For the June, 1980 issue of High Times, Liz Derringer interviewed Mick Jagger, who celebrates his 77th birthday on July 26.
Mick Jagger is more than just a singer in a rock n’ roll band. He has been one of rock’s most fascinating and mysterious personalities. The Jagger mystique has been fueled in large part by his lyrics, which range from moon-June love plaints to discussions of Faustian mysticism, all delivered in a deft yet offhand manner that makes the singer seem credible in the song. His feel for interpreting black American blues singers has helped the Rolling Stones make their reputation as one of the best white blues bands. His extramusical exploits, from affairs with models and socialites to his history-making liaisons with Marianne Faithfull and Bianca Jagger, have always been top-line news for the gossip pages. Even when the Rolling Stones are out of the public eye Jagger is ever-present—socialite, sex symbol, the man everyone recognizes, Jagger’s multifaceted talent has also enabled him to translate his persona to film roles—in Performance and Ned Kelly—with ease.
Despite the notoriety and social graces, Jagger is an extremely private person who has consistently refused over the years to open himself up in interview situations, preferring to adopt a mocking tone when journalists turn on their microphones. In order to get a truer picture of the real Jagger, the man who shows himself to his friends in private moments, High Times sent Liz Derringer, wife of guitarist Rick Derringer and a personal friend of Jagger’s, to visit Mick and his girl friend, model Jerry Hall, in their New York town house for an exclusive interview. As the champagne flowed, Liz drew Jagger out, and a more complete picture of the rock star emerged. Recounting the experience, Liz found Jagger “conservative, very human, always joking, making faces like a little boy, hardworking, always up, yet not-fucked-up on drugs.’’ A good friend, she seems to have had to fight off the temptation to linger on his sexuality, while frankly discussing affairs. “As he speaks,” she recalls, “his focus is intent. His blue-green eyes are characterized by a spark of brown in his left iris that looks like a sunspot and is just one of several alluring aspects of his uninhibited sexuality.”
Here then is the result the private Jagger, the Stone at home, the man behind the mascara.
High Times: Why do you move around so much? I know you live in L.A. for a while, then you live in Paris and then you live in London.
Jagger: I don’t know. If you can do it—and most people these days can do it if they really want—it’s just nice. And I like Paris, London, New York. Tehran—I like Tehran.
High Times: What do you like about New York?
Jagger: What I like about it is—tranquility.
High Times: Manhattan? (Laughter.) High above the streets of Manhattan on the second floor?
Jagger: On the second floor only, we’re working our way up. New York is a nice town. You get used to the “duh” in New York. You don’t see it anymore. You don’t worry about going out late. You don’t worry about dressing up so much. I don’t, anyway.
High Times: What’s your day like, let’s just say, a day in New York?
Jagger: A day in New York, oh my God. (Laughter.) You can’t talk about a day in New York.
High Times: Well, what do you usually do during the day? Sleep?
Jagger: Sleep late, get up. Play the piano.
High Times: Do you brush your teeth first?
Jagger: Yeah, obviously, I’m leaving out some of the details. Have a shit. (Laughter.)
High Times: Take a bath? Do you take a bath during the day or at night?
Jagger: In the morning.
High Times: Do you like taking a shower or a bath better?
High Times: Why?
Jagger: Uses less water.
High Times: So what else do you do during the day? Do you go out shopping and all that kind of stuff?
Jagger: No, I never do shopping and all that stuff. Rock-singer stuff.
High Times: Rock-singer stuff?
Jagger: We used to do that in the ’60s—or ’50s, was it? Go shopping. I used to shop for antiques for my apartment.
High Times: Who does your shopping for you, gets your clothes, if you don’t do it?
Jagger: Oh, I do the clothes. I don’t buy any clothes, hardly. I’ve given up buying clothes. I’ve become a mess.
High Times: That’s how come you look like a maniac?
Jagger: Oh shit. That probably is it. I don’t know where to buy clothes in New York, that’s quite true. I never bought any here. It’s always French clothes. You buy them at Bloomingdale’s, don’t you? That’s what they tell me. Every time I go to Bloomingdale’s, I run out because there’s lots of ladies trying on hats. Drives me nuts. (Jerry Hall enters with little exploding holiday favors and gifts.)
Hall: Do you all want Christmas crackers?
