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November 5, 2010 4:53 AM   Subscribe

Please Allow Me To Correct A Few Things. Mick Jagger "responds" to Keith Richards about his new autobiography. (From journalist Bill Wyman.)
posted by availablelight (94 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have a code word I share with some friends (race car) which we say during stupid arguments as a signal to cease and desist said argument immediately lest we alienate everyone around us.

Mick and Keith have no such arrangement. And so a little part of me will remember them as just a couple of cranky dinosaurs.
posted by pwally at 5:07 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the best thing Mick has done since "Some Girls".
posted by inturnaround at 5:14 AM on November 5, 2010 [24 favorites]


If this had happened 150 years ago, Mick would've simply demanded satisfaction.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 AM on November 5, 2010 [15 favorites]


(this is a gag by the writer, right? But a well researched one)
posted by bendybendy at 5:20 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


So this Bill Wyman the journalist got someone else's mail, opened it and printed it. Niiice.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:21 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of Mick Jagger using the word fungible.
posted by srboisvert at 5:21 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I like how various people "feel no compunction." Surgeons suddenly have discovered the soul (it was hiding under the medulla all this time) and the soul has little lobes with tendrils of nerves darting off into various parts of the brain. "Oh, but this one. He's had a compunctectomy. It's the closest thing we've got to removing the conscience. After the operation, the patient is much better able to secure short-term gains. The most curious side effect is the sudden dearth of trust received."

And Mick! It's as if you're at a hot dog stand and a couple of hoodied, chemically-enhanced punks try to rob the vendor with just a Bowie knife, and then suddenly the old guy drops his tongs and replaces them with a pair of balisongs, flashing and snicker-snacking through the air. Before you know it, the punks have their pants down around their ankles because their belts have been cut without you quite seeing it. Only a few precise long scratches reveal where the blades may have traced, and you're quite sure that they were put there, depth just so, on purpose. After they dash off, he asks if you would like some relish, but you realize that you've just had some, one way or another.
posted by adipocere at 5:22 AM on November 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's either a creation of the writer (which is strongly implied by the absurd intro) or Jagger has become both unblinkingly self-reflective and an extraordinary -- even brilliant -- writer in his dotage.

I'm not convinced this isn't some subtle gotcha by the journalist Bill Wyman is response to the musician Bill Wyman sending him a cease and desist letter over the similarities of their names. But, then, I'm now not sure that actually every happened, and that this isn't all a strange, dazzling, ongoing prank by an obsessive Stones fan.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:26 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nothing like an accusation of having a small cock to send a man reaching for his thesaurus.
Is it real? Despite the somewhat precious style it seemed a refreshing attempt at honesty and definitely worth a place in the archives.
posted by Abiezer at 5:26 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


If this is real, I'm Alexis Korner. Hell of a fun read, though.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:31 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


is it real? with all the lying going on in mass media, i feel that without an affidavit, i can't believe this was written by Jagger. but i may be wrong.
posted by liza at 5:31 AM on November 5, 2010


Oh, I wanted this to be real! Then I got to Mick Jagger using the word "fucktard."

No.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:32 AM on November 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


See, this is why Keith and Mick should not have murdered Brian. When he was around, Mick and Keith were friends, but after they got rid of him, they turned on each other. Some people just need enemies, Keith and Mick chief among them.
posted by NoMich at 5:35 AM on November 5, 2010


I doubt this is genuine based on this:

"We had known each other in grade school..."

This is ostensibly from one Briton writing about another Briton to another Briton. Who the fuck says grade school over here?

Sloppy.
posted by littleredspiders at 5:36 AM on November 5, 2010 [20 favorites]


Aye, no one calls it grade school in the UK. Even a comical little geezer like Mick.
posted by the cuban at 5:38 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Grade school"?
posted by WPW at 5:39 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


shopped
posted by ericost at 5:42 AM on November 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Brenda.
posted by pracowity at 5:50 AM on November 5, 2010


I like the "grade school" schooling.

