COLUMN FIFTY-FOUR, DECEMBER 1, 2000
(Copyright © 2000 Al Aronowitz)
A BOOK FOR MICK JAGGER
[The following piece originally appeared in the March/April 1975 issue of MHF&M]
"I 'aven't seen it
ye-et," he told me in that near-incomprehensible lace-curtain cockney
lilt of his. Mick Jagger is such a
perfect actor that even if you miss a few words he makes you understand what
he is saying. We were talking on the phone, he at the Plaza Hotel in New York,
me at my home in Jersey. He had
come in from London to finish up some overdubs on the Stones' Munich album, and
the devilish grin of his voice told me he really wouldn't mind taking a look at
the book but he wasn't going to be forced into asking for a copy. Mick has his own absolute standards of politeness.
"Is it ou' in th' Staeets?'
What could I do?
Let it become part of Tony Scaduto's personal history that I, his former
friend who nearly got into a fist fight with him over his Dylan book, was the
first person to give his Mick Jagger book to Mick Jagger.
Mick Jagger: Everybody's Lucifer, published by David McDay.
As pure journalism, it wasn't
entirely an improvident move on my part. At
least I'd be the first to get Mick's initial reaction. He asked me if I'd read it yet.
"Y' know he never talked to
me-e," Mick said, "an' not one of the' Rollin' Stones w'd talk t'im
either. 'E din' get close on th'
inside. Y' know, he talked t'
people 'ho knew people."
By that time I was a third into
the book. I was looking at it with
a very jaundiced eye and I told Mick I thought the whole opening section
Mick felt he had been burned by
Marianne's memoirs. Burned and
maybe damaged, but mostly burned. You
live with a woman, you whisper to her all the combinations to the locks on your
closet and then she goes out and sells the skeletons.
Mick hoped she got a lot of money for it.
"But the boo' must be
dull," he said. "Mus' be
"Well, no, not dull," I
said. "It ain't got no poetry
to it. It don't scam. But it's
interesting because you're interesting. I
mean I learned a few things about you that I didn't know before."
Mick laughed. He may not really be everybody's Lucifer, but he knows how to
play the role. Sure, he's ruthless.
That's the case that Scaduto makes against him in the book.
But is Scaduto any less ruthless? Am
I? I'll always
bit off the tip of his tongue
in a gymnastics accident.
Did that make him sound 'blacker'?
the Post about how the
Junior Mafia closed down Steve Paul's Scene, New York's great cellar rock club
of the ‘60s.
I asked Tony why he was writing it for some underground
mag instead of the Post.
"I want to make a splash in rock and roll,"
"Shall I throw it ou' now?" Mick grinned
when I handed him the book in his Plaza suite.
He waved it toward an open parkside window. The music of America was wafting in from the Schaefer
Festival in Central Park. He
said a few other things but I didn't catch all the words.
One of the tidbits I learned from the book was that Mick had bitten off
the tip of his tongue in a gymnastics accident when he was
school. According to Tony, Mick
liked what the accident did to his diction.
It made him sound Blacker.
When I saw Mick a day or so later, he mentioned the
book only once:
"There never was any knife fight between me and
Brian," he said. He was
talking about an episode in the beginning of the book where Marianne makes him
take a drive to Brian Jones' house in the months before Brian drowned.
"Can you imagine this scene of me an' Brian in a
duel wi' knives?" he grinned. "Another
figment of Marianne's clouded brain!"
That's all he said about the book. He left for London shortly afterwards with my copy.
I would have liked to finish reading it, although from what I saw of it,
it's not a book that will go into any classics library.
But then again, it's not dull. Tony
would have had to try a lot harder to make a book about Mick Jagger dull. ##
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