Sometimes being onstage is better than having an orgasm

Sir Michael Philip Jagger
Co-founder, co-songwriter, co-producer, lead vocalist and
occasional instrumentalist for the Rolling Stones

Born July 26, 1943 in Dartford, Kent, England
Sun in Leo, Moon in Taurus

(click here for Mick's astrological profile)

The thing is that the guy's GOOD, man (laughs). He can sing his ass off.

    - Keith Richards, 1985

I'm a dedicated show-business person. I'll go onstage and do Noel Coward. I mean, I'm just a show-business person, whether it's playing guitar, piano, acting, singing, dancing. I just chose rock & roll as my career in show business. If I'd been born in 1915, I'd have been a jazz drummer or singer in a jazz band or an actor.

- Mick Jagger, 1978

A knighthood, I'd take, nothing less than a knighthood. But you gotta last a long time to get a knighthood.

- Mick Jagger, 1974

I didn't have any inhibitions. I saw Elvis and Gene Vincent, and I thought, Well, I can do this. And I liked doing it. It's a real buzz, even in front of 20 people, to make a complete fool of yourself. But people seemed to like it. And the thing is, if people started throwing tomatoes at me, I wouldn't have gone on with it. But they all liked it, and it always seemed to be a success, and people were shocked. I could see it in their faces... They could see it was a bit wild for what was going on at the time in these little places in the suburbs.

- Mick Jagger, 1995

There's 2 parts of all this, at least. There's this great fascination for music and this love of playing blues - not only blues, just rock and roll generally. There's this great love of that. But there's this other thing that's performing... I guess you just want some sort of gratification. You have to want some sort of approval. But it's also just the love of actually doing it. Fun.

- Mick Jagger, 1995

He's the best pop performer Britain's ever had. He made the group, really. Without Mick, the Stones would have been nothing.

- Brian Jones, 1966

(Pop music is) not my life! It's a nice part of my life, but it's nowhere near all my life. I get up very early now. I get up at nine and when it comes to around two I start to feel it a bit. But it's all very enjoyable.

- Mick Jagger, 1967

You've either got (equilibrium) or you haven't. I mean, life is scary, and everyone's got to go off the deep-end sometime or other. You can't remain perfectly stable all of the time. Just being onstage or recording is a great outlet for one's neuroses. You can get rid of all your fears or pent up energies singing songs or just screaming and carrying on while you're up there onstage.
- Mick Jagger, 1974

It bothers (people) because they can't be like that themselves (i.e. fearless and rambunctious like a child). I consider myself very lucky, and one of the reasons for that is that when I'm singing or acting or playing or anything - even at home - I feel just like a baby - like I'm 10 or 11 or 12. Whether that's my fantasy, whether it's right or wrong - I know that it's something that other people can't do. I mean, I can act like a 34-year-old too - I've trained myself to act in this manner (laughs) - but when I'm playing I can go back in time. I think that's true for many musicians and actors and dancers, and people envy that.

    - Mick Jagger, 1978

(Mick) can't face reality. Because everybody has a different idea of what or who Mick Jagger is, he's confused himself now as to who he actually is. People are usually too embarassed or don't want to get involved that much to let Mick know. I'm one of them. It IS a tremendous hassle to keep Mick in reality because he's so easily influenced.

    - Keith Richards, 1979

I enjoy changing personalities. Yeah, honestly I feel I've got to be very... chameleon-like just to preserve my own identity... I don't feel threatened by (the) possible eventuality (of losing touch with myself). I don't want to have just one front. I feel like I need at least two just to carry on doing what I'm doing comfortably. It's acting, sure it is... that's what it obviously comes down to. It just gives me the facility to do practically anything I want, see, and even then the most drastic changes of personlity don't really affect me 'cause I never feel the need to do them that often. It's all part of being a rock & roll star, after all.

    - Mick Jagger, 1977

Mick has got a million roles that he works, plays and uses very well, but he plays it up purposely because in actual fact he doesn't believe in it. He's not about to believe in it because the anchor is still there and he knows it. I think it's something that he uses to deal with a situation at the time.

    - Keith Richards, 1981

He IS totally different in public than he is in private life... Sometimes he carries his public persona over into his private life, which gets to be a REAL pain in the ass, because you know he's full of shit... His voice changes, for one thing, and he starts takling with that pseudo-Southern accent. And sometimes in private he starts using a very rough Cockney accent, which also is not his real voice. It's actually more like the way Charlie and I talk, dropping the h's and all that. He never talked like that before, because he came from a middle class family and went to middle class schools. I've got interviews with him on radio and televion from the 60s where he's talking like the Queen does - Oh, well, it's QUITE interesting to... He's getting a bit like Peter Sellers: I don't think he knows which one is the real Mick Jagger. (Laughs) It keeps the mystery going.