Keith has said in interviews that Mick read the manuscript of his mangum opus before it ever went to the publisher -- and chuckled and okayed it. Whether that's true or not, who knows? In any case, since Mick's not written his bio yet, guess who'll have the last word?
posted by blucevalo at 5:51 AM on November 5, 2010


also (or his favorite sax player/drug runner/drug buddy/hanger-on). "Favorite." Without a "u." It's like he's not even trying! :0
posted by taz at 5:53 AM on November 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


It would have worked too, if it was not for those meddling shibboleths!
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:02 AM on November 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


Whoever wrote it--and I would like to think it was Mick Jagger--is a hell of a writer. Maybe it was Mick. He certainly wrote some great (if not so verbosely eloquent) songs. If it was him, I can't help wishing he'd write more.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:02 AM on November 5, 2010


I like the idea of Mick Jagger using the word fungible.

me too
posted by fungible at 6:03 AM on November 5, 2010 [17 favorites]


Awwwww. Poor baby. Who gives a shit?
posted by PuppyCat at 6:06 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


We need this guy on AskMe:

Like, for a show in front of 60,000 people for which we are being paid some $6 or $7 million for a few hours' work, I like to suggest to everyone that we start on time, and that we each have in place a personal plan, in whatever way suits us best, to stay conscious for the duration of the show.
posted by swift at 6:11 AM on November 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


I really like the idea of Mick Jagger using the word fucktard, myself.

Although I'm sure it's an elaborate prank, let's not discount the fact that Jagger went to the London School of Economics (albeit for a brief time), and has been praised for his CEO skills... you don't stick around in popular music and make that much money for this long without at least a modicum of smarts.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:13 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Grade school"?
Yes, that did leap out as something an English person wouldn't write, no matter how long they'd lived in the US, especially if the document was intended for archives not an American audience.
posted by Abiezer at 6:14 AM on November 5, 2010


Or, what everyone else has said more succinctly already.
posted by Abiezer at 6:18 AM on November 5, 2010


british twits using "grade school" not much different than american twits using "spot on" and "gone missing".
posted by kitchenrat at 6:20 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this, very interesting.
posted by rotifer at 6:24 AM on November 5, 2010


'Grade school' indeed. It's like the bit in (the book) Da Vinci Code where the young French woman talks about being on 'Spring Break'.

Having said that it's a pretty solid analysis of the Stones' career, albeit one written by Patrick Bateman.

(& I'd love to know if the stuff about Tattoo You is right)
posted by DanCall at 6:24 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I go into such detail to describe the arc of our decline accurately but also note this sad corollary: Keith brought something out of me, way back when. Through Exile, I felt I had to rise to his songs. When he checked out creatively, I lost something important. While there is some spark, I guess, in "Some Girls" or "Shattered" or whatever, however contrived, I know most of the other songs sucked.

Oh, how I wish this was a real quote. It would be the most honest, perceptive thing Mick has ever laid down on paper.
posted by Paid In Full at 6:26 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Responds" is in quotes in the FPP for a reason, folks. If Mick Jagger is this articulate and self-aware, I'll eat my hat.

Still a fun read.
posted by availablelight at 6:27 AM on November 5, 2010


> In any case, since Mick's not written his bio yet, guess who'll have the last word?

Wasn't it on metafilter that I read Mick had already taken an advance from some publisher to do an autobiography but then gave up the project after a few months because he doesn't remember anything he did when he was a big rock star because of all the booze and coke and weed he was taking?
posted by bukvich at 6:30 AM on November 5, 2010


Also, check out the indexing (at the heading) on slate.com for it:

HOME/low concept:Dubious and far-fetched ideas
posted by availablelight at 6:33 AM on November 5, 2010


I don't know that it's particularly well researched, seems to me he just read this and then threw a little jab in at having spent the time to do so.

That said, the last part, I want so terribly, terribly bad to be true. Just once, I'd love to have any old school (I had typed out 'has been' but thought better of it) artist to come out and say, "You know what, all the new stuff is utter shit, but I have a house payment due and two drug cases from 1985 to settle out still, but that song you hum in the car on the way to work every morning, I wrote that and it's perfect and beautiful and in a hundred years it's gonna be hummed by people on their way to work in flying cars or whatever and you're welcome. So you can buy the album full of filler sung by the voice you love or not. Sod off."
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:33 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Mick Jagger was that articulate? WTF? Is there some notion that a long-term successful rock-n-roller can't be especially articulate? Let me guess, you couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, amiright?
posted by Goofyy at 6:38 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apart from the grade school reference, it reads as if it was ghosted by Brian Sewell.
posted by Segundus at 6:38 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


But what's puzzling me is the nature of Bill Wyman's game.
posted by Beardman at 6:38 AM on November 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


And so a little part of me will remember them as just a couple of cranky dinosaurs.