Jagger: Oh God. Thank you, Jerry. (Laughter. Jagger opens gift.) What did I get? There you go. I got a funny hat. And I got a purse from Gucci. How nice. It didn’t go bang. Give that purse to one of the kids that wants it. Men don’t use purses, only faggots.
High Times: How do you get around to writing an album? Is there any kind of atmosphere you have to create?
Jagger: Not really, no, the atmosphere is in your head. Writing a song is like—you’re writing a song all the time. It’s just when it pops out. It’s been there all the time. It’s not something that suddenly you do it. It’s always there. Suddenly, it’s in the right mixture inside you to come out. Usually when you’re writing on the piano or a guitar, you don’t write in lyrics, on their own. To me it’s… very boring.
High Times: So you write music and lyrics at the same time.
Jagger: Yeah, at least the idea, and then afterwards tidy up the lyrics, write more verses. But the whole idea of the song should come, in the best way, together.
High Times: So there’s nothing that has to be inside you—like if you read a book or a play—there are certain pieces that…
Jagger: Yeah, you could do, like a character, for instance. You might take a character out of a novel you’ve read or a play. And then you might get something around that, even unconsciously. Or consciously, it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes you do it half consciously and then you realize, oh, you molded it on this character. Sometimes you feel, Oh fuck, I wish it was really my own. You know, I wish I hadn’t stolen it. But then, well, fuck it, it’s not really like it was in the book or play. It’s mine now, it’s like I’ve changed it anyway.
High Times: It’s really hard to come up with something original.
Jagger: There is nothing new under the sun, dear.
High Times: It’s true. I remember we were at a Led Zeppelin concert…
Jagger: Certainly they’re not new. (Laughs.)
High Times: Robert Plant said, “We’re still alive and well.” Led Zeppelin’s still alive and well. And that’s why Rick wrote the song for Johnny Winter “Still Alive and Well.”
Jagger: “Steal Alive and Well,” you mean. Why do you think that Led Zeppelin album sold so many records? And what was so good about it? What songs were the good ones that people liked? There’s a couple of good ones on it.
High Times: “All of My Love”—because they haven’t done many things like that before, pretty love songs.
Jagger: It’s not my kind of music.
High Times: It’s probably the biggest selling record this year. That and the Eagles.
Jagger: I know. But the Eagles sold very well. That’s not really my kind of music either.
High Times: What other bands do you like, anybody special?
High Times: You like the Rolling Stones?
Jagger: Naw. (Laughs.)
High Times: What’s the new album like? It’s all right?
Jagger: I haven’t finished it, so I’m not going to go on about it. Oh, I should, because I’m supposed to be hustling the album, right?
High Times: What’s the title?
Jagger: So far it’s called “Emotional Rescue.”
High Times: Who thinks up the album titles, you?
Jagger: Well, this one I did. Not always.
High Times: You’re the businessman in the group…
Jagger: I’m not the businessman. I don’t deal with the business at all. Not anymore. Occasionally, every four years or five years, they tell me I’ve run out of money, I have to go and make some more.
High Times: What do you like to spend your money on?
Jagger: I don’t know. Where does it go, Flo? I don’t know. Limousines, Checker cabs, airplanes.
High Times: That can’t be more than a hundred bucks a day. For limousines, right?
Jagger: It probably costs more than that, you know. They’re twenty-five dollars an hour now. Keith [Richards] keeps one twenty-four hours a day.
High Times: He does? Put that in, right? And Mick takes Checker cabs.
Jagger: I take Checker cabs. (Laughs.) But the thing is, I don’t spend money on anything. I don’t collect anything. I don’t spend it on furniture.
High Times: You don’t even collect houses. Everywhere you are, it’s rented. Do you own…
High Times: Do you still own a house in England?
Jagger: Yeah. But I don’t live there. It’s my house but I don’t live there. I haven’t lived in it since 1970.
High Times: So there’s nothing that you like to go out and buy?
Jagger: I’d like to buy a house.
High Times: You would? What’s your dream house?
Jagger: (Falsetto voice, New York accent.) My dream house in New Jersey. In Queens they’ve got this beautiful house, wall-to-wall carpets. (Laughs.) No, I’d like a small house in the country.
Want a glass of champagne?
High Times: Yeah. What do you do when you’re alone?
Jagger: Phone a girl up. When I’m alone? (Champagne flows.) Play.
High Times: Do you like to be alone?
Jagger: Yeah. Very much.
High Times: What do you do?
Jagger: Play. Music.
High Times: Take drugs?
High Times: Never?