    - Bill Wyman, 1981

Keith is very happy on the road. He isn't quite as different on tour as the others in the band. I'm a lot more unbearable on the road. It goes up and down with me.

    - Mick Jagger, 1979

I think the Rolling Stones are very hard as a band. They're hard on people, on everything. Mick is very hard on people. Keith isn't that hard. Keith will stop people when he think it's time, while Mick will say it up front. Mick is very hard to work for if you're at all sensitive.

   - Charlie Watts, 1979

People don't realize how sensitive Mick really is. The public believe Mick to be callous, but he's quite sensitive. Mick was in tears when we got back from the hospital. It was quite sad.

    - Alan Dunn, road manager, talking about when
Marianne Faithfull overdosed on heroin in July 1969

Mick has always been good with the afflicted. He's very gentle and takes a lot of trouble with them. I've seen him looking after Keith and Brian whenever they were in a mess, which was quite often.

    - Christopher Gibbs, 1979

The international jet-set image is more Bianca than Mick. Bianca thrives on it. But Mick can take it or leave it. One of the things I've always admired about Mick is that he can talk just as easily to the President of France as the taxi driver who took him to the palace to meet the president.

   - Alan Dunn, Stones' road manager, 1979

Of course Keith isn't into that society trip. And Mick is. Yet part of Mick is just low down, out there rock and roll. Mick has got all these compartments mapped out.

   - Jo Bergman, Stones personal
assistant (1967-73)

Keith didn't have to deal with (the press), Mick did... Mick was the first guy who got out and took it from the street to Elaine's (trendy New York restaurant). And he didn't really change. He was still a Stone even though he went to Elaine's or Regine's. I see a noticeable difference when Mick's with the group and when he's not, a difference in Mick.

    - Peter Rudge, Stones touring manager (1972-1978)

Well, I don't have that many problems, so if others do, then I don't mind dealing with them. Maybe I just ignore my problems... I mean, of course I have problems, but not really day to day ones because I have people to look after me, you know? I'm very lucky, I don't have to pack my bags, I don't have to worry about my airplane, I don't have to worry about my cars. But then you have a lot of people who have emotional problems, and I don't... I'm very happy... (I'm) not lonely at all. Why should I be? I have my dearest friends with me, Keith, Charlie... most of the band are my friends, and a lot of other people who have been my friends for years... It's not like I'm on tour and I'm the Lonely Rock Star. I mean forget it, doesn't apply to me.

    - Mick Jagger, on tour in 1975

Mick can cut himself off objectively from being Mick Jagger, Rolling Stone. He has two lives which is all him. When you're having dinner the Stones don't even come up in conversation. Don't be conned by Mick. Mick can be nice one day and treat you as if he's never seen you in his life the next day. That's how he keeps people on edge. Keith is the great mediator of the group. Keith is really the human side to Mick. Keith is Mick's conscience. Without Keith it's Mick Jagger and a backing band.

    - Peter Rudge, 1979

I'm not really a socialite person. Keith and me are really just like people in the street.

    - Mick Jagger, 1977

Mick is a selfish person, but he's not ungenerous. In many ways he's a really nice guy. But he's too unsure of himself to be THAT nice a guy. It's sad I can't talk about engineers or whatever to him 'cause I know whatever I say he's gonna say the opposite... Instead of getting MORE secure over the years, which you'd think Mick would have every right to, he's getting more insecure. Unfortunately he's taking it out on the wrong people.

    - Keith Richards, 1979

Mick communicates to the audience from a very safe distance. The distance between him and 20 000 people is just a matter of exaggerating a fašade without actually letting anybody know anything about you. Mick has got to be more real with people.
    - Keith Richards, 1979

Mick is really good when he lets himself be freed up. I admire the man. I was reading a letter I'd written to an aunt of mine, where I'm telling her I've just met this guy that I used to go to school with, and his name is Mick Jagger. I was reading the letter today. She just sent it to me. And I'm telling her (in the letter) that we've started to put this band together, and that as far as I'm concerned this guy is the best R&B singer in England. I'm praising the man to the skies. And I still do. He's one of the best harp players in the world. The only area we disagree on is when I say, Mick, if you can play that like that on the harp, you can sing like that, too. And he says, Oh no, they're two separate things. That's where we disagree. I say it's the same thing. It's just blowing air out of your mouth.

    - Keith Richards, 2009

I think it's very important that you have at least some sort of inner thing you don't talk about. That's why I find it distasteful when all these pop stars talk about their habits... It's wearing. You're on all the time. As much as I love talking to you today, I'd rather be having one day where I don't have to think about me. With all this attention, you become a child. It's awful to be the center of attention. You can't talk about anything apart from your own experience, your own dopey life. I'd rather do something that can get me out of the center of attention. It's very dangerous. But there's no way, really, to avoid that.

- Mick Jagger, 1995


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