Why I Hate Mick Jagger
STICKS & STONES
I never bought into that rock-yahoo sloganeering that proclaimed The Rolling Stones to be The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World (hereafter: TGRNRBITW), maybe because I was always first and foremost a Beatles fan. They seemed to do everything first, and better, than the Stones, who always seemed to play a game of catch-up, of following the (undisputed) Leader. And, quite frankly, I never thought it was a Hertz vs. Avis, or No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle of the bands anyway - heck, I'd have the Kinks, the Who, the Small Faces, maybe even the Zombies ahead of them in the No. 2 queue. But because friends whose opinions I respect kept telling me to reconsider, I have recently immersed myself in Stones films, books and records to reaccess their oeuvre and see if perhaps I missed something. And I've been able to put my finger on why I never bought into the TGRNRBITHW rap: Mick Jagger. He's a dick. Plain and simple.
But what about longevity, you say? The Stones have spanned 5 decades, therefore they are truly TGRNRBITHW ! Well, the Holy Roman Empire lasted nearly a millennium and the word on the street is it wasn't so hot as empires go. And how long has Cats been running on Broadway? I rest my case! Merely sticking around isn't a guarantee of fame and acclaim. If it was, the bums loitering outside my library would be celebrities and Generalissimo Franco would have been inducted into the Dictators Hall of Fame by now.
NO STONE UNTURNED
But before I take the piss out of Mick, let me mitigate my rant with a few kind words about the others...I pretty much like all the other Stones.
Keith - Keith is a guy who, while he probably deprived the world of greater musicianship and a foil to make himself play better by letting superior guitarist Mick Taylor go and be replaced by his no-threat drink-and-drug buddy Ronnie Wood, always did what he wanted. Where Mick wanted hits, Keith never followed the prevailing winds of musical fashion, instead playing whatever he liked, which just happened to be recycled R&B and Chuck Berry riffs, much like another guitarist I respect - Marc Bolan. Bonus Points: Keith ripped his singer an extra orifice when he became Sir Mick in '92 and also shattered the urban legend about Mick's Priapic proportions in August 2005 when he said, "His cock's on the end of his nose. And a very small one at that. Huge balls, small cock. Ask Marianne Faithful."
Brian - Though his Buster Brown bowl cut hairdo inspired a generation of pedophiles and though he never understood the concept of birth control (having sired 5 illegitimate children by the time he was 24!), I give Brian props for being a flash dresser, for being the most articulate Stone in interviews, and for inspiring Anton Newcombe to name his band the Brian Jonestown Massacre. And by dying young (at the ever popular rock star expiration date of 27, a la Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison), he became a cult legend.
Mick Taylor - Classic tall and silent type, i.e., a total boor. But the Shy Guy sure could play guitar! Probably the most musically accomplished Rolling Stone ever. Sadly, he wasn't much of a writer, being strictly a gifted sideman.
Bill Wyman - The only Rolling Stone to have served Her Royal Majesty, the tiny-fingered, cradle-robbing (remember his anorexic teeny bopper wife Mandy Smith?) ex-RAF airman came up with the uncredited riff to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and did the music for my favorite Dario Argento film, Opera. More importantly, Wyman had a sense of history, keeping diaries and collecting Stones memorabilia that he ultimately shared with the world in the form of his awesome coffee table book, Rolling With the Stones.
Charlie Watts - Rock solid drummer with great deadpan humor (after introducing a Stones gig in Toronto with a perfunctory "Hello Toronto," Charlie quipped afterwards, "Perhaps I could work up some material with a little more punch"). And because Charlie is my celebrity lookalike, this handsome hunk automatically gets a passing grade! Bonus Points: Charlie once punched Mick when a drunken Jagger swaggered into their hotel room and called out, as if ringing his bell for a servant, "Where's ma drumma?" Charlie, a man of few words, put it to Mick clear as crystal: "Don't ever talk to me like that again." Drum roll, please! (Update - My pal Scott Wallace Brown adds: What he actually said to Mick when he decked him was "Don't ever call me your drummer boy again. You're MY fuckin' SINGER.")
Ronnie Wood - Keith had Woody's essence perfectly: "A perfect blend of talent and bullshit." Woody was a rock 'n'n roll good time guy, not a great guitarist, but complimentary to Keith. And not a boor like Mick T. He and Keith certainly had the rock star guitar moves down. And the hair - he had that great Rock Rooster haircut which complimented Keith's unkempt tonsurial look (though not as much as it complimented Rod Stewart's 'do when they were both in The Faces!).