Jagger: Very rarely take drugs. I don’t like drugs. I think cocaine is a very bad, habit-forming bore. It’s about the most boring drug ever invented. (Laughs.) I mean, it’s very bad and very debilitating. I can’t understand the fashion for it. ’Cause it’s so expensive.
High Times: That’s where you spend your money? (Laughs.)
Jagger: No, but I see people that do. I mean, I know what people spend on drugs. I mean, you’ve got to look it up in High Times. It’s a fortune. Grass is a hundred dollars an ounce, a hundred and fifty dollars for an ounce of grass. It’s unbelievable. But cocaine, forget it. Anyone that buys cocaine at those prices… If you want to take it, fine, but if you’re spending money on it, Jesus. What a boring drug.
High Times: Do you like mushrooms?
Jagger: Yeah, mushrooms. Only under medical supervision. No, but mushrooms are more interesting. You really can’t take them like cocaine. I think drugs should be used only occasionally.
High Times: You sit around and smoke grass.
Jagger: Sitting and smoking grass is different.
High Times: And drinking champagne.
Jagger: And drinking champagne. Okay, more or less—it’s New Year’s fucking Eve, after all. (Laughter.) Happy New Year. (Toast.) But anyway, I just think it’s boring. But who buys it? How much do people spend, a fortune on cocaine?
High Times: Isn’t it amazing?
Jagger: It amazes me. I find it just unbelievable. Drugs are very debilitating.
High Times: Do you like to be debilitated?
Jagger: No. Certainly not.
High Times: You always like to be yourself.
Jagger: Well, you hope to be. You’re supposed to be, at least, I think. To get, like, where you can’t function is ridiculous.
High Times: Do you have any trouble going out in New York anymore? I heard that’s why you grew your beard. Is that true?
Jagger: It did help, actually. I mean, it got me thrown out of all the best discos.
High Times: Why?
Jagger: I couldn’t get into Hurrah’s one night. They said, “Get off the street, the likes of you.” (New York accent.)
High Times: Has it been a change for you? Jagger: That was the idea, you know. It was very good, actually.
High Times: ’Cause I’ve been out with you and I know that people do really bother you sometimes.
Jagger: But people don’t really bother you. People are very nice in New York, actually. It’s very similar to London. They just say hello to me on the street. “Hi, Mick,” they say, and walk straight on. That’s kind of nice, really.
High Times: So you enjoy being famous.
Jagger: No. Not really. If you mean like in a gossip column item, no. It’s terrible. It’s disgusting.
High Times: You like the benefits of people knowing who you are.
Jagger: Well, I guess people always say it’s bullshit when people say they don’t want to be famous. But when you start out by playing music—this is going back years now, I can hardly remember it myself, it’s so long ago—the idea of being famous isn’t the thing that comes into your mind, to be honest. I mean, famous in the right way—’cause there’s no right way—and you’ve got to take what comes. You can be like wanting to be a ballet dancer and turn into a chorus girl, but you still have a good time. So you can’t choose the kind of fame or notoriety that’s thrown at you. ‘Cause once you set yourself up, you can be fucking knocked down.
But what I was saying was, starting off in music, the purpose of it was not to become like well-known on the street and be famous. You know, I didn’t even think about that part of being famous. Famous for making records, yes, but famous face in a woman’s magazine, I never thought of that. I didn’t want that. You just have to take it. You can’t complain too much.
High Times: You like it when it happens.
Jagger: No, not really. I don’t give a shit if they publish my picture or not. I don’t care what anybody says as long as the records are good.
High Times: Do you care when people say bad things about you?
Jagger: Sometimes they’re very rude, but you get so used to that after all these years. Meanwhile, there’s not much anyone can say about you that hasn’t already been said. Do you know what I mean? It sounds so horrible when I read these things. I sound like the most horrible person. Because it’s just bullshit.
High Times: Aren’t you glad I’m doing this interview, and I love you, and I’m saying such nice things about you?
Jagger: Aiii! Aiii, it’s so nice. (Laughter.) They’re so boring. They’re so pathetic, all those journalists. Most of them are. Most of those kind that write gossip stuff, and most of it’s gossip. Do you know what I mean? I don’t really mind criticism in music or in shows and stuff like that at all. I mean, it doesn’t really worry me even if it’s like out of place. At least it’s relevant, you know. Things are just invented about your personal life and you just have to take that. It’s bullshit. People believe it, though. They just believe everything they read. (Marcia Resnick enters the room.)