Oh my god that would actually be the best concept album for them ever. Ryan North can do the album cover.

I'll buy two
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:48 AM on November 5, 2010


The Low Concept column is always parody or intended to be.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:53 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Responds" is in quotes in the FPP for a reason, folks.

Might have been clearer if Mick Jagger had been in quotes instead.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:54 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes ... but how large is his penis?

He's just entirely missing the point :)
posted by labberdasher at 6:59 AM on November 5, 2010


Just once, I'd love to have any old school (I had typed out 'has been' but thought better of it) artist to come out and say, "You know what, all the new stuff is utter shit,

I've often wondered: do they know it's shit? Do they care - are they just doing it for the money? Or do they feel a need to try to create something, so they do, and even though it's not very good, they can say that at least they tried?

I can't imagine the Stones need the money - if they do they can just do a tour, play the old hits, everyone will love them and that's that (not to mention royalties for the old stuff). So maybe there's an actual need to make music there, and a hope that they can do something as good as they once did.

Alternative hypothesis: cocaine. Lots and lots of cocaine. (As in: they've done enough coke that they think the new stuff is great)
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:06 AM on November 5, 2010


well, someone can write really well.

what is the song with the Wayne Shorter solo?
posted by cogneuro at 7:09 AM on November 5, 2010


"I'm digressing but I'm trying to explain where we came from. We didn't have a template. Nothing against Steven Tyler, but there's a difference." Zing!
posted by Daddy-O at 7:11 AM on November 5, 2010


If Mick Jagger was that articulate? WTF? Is there some notion that a long-term successful rock-n-roller can't be especially articulate? Let me guess, you couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, amiright?

Quite the opposite (on both counts), though I'm no Mick Jagger, plus I think his lyrics are awesome! What, you think just because I appreciate the rarity of good writing I can't carry a tune in a bucket and I'm not hip to that rock and roll thing?

I said "Articulate and self-aware"....that's a 1+1=3 in my book, and if you've got an ear for such a thing, this is storytelling well done....a talent that isn't so common.
posted by availablelight at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2010


"Weird Al" Yankovic - The Mick Jagger Interview
posted by Daddy-O at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2010


Yeah, fake. I can tell by the pixels.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:28 AM on November 5, 2010


You know what, all the new stuff is utter shit, but I have a house payment due and two drug cases from 1985 to settle out still

Michael Caine on Jaws: The Revenge: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:31 AM on November 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


The lyrics, I confess now, may have been in their defiance just épater la bourgeoisie and in their poesy derivatively Zimmerman-esque. Even when they weren't, no one would have paid attention if the chords weren't arresting, irrefutable. The songs spoke primarily through their music, not their words. Keith's doting fans nattering on about the ultimate avatar of rock 'n' roll authenticity irritate me, it's true; but he may to this day be underappreciated.
Ok, maybe it's not authentic, but these are an amazing few sentences, and I'm going to pretend he said it.
posted by norm at 7:42 AM on November 5, 2010


Okay, so I got trolled at 7:00 am. Now I am on my third cup of coffee, and I'M CLOSING!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:46 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I literally wrote a song called "She's So Cold" and then, a few years later, one called "She Was Hot."

Oh, Fake Mick! What a character!
posted by shakespeherian at 7:50 AM on November 5, 2010


Oh, also:

Well, he's not talking about me, really. He's just trying to get my attention, I think, in the end. The remaining part of the rancor comes from the fact that he knows he lost me, many years ago.

This is where I expected it to turn into slashfic.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:52 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


