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Jann Wenner Interview With Mick Jagger
link source : Rolling Stones Mag

Conducted over the course of the last year in places like Palm Beach, Fla., and Cologne, Germany, this is the most comprehensive interview Mick Jagger has ever given.

Being interviewed is one of Mick Jagger's least favorite pastimes, a necessity that accompanies his career. A typical session with a journalist lasts 20 minutes. His life has been public for so long, he sees little need to explain or justify himself and has everything to be gained by holding on to what privacy he has — such as the privacy of his thinking — as well as the value of a little mystery.

Nonetheless, after a 25-year professional and personal friendship, during which Mick and I have often discussed the private affairs of his life and the band, I suggested doing a long interview. He agreed, and we proceeded on the basis of trust and familiarity.

This interview was conducted in three- to four-hour sessions in Palm Beach, Fla.; Montreal; and Cologne, Germany. We began in November of 1994 and finished in October of 1995 with a New York-to-London phone call. We did this throughout the "Voodoo Lounge" tour, a time when Jagger and the Stones were proceeding at a new level of assurance, maturity and status. The atmosphere and congeniality surrounding the band were exceptional, reflecting the upbeat confidence and ease that occurs when you are at the top of your game. I think Mick felt this, too, and thought this was a good time to go on the record, knowing I wanted to go back to the old days and start from there. Also, it was a long tour, and he seemed to enjoy the company whenever I came to do background reporting or the interview.

This is the most comprehensive interview Jagger has ever granted, and I decided at the outset to avoid the gossipy byways in favor of getting Mick to recall and interpret the most significant aspects of the group's history and its music.

Mick is a difficult interview, not only because of his natural reserve and lack of interest in the past but also because he communicates as much with his elastic body gestures, great smile and expressive face as he does verbally: Half of what he says never makes it to the page. There is so much he doesn't want to talk about and therefore says only with a knowing look; you know how distasteful or delightful a particular experience was for him, but that information remains at best a confidence between interviewer and interviewee.... You've been told, and you've been had!

We entered into this as a collaboration, and despite his reluctance about being interviewed, I think he enjoyed the reminiscing and was happy to get some things on the record. I certainly enjoyed it, as a longtime Stones fan and great admirer of Jagger's talents, artistry and aplomb. I also had a pleasurable excuse to see more than half a dozen shows, in all kinds of circumstances, throughout the tour. It's my opinion that the Stones are still the greatest rock & roll band in the world, and based on both the Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge world tours, I think they are also the greatest show on earth.

Herewith, the ringmaster.

J.S.W.
Nov. 7, 1995

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