High Times: Jerry, Mick, Marcia’s a photographer from High Times, if it’s okay.
Jagger: No, you can’t take any pictures. You should have asked me.
High Times: I did. I said, “Can I bring a photographer?” And you said, “Do I have to have a photographer?” And I said I’d bring a girl so you wouldn’t be uptight.
Jagger: Nope, nope. I said nope.
High Times: Marcia, we can’t take any pictures.
Jagger: You want a drink? We’ll give you a drink, though. No, the reason is, I just shaved my beard off, just now. And I all got covered in a rash and I haven’t even shaved. You know what I’m saying? That’s the reason. Otherwise, I’m not gonna make a big number of it. But you didn’t ask me. (Screams.)
High Times: Mick, I swear.
Jagger: (To Jerry.) Can I fuck her now? (Laughs.) You thought you asked me.
High Times: No, no, no, no. I did.
Jagger: Apart from asking me impertinent personal questions, she wants me to do sexy pictures. Get the whips, Jerry, and I’ll do the pictures. (Laughter.) We’ll get Liz and tie her up and put her on the saddle. That’s what I do when I’m alone, actually. “What do you do”—she’s putting her hand inside my legs—she says, “What do you do when you’re alone, jerk off?” That’s what she said to me. Can you believe that? (Feigns shock.)
Hall: He reads books and plays the guitar. That’s all.
Jagger: Okay, thank you, darling. That’s sweet. Anyway, I have all these pictures. Millions of them. Who cares?
High Times: I did an interview with Francesco Scavullo last week and we talked about religion.
Jagger: Well, isn’t he Italian or something?
High Times: He doesn’t speak Italian, though. People think he should, with a name like Francesco Scavullo.
Jagger: Well, yeah, it’s a bit much being called Francesco. He can’t even order a plate of spaghetti in Italian.
High Times: You can call him Frank.
Jagger: (Mocking.) Frank. Maybe Catholics are like that, they sort of put crosses all the time everywhere. And they just think that’s what you’re supposed to fucking act. It’s amazing. You’re not Catholic, right?
High Times: Are you Catholic?
Jagger: No. We’re very staunchly anti-Catholic. We’re very much so. But I couldn’t believe—I used to go into people’s houses in South America and Brazil, they’d have these statues of this wooden saint. They collect them, you know. The women particularly. And a whole table. You go into a room dominated by this huge table with big—they’re quite big, a foot tall—and they name them and tell about them. It’s absolute bullshit, I mean, all these saints. It is. Everyone knows it.
High Times: I think so too.
Jagger: Most of these saints—that particular religion turns me right off.
High Times: I think religion starts trouble.
Jagger: Well, everyone knows that, you know, killing for ideas is the most dangerous form of killing at all. Being willing to die for your ideas rather than your country is another concept, but dying for an idea, like in religion, is absurd.
High Times: Would you fight for your country?
Jagger: You have to sometimes because people come and try to take it away from you. You can’t have that going on. It’s very upsetting.
High Times: How about crimes of passion?
Jagger: I think men should get away with it and women shouldn’t. (Laughter.)
High Times: Women get their noses cut off in Iran for adultery, prostitution.
Jagger: Men get their cocks cut off for being a prostitute.
High Times: Perish the thought.
Jagger: That’s because all the Iranian men are gay.
High Times: So you’re not a religious person.
Jagger: Well, yes. I’m very religious. But all I meant was the danger of fighting for religion or killing for it is very, very bad. It’s worse than territory. If someone wants to walk into New York and make it into something else and break it apart, we don’t really want that. But I’m not going to fight for fucking Catholicism or Islam or any other fucking thing like that. That’s ridiculous. I mean I don’t particularly want to fight for New York. If I had to, I would. You know what I mean. I could understand that. (Laughter.) Territorial rights.
High Times: What strikes you funny? What kinds of things make you laugh?
Jagger: Oh, get out of here. The dope list in High Times, for instance. And all the drugs you can get. You just run it down there, right? You work for the magazine. Here’s about $2,000, right? Take it down there and tell them I’ll have one of everything on the list. Why don’t they have heroin on the list? Is that a kind of snobbery?
High Times: That’s disgusting.
Jagger: I think that’s total snobbery because I think a lot of those things are all debilitating, including heroin, which is possibly the worst. But why don’t they put heroin on the list with all those other awful things that you shouldn’t take on the list? I think it’s disgusting. I think that you shouldn’t encourage young people to take drugs anyway. I think that’s just awful. High Times and all that.