The second important thing is Keith's talent. We took it for granted, in a way, as he says. We felt it was our duty to get together and write a song, one good song each day we worked. He is kind to say I could take what he gave me and run with it. But he is the one who gave me the actual song to write the lyrics to. He wrote a dozen Top 10 hits in five years, and, after the band added Mick Taylor and essentially grew up, he wrote most of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Again: What were you doing at 25? It's interesting to me how no previous song we'd recorded would have a respectable place on those albums; and any song on them would have seem out of place even on Aftermath or Between the Buttons. Keith's lurch forward was amazing. As a pure rock (not folk or pop) songwriter, I think he is not just without peer. I think he is unrivaled in depth and growth, from "As Tears Go By" to "Satisfaction" to "Jumping Jack Flash" to, I don't know, "Gimme Shelter. " "Monkey Man." "Street Fighting Man." The primal feel of the chording. The musicality of the intros and breaks. The innovation of the recording—cruder, no doubt, but I will argue far more emotionally powerful than the Beatles'. The winding, intermixed guitars he almost desperately loved. Without him, what would I have been? Peter Noone? It is hard to use a word like integrity about a band as compromised, as self-bloodied, as we were. But for some years, unlike any other group, the Beatles included, we declared war on that silly, hypocritical, repressive, and arbitrary society in which we lived. The only ammunition we had were Keith's songs. The lyrics, I confess now, may have been in their defiance just épater la bourgeoisie and in their poesy derivatively Zimmerman-esque. Even when they weren't, no one would have paid attention if the chords weren't arresting, irrefutable. The songs spoke primarily through their music, not their words. Keith's doting fans nattering on about the ultimate avatar of rock 'n' roll authenticity irritate me, it's true; but he may to this day be underappreciated.

The whole paragraph's worth quoting, actually. I don't care who wrote it, because it's the damn truth.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:53 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of Mick Jagger using the word fungible.

Considering that he did attend the London School of Economics, that's the most plausible part of this whole article.
posted by norm at 7:53 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


what is the song with the Wayne Shorter solo?

pretty sure he's referring to 'Waiting On A Friend'

unless he means 'How Can I Stop'
posted by lukievan at 7:54 AM on November 5, 2010


I hope the writer has an agent. Change the names and this is a helluva start to a brilliant novel.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:02 AM on November 5, 2010


Abiezer: ""Grade school"?
Yes, that did leap out as something an English person wouldn't write, no matter how long they'd lived in the US, especially if the document was intended for archives not an American audience.
"

I've Scottish, attended Primary School at Saint Mary's in Bathgate; but when I have a broad audience, I say grade school; this isn't your clue.
posted by NiteMayr at 8:06 AM on November 5, 2010


I'm, I'm, not I've.... yeesh

NiteMayr: "Abiezer: ""Grade school"?
Yes, that did leap out as something an English person wouldn't write, no matter how long they'd lived in the US, especially if the document was intended for archives not an American audience.
"

I've Scottish, attended Primary School at Saint Mary's in Bathgate; but when I have a broad audience, I say grade school; this isn't your clue.
"
posted by NiteMayr at 8:08 AM on November 5, 2010


but when I have a broad audience, I say grade school; this isn't your clue.

Aye, but the point here is, this was (allegedly) not written for a broad audience.
posted by docgonzo at 8:24 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually I think this could easily be real, because my name is actually Bono Vox, and I once got a letter from The Edge from U2, who had obviously misdirected said letter to me rather than his famous band mate, Bono Vox.

Of course, he had simply written "Bono Vox" on the envelope without an address, so really it was the Post Office's fault for not realising that the Complete World Listing of Names and Addresses (which they use for all incoming correspondence) lists TWO Bonos Vox (or "Bonae Voci", or whatever).

Anyway - I reproduce the letter here for the benefit of my archives, because I know you people are totally all over that archiving shit:

"Hey Bone-o,

Maybe you could take a little time off from sucking Bush's cock and come to the fecking studio and record some fecking songs, you fecking gob-shite. And take off those fecking glasses you fecking prick, you look like a bug-eyed fecking turd.

Edge"

So I wrote back as follows:

"Hey baldy

Fuck you - you - you - you - ou - u

Bono"

And the anger that correspondence created lit the creative fires that inspired "No Line on the Horizon". So basically, I am owed a couple of fucking Grammies.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:42 AM on November 5, 2010 [21 favorites]