15 X 1: 15 REASONS WHY MICK'S A DICK:
1. Prancing with Mr. J.: I never liked the way Mick pranced around stage like a Twink. It's downright laughable. Monkey Man, indeed. Worse than Elaine Bennis busting a move on Seinfeld. Everyone from James Brown to Tina Turner claims he stole moves from them, but I guess Mick had the last laugh, getting way more groupies than all his dance role models combined. Chicks love that lonmg-haired, eye-shadowed, glittered androgyny thing, go figure.
2. Cry-Baby! At the sentencing hearing for the infamous 1967 drug bust at Keith's Redlands residence (where Mariane Faithful was in her birthday suit and where Mick was found in possession of "anti-fatigue" Bennies), Mick almost fainted and started to cry like a little baby when the judge handed him a 3-month sentence. What a fucking pussy! At least Keith took it like a (stoned) man, in stoic, Stone-faced silence. Mick was probably distraught at the prospect of going 6 months without coochie - As Tears Go By.
3. Betraying the Faithful. Mick destroyed Marianne Faithfull, soaking up her culture and class, then throwing her away like trash when she became a bother. While in Australia to film Ned Kelly, Mick chose to give an interview to the Australia press while in the next bedroom, Marianne continually called out to him. Later that night it was discovered that she had attempted to commit suicide by taking an overdose of Barbituates. Mick initially poopoo-ed the idea, saying she was overly tired and that it was accidental. How inconvenient for Mick's ego to have to deal with Marianne's fragile mental state as she went into a coma for three days while he had to film his movie.
4. Self-Love: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the greatest Egotist of them all? Narcissism reached its apex when Mick married his mirror image clone, Nicaraguan hottie Bianca Perez Morena de Macias. Ever the womanizer, Mick quickly forgot his vows when on tour, the most notorious indiscretions occurring in Chicago at Hefner's Playboy mansion. The whole marital incident had shades of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry realized his GF looked just like him. Jerry bailed. Mick jumped right in. Recent pics of Bianca make her look like a cross between Mick and Lauren Bacall. In a bad way.
5. Altamont: Jagger's street cred bottoms out as his panicky, yellow-bellied reaction to Real Life Going Down Bad Around Him is captured by the Maysles Brothers in living, bleeding color in Gimme Shelter. Only "Brownie" and the FEMA crew could have handled a disaster more poorly. Mick's pathetic limp-wristed plea for peace?: "Brothers and sisters, come on now! That means everybody just cool out. We can cool out, everbody! Everybody be cool, now...Okay, I think we're cool, we can groove." The whole idea was rushed, poorly planned, and unnecessary...kinda like another bad idea happening now in Iraq! And to what purpose? Self-promoting publicity and jumping on the Woodstock bandwagon. Deplorable.
6. The Voice: Elvis Costello had it right when he called Mick "not so much a singer as a cheerleader." It's a vocal style that relies mainly on gestures - the aforementioned prancing that masks his woeful warbling with the semblance of continually being out of breath. In fact, Mick the Mumbler has one of the worst voices in the history of rock - comparable to Marlon Brando's singing in Guys and Dolls - and it never improved even when he had the money to get lessons. Probably inspired other mumblers, like Michael Stipe (though thankfully he didn't inspired the prancing dancing).
7. Word Turds: The Lyrics: I always had the feeling that Mick was trying too hard to write "important" lyrics. Dylan said he never tried to write "message" songs and, in fact, turned his back of the Folk Movement for that very reason, of being locked into topicality. Mick always seemed to want to be topical. The songs suffered as a result. Mitigating Factor: I liked the Some Girls songs. I got the feeling that in their vulgaity and misogyny, at least Mick was being free and easy and not caring how it sounded - perhaps this was the influence of punk rock.
8. Under His Thumb - Mick the Misogynist: You'd think somebody done him wrong instead of the other way around. Poor Chrissie Shrimpton gets peeled apart on many a Mick tune, especially on Aftermath. "Stupid Girl," "Under My Thumb," "Play With Fire," "Star Star," "Some Girls," are but a few of his love ballads, and the list goes on. And the original S&M cover of Black and Blue was a doozy, too, lest we forget. Ah, but paybacks ARE a bitch. Especially ones named Luciana Gimenez Morad (pictured above in her "Luci in the Sky with Implants" pose). You might recall that in August of 2000, this Brazilian underwear model gave birth to a little Micky - Mick's seventh child to date (and second illegitimate progeny) - and sued to get child support payments of up to $35K a month. More importantly, she finally got the notoriously tight-fisted and financially (if not sexually) discreet Mick to disclose his exact income and net worth. Dispense with Sympathy for the Devil, as this man of wealth and taste is reportedly worth close to half a billion bucks! That could buy a lot of condoms, Mr. Jagger! You could ever spring for Economy Class flings in future by means of an inexpensive vasectomy!