High Times: So why are you doing an interview with High Times?
Jagger: Because you asked me to. You’re an old friend of mine. But I just thought I’d say that. I do really believe in that.
High Times: Keith did an interview with High Times in the middle of all that drug stuff.
Jagger: Yeah. But I really do believe in that. I really think it’s bad to encourage kids. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to take all drugs, but it’s bad for kids picking that list up and saying… Twelve-year-old kids. I know they do in California. Eleven- and twelve-year-old kids, it’s disgusting. How much Quaaludes are—come on. It’s a lot of rubbish. Okay, that’s said. We’re going to sound more funny.
High Times: What’s more funny?
Jagger: Liz, have a Quaalude. You were so fucking uptight when you got in here.
High Times: You know what I love to ask pop stars? I swear to God, it’s one of my favorite things to ask about.
Jagger: What is it?
High Times: It’s what kind of…
Jagger: Sex they like.
High Times: Yeah. (Laughter.)
Jagger: That wasn’t really what it was.
High Times: No. What kind of feelings you get onstage. ’Cause that’s really exciting.
Jagger: The love and warmth of the audience, rolling towards me in waves.
High Times: I don’t know if you are teasing…
Jagger: Sure I am.
High Times: But for me to go to a rock concert—my whole life is rock ’n roll. When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to do was marry a rock star.
Jagger: So did I.
High Times: And you did, right?
Jagger: I tried.
High Times: But I swear to God, that’s all I ever liked was rock ’n’ roll. And just to go up there and see rock stars was the most exciting thing in the world for me.
Jagger: It seems a rather very narrow life.
High Times: Yeah, very. I do other things, too. But I love going to concerts and watching rock stars. And I know the feelings that I get when I see you up there. What kind of feelings do you get when you…
Jagger: See you down there? (Laughter.)
High Times: Down where, Mick?
Jagger: Down my trousers. She’s a pocket battleship.
High Times: Do you love being onstage?
Jagger: Yes, it’s very nice. It’s my whole life, though. When I was your age—no, when I was like seventeen or eighteen…
High Times: I’m not much younger than you, honey.
Jagger: I know you’re not. Chicken. Listen, when I was really young, I felt the same. Getting onstage, it’s very funny. It’s very difficult to explain. I suppose you get some good one-liners from people. I’ve never been able to come up with a good one-liner for that question. ’Cause it’s such a complicated feeling.
I think schizophrenia is the main problem there because you can see yourself playing this part. ’Cause it’s going on the stage with your act. It’s all an act, obviously. You don’t want to be really like that in real life. You know, coming out in all these costumes and going—and all that crap. But I mean, you’re looking at yourself. It’s very dangerous if you find yourself looking at yourself. But you can’t help it. In other words, you’re examining what you’re doing. The other thing is, you get the feeling after a while that it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. Which in reality it’s not. It’s abnormal, because it’s abnormal psychosis you’re putting yourself through. In other words, you’re becoming another character. Not only that—which is worse than being on Broadway, being an actor, which you’re very aware is a play— in rock ’n’ roll, you’re not, people don’t think consciously you’re an actor. You’re not the guy that’s playing a part, and you know it’s not really him, bah-bah, bah-bah. They actually think you’re like that. That’s the whole illusion in rock ’n’ roll music. That you’re really like that, that’s you.
High Times: Is there any certain image that you’d like to project about yourself?
High Times: People have this image of you as being like a somewhat evil, sullen-type character, but you’re not.
Jagger: That’s the thing of going onstage. That’s one sort of facet of being on, doing a part or a song. Because you’re not like that all the way through the act. Sometimes you’ve got to be the happy, smiling person, sometimes the fool, you know. And that’s what it’s all about, just music-hall entertainment, rock ‘n’ roll, really, it’s very basic. And it’s rather dull, actually.
High Times: Dull?
Jagger: Very dull. Most onstage acts, most stages are really dull.
High Times: But you’re not.
Jagger: All bands are. It’s a very dull medium, you know.
High Times: Yeah, but I don’t think it’s dull.