Bill Wyman, previously on the blue. (It's actually the first link that comes up when you google "Bill Wyman journalist".) As for the article, I'm working my way through it slowly, because it's so good:
Keith's been arrested with a mason jar full of heroin and a shopping bag full of other drugs and drug paraphernalia and is charged with drug trafficking. That was his baggage for a weekend in Toronto. It is hard to play a show with a catatonic guitarist, harder still when he is in jail for 10 years. I won't even get into the fact that this came right when I had every record label in the world fighting to sign us, and in an instant my negotiating power was vaporized. Here's a baroque bulletin from the archives: Anita's 17-year-old boyfriend has accidentally shot himself, in Keith's house—Keith's bedroom—with a gun Keith left lying around. Young Marlon, then perhaps 10, saw Anita, covered in blood, coming down the stairs distraught, and God knows it could have been Marlon playing with the gun. Or: Keith's driven his car off the road (again) with Marlon inside (again). In his book Keith stands back, amazed at the things that just … happen to him. He is frequently the victim of faulty wiring in the hotels in which we bivouac; a surprising number of times this phenomenon has caused fires. Ritz-Carltons are not built the way they use to be, I guess. Redlands burned down a couple of times as well, as did a house he was renting in Laurel Canyon. It's a wonder Marlon survived his childhood. A third child Keith disposed of by sending her off to his mum back in Dartford I to raise. The second? That was another son, who was left with his paranoid, unstable, heroin-addict mother and didn't make it past infancy. Keith says he blames himself, and on that at least I think we can agree.
Worth keeping in mind for the next "hurf durf Keef" thread.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:43 AM on November 5, 2010


'an English person', Nitemayr.
posted by Segundus at 9:03 AM on November 5, 2010


This was a very good read.
posted by treepour at 9:05 AM on November 5, 2010


Thanks for that. It was a good read. It's the writing of a rock critic, though, when he gets into the songs.
posted by Trochanter at 9:10 AM on November 5, 2010


Later, one grows older and becomes more informed about such things, and I saw I was supposed to have held an elaborate ceremony called an "intervention." Society could have effectively halted the upheavals of the 1960s simply by requiring all of us to "intervene" with one another. In any event, considering half our circle was on heroin and the rest were coke fiends, I think it wouldn't have efficacious in our circumstances.

Yup, the 60s really were a different time.
posted by philip-random at 9:15 AM on November 5, 2010



I've Scottish, attended Primary School at Saint Mary's in Bathgate; but when I have a broad audience, I say grade school; this isn't your clue.


I've Scottish too and never heard anyone call it grade school. Maybe things are different in the RC system, dunno.
posted by the cuban at 9:31 AM on November 5, 2010


the cuban: Nope, I went to an RC primary in Glasgow, it was only ever called a primary school. And as docgonzo said, it's supposed to be for the archive and not a wider audience.
posted by littleredspiders at 9:45 AM on November 5, 2010


Also: beans!
posted by littleredspiders at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2010


Please allow me to correct a few things ... no member of the Rolling Stones did anythings to a girl with a fish in Seattle. That was Led Zeppelin.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:39 AM on November 5, 2010


Legally, Wyman never claims that Mick Jagger authored this; he just says he received it in the mail, and assumed that it was written by Mick Jagger, to the bassist Bill Wyman.

Hunter S Thompson used to use this very trick quite often... For instance, in his "'72 Campaign" book, Thompson claims to have heard rumors around the Muskie campaign that Muskie was using Ibogaine and reported this... and later admitted to having started those rumors.

"On reading it, he saw that it seemed to be the thoughts, at some length, of singer Mick Jagger"

Still, a very well-written piece, and spot-on. And as far as Mick not saying such American things as "grade school" and such, it is well known that he (often embarrassingly) would mimic the accent/language of whoever he happened to be talking with at any point, and I have seen interviews with him where within fifteen minutes he sounded like he was from Dublin, Tennessee, and Australia, morphing from one dialect into another seamlessly, dialect as well as accent and all. I think it is possible he wrote this article, but if he did, it was sent to the Bill Wyman (the writer) on purpose, not accidentally. It would be a way for him to say his piece on the book without having had officially said anything.

Regardless, it was quite good.
posted by peewinkle at 10:41 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was all prepared to hate on Jagger for this, as I have a soft spot for Richards and his glorious mistakes past. And everyone needs to hate on Jagger, right? He's the fancypants who probably killed (or wanted to kill) Jones, that misunderstood boy-genius, right?

But he pretty much says everything about the live shows and recordings that any real critic would say. There are so many crystal clear moments in this jeremiad that ring absolutely true.

I mean, "Start Me Up" being a the blip that kept them even marginally employed through the 80s. So fucking true.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:14 AM on November 5, 2010


I've often wondered: do they know it's shit? Do they care - are they just doing it for the money?

