Rest assured, before you go see the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger is loving you truly. And Keith Richards is hating it. That was some of the backstage action revealed as the Stones talked about Tuesday’s release of their new DVD box set, “Four Flicks,” which documents the band’s 2002-03 “Live Licks” tour.
JAGGER SAILED into the hotel interview suite wearing a purple leather jacket, orange socks and a black shirt with blue edging. Punctuating his comments with a whiskey laugh, Jagger and Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood spoke about warming up, winding down and everything in between.
Associated Press: Before the club show, there’s a bit of you singing, “I love you truly.” What’s going on there?
Jagger: I have vocal warm-ups to do. You can’t just walk on stage and sing. Well, some people do and they’re able to do it, but I’m not. You have to warm up first, like any other muscle, you have to warm yourself up. I have to do like 40 minutes of warm-up and ‘I love you truly’ is part of my warm-ups — and other silly noises.
AP: There’s a point on the DVD where you complain because Mick is doing scales in another room. Is this a recurring problem?
Richards: (Laughs.) Well, yeah. You can call it that. I put it in the contract, actually just for fun, after the last tour. Mick’s next door and the rest of the band is in the other room and we’re listening to scales. There’s some people that need this. Actually, it became a joke. ‘He cannot do this within my earshot.’ We fool around with each other. In a way, I suppose it’s the difference between my way of approaching things and Mick’s way, which is serious preparation and mine is just get there and do it.
A MOMENT, AN IDEA, A SONG
AP: Do you need a certain set of circumstances to be able to write a song?
Richards: I feel like I’m an antenna. You sit down, you pick up a guitar, you sit down at the piano, just tinkle away. Now and again, a lucky accident or just something comes in, and suddenly there’s a little idea, and that’s called incoming. If you grab that moment and idea, you give it a little help, a little grease, and stroke it a bit and you know (kisses) ‘I love you!’ With a bit of luck, that’ll turn into a song, and then you transmit it. I feel like the go-between in this thing. I don’t feel like creation. You know, ‘I created this, I wrote this, this is mine, and blah.’ I just think I was lucky to receive it and even luckier that I could pass it on.
AP: If I had been given the choice of seeing you on the first show of the tour or on the last show, which would have been the better one?
Watts: Usually the last one, you know what you’re doing.
Wood: But also the first one, in Toronto, the little club, where we first started up again ... we were so nervous! Well, I was.
Wood: When you don’t do it for two years, and we can’t do anything half. It has to be manic.
STILL NERVOUS AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
AP: They show a shot of you right before that Toronto show where you’re all looking nervous — but you’re the Rolling Stones. What could you possibly be nervous about?
Wood: Caring for our audiences.
Watts: Yeah, if you didn’t, you could just toss it off. I get nervous playing a pub, let alone going on stage. I get nervous playing with other people. It’s adrenaline. I think if you weren’t like that, you wouldn’t care.
AP: Have you ever had stage fright?
Jagger: Not in the accepted sense. ... You feel a bit nervous, but I’m not really nervous.
AP: There’s a point on the DVD where you look like you’re hiding under the stage.
Jagger: Yeah, that’s the first show of the whole tour, you know, and everyone’s scared. There’s a lot of tension from everyone, because I’m not the only one. There are 30 people backstage, and their tension is palpable. You never know what’s going to happen. That’s one of the interesting things about it. Once you get out there, the first five minutes, that’s all gone.
AP: For some people, that would be their worst nightmare: standing up in front of a crowd of people. Why do you do it?
Jagger: It is frightening. It’s not frightening for me.
AP: You’ve been on tour for so long. What are the first few days like when you finally get home?
Watts: Usually, (the feeling is) still carried on.
Wood: I was going to say the same thing. Every night at nine o’clock, where’s the gig?
Watts: But his wife is on the road with him. Mine is at home. So when I get home, mentally I’m still on the road, but I’m actually straight back into being there, with people who have been there for two years and I’ve been there twice in two years. That’s a very strange thing.
Wood: (To Watts) What? To see your wife again? It’s not strange to me!
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