Jagger: Well, you don’t ’cause you’re a kind of groupie. (Laughter.) But it’s obviously a very limited form of entertainment. Obviously it’s got a lot of appeal ’cause it’s lasted a long time. Which is incredible when you think about it. ’Cause the first rock acts that I saw when I was like fifteen or something were almost the same as what people do now onstage. Nothing’s changed, you know, not really. Four blokes with guitars running about the stage, I mean, really, in two lines, that’s it, isn’t it? How much smoke you use, how good you sing, or whatever—all the details—it’s still that. As a form of entertainment, it’s amazing it’s survived.
High Times: Yeah, but I just get so sexually turned on by seeing a rock star.
Jagger: Well, that’s what it’s about. It’s getting sexually excited. Why do all these boys get sexually turned on who are not homosexuals?
High Times: ’Cause they want to be doing it—what you’re doing—and have girls getting off on them.
Jagger: But that’s there, they do want to be doing it, but it’s still a sexual turn-on. I’ve never been able to discover the reason because we always had at least half the audience boys. And some points in my life, it’s been more.
High Times: Do you rehearse a lot before a tour?
Jagger: That’s the trouble with rock ’n’ roll. It’s not rehearsed properly.
High Times: When you go out there, do you just sort of improvise?
Jagger: The music’s rehearsed a lot. You see, all people think about is, they think, in rock ’n’ roll, they get the music off right and they think it’s okay standing, looking macho. Well, it’s not. That’s boring. If you want to be a performer you’ve got to do a lot more work than that. Obviously the music’s got to be right. But you’re not playing in a recording studio. You’ve got to go out there and entertain and all that. It’s too much improvisation in rock ’n’ roll. That’s what’s wrong with it. People think it’s enough just to stand there, and for most it is enough. I think it’s amazing that people put up with it.
High Times: Well, Tom Petty gets up there and just stands there and just sings his songs.
Jagger: Does he really? I’ve never seen him. I like the record.
High Times: Oh, I love him. I love to watch him ’cause he just emanates charisma.
Jagger: Yeah, but if you’ve got that thing, “emanates charisma’’—put that down in journalistic, cliche claptrap. (Laughs.)
High Times: No, I was going to say them both in two sentences, but he emanates sex and has a lot of charisma just by standing there.
Jagger: I know what you mean. I’d suck his cock afterwards. (Laughter.)
High Times: He might give you a hard-on, I don’t know. (Laughter.) No, he’s real sweet.
Jagger: Does he give you a hard-on? (Leers.)
High Times: Yeah, he does.
Jagger: Do you get a hard-on just watching the guy standing there? I just think—I don’t mean it too sexually, I must admit. I forget about that, you know. I don’t think about the sexual part of it very much. I mean, not when I’m onstage. I just start rubbing my cock, say I’ve got to do this. I’ve seen other people do it.
High Times: Just to get off?
Jagger: Makes their cock get harder.
High Times: Why? From looking at a girl in the front?
Jagger: Yeah. Stuff like that.
High Times: Have you ever had like a real embarrassing moment where it was like…
Jagger: Like show up onstage and die forty-five minutes later? (Laughter.) That was embarrassing.
High Times: Have you accomplished everything you’d like to do? Are you bored?
High Times: What do you want to do with your life? Are you bored?
Jagger: I’m not going to tell you.
High Times: Creep, are you bored?
High Times: Do you get bored?
Jagger: Of course, everybody does. You have to try new kicks to alleviate the jaundiced appetites.
High Times: What kind of kicks? Drugs? Sex? Rock ’n’ roll?
Jagger: Writing for magazines.
High Times: Hey, would you like to write for a magazine?
Jagger: No, I’d rather write a historical novel.
High Times: Do you really hate journalists?
Jagger: No, I don’t hate them. You can’t hate a class of people. It’s wrong to say that. But I do think they’re a bit like poison. Never trust them. You can’t trust them as a class of people. It’s their job not to be trusted. I don’t mean you. There are a lot of journalists that are such shit, it’s unbelievable.
High Times: Well, a lot of journalists are trying to get you. They get jealous.
Jagger: Let me tell you what they do. They’re like policemen, right? They’re very nice (and they are actually nice) and they may really like you, may have things to talk about, but they save up these little things, right, until they write some stupid book. I can’t remember it actually happened to me, but it’s happened to other people. And it’s kind of happened to me. It’s a two-way thing, being in show business and all that crap. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Everybody knows that. But there’s certain rules that people are not supposed to break. If you say, “Look, don’t print that,” and they don’t. But then ten years later, they write some book about you. They use everything. “I came in the door and you gave me a glass of champagne.” Things like that. You see them a month later, they wonder why you don’t say hello to them. That’s the amazing part. They wonder why, they just can’t understand where they went wrong after writing this book putting you down and saying this shit. You did this and you fucked this girl and you screwed this person’s life up. And then they wonder why. They see you at a cocktail party and they say, “Hi, how are you? Did you like my book?” It’s unbelievable how thick-skinned they are. That’s why I don’t like them. That’s why they’re like policemen, ’cause they save up things in their little file. Not all of them, but an awful lot.
