones looking grizzled, accompanied by the caption, "Would you let your grandmother marry one?"

A clearly annoyed Mr. Jagger said here, "It's the press that seems to care about age, not audiences."

Joe Levy, the music editor of Rolling Stone, stressed that the Stones were still a powerful symbol. "In the 60's they stood explicitly for social change," he said. "Their stance was political, even revolutionary. They no longer carry that message, but they still carry the underpinnings of it live by your own rules, your own passions. They do what they want, when they want to do it."

He credited their uncommon endurance to Mr. Jagger and Mr. Richards. "Jagger ensured the Stones' longevity by managing their business affairs with an iron hand," he said. "Keith has ensured their longevity by stubbornly managing their music. Together they form this remarkable power." (On Oct. 1 Virgin Records is releasing a two-CD Stones retrospective, "Forty Licks," with 36 songs and four new ones.)

With songs that helped define and stretch rock 'n' roll, as well as Mr. Jagger's skills at prancing and preening to seduce an audience of stadium size he was the first rock star to do so the group seems unstoppable. "We're as frisky as teenagers," said Mr. Richards, who has written about 200 songs with Mr. Jagger.

Even the Stones are impressed by their ability to do what many other rock stars and bands could not: physically survive the 60's and 70's. But they almost didn't. Brian Jones, their most musically adventurous member, who left the band while battling drug problems, was found dead in his swimming pool on July 3, 1969. The coroner's report cited "death by misadventure."

Mr. Richards has acknowledged that he spent most of the 70's as a heroin addict in a narcotic haze. He said his arrest by Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1977 in a Toronto hotel room finally led him to beat his addiction, though the charges of heroin and cocaine possession hung over him for 18 months, threatening to land him in prison for a long time and end the Stones' career. (He was given a one-year suspended sentence.)"I know I was the most likely to die," said Mr. Richards, his famous face heavily lined by years of hard living. "It was an experiment that went on far too long, and it's the only thing in the world that ever beat me. And I put up a hell of a fight."

"I think what dope sort of initially gave me was a certain barrier between myself and what was actually going on," he said, taking a long drag of his unfiltered cigarette. He described a kind of dual existence. "I really wasn't living in a rock 'n' roll jet set fantasy," he said. "I was down in the street, trying to get my stuff and meeting very, very interesting, bizarre characters as a result. In that way it was like another life."





09-26-02 06:56 PM
Mother baby
quote:
Jaxx wrote:
Rock's Bad Boys Grow Up but Not Old
By BERNARD WEINRAUB
New York Times

"Mr. Jagger is especially sensitive to the age issue and makes it plain that every time he talks to a journalist, it's like visiting the dentist.




That's because it has become a stupid question that has been answered a million times. Unfortunately, I doubt it will ever go away....how boring ...




09-26-02 08:18 PM
Pants Make the Man {"I do know that I saw Duke Ellington in his 70's, and he was fabulous."- Charlie Watts.} No doubt, Mother baby. What about that quote from Charlie can today's critic's not understand? Are today's critic's that uneducated and myopic? Don't they know that the Stones are on a totally different level compared to those sh*t bands that MTV throw's down our throat's? Keith say's he want's to die playing music. Well, people have died playing music. Playing music or making love, what a way to go.
09-26-02 08:26 PM
Mother baby [quote]Pants Make the Man wrote:
What about that quote from Charlie can today's critic's not understand? Are today's critic's that uneducated and myopic?
It would seem so.

Don't they know that the Stones are on a totally different level compared to those sh*t bands that MTV throw's down our throat's?
Probably not.

Oh well, whatya gonna do?

09-26-02 09:27 PM
Boomhauer I like how Mick got pissed and said, "It's the press that seems to care about age, not audiences."

Hell Yes, Mick! You got that right. These fucking journalists can kiss their royal British asses!