9. Screw Stu - The Ian Stewart Dust-Off: Waiting on a Friend? Hardly. The Kid Stays OUT of the picture. Mick and the boys never gave it a second thought when long-time friend and ORIGINAL MEMBER Ian Stewart, who played boogie-woogie piano, was kicked out for looking like Jay Leno. Andrew Loog Oldham and the record company suits told the boys that he didn't look the part and, as we all know, image is everything. Especially the bad boy image so carefully crafted by AOL, and Stu, with his golf shirts and khakis, never fit that part. He was too cool to care about image.
10. The Man Dress: What was Mick thinking when he wore that ridiculous and foppish dress at the 1969 Hyde Park Concert? Besides the sartorial transgression, Mick was also guilty of the even greater crime of pretention when he unleashed hundreds of butterflies and recited - or attempted to recite, in between mumbles and mispronunciations - a Shelley poem in memorium for the recently deceased Brian Jones. All very pretentious and disingenuous, considering the shabby way Brian was treated by Mssrs. Jagger (who slept with Brian's girlfriend Anita Pallenberg during the filming of Performance) and Richards (who added the final nail in the coffin by stealing Brian's old lady later that year).
11. The Rock and Roll Circus: For nearly three decades, Mick held up the release of Stones' 1968 TV special The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Director Michael Lindsey-Hogg (isn't that a wonderful British hyphenated name?) had been hired to film the Beggars Banquet-era Stones performing with The Who, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull and The Dirty Mac (an impromptu supergroup comprised of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell, and Keith Richards on bass), with midgets, fire-eaters and other sideshow diversions. It was initially rumored that the Stones held up release because they felt their performance paled when set against that of The Who, whose performance of "A Quick One While He's Away" was later allowed to be excerpted for the 1979 documentary The Kids Are Alright. The film was finally released on video in 1996 and the DVD version came out in 2004. But according to Bill Wyman's commentary track on the DVD, it wasn't the band's performance that made Mick hold up the release - it was Mick's own performance that he felt was subpar. Apparently, there wasn't room under the Big Tent for Mick's considerable ego. And hence, Stones, Who, Jethro Tull, Lennon, Clapton, and Taj Mahal fans had to wait 28 years to see this historic film. Thanks Mick! You can put down your vanity mirror now!
12. You're So Vain - The 1969 Rainbow Room Press Conference: Glib Mick answers a reporter's query on whether the "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" Mick is now satisfied. "You mean sexually?" Mick counters, ever the carefully planned provocateur. "Sexually yes, financially no, philosphically trying." It's a famous line, but comes off as trying too hard to be witty. The Beatles were great at this sort of thing, as was Dylan, because they said what came naturally. They weren't TRYING to be clever. They just were.
13. The Disser of Oz: Mick's dis of the Land of Oz in July 1969 while filing Ned Kelly, about their national hero, was a doozy. "Huh! Those Australians. They really are dummies! They're so pathetic. When it comes to acting, they make out it's something special. It's not. It's just as natural as singing. You either can do it or you can't." Yeah, right. Like he would know!
14. The Sullivan Sell-Out: When Ed Sullivan asked Mick to substitute the line "Let's spend some time together" during the performance of the song "Let's Spend the Night Together," he willingly agreed. What a rebel. What Would Lennon Do? YOu know the answer. And we know what Elvis would do - Costello, that is. He'd change the tune to his terms. That's only the spirit of rock 'n' roll - but I like it, yes I do.
15. You're So Respectable: Sir Mick, a convicted drug felon and wanton womanzier, was knighted back in 1992 (with creds like that, one wonders why it took so long!). Back in 1969, a reporter asked Mick how he felt about John Lennon returning his MBE from the Queen, and the Mickster replied that he should have done it sooner, and that that's what he would have done. How ironic, as Alannis Morrisette would say. I say, what a hypocrite.
1 MITIGATING FACTOR
I like that Mick wrote a song that ticked off Fox TV and the NFL. In fact, Fox TV is trying to get the NFL to cancel Mick Jagger's Super Bowl performance contract because he wrote "Sweet Neo Con," which they consider anti-Americain (hey Mick, the Prez says if you're not with us - like Hank Williams, Jr. and all those Country & Western Redneck Patriots - you're against us). Fox, the NFL and Mick: The Axis of Dickdom.