High Times: A lot of times I show people what I write before I submit it. Do you think it’s a bad policy?
Jagger: I think you should show them if you know them, because there are a lot of things in there that don’t even matter. For instance, taxes. You’d say, well, Don’t say I’m working, writing all my songs in New York. Because they’re so stupid, they’ll take that, because it’s the printed word. The IRS and the Inland Revenue, they believe—and I don’t mind if you use this, because it’s quite interesting—but they believe what they read. They use everything you read in newsprint. Once it’s printed and typed out, it’s supposed to be the truth. Whether she makes it up or not is another matter. So that they get these articles out and say, “Look, it says here that you write all your songs in your apartment. Therefore, we want all the money. Of all your songs, half of the money you earn, we want it.” But I said, “I don’t write them all…” “But you said you did, and it says so in this magazine, High Times. And it also says it in the Daily News gossip column.” There’s no good denying that you were in Paris that week. It’s written down, and it’s amazing they believe it. ’Cause they’ve got nothing else to go on. But still they want the money. They’re desperate. We have to pay for the missiles somehow, you know.
High Times: So do you want to see this before I write it?
Jagger: The answer is yes.
High Times: Would you like to have some sons?
High Times: Why don’t you?
Jagger: Well, maybe in a couple of years.
High Times: Nowadays can’t you somehow determine the sex of a child?
Jagger: You can only control it, I think, you can help it along, like fifty percent, some say seventy percent. It’s a lot of work. But I mean, we’ve got so much more advanced than we were about genetics in the last ten years. Just a choice of sex for a child is only a beginning. Obviously you can choose to have whatever kind of temperament child you want. Why not? I mean, that’s what you’re doing when you choose a mate, after all, you’re looking for the qualities in her or her family. Don’t you think?
High Times: Yeah.
Jagger: But people don’t do that. Especially in America, it’s very unfashionable. After Hitler and all that. But people always used to try and do that. It resulted in some very bad inbreeding.
High Times: Is that vain?
Jagger: It’s not vain. You want to have a child—you just take it, right?
High Times: You want a child like yourself?
Jagger: No, I don’t want a child like myself at all. I want someone that’s going to be far better than me.
High Times: Do you prefer women or men’s company any more than the other?
Jagger: No, I don’t think so. I find women a lot easier to talk to a lot of the time. Men are rather taciturn a lot of the time. They’re very defensive where women aren’t.
High Times: I love having platonic relationships with boys, but the only problem is, it’s hard not having sex sometimes, and it’s fun.
Jagger: Well, you don’t always with all of them. I don’t always wind up having it. That’s not maturity. I think if you can get it over with, and you can get back to the conversation, I think that’s one way of getting it done. Wait till next week.
High Times: Do you go through periods where you don’t want to have any sex?
Jagger: No, not really. I mean, not any at all, you mean? No.
High Times: Are you “into” anything mystical? What birthday sign are you?
Jagger: You want me to do that crap. Come on man, it’s 1980.
High Times: But there are a lot of interesting people born on your birthday.
Jagger: This is 1980, you know, I don’t believe in astrology. It’s a lot of crap. I just think that’s another thing you should throw out the window. Mysticism. Cheap.
High Times: People live by the stars and all, you know.
Jagger: Cheap. It’s amazing that people still hang on to that after all these years.
High Times: Would you ever wish for a more stable lifestyle? Like living in England, and just sitting there with your kids? Like Paul McCartney.
Jagger: No, of course not, otherwise I would do it.
High Times: You can do anything you want, can’t you, Mick?
High Times: You could just do anything you fucking want.
Jagger: Fucking could, but I ain’t gonna be like that. Paul’s very nice. Some people would thrive in that kind of environment. And I don’t. It’s just not what I like. I prefer to live in a rented house. No ties. Nothing around my neck. Just the minimum kind of bare comforts of home. Let me go, ’cause I’ve got to… design a house.