I don't know, and I've heard many, many 'old school' artists defend their current works almost to the point of vehemence, but I will say this: look at the list of records Don Was* has produced and then tell me with a straight face he's anything less than the kind of producer hired by a studio or band to do anything more than stroke the ego and coo gentle complements to the artists he's recording.

* I will acknowledge he produced one of my favorite albums, The Road Goes on Forever, by the Highwaymen. God, I love that record, but the production on it make me cringe on every. single. note. It sounded dated five minutes after it went in the can. Why couldn't he just let them sing and stay the hell out of the way!? Gripe all you want about Johnny Cash's American recordings, but Rick Rubin knew enough to get the hell out of the way when music was being made. In an alternate universe, it could have been produced by Dan Was and no one under the age of 35 would know who Johnny Cash was. /rant over
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:16 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how it being presented under the "low concept" category doesn't definitively establish that it's not real.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:38 AM on November 5, 2010


neuromodulator: dude, that's a lot of negatives. not sure what you said. :-|
posted by Trochanter at 11:46 AM on November 5, 2010


> what is the song with the Wayne Shorter solo?
>
> pretty sure he's referring to 'Waiting On A Friend'
>
> unless he means 'How Can I Stop'

"How Can I Stop" has Shorter. "Waiting On a Friend" is Sonny Rollins.
posted by Kylio at 11:52 AM on November 5, 2010


The writer is in the comments and has acknowledged it's not real:

Thanks again for all the great comments. I intended the piece to be just a book review, but also a piece of press criticism--it was odd to me how many of the reviews took everything Richards said at face value, and repeated, merrily, stories that were actually a bit grim.

I tried to finesse it, but "grade school" *is* a great catch.

I grew up in the punk generation, and of course one had to immediately hate Mick Jagger after years of uncritically loving him. But I would not have wanted to be tied to the hip to Richards for the past forty years.

posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:36 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was kind of beautiful... Reminded me of McSweeney's at its best.
posted by aquanaut at 1:58 PM on November 5, 2010


The real Mick Jagger appears to be just as self-aware and awesomely literate as this fake Mick Jagger. Here's Greil Marcus reporting on Mick Jagger's reaction to critics saying that "Tattoo You" is a return to form and a "good" Rolling Stones album:

“Chacun a son gout, but really”,he said. “All right, Some Girls was good, Emotional Rescue was bad, this one’s good, I agree – though this one’s nowhere nearly so good as Some Girls. But don’t forget – between Exile on Main Street, which was a great album, and Some Girls, we came up with four bad albums, and a couple of those were terrible. Consumer Protection Agency investigations, class action suits, the whole bit."

Jagger continues:

“everybody will have forgotten about this one in six months. Sure it sounds ‘pretty good’, and it’s even got a ‘rockin’ side, and a ‘dreamy’ side, just like those ‘oldies but goodies’ lps, but I defy anyone to find a single song – what’s it called again? Oh yeah, Tattoo You, thanks – with a , as Sartre would have said, raison d’etre. L’enfer, c’est les autres, you know? We could have done these songs, or we could have not done them. Who’s know the difference? What people want is product."

And here's the kicker:

"To assert that a tune carefully constructed out of half forgotten Rolling Stones hits for the sole purpose of assuaging the listener with a sense of familiarity disguised as high-tech contemporaneity could possibly be compared in terms of emotional impact or social metaphor to a record on the level of Elmore James’ ‘Done Somebody Wrong’ is merely to reify the sort of false consciousness that may well make revolution in our time impossible,”

posted by ferdydurke at 3:23 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


uh, ferdydurke, I think that is also a parody. Or did my browser fail to read your /sarcasm tag?
posted by timeistight at 3:29 PM on November 5, 2010


I'd be happy to believe it's parody, but it comes from a book that's otherwise nonfiction, now republished in the U.S. by Harvard University Press. So, until I've got some proof otherwise, I'm going to choose to believe that Marcus' quote is the real Mick Jagger.
posted by ferdydurke at 3:55 PM on November 5, 2010


I'm not convinced this isn't some subtle gotcha by the journalist Bill Wyman is response to the musician Bill Wyman sending him a cease and desist letter over the similarities of their names.

Astro Zombie, I for one was absolutely convinced that this was the case by the second paragraph.

Doesn't read a bit like Mick talks. Reads like a rock journalist, steeped in the history of the Stones, talks.

And, as others have noted: an American rock journalist, at that.

Well played, Mr. Wyman. Touché.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:14 PM on November 5, 2010


I think it's a great piece and I think he came pretty close to capturing Mick's voice in the writing. Contrary to what some others have said I think Mick Jagger is precisely this articulate, though I will concede, perhaps not quite so self-aware. When I read it "fungible" jumped out at me too. Not because it didn't sound right, but because I really heard him say it in my head, and it sounded exactly like a word he would use. Most of the writer's critiques about the Stones' output is dead-on, but I will dispute him on one point.

Can you sing a single chorus from Dirty Work? Name a single track? We certainly don't play songs from those records in concert if we can help it.

One Hit To The Body

I love that song. I wish they would play it live. I've tried to listen to the rest of that album though and I just can't get through it.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:20 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So this kind of strikes me as, perhaps, something like fanfic's crossover into mainstream literature, with all the implications such a crossover might involve: fictions imitating fictions reflecting deeper emotional/social realities that are themselves reflections of both contemporary and historical myths, etc, and we're not sure where we are in all of this except that we're all somehow participants . . .

I dunno, plate of beans, whatever, but I feel this is not only a very good piece of writing but a kind of literary/social gesture I haven't really encountered before. Not that I'm the best judge, but damn, even as a somewhat tongue-in-cheek book review, this is something.
posted by treepour at 9:56 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Guys, you don't have to trawl the comments for the author's acknowledgement that it's fiction: the subtitle at the top of the page is "Imagine if Mick Jagger responded to Keith Richards about his new autobiography."
posted by Pomo at 10:47 PM on November 5, 2010


I'm sure Slate added that since this post was made, Pomo. I clicked through and read, then came back here to see if any of the comments revealed what was really going on, then went back to the article and scoured it a bit for a small reveal somewhere indicating that it was not really Jagger. I wouldn't have missed a big-ass subhead. or would I? Nah. unpossible.
posted by taz at 1:55 AM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah crap. For a moment there I felt that Mick had pulled back the curtain to reveal something even more interesting.
posted by qinn at 2:31 AM on November 6, 2010


"I've often wondered: do they know it's shit? Do they care - are they just doing it for the money?"

The Stones, among others, make their money from touring, not recordings sales. For some reason I'm not able to fathom, touring acts get better bookings if they're releasing recordings from time to time, even if the recordings get little airplay and the new material isn't being performed on tour. Without the new "shit", an act winds up playing at a lot of casinos.
posted by coldhotel at 8:58 AM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I twigged at the first 'asshole'. Brits have arseholes, thankewverymuch.

It's a great piece, though, sly and wise in equal measure. Viz:

(Like, for a show in front of 60,000 people for which we are being paid some $6 or $7 million for a few hours' work, I like to suggest to everyone that we start on time, and that we each have in place a personal plan, in whatever way suits us best, to stay conscious for the duration of the show.)

posted by Sebmojo at 1:07 AM on November 7, 2010


Thanks coldhotel, that's interesting to know. (I mean, I figured they made more money from touring, but didn't realise that releasing new recordings helped so much, even if they don't sell)
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:08 PM on November 7, 2010


That read like fanfic. Wonder if it'll start getting referenced on tvtropes?
posted by jtron at 5:30 PM on November 7, 2010


Bill Wyman come clean on his blog and discusses why and how he wrote the fictional Jagger piece.

Regarding that subheading - he confirms it was added later: "Still, I have been surprised by those who I thought would have known better who didn’t get that the alleged manuscript was fake. So I didn’t mind that Slate tweaked the subhead to, “Imagine if Mick Jagger responded to Keith Richards about his new autobiography.”"
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:13 PM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I liked this enough to where I actually wrote the author with a congratulations on a well written article and a link to the discussion here. He replied thusly (NB: I am re-posting this with his permission):
[norm]:

thanks for the note. and thanks even more for the link to metafilter. seriously, what a great discussion of the piece and the issues, and so many great lines. the patrick bateman crack hurts! and the overall level of knowledge and debate was incredibly high.

as for grade school, isn't it exactly the sort of americanism he would adopt to irritate keith?

wyman
posted by norm at 9:30 AM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


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