Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Recording date: November-December 2004, March-April & June 2005
Recording locations: La Fourchette, Posť sur Cisse, France & Ocean Way Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA
Producers: Don Was & The Glimmer Twins Chief engineer: Krish Sharma
Mixer: Krish Sharma Never performed onstage
Bass: Mick Jagger
Electric guitars: Keith Richards & Mick Jagger
Vocals: Mick Jagger
Keyboards: Mick Jagger
Harmonica: Mick Jagger
I've got strong opinions. I'm obviously very interested in the way that we conduct foreign policy in the West. It's one of my interests, if not passions. So obviously I have opinions about it.
There's been other social comment before from the Rolling Stones. This one's a bit more direct. Perhaps it's the times we're living in. I was being more direct than metaphorical. I think right-wing commentators get fed up with pop singers involved with anything but pop singing. But artists have responsibilities too. Everyone has responsibilities. As long as you don't bang on about it every day - because people get very bored with that. I think comment from artists, whether they are painters or any kind of creative people, is part of what you do.
I spoke to Mick about it. Personally, I find politicians a very pallid subject. I said to Mick, Are you sure these guys are worth a Rolling Stones song? But he felt strongly about it and he writes the songs as well as myself. I said, If you feel like that about it and you feel it needs to be said, then I'm backing you up, pal. That's the way it is. But my fear is that one little track like that would be a storm in a tea cup and distract from the rest of the record. But that was my only reservation. Otherwise, hey, it's free speech, right?
Personally, to me, I never think about politicians if I'm going to write a song. It's like a blank area to me. They all come and go, and I'm trying to write about more universal stuff. But if you feel like (it), then let's go.
It IS direct (laughs). Keith said, It's not really metaphorical. I think he's a bit worried because he lives in the U.S. I don't.
(T)his is a very open and direct song. But this is the different time we live in and I thought this was the best way to say it rathen than hide it, cloaked in metaphors and subterfuge.
There is a lot of humour on this album, even in Sweet Neo Con which is a very direct song.
(Stones songs) usually touch on the periphery. They're more observations from an outside point of view than jumping right into the middle of the fray. I've always been a bit wary of that. And Neo Con might be a bit like that, I don't know. I've raised the subject with the lads and we'll see how it flies.
It was my feeling for these last two or three years that this kind of politics comes from a very small but very vociferous group of powerful people. I think you're always prepared to listen to people's points of view, but when they're not working you've got to speak up as well. I think social comment is very much part of what the Rolling Stones have always done.
It is not really aimed at anyone. It's not aimed, personally aimed, at President Bush. It wouldn't be called Sweet New Con if it was. It is certainly very critical of certain policies of the administration, but so what! Lots of people are critical.
I thought the song was about Condoleezza Rice (grins). There is definitely a fight on.
I don't want to overexplain it... During the presidential election, I was asked by the New York Daily News which side I was on. I said it's not polite to take sides in foreigners' elections. But we're not in an election now... I'm not on anyone's side. There is no side that has an absolute answer. That's the trouble with politics. You might say, The Republican take on the Middle East is incorrect. The Democratic policy wasn't that brilliant, either.... It is a scary time. Since I wrote the song, London's gotten even scarier.
I was a little worried about (putting the song out) because, you know, the climate in America can be very narrow. When the Dixie Chicks made their remark, that was at the beginning of the war and I think things have changed a lot and people have got a much more different point of view. People are little more open-minded about people being critical, you know?
I think it's quite nasty, the beginning of it. It was the beginning of the Iraq War when I wrote it. George had been going a little bit too far,and it was so clearly wrong, and you're thinking, How can anyone support this? Everything seemed to be going pear-shaped, all the ideas and the theorizing, rather than the realpolitik of the situation... So I just wrote this.
It's quite a groove of a track